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The lands of the Duolu in the Ili River Basin

Duolu (Chinese: 咄陸; Wade–Giles: To-lu; c. 603-651 as a minimum) was a tribal confederation in the Western Turkic Khaganate (c. 581-659). The Turgesh Khaganate (699-766) may have been founded by Duolu remnants. A relation to the Dulo clan of the Bulgars is possible but not proven.

They lived between Lake Balkash and the Tian Shan Mountains. Their western neighbor was the Nushibi confederation which extended west to the Syr Darya and southward. The boundary between the two was around the Ili River and the Chu River, that is, near a line running south from the southwest corner of Lake Balkash. The Nushibi had connections southwest with the literate Sogdian merchants. The Duolu were probably more pastoral. Rivers running down from the Tianshan supported agriculture and towns and thus a natural caravan route. The Duolu presumably taxed these people. The West Turkic Khagans had a sort of capital at Suyab near the Duolu-Nushibi boundary.

The Western Turks were also called the Onoq or 'ten arrows', that is 'ten tribes', possibly five for the Duolu and five for the Nushibi. There is confusion, or possibly connection, with the earlier Onogurs which also means 'ten tribes'. Tongdian records a partial list of Duolu leaders:

  1. Chùmùkūn lǜ chuò (处木昆律啜),
  2. Húlùjū què chuò (胡禄屋阙啜),
  3. Shèshètí tūn chuò (摄舍提暾啜),
  4. Tūqíshī hèluóshī chuò (突骑施贺罗施啜),
  5. Shǔníshī chùbàn chuò (鼠泥施处半啜).

From at least the time of Heshana Khagan (603) new Khagans were usually supported by either the Duolu or Nushibi faction. In 638 there was an ill-documented Ili River Treaty that separated the two factions along the Ili River.


  • Yuri Bregel, Historical Atlas of Central Asia, 2003, maps 7 and 8, with text.
  • Tongdian, Vol. 199
  • Stark, Sören. "Türgesh Khaganate, in: Encyclopedia of Empire, ed. John M. McKenzie et al. (Wiley Blackwell: Chichester/Hoboken 2016)". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

See alsoEdit