Kimek tribe

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The Kimek or Kimäk (Arabic: Kīmāk‎) was a Turkic or Tungusic tribe known from Arab and Persian medieval geographers as one of the seven tribes in the Kimek confederation in the period of 850-1050 AD. The other six constituent tribes, according to Abu Said Gardizi (d. 1061), were the Kipchaks, Tatars, Bayandur, Lanikaz, and Ajlad.


According to Marquart, the name Kīmāk (pronounced Kimäk) is derived from Iki-Imäk, "the two Imäk", probably referring to the first two clans of the federation.[1] On the other hand, Pritsak attempted to connect the Kimek with the Proto-Mongolic Kumo of the Kumo Xi confederation (庫莫奚; Middle Chinese: kʰuoH-mɑk̚-ɦei; *qu(o)mâġ-ġay, from *quo "yellowish" plus denominal suffix *-mAk); Golden judges Pritsak's reconstruction "highly problematic", as Pritsak did not explain how Quomâġ might have produced Kimek; still, Golden considers the connection with the Proto-Mongolic world seriously.[2]

Kashgari does not mention any Kimek, but Yamaks, known to him as Kipchaks.[1]


A part of the Chuüe tribe intermixed with the Göktürks and formed a tribe called Shato, which lived in southern Dzungaria, to the west of Lake Barkol.[3] In the Western Turkic Khaganate the Chuy tribes occupied a privileged position of being voting members of the confederation, same as the Nushibi (Ch. 弩失畢, left wing) tribes. The Shato separated from the Chuüe in the middle of the 7th century, and presently are a well known ethnic group, listed in censuses taken in Tzarist Russia and in the 20th century.

After the disintegration in 743 AD of the Western Turkic Kaganate, a part of the Chuy tribes remained in its successor, the Uyghur Kaganate (740-840), and another part retained their independence.[4] During the Uyghur period, the Chuy tribes consolidated into the nucleus of the tribes known as Kimaks in the Arab and Persian sources.[5] The head of the Kimek confederation was titled Shad Tutuk, i.e. "Prince Governing, or Ruling”.[6] By the middle of the eighth century, the Kimeks occupied territory between the Ural River and Emba River, and from the Aral sea and Caspian steppes, to the Zhetysu area.

Kimek KhanateEdit

After the 840 AD breakup of the Uyghur Kaganate, the Kimeks headed a new political tribal union, creating a new Kimek state. Abu Said Gardizi (d. 1061) wrote that the Kimak federation consisted of seven tribes: Kimeks (Imak, Yimaek), Imi, Tatars, Bayandur, Kipchak, Lanikaz and Ajlad. Later, an expanded Kimek Kaganate partially controlled the territories of the Oguz, Kangly, and Bagjanak tribes, and in the west bordered the Khazar and Bulgar territories. The Kimaks led a semi-settled life, while the Kipchaks were predominantly nomadic herders.

In the beginning of the eleventh century the Kipchak Khanlyk moved west, occupying lands that had earlier belonged to the Oguz. After seizing the Oguz lands, the Kipchaks grew considerably stronger, and the Kimeks became dependents of the Kipchaks. The fall of the Kimek Kaganate in the middle of the 11th century was caused by the migration of Central Asian Mongolian-speaking nomads, displaced by the Mongolian-speaking Khitan state of Liao, which formed in 916 AD in Northern China. The Khitan nomads occupied the Kimek and Kipchak lands west of the Irtysh. In the eleventh to twelfth centuries a Mongol-speaking Naiman tribe displaced the Kimeks and Kipchaks from the Mongolian Altai and Upper Irtysh as it moved west.

Between the ninth and thirteenth centuries Kimek tribes were nomadizing in the steppes of the modern Astrakhan Oblast of Russia. A portion of the Kimeks that left the Ob-Irtysh interfluvial region joined the Kipchak confederation that survived until the Mongol invasion, and later united with the Nogai confederation of the Kipchak descendants. The last organized tribes of the Nogai in Russian sources were dispersed with the Russian construction of zaseka bulwarks in the Don and Volga regions in the 17th-18th centuries, which separated the cattle breeding populations from their summer pastures. Another part of the Nogai were deported from the Budjak steppes after Russian conquest of Western Ukraine and Moldova in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century.

Ethnolinguistic belongingEdit

According to C. E. Bosworth (2007)[7] and R. Turaeva (2015) the Kimek tribe was Turkic.[8]

According to R. Preucel and S. Mrozowki (2010)[9] and S. Divitçioğlu (2010),[10] the Kimek tribe was Tungusic.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b E.J.W. Gibb memorial series. 1937. Our source seems to suggest that there were eleven divisions of the tribe.1 The name Kimak (to be pronounced Kimak), according to Marquart, is an abbreviation of Ikt-Imdk "the two Imak" (probably with reference to the first two clans ..
  2. ^ Peter B. Golden (1992). An Introduction to the History of the Turkic People. O. Harrassowitz. p. 202.
  3. ^ Gumilev, L.N. "Ancient Turks", Moscow, Science, 1967, Ch.20
  4. ^ Faizrakhmanov, G. "Ancient Turks in Siberia and Central Asia"
  5. ^ S.A. Pletneva, "Kipchaks", p.26
  6. ^ Faizrakhmanov, G. "Ancient Turks in Sibiria and Central Asia"
  7. ^ Clifford Edmund Bosworth (2007). The Turks in the Early Islamic World. Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-86078-719-8. Kimak - well-known Turkic tribe
  8. ^ Rano Turaeva (19 November 2015). Migration and Identity in Central Asia: The Uzbek Experience. Routledge. pp. 37–. ISBN 978-1-317-43007-0.
  9. ^ Preucel, Robert; Mrozowski, Stephen (May 10, 2010). Contemporary Archaeology in Theory: The New Pragmatism (2nd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell. p. 296. ISBN 1405158328.
  10. ^ Divitçioğlu, Sencer (2010). Sekiz Türk Boyu Üzerine Gözlemler. Topkapı/İstanbul: Türkiye İş Bankası - Kultur Yayinlari. pp. 87–88. ISBN 978-605-360-098-5.


External linksEdit