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Approximate areas occupied by the three Kazakh hordes in the early 20th century; red represents the Senior zhuz, orange represents the Middle zhuz and green represents the Junior zhuz.

A zhuz (Kazakh: жүз, translit. ju’z, ٴجۇز IPA: [ʒʉz], also translated as "horde" or "hundred") is one of the three main territorial and tribal divisions in the Kypchak Plain area that covers much of the contemporary Kazakhstan, and represents the main tribal division within the ethnic group of the Kazakhs.

  • The Senior zhuz (Kazakh: Ұлы жүз, translit. Uly ju’z, ۇلى ٴجۇز) or Uly zhuz covers territories of southern and southeastern Kazakhstan, northwestern China (Xinjiang) and parts of Uzbekistan.
  • The Middle zhuz (Kazakh: Орта жүз, translit. Orta ju’z, ورتا ٴجۇز) or Orta zhuz consists of six tribes, covering central and eastern Kazakhstan
  • The Junior zhuz (Kazakh: Кіші жүз, translit. Kis’i ju’z, كىشى ٴجۇز)) or Kishi zhuz consists of three tribes, covering western Kazakhstan.



The earliest mention of the Kazakh ju’z or hordes dates to the 17th century. Velyaminov-Zernov (1919) believed that the division arose as a result of the capture of the important cities of Tashkent, Yasi, and Sayram in 1598.[1]

Some researchers argued that the ju’z in origin corresponded to tribal, military alliances of steppe nomads that emerged around mid-16th century after the disintegration of the Kazakh Khanate. Yuri Zuev[year needed] argued their territorial division comprises three ecological or topographic zones, the Senior zhuz of the southern and southeastern steppe being set apart from the two other zones by Lake Balkhash.

According some researchers, Kazakhs was separated in the first civil war in the Kazakh Khanate. Tribes that recognized Buidash Khan formed Senior juz. Tribes that recognized Togim Khan formed Middle juz. Tribes that recognized Akhmed Khan formed Junior juz.

According to Kazakh legends,[citation needed] the three ju’z were the territorial inheritances of the three sons of the mythical founder father of the Kazakhs. In Kazakh language, ju’z means either "union" or "hundred".[citation needed]

Senior zhuzEdit

Ethnographic map of the Senior or Uysyn zhuz in Kazakhstan in the early 20th century, following M. S. Mukanov (1991).[2]

Historically, the Senior zhuz (Kazakh: Ұлы жүз, translit. Uly ju’z, ۇلى ٴجۇز; Russian: Старший жуз, translit. Staršij žuz) inhabited the northern lands of the former Chagatai Ulus of the Mongol Empire, in the Ili River and Chu River basins, in today's South-Eastern Kazakhstan and China's Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture (northern Xinjiang). It was also called Üysin jüz.

The first record of the Senior zhuz dates to 1748, due to a Tatar emissary of the Tsaritsa who had been sent to the steppe to negotiate the submission of Abul Khair Khan in 1732. According to Nikolai Aristov,[citation needed] the estimated population of the Senior zhuz was about 550,000 people in the second half of the 19th century. The territory was conquered by the Kokand Khanate in 1820s, and by the Russian Empire during the 1850s to 1860s.

Kazakhstan's ruling elite, including current president Nursultan Nazarbayev, former First Secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan Dinmukhamed Konayev, as well as famous poet Jambyl Jabayev are representatives of the Senior zhuz.

There have been several attempts to determine the exact names and nature of top level clans throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. However, different studies created vastly different names and population numbers for the steppe clans. Generally accepted names of the first order Senior zhuz tribes or clans are:[citation needed]

  • Dulat (Kazakh: Дулат, translit. Dy’lat, دۋلات)
    • Janys (Kazakh: Жаныс,, translit. Janys, جانىس)
    • Siyqym (Kazakh: Сиқым, translit. Si’qym, سىيقىم)
    • Botbay (Kazakh: Ботбай, translit. Botbai’, بوتباي)
    • Shymyr (Kazakh: Шымыр, translit. S’ymyr, شىمىر)
  • Jalayir (Kazakh: Жалайыр, translit. Jalai’yr, جالايىر)
  • Qangly (Kazakh: Қаңлы, translit. Qan’ly, قاڭلى)
  • Alban (Kazakh: Албан, translit. Alban, البان)
  • Suwan (Kazakh: Суан, translit. Sy’an, سۋان)
  • Sary-Uysin (Kazakh: Сары-үйсін, translit. ' 'Sary-u’i’sin, سارى-ۇيسىن “Yellow Uysin”)
  • Shapyrashty (Kazakh: Шапырашты, translit. S’apyras’ty, شاپىراشتى)
  • Sirgeli (Kazakh: Сіргелі, translit. Sirgeli, سىرگەلى)
  • Oshaqty (Kazakh: Ошақты, translit. Os’aqty, وشاقتى)
  • Ysty (Kazakh: Ысты, translit. Ysty, ىستى)
  • Shanyshqyly (Kazakh: Шанышқылы, translit. S’anys’qyly, شانىشقىلى)

Middle zhuzEdit

Ethnographic map of the Senior or Uysyn zhuz in Kazakhstan in the early 20th century, following M. S. Mukanov (1991).[2]

The Middle zhuz (Kazakh: Орта жүз, translit. Orta ju’z, ورتا ٴجۇز; Russian: Средний жуз, translit. Srednij žuz), also known as Arg’yn ju’z, occupies the eastern lands of the former Golden Horde, in central, northern and eastern Kazakhstan.

Some of Kazakhstan's famous poets and intellectuals were born in the Middle zhuz territories, including Abay Qunanbayuli, Akhmet Baytursinuli, Shokan Walikhanuli and Alikhan Bokeikhanov.

The Middle zhuz consists of the following tribes:

  • Argyn (Kazakh: Арғын, translit. Arg’yn, ارعىن)
  • Kerei (Kazakh: Керей, translit. 'Kerei’, كەرەي)
  • Naiman (Kazakh: Найман, translit. Nai’man, نايمان)
  • Khongirad (Kazakh: Қоңырат, translit. Qon’yrat, قوڭىرات)
  • Qypchak (Kazakh: Қыпшақ, translit. Qyps’aq, قىپشاق)
  • Taraqty Kazakh: Тарақты, translit. Taraqty, تاراقتى)
  • Waq (Kazakh: Уақ, translit. Y’aq, ۋاق)

Junior zhuzEdit

The Junior or Lesser zhuz (Kazakh: Кіші жүз, translit. Kis’i ju’z, كىشى ٴجۇز; Russian: Младший жуз, translit. Mladšij žuz), also known as Als’yn ju’z, occupied the lands of the former Nogai Khanate in Western Kazakhstan. It was also called Als’yn ju’z.

They originate from the Nogais of the Nogai Horde, which once was placed in Western Kazakhstan, but in the 16th century it was defeated by the Kazakhs and the Russians and Nogais retreated to the Western part of their khanate, to the Kuban River steppes. In the 18th century they endanged inner Russian cities, so the Russian Empire allied the Kalmucks (Kalmyks) to supplant Alshyns back to the Urals. There they formed the Lesser zhuz. During Kazakh-Kalymk struggles, Khiva Khanate annexed Mangyshlak Peninsula for repelling Kalmyk raids and managed it for two centuries before Russian conquest. In the beginning of the 19th century, Kazakhs shifted some to the west, to Astrakhan Governorate, forming Bukey Horde there. As the Kazakh SSR was formed with Bukey Horde as the most remoted its western part,[clarification needed] situated geographically in Europe.

Historical leaders of Kazakh resistance against the Russian Empire associated with the Junior zhuz include Isatay Taymanuly (Kazakh: I’satai’ Tai’manuly, 1791—1838) and Makhambet Otemisuly (Kazakh: Mahambet O’temisuly, 1803/4–1846).

The Junior zhuz consisted of three groups, subdivided into clans:

  • Baiuly (Kazakh: Байұлы, translit. Bai’uly, بايۇلى)
    • Adai (Kazakh: Адай, translit. Adai’, اداي)
    • Alasha (Kazakh: Алаша, translit. Alas’a, الاشا)
    • Baibaqty (Kazakh: Байбақты, translit. Bai’baqty, بايباقتى)
    • Berish (Kazakh: Беріш, translit. Beris’, ء بەرىش)
    • Zhappas (Kazakh: Жаппас, translit. Jappas, جاپپاس)
    • Masqar (Kazakh: Масқар, translit. Masqar, ماسقار)
    • Taz (Kazakh: Таз, translit. Taz, تاز)
    • Tana (Kazakh: Тана, translit. Tana, تانا)
    • Esentemir (Kazakh: Есентемір, translit. Esentemir, ء ەسەنتەمىر)
    • Ysyq (Kazakh: Ысық, translit. Ysyq, ىسىق)
    • Qyzylqurt (Kazakh: Қызылқұрт, translit. Qyzylqurt, قىزىلقۇرت)
    • Sherkesh (Kazakh: Шеркеш, translit. S’erkes’, شەركەش)
  • Alimuly (Kazakh: Әлімұлы, translit. A’limuly, ء الىمۇلى)
    • Qarakesek (Kazakh: Қаракесек, translit. Qarakesek, قاراكەسەك)
    • Qarasaqal (Kazakh: Қарасақал, translit. Qarasaqal, قاراساقال)
    • Tortqara (Kazakh: Төртқара, translit. To’rtqara, ء تورتقارا)
    • Kete (Kazakh: Кете, translit. Kete, كەتە)
    • Shomekei (Kazakh: Шөмекей, translit. S’o’mekei’, ء شومەكەي)
    • Shekti (Kazakh: Шекті, translit. S’ekti, ء شەكتى)
  • Jetyru (Kazakh: Жетіру, translit. Jetiry’, ء جەتىرۋ)
    • Tabyn (Kazakh: Табын, translit. Tabyn, تابىن)
    • Tama (Kazakh: Тама, translit. Tama, تاما)
    • Kerderi (Kazakh: Кердері, translit. Kerderi, ء كەردەرى)
    • Kereit (Kazakh: Керейт, translit. Kerei’t, كەرەيت)
    • Zhagalbaily (Kazakh: Жағалбайлы, translit. Jag’albai’ly, جاعالبايلى)
    • Telew (Kazakh: Телеу, translit. Teley’, تەلەۋ)
    • Ramadan (Kazakh: Рамадан, translit. Ramadan, رامادان)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Velyaminov-Zernov, "Russia, Mongolia, China in the 16th, 17th, and early 18th centuries". Vol II. Baddeley (1919, MacMillan, London). Reprint – Burt Franklin, New York. 1963 p. 59.
  2. ^ a b Муканов М. С., Этническая территория казахов в 18 – нач. 20 вв ("Ethnic territory of Kazakhs from the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century"), Almaty, 1991.


  • Svat Soucek, "A History of Inner Asia". Cambridge University Press (2000). ISBN 0-521-65704-0.
  • W. W. Bartold, Four studies in history of Central Asia, Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1962.
  • Ilkhamov Alisher et al., "Ethnic atlas of Uzbekistan", Uzbekistan, "Open Society foundation", 2002, p. 176, ISBN 978-5-86280-010-4 (in Russian)
  • Isin A., "Kazakh khanate and Nogai Horde in the second half of the 15th - 16th centuries", Semipalatinsk, Tengri, 2002, p. 22, ISBN 978-9965-492-29-7 (in Russian)
  • S. Qudayberdiuli. "Family tree of Turks, Kirgizes, Kazakhs and their Khan dynasties", Alma-Ata, Dastan, 1990 (in Russian)
  • S. Kudayberdy-Uly, Family tree of Türks, Kyrgyz, Kazakhs and their Khan dynasties, Alma-Ata, Dastan, 1990 (in Russian)
  • M. Tynyshbaev, 'The Uysyn', in Materials on the history of the Kazakh people, Tashkent 1925 (in Russian)
  • Yu.A. Zuev, "Ethnic History of the Usuns", Works of the Academy of Sciences of the Kazakh SSR, History, Archeology And Ethnography Institute, Alma-Ata, Vol. 8, 1960. (in Russian)
  • А. Т. Толеубаев, Ж. К. Касымбаев, М. К. Койгелдиниев, Е. Т. Калиева, Т. Т. Далаева, перевод с казахского языка С. Бакенова, Ф. Сугирбаева. — История Казахстана. Изд-во «Мектеп», 2006 г. — 240 с ISBN 9965-33-628-8

External linksEdit