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On the Periphery of the Islamic World : Diplomatic Correspondence of the Nogays with the Russians
The Nogay ulus (appanage) seceded from the Golden Horde in the 1390s under the leadership of Edigü, a well known military commander and chief of the Turco-Mongol Mangit tribe. Up until this point Nogay Horde had occupied a vast territory between the Yayik (Ural) and the Lower Volga River. Consequently during the 15th – 16th centuries they became the significant Tatar successor state of the Golden Horde. After the Russian conquest of the Khanates of Kazan and Astrakhan (1552, 1556), it was only the Nogay Horde and the Crimean Khanate that represented any real danger to the eastward expansion of the Muscovite state. Similar to their Crimean Tatar relatives, by the 16th – 17th centuries the Nogays were able to pursue large scale diplomatic correspondence with Moscow. This correspondence has been mostly preserved within the Russian State Archives of Old Documents (RGADA) in Moscow. Fourteen volumes of the so-called “envoy books” (posol’skie knigi) and thousands of letters written in separate sheets (stolbtsy) are kept in fond 127 of the RGADA archive. Although the material contains numerous contemporary Russian translations of Tatar documents, the originals of which have been lost; a few dozen of the original Nogay letters have survived. These letters are written in Tatar using the Arabic alphabet. The Nogay-Tatar documents of the 16th – 17th centuries, virtually unstudied by scholars, form the core material from which the author wishes to present his findings. These documents provide important descriptions of how the Nogay chancellery functioned and in particular, associated diplomatic and linguistic characteristics.
Keywords: Nogay Horde, Nogay documents, Russo-Nogay contacts, Tatar chancelleries, Russian archives.
- István Vasary ( : 095012877)