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Yättishär döläti
يەتتىشەر دۆلەتى
Flag of Yettishar
Flag of Yettishar (1873-1877).svg
Left: 1865-1873; Right: 1873-1878
The map of the Dungan revolt

The map of the Dungan revolt
Capital Kashgar[1]
Common languages UyghurUzbek

Government Monarchy / Theocracy[1]
Yettishar Khan
• 1864-1867
• 1867-1877
Yaqub Beg
• Established
• Disestablished

Preceded by

Succeeded by
Qing Empire
Qing Empire
Today part of China

Yettishar[a] (Uyghur: يەتتىشەر دۆلەتى; Chinese哲德沙爾汗國; meaning “Seven Cities” or “Heptapolis”), commonly known as Kashgaria, was a short-lived Sunni Muslim Turkic state with predominantly Uyghur population that existed in Xinjiang between 1867 and 1877 during the Dungan Revolt against the Qing dynasty.[1][3] The seven cities were KashgarKhotanYarkandYangishahrAksuKucha and Korla.[4] In 1873, the state was recognized by the Ottoman Empire as a vassal.[5]:152–153

On 18 December 1877, the army of the Qing entered Kashgar bringing the state to an end.[6]



By the 1860s, Xinjiang had been under Qing rule for a century. The area had been conquered in 1759 from the Dzungar Khanate[7] whose core population, the Oirats, subsequently became the targets of genocide. However, as Xinjiang consisted mostly of semi-arid or desert lands, these were not attractive to potential Han settlers except some traders, so other people such as Uyghurs settled in the area.

The ethnic group known today as Uyghur people was not known by the term “Uyghur” up to the 20th century. The Uzbeks that dwelled close to present-day Xinjiang were collectively called “Andijanis” or “Kokandis“, while the Uyghurs in the Tarim Basin were known as “Turki”, probably due to their language. There were also Uyghur immigrants residing in Ili area that were called “Taranchi“. The modern term “Uyghur” was assigned to this ethnic group by the newly created Soviet Union in 1921 at a conference in Tashkent. As a result, sources from the period of the Dungan revolt make no mentions of Uyghurs. The conflict was mainly an ethnic and religious war fought by members of the Muslim Hui and other Muslim ethnic groups in China’s ShaanxiNingxia and Gansu provinces, as well as in Xinjiang, between 1862 and 1877.

The conflict led to a recorded 20.77 million deaths due to migration and war-related death. Many war immigrants also died from starvation on their journey to safety.[8] Thousands of Muslim refugees from Shaanxi fled to Gansu. Some of them formed significant battalions in eastern Gansu, intending to reconquer their lands in Shaanxi. While the Hui rebels were preparing to attack Gansu and Shaanxi, Yaqub Beg, ethnic Uzbek or Tajik commander at the Kokand Khanate, fled from the Khanate in 1865 after losing Tashkent to the Russians, settled in Kashgar and soon managed to take complete control of Xinjiang.

Establishment of Yettishar[edit]

Yaqub beg, ruler of Yettishar

Yaqub Beg

Andijani troops of Yaqub beg

Yaqub Beg was born in the town of Piskent, in the Khanate of Kokand (now in Uzbekistan).[9] In rebellions from 1864, the Khoqandi foreigner Yaqub Beg conquered the Tarim Basin.[10]

Yaqub came to power after the Chinese were driven out. The Chinese only became important when they returned with an army. The Khan of Kokand had some claim over Barzug Khan as a subject, but did nothing in practice. Russia and England never recognized Yaqub as a legal ruler.[citation needed] Yaqub entered into relations and signed treaties with the Russian Empire and Great Britain, but when he tried to get their support against China, he failed.[11]

Yaqub Beg was given the title of “Athalik Ghazi, Champion Father of the Faithful” by the Amir of Bokhara in 1866. The Ottoman Sultan gave him the title of Amir.[12]:118, 220


Yaqub Beg’s rule was unpopular among the natives with one of the local Kashgaris, a warrior and a chieftain’s son, commenting: “During the Chinese rule there was everything; there is nothing now.” There was also a falling-off in trade.[13] Yaqub Beg was disliked by his Turkic Muslim subjects, burdening them with heavy taxes and subjecting them to a harsh version of Islamic Sharia law.[14][15]

Korean historian Kim Hodong points out the fact that his disastrous and inexact commands failed the locals and they in turn welcomed the return of Chinese troops.[5]:172 Qing dynasty general Zuo Zongtang wrote that “The Andijanis are tyrannical to their people; government troops should comfort them with benevolence. The Andijanis are greedy in extorting from the people; government troops should rectify this by being generous.”[16]

Downfall (1877)[edit]

Khotan uyghurs, Yettishar troops

The Chinese began their reconquest in 1876. Yaqub died in 1877 while retreating from the Chinese.

In mid-April 1877, the Chinese suddenly threw 180 battalions of well-armed forces under the command of Liu Zuntang against Yettishar. Despite the help of the Muhammad Ayub detachments and other Dungan commanders, the troops of Yaqub beg were defeated. In May 1877, he was poisoned, and Yettishar fell into three warring estates. The troops of Liu Zuntang captured Kashgar, Yarkand and Khotan. In December 1877, all of Kashgar was conquered. Thousands of Muslim were executed, tens of thousands thrown into prison. Muhammad Ayub with the Dungan detachments took refuge in the possessions of Russia. The power of the Qing dynasty was restored over all of Xinjiang, except for the Ili region, which was returned by Russia to China under the Treaty of Saint Petersburg.[citation needed]

Death of Yaqub Beg[edit]

The manner of Yaqub Beg’s death is unclear. The Times of London and the Russian Turkestan Gazette both reported that he had died after a short illness.[5]:167–169 The contemporaneous historian Musa Sayrami (1836–1917) states that he was poisoned on May 30, 1877 in Korla by the former hakim (local city ruler) of Yarkand, Niyaz Hakim Beg, after the latter concluded a conspiracy agreement with the Qing (Chinese) forces in Jungaria.[5]:167–169 However, Niyaz Beg himself, in a letter to the Qing authorities, denied his involvement in the death of Yaqub Beg, and claimed that the Kashgarian ruler committed suicide.[5]:167–169 Some say that he was killed in battle with the Chinese.[17] Modern historians, according to Kim Hodong, think that natural death (of a stroke) is the most plausible explanation.[5]:167–169


  1. ^ Also spelled YettishahrYättishahr or Yättä Shähär.[2]