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Bumin Qaghan

Bumin Qaghan founder of the Turkic Khaganate

founder of the Turkic Khaganate
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro founder of the Turkic Khaganate
A.K.A. Tumen, Bumın Kagan, Illig Qaghan
Occupations Military leader
Type Military
Gender male
Birth 001
Death 001 (Turkic Khaganate)
Siblings: Istämi
Children: Muqan QaghanIssik QaghanTaspar Qaghan
The details

Bumin Qaghan (Old Turkic: 𐰉𐰆𐰢𐰣𐰴𐰍𐰣 , Bumïn qaγan, a.k.a. Bumın Kagan) or Illig Qaghan (Chinese: 伊利可汗, Pinyin: Yīlì Kèhán, Wade–Giles: i-li k'o-han, died 552 AD) was the founder of the Turkic Khaganate. He was the eldest son of Ashina Tuwu (吐務 / 吐务). He was the chieftain of the Türks under the sovereignty of Rouran Khaganate. He is also mentioned as "Tumen" (土門, 吐門, commander of ten thousand) of the Rouran Khaganate.

Early life

According to History of Northern Dynasties and Zizhi Tongjian, in 545 Tumen's tribe started to rise and frequently invaded the western frontier of Wei. The chancellor of Western Wei Yuwen Tai sent An Nuopanto (Nanai-Banda, a Sogdian from Bukhara) to Göktürk to greet its chieftain Tumen to try to establish commercial relationship. In 546, Tumen presented tribute to Western Wei.

And in the same year he put down a revolt of the Tiele tribes against their overlords the Rouran Khaganate. He took advantage of this success and requested a Rouran princess in marriage. But the qaghan of Rouran Anagui refused this request and sent to Bumin a mission and message: You are my blacksmith slave. How dare you utter these words?Bumin got angry and killed Anagui's mission and cut all relationship with Rouran Khaganate.

Anagui's "blacksmith" ( / 锻奴, Pinyin: duàn nú, Wade–Giles: tuan-nu) insult was recorded in Chinese chronicles and historians accepted that the Tujue were indeed blacksmith servants for the Rouran elite, and that "blacksmith slavery" may indicate a kind of vassalage system prevailed in Rouran society. Nevertheless, after this incident Bumin emerged as the leader of the revolt against Rouran.

In 551, Bumin requested a Western Wei princess in marriage. Yuwen Tai permitted it and sent Princess Changle of Western Wei to Bumin.In the same year when Emperor Wen of Western Wei died, Bumin sent mission and gave two hundred horses.

The beginning of formal diplomatic relations with China propped up Bumin's authority among the Turks. He eventually united the local Turkic tribes and threw off the yoke of the Rouran domination. In 552 Bumin's army defeated Anagui's forces at the north of Huaihuang and then Anagui committed suicide. With their defeat Bumin proclaimed himself "Illig Qaghan" and made his wife qaghatun. According to the Bilge Qaghan's memorial complex and the Kul Tigin's memorial complex, Bumin and Istemi ruled people by Turkic laws and they developed them.

Death and family

Bumin died within several months after proclaiming himself Illig Qaghan. He was married to Princess Changle of Western Wei.


  • Ashina Keluo (阿史那科罗) - Issig Qaghan
  • Ashina Qijin (阿史那俟斤) - Muqan Qaghan
  • Taspar Qaghan
  • Ashina Kutou (阿史那庫頭) - Ditou Qaghan (appointed by Muqan Qaghan to be lesser khagan of eastern wing of Turkic Empire)
  • Mahan Tigin - Lesser khagan appointed by Taspar Qaghan
  • Rudan Qaghan (褥但可汗)
    • Böri Qaghan (步離可汗) - Lesser khagan of appointed by Taspar Qaghan


He was succeeded by his younger brother Istemi in the western part and by his son Issik Qaghan in the eastern part. In less than one century, his khaganate expanded to comprise most of Central Asia.

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