chapter  6
7 Pages


While, during the 1860s, British attention was largely focused on Russian advances in Turkestan, the situation to the east, in what was formerly ‘Chinese Tartary’, also began to attract the notice of the authorities in Calcutta and London. The region had for centuries been unsettled, but in 1760 the Emperor Ch’ien Lung had re-established Chinese rule, and a period of stability followed. During the following century, however, Chinese power again weakened, and, from the 1820s onwards, unrest spread. In the 1860s, a series of Muslim revolts, known collectively as the Tungan Rebellion, broke out, and in 1864, taking advantage of widespread chaos, a Khoja ruler, Buzurg Khan, started out from Kokand to reclaim the kingdom once held by his ancestors. He was then overthrown and exiled by the commander of his forces, Yakub Beg, who proceeded over the next two years to wrest power from the Chinese and the local factions, and to establish himself as the effective ruler of what was variously known as Kashgaria, Eastern Turkestan or ‘Little Bokhara’.