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Bumin Qaghan
Онгинский памятник Бумын.png
A line dedicated to Bumin Qaghan in the Ongin inscription.
Qaghan of the First Turkic Khaganate
Reign 552
Coronation 552 in Altai Mountains
Successor Issik Qaghan
Died 552
Spouse Princess Changle
Full name
Bumin Qaghan
Illig Qaghan
House Ashina Clan
Father Ashina Tuwu
Religion Tengrism

Bumin Qaghan (Old Turkic: 𐰉𐰆𐰢𐰣:𐰴𐰍𐰣, romanized: Bumïn qaγan, also known as Illig Qaghan (Chinese: 伊利可汗, Pinyin: Yīlì Kèhán, Wade–Giles: i-li k'o-han) or Yamï Qaghan (Old Turkic: 𐰖𐰢𐰃:𐰴𐰍𐰣, romanized: Yаmï qaγan, 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 Turks 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 and reign

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 (安諾盤陀, Nanai-Banda, a Sogdian from Bukhara,) as an emissary to the Göktürk chieftain Tumen, in an attempt to establish a commercial relationship. In 546, Tumen paid tribute to the Western Wei state. In that same year, Tumen put down a revolt of the Tiele tribes against the Rouran Khaganate, their overlords. Following this, Tumen felt entitled to request of the Rouran a princess as his wife. The Rouran khagan, Anagui, sent a message refusing this request and adding: "You are my blacksmith slave. How dare you utter these words?" Bumin got angry, killed Anagui's emissary, and severed relations with the Rouran Khaganate. Anagui's "blacksmith" ( / 锻奴, Pinyin: duàn nú, Wade–Giles: tuan-nu) insult was recorded in Chinese chronicles. Some sources state that members of the Tujue did serve blacksmiths for the Rouran elite, and that "blacksmith slavery" may refer to a kind of vassalage that prevailed in Rouran society. Nevertheless, after this incident Bumin emerged as the leader of the revolt against Rouran.

First Turk Khaganate(600)
Gokturk khaganate.

In 551, Bumin requested a Western Wei princess in marriage. Yuwen Tai permitted it and sent Princess Changle(長樂公主) 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. ..... With their defeat Bumin proclaimed himself "Illig Qaghan" and made his wife qaghatun. "Illig" means Ilkhan (i.e. ruler of people) in Old Turkic. 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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