The ethnic group considered here was known in the thirteenth and fourteenth century under a double name: Onggira[d] (for example in the “Liao History”, Liao-shi, in the year 1129, in the Jin History, Jinshi, in the ‘Secret History of the Mongols’) or Qonggira[d] (for example in the “Jin History”, Jinshi [the references for both names given note 7 & 8 must be corrected respectively as JS, Bona ed., 10.11b, and 55.11a]) or Qongurat/Qongrat (in fourteenth-century Persian chronicles).  This doubling could indicate an inner bilingualism of the group, which, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were obviously scattered in different sub-groups.  This branch had the more lasting impact on Genghiskhanid history through intermarriage with Genghis Khan’s family and nomadic life in the North.  Another branch known as the “Törölkin” or “Nirgin” to which belonged Terge Emel, one of the leaders opposed to the future Genghis Khan (his first appearance being in 1198) nomadised in the southern Mongolian steppe.  By the eighteenth century the Qongrat leaders had succeeded in becoming a power to be reckoned with in the Khwarezm.  Finally in 1804 they established their dynasty as Khans of Khiva.  Policy had changed since the Middle Age and the central issue was now political unity.  Mu’nis was commissioned to write a history which would take into account the new mental and political context:  It was the Firdaws al-iqbal (edited by Yuri Bregel in 1988 and translated by him in 1999: History of Khorezm, Leiden: Brill).  The past is presented as unified and centralised on the model of the Khanate of Khiva.  However the traditional key figures, such as Terge Emel, are retained:  “In historical memory persons were more important than the context”.

Françoise Aubin, National Centre for Scientific Research, Paris
CER: I-3.1.B-182