The Oirats, ancestors of the Kalmyks, participated in the campaigns of Chinggis Khan and his descendants as military units. There is a widespread view among Kalmyk scholars that the names of these units turned later into various ethnonyms such as Derbet (cavalry), Torghut (guards of the khan's residence), and Khoshud (vangard units).

The Derbets of Kalmykia are the descendants of those, who together with other Oirat tribes, came to the Volga region from Dzungaria at the end of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century. The Derbet consists of various clans, including Abaganer, Chonos, Sharyad, Sharnut, Tadzhiut, Tsoros, Tugtun, Kharnut, Merkit, Kereit, Batut, Khoit, Khoshud, Tarachin, Sokhad, Tsaatan, Khazakh, Telegit, and others. Today the Derbets live in compact groups in the northern part of Kalmykia.

For more information on the Derbet click here. On this page you can watch videos about the Derbet, their constituent clans, stories, legends, and much more.

Ais Sandzhiev, Legend About the Nornyakhn Clan

One of Ais’ ancestors was a big and strong man who weighed about 100 kilos. When in 1771 the Kalmyk Ubashi khan led the Kalmyks back to Dzungaria, people of the Tsagan Nur region decided to stay in Kalmykia. However, 12 men of the Nornyakhn clan followed the khan. Ais’ ancestor chased those men, caught them at a lake and by force brought them back. The Nornyakhn has since been the largest clan in the region.


Galina Yavanova, About the Bogdakhin Clan


Lidzhi Amikov, A Legend About the Origins of Ik, Dund and Bag Khurul