Torghut

The Torghut came to the Volga region at the beginning of the 17th century under the leadership of Kho-Urlyuk and his sons. Afterwards, in 1771 Ubashi Khan, a descendant of Kho-Urlyuk, took the majority of the Kalmyks back to Dzungaria with him. Those Torghuts who remained in Russia settled close to water, which enabled them to engage in fishery as well as their traditional cattle breeding. The main clans to form the Torghut sub-ethnic group are Keryat, Erketen, Tsaatan, and Bagut.

Outside Kalmykia, Torghuts are known to live in Mongolia and China. On this page you can watch videos about the Torghut in Kalmykia.

Keemia Orlova, About the Torghut

The Torghuts have been known since the times of Chingis Khan who highly valued them. In Chingis Khan's army the Torghuts protected his palaces and the nobility. According to historian Pavlov, the word torghut derives from torg meaning 'silk'. The migration of the ancestors of the Kalmyks westward in the 17th century was difficult. When they were crossing western Siberia, the majority of them were Torghuts and Derbets. Khoshuds were a minority. When these tribes settled between the rivers of Yaik and Don, they came to be known as Kalmyks. The Kalmyks are the only people who voluntarily became subjects of Russian Empire.


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Nikolai Ubushaev, A Legend About the Shikryakhn Clan