The Oriental studies | 2019

Российские путешественники о правовых отношениях в Джунгарском ханстве xviii в



The article analyzes notes of Russian travelers on legal development of the Dzungar Khanate in the early-to-mid 18th c. While South and Northeast Mongolia had been annexed to the Qing Empire, the Dzungar Khanate reached its golden age and began active policy of conquest subjugating the Kazakh Elder and Middle Hordes, Tashkent, Eastern Turkestan. Establishing a large state with nomadic and settled regions, the Dzungar Khanate became the last ‘Steppe Empire’ of Central Asia, and this was reflected in its legal policy. Scholars have analyzed different aspects of legal history of the Dzungar Khanate on the basis of surviving Oirat legal monuments, such as Ikh Tsaaz (‘The Great Code’) and edicts of Galdan Khan, as well as data contained in Chinese chronicles. But valuable information on Dzungar law is to be found in notes of Russian diplomats, intelligence officers and merchants who visited the Khanate during the considered period, observed and even participated in legal relations. The article provides an analysis of legal status of vassal states of the Dzungar Khanate: obligations of vassal rulers, supreme jurisdiction of Dzungar khans over the latter, combination of Turko-Mongol and Islamic laws applied to regulate their relations. Economic development of the Dzungar Khanate forced its rulers to regulate different directions of national economic activities including agriculture and industry, status of ‘foreign specialists’ (mostly captives and fugitives from Russia). Trade activities were reflected in special legislation on status of Dzungar and foreign merchants, protection of their interests even in the court. The Dzungar system of taxation was well regulated and included taxes in kind (cattle, armor, clothes, etc.), trade duties, tributes to be submitted by vassal states (in money and textiles), obligations to participate in military campaigns of Khans, support foreign diplomats, etc. There was an advanced system of punishments for crimes in the Khanate, especially if a subject of vassal state offended an ethnic Oirat. At that punishments of noblemen were, as a rule, less severe: they might be sentenced to exile or expropriation. But property crimes of Oirats against foreigners usually were examined by court for a long time and without results. Some notices on the family and succession law show the high status of Khans’ wives and priority of sons from legitimate wives before ones from concubines. So, one can state that notes of Russian travelers contain most valuable information on legal situation in the Dzungar Khanate and substantially differ from the above-mentioned legal monuments and Chinese chronicles. The analysis allows to draw a conclusion on a high level of law and legal relations in the Dzungar Khanate during the early-to-mid 18th c., and its active development (one could also say, ‘modernization’) was forcibly interrupted by the Qing conquest of the Oirat state.

Volume 41
Pages 28-40
DOI 10.22162/2619-0990-2019-41-1-28-40
Language English
Journal The Oriental studies

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