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Chinese History - Gaoche 高車

Periods of Chinese History
The Gaoche 高車 "High Carts" were a Turkic people living in the Mongolian steppe. They were the descendants of the Dingling 丁零 or Chile 敕勒 and relatives to the Tölöš (Chinese name Tiele 鐵勒), one of the first Turkic peoples before the rise of the empires of the Turks and the Uyghurs 回鶻.
The name is derived from a certain group of the Dingling that used high-wheeled carts, the so-called Gaoche Dingling 高車丁零. This tribe was divided into two groups when the Rouran 柔然 dominated the steppe. The eastern group remained in the steppe. The western part followed the Rouran in their battles against the Wusun 烏孫 and the Tokharians (Chinese name Yuezhi 月氏) and settled down near Yanqi 焉耆 in the Tarim Basin. The most powerful family group were the Fufuluo 副伏羅. In 487 the chieftain Afuzhiluo 阿伏至羅 (487-503?) rebelled against the Rouran and founded in the region of Fore Cheshi 車師前國 (near modern Turfan, Xinijang) the kingdom of the houloufule 侯婁匐勒 (something like "great leader"). The kingdom was ruled by a dual head, Afuzhiluo being the greater leader over the northern tribes, and his younger brother Qiongqi 窮奇 the "lesser leader" (houbei 侯倍 in the native language) over the southern tribes. The latter resided south of the Tianshan Range 天山. The kingdom of Gaoche wielded great power, withstood the Rouran, controlled most of the city-states of the Tarim Basin and conquered the kingdom of Gaochang 高昌 in 491. The ruler of the Gaoche enthroned Zhang Mengming 張孟明 (r. 491-496) as the new ruler of Gaochang. In 497 the Hephthalites (Chinese name Yeda 嚈噠) attacked the kingdom of the Gaoche, killed Qiongqi and captured his sons Mi'etu 彌俄突 and Yifu 伊匐. In 501 Afuzhiluo killed his oldest son and was by himself killed by tribesmen of the Gaoche. His relative Baliyan 跋利延 (503-505) was made the new ruler of the Gaoche. He revived the good relationships with the Rouran but was replaced soon by Mi'etu (505-516) who returned with the support of the Yeda. Mi'etu broke again with the Rouran. He was followed by his brother Yifu (518-524). Yifu in 522 sent tributes to the court of the Northern Wei dynasty 北魏 (386-534) and was awarded the title of General Pacifying the West (zhenxi jiangjun 鎮西將軍) and enfeoffed with the title of Dynasty-Founding Duke of Xihai Commandery (Xihai jun kaiguo gong 西海郡開國公). The youngest of the brothers, Yueju 越居, killed Yifu in 524 and usurped the throne. After a defeat against the Rouran, Yueju was replaced by Yifu's son Bishi 比適 (536-540). In 542 the Rouran extinguished the kingdom of the Gaoche.

Rulers of the Gaoche Dingling 高車丁零
Afuzhiluo 阿伏至羅487-503?
Baliyan 跋利延503-505
Mi'etu 彌俄突505-516
Yifu 伊匐518-524
Yueju 越居524-536
Bishi 比適536-540
Qubin 去賓540-541

Sources: Pulleyblank, E. G. (1990), "The 'High Carts': A Turkish-Speaking People Before the Türks", in Asia Maior III (1990), pp. 21-26. ● Qian Boquan 錢伯泉 (1994), "Dingling 丁零", "Xi Dingling 西丁零", in Zhongguo sichou zhi lu cidian 中國絲綢之路辭典 (Ürümqi: Xinjiang renmin chubanshe), p. 277. ● Zhou Yiliang 周一良 (1992), "Gaoche 高車", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, p. 245. ● Gao Wende 高文德 (ed. 1995), Zhongguo shaoshu minzu shi da cidian 中國少數民族史大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin jiaoyu chubanshe), p. 1910. ● Xinjiang baike quanshu bianzuan weiyuanhui 新疆百科全書編纂委員會 (ed. 2002), Xinjiang baike quanshu 新疆百科全書 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), p. 55.

December 9, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail