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ISATAY TAIMANULY – Institute of History and Ethnology named after Sh. Sh. Ualikhanov


IsatayTaimanuly (1791-1938) – The head of the liberation movement in the Bokey Horde. He was an elder of the Berish tribe. Commander, batyr. 


After the inclusion of the Junior Zhuz in the Russian Empire, the traditional Kazakh society has undergone significant changes. However, negative ones prevailed in these transformations. Russian officials did not consider the opinions and interests of the local Kazakh people. Having built fortresses, preferring the interests of the Cossacks, they began to openly plunder the local population. The reduction of pasture lands hit the Kazakh people hard. Because the Kazakhs being leading a nomadic lifestyle were forced to accept the conditions created by the tsarist government. Also, the colonial policy of the Empire was expressed in the actions not only of Cossack detachments, but also of officials who were appointed to positions from among the local population. This in turn led to the discontent of the people and the anger of several elders. Here the discontent of the people in the Bukey Horde in the first half of the XIX century is closely associated with the name of Isatay Taimanuly.

Isatay Taimanuly was born in 1791 in the deserts of Taisoygan between Karatau and Kyzylkoga districts of Atyrau region. Originated from the Berish tribe. His father’s name is Taiman, and mother’s name is Nagibala (from Yessentemir tribe). Origins of Isatay: Zhaiyk – from him Nauryz, Tleuke from Nauryz, Agatay from Tleuke, Bokay from Agatay, Fled from Bokay, Taiman from Begali, Isatay from Taiman [1, pp. 5-8]. Also in scientific researches he is considered a descendant of Agatay Batyr, who became known to both sides during the Kazakh-Dzungarian wars. In his tale, the poet Y. Shorekov underlined other influential people, besides Agatay, who were on the line of Isatay’s origin. For example, the author noted the role of the brother of Agatay Yessirkep, Zhangabyl, Sart in the formation of Isatay Taymanuly as a person. The descendant of Sart Zhuzbatyr was also famous for his national liberation activities. The younger brother of Taiman, Zhabal, was the elder of the Berish clan. In addition, the poet Y. Shorekov noted Isatay’s relatives on the mother’s side: Kozhambet, Kulkara, Kiikshi, Syraly and Darika [2, pp. 21-22]. Taiman, Isatay’s father, lived in the areas of Olenti, Shiderti, Ushankatty, Borbastau, Buldyrty, Zhympity, Oiyl, Taisoigan between the Urals and the Volga. Isatay grew up in these areas and he himself witnessed many political events in which fertile and pasture lands were taken from the Kazakhs. Also, the younger brother of Taiman, the elder of the clan Berish Zhabal Begaliuly played a big role in the formation of Isatay as a person. He, fluent in Russian, from an early age attracted Isatay to managerial affairs. Dzhabal Begaliuly is one of the people that worked closely with Tsarist officials. In his work “Isatay-Makhambet” I. Kenzhaliyev gave information that Dzhabal Begaliuly in 1808 at the fortress of Baksay through Zhaiyk was part of Bokei Khan [3, p. 10]. Therefore, it can be assumed that Isatay Taimanuly came to the Bukey Horde at about 17 years old. 

Isatay Taimanuly had sons Zhakiya, Akay, Ospan, Dosmagambet, Dinbayan, Alpiyar and daughter Dulzada. Zhakiya Isatayuly was born in 1811 and was a prominent member of the liberation movement of his father. This is evidenced by L.B. Berdigozhin in his monograph called “Isatai-Makhambet: Consequences of the Liberation Struggle”, which states that “Zhakiya was at the center of the war during the years of the liberation struggle and participated in the raid on the settlements of Karauylkozha and Balky, the siege of the Khan’s residence and the battle of Tastobe” [4, p. 192].

After the death of Zhabal Begaliuly, who had a great influence on the formation of Isatay Taymanuly in 1812, at the suggestion of Bokey Khan, the 21-year-old Isatay Taymanuly was appointed elder of the Zhaik branch of the Berish tribe. In 1812, the following lines can be found in the Charter assigned to the elder of the Berish tribe, Isatay Taimanuly: “Having given this letter to my subordinate honorary elder of the Berish tribe, Isatay Taimanuly, I allow Kazakhs subordinate to settle in winter camps on the Caspian Sea coast, between the residents of Kokarev, Pletnev and Kulpinsky security post, that is, from the steppe cordon to the sea. The prosperous land here can be used both by himself and by his subordinate people. In these places, besides them, I forbid the resettlement of Kazakhs, and no obstacles from the side of the administration of the cordon Taimanuly will interfere”. In addition, this letter contains the following: “…In this regard, I ask the chiefs of Astrakhan and Orenburg, the commanders of the Caspian and Ural cordon lines not to limit Taimanuly, and in case of need to provide him with legal assistance. The letter about it was given to Isatay Taimanuly” [5, p. 30].

On November 25, 1814, this appointment was approved by the Orenburg border Commission, and Isatay Taimanuly was awarded a special decree on the rank of elders and a seal. Looking at the socio-political activities of Isatay Taimanuly, we can say that when he was an elder, despite his young age, he had an influential personality in the inner life of the Horde. 

In 1818 in the Inner Horde there was an excitement. However, it is difficult to determine the position of elder, Isatay Taimanuly in the years of unrest. However, during this unrest preserved the letter of the chieftain Borodin to Isatay Taimanuly. In a letter written on October 14, 1819, chieftain Borodin called on Isatay Taimanuly to influence the unrest in the Horde and calm them down [6, p. 15]. This letter shows that Isatay Taimanuly was a person capable of making changes in the political processes in the inner Horde. In addition, in the beginning there are a number of events that indicate that Isatay Taimanuly was not only with the Tsarist officials, but also he was a supporter of Zhangir Khan. But at the same time, groups of people who were jealous that the elder Isatay Taimanuly had such popularity and great trust from the khan, slandered him under various pretexts, several times Isatay was subjected to arrest by tsarist officials.

In the autumn of 1818, Isatay Taimanuly was invited to Saraychik and arrested. In freeing the batyr from the custody of the great contribution made by well-known batyr and biy of the Berish tribe, Zhuzbatyr. Such persecution and false accusation, as subsequent events have shown, did not stop there. 

In 1822, a group led by Isatay Taimanuly went to the village of Tana tribe in order to retrieve stolen cattle in his possession. Isatay Taimanuly, who returned his cattle, was later assigned different charges as “killed a man”, “stole cattle”, etc. So this year issued an order on detention and the arrest of Isatay Tumanuly [7, р. 21]. As a result, he was detained on 9 November 1823 and sent to Orenburg. However, there is information that he escaped from the prison on the way to Orenburg. As the evidence of that on November 15, 2010, the letter sent to the Suiunishkali Sultan who was the elder of the Berish tribe at that time, insisted that Isatay Taymanuly had escaped and that he should be kept immediately [7, pp. 56-57]. This task was completed shortly.

In August 1824, people led by Isatay Taymanuly were taken to Orenburg. During the investigation, they confessed that they had been received stolen cattle, but did not relate to the murder. Isatay Taimanuly released from custody after clarifying the facts of falsification of the investigation case [3, pp. 16-17]. After a complete rehabilitation of Isatay Taimanuly, he continued to work in the position of elders.

After these events, most likely, the confidence of Zhangir Khan in Isatay Taimanuly increased. Because on August 24, 1825, Zhangir Khan, writing a letter to Isatay, gave him the shore of the Caspian in addition to his settlements for wintering. In addition, he gave the lands of Kuygan-Aral and Kara-Kamys to grazing lands. However, these lands were given only to Isatay, while other Kazakhs were forbidden to move here [8, p. 279].

On November 29, 1826, Zhangir Khan gave an important assignment to Isatay Taymanuly. Isatay Taimanuly, as a representative of Zhangir Khan, was obliged to meet the Embassy of the Bukhara khanate who were on the way to Astrakhan. Since the embassy arrived in the city of Saraishyk, Zhangir Khan instructed Isatay to immediately go to Saraishyk and meet them properly, while presenting himself as a representative of Zhangir Khan. In the fortress Saraishyk, he met the Embassy of the Bukhara khanate and made a loyalty to the khan’s task, creating conditions for the safe passage of its territory [8, p. 295-296]. 

In 1828, Isatay Taimanuly took part in a meeting of Horde representatives organized in the place Uyaly near deserts of Naryn. It was attended by both Zhangir Khan and Colonel of the Border Commission Gens. Zhangir Khan did not believe in his elders, who came to the meeting, and Gens increased the number of the army. During the gathering, Gens insisted that the elders should bow to Zhangir Khan and swear allegiance to him. In case of refusal, force was used. During the meeting Isatay Taimanuly made an oath of allegiance to Zhangir Khan [6, p. 15]. The loyalty of Isatay Taymanuly to Zhangir Khan and the Tsarist government continued even before the uprising. A. Yakunin in his work provides information about the fact that Zhangir Khan never liked Isatay Tumanuly. According to the author, Zhangir Khan could not see and was jealous on that Isatay Taimanuly could influence the public, that is why his intention was called wrong and rebellious [9, p. 79].

The name Isatay Taimanuly is found in archival materials of 1833. On January 14 of this year, Zhangir Khan wrote a letter to Isatay Taimanuly with an order to assist in organizing and attracting local Kazakhs to the work of the fair in Zhaskus, which was organized twice a year [7, p. 341]. Therefore, it can be argued from here that prior to the uprising, Isatay Taimanuly had a good relationship with both the khan and his officials and relatives. For instance, on January 2, 1835 the Orenburg border Commission recognized Isatay Taimanuly as the elder of the Berish tribe, and claimed that Isatay Taimanuly had captured Kuskadamov, who had robbed camels in 1834 and handed him over to the Russian authority. After that this Kazakh was punished with rods for 15 blows and sent to Siberia [10, рр. 135-136].

However, the policy pursued by Zhangir Khan in the Inner Horde has led to Isatay Taimanuly’s swearing in the struggle for the benefit of the people. For example, in the years of the oath of allegiance to this Khan in the Bukey Horde there were about 80 thousand people, of whom about 20 thousand had a problem of lack of land. Undoubtedly, this was due to the seizure of Kazakh land by Zhangir Khan and his supporters. The fertile lands taken from the Kazakhs were leased to them. In addition, the collection and tax policy, which aggravated the social situation, led to an increase in protest. One of the reasons that led to the uprising in the Bokey Horde is the improper tax policy. If from the tax “zeket” 115,000 rubles came to the treasury, then to the private treasury of the khan – to the tax “sogym” – 4,000 rubles, 24,000 sheep per year [11, p. 63]. Of course, the main victims of this policy were ordinary people. That is why the driving force of the uprising, led by Isatay Taymanuly, was a mass grave of those oppressors. In the book of P.I. Nebolsin “Essays of the Volga lower reaches” author presents information that 6-7 thousand families or 1/4 of the population in the Bukey Horde have no land [12, с. 135]. This figure may be even higher. 

Then the question arises, who was the owner of the land in Bukey Horde. It is known that in the Bukey Horde there were 273 thousand desyatins of land of Kazakh feudals and Russian landowners such as Yusupov and Bezborodko. At that time, when Zhangir Khan had 400 thousand desyatins of land, Karauylkozha Babazhanov occupied 700 thousand desyatins of land. This was reported by Kushum Yesmagambetov: «Researchers connecting with the events in the 30s, indicate that Karauyldy is Zhangir’s father-in-law, and this is not true. In 1844, Zhangir married the fourth daughter of the Karauyl kozha, Saliha” [13, p. 106]. We can say that Karauyl kozha Babadzhanov took so much land by virtue of their official duties. Undoubtedly, such an aggression has led to a profound change in the tradition of traditional Kazakh society, as well as the liberation movement of the Kazakhs. 

Certain groups and individuals have been exempted from the collection and tax policy of Zhangir Khan. For example, sultans, kozha, biys and mullahs, as well as elder who head units, are exempt from taxes and wars. 

Due to the injustice of Zhangir Khan and the complexity of fees, local Kazakhs appealed to the Orenburg border Commission. In these complaints, the Kazakhs raise such issues as open robbery of biys and sultans, the seizure of cattle. However, these complaints were not considered. And, conversely, the tsarist officials tried to provide maximum support to the khans and sultans [9, pp. 77-78].

Therefore, it can be said that due to the violation of the rules of communal use during Zhangir Khan and the loss of such privileges, the lands that were under Bukey Khan by such personalities as Isatay Taimanuly, were also the causes of internal conflict in the Inner Horde. The problem of land issues in the Bokey Horde area is one of the most pressing issues. In other words, the lack of land was not related only to Zhangir’s reign. There was also a conflict of interest for this region’s well-being and geographical location before Zhangir Khan. Over the years, this trend has grown even during the reign of Zhangir Khan. It was so strong that even the khans and the sultans felt the deficit of land. 

In 1834, Zhangir Khan withdrew a settlement located near the Kigash river of Isatay village [14, p. 12]. As a result of the lack of land before the uprising of Isatay Taimanuly and Makhambet Utemisov, there was unrest in the Bukey Horde, one of which was led by the grandson of Nuraly Khan, sultan Kaipkali Yessimov [15, p. 103]. And the attempt of Zhangir Khan to hone the land was aimed at Isatay Taimanulyich, who served him faithfully, and this attempt became the beginning of the liberation movement. 

The seizure of Kazakh lands by tsarist officials, the growth of taxation, the taking of the settlement of Isatay Taimanuly near the Kigash river aggravated the relations between Zhangir Khan and Isatay Taimanuly, as a result there were disturbances in 1836-1838. The most important part of the social and political life of Isatay Taimanuly is also related to the history of this liberation movement. Initially, Zhangir Khan seemed not to like to be opponent of Isatay Taimanuly. Since the eve of the rebellion was a clash between the Isatay Taimanuly and Karauylkozha. In 1835, Zhangir Khan fulfilled the requirements of Isatay Taimanuly and removed Karauylkozha from the post of chief of the Kazakhs of the Caspian region to resolve these conflicts and calm Isatay. However, these measures were not capable of fundamentally eliminating conflicts. 

On March 24, 1836, the first clashes of the uprising took place between Karauylkozha Babazhanov and Isatay Taimanuly. K. Babazhanov with his 800 men surrounded village of Isatay and threatened. However, after he could not stand the wars with the army of Isatay Taimanuly, who recruited 200 soldiers at this time, K. Babazhanov returned to the army. Of course, the determination and courage of Isatay Taimanuly to fight with a small number of supporters and cowardice Karauylkozha with a large army quickly spread among the inhabitants of the Bokey Horde. This, in turn, characterizes the heroism and selflessness of Isatay, which led to the rapid exit of the depressed people towards the uprising. However, on March 28, Karauylkozha organized an attack on the village of Isatay Taimanuly, Use Tulegenov, Tingali Taisoiganov and it seems that the attack was very heavy for the rebel villages. Because in that year the residents of the rebellious villages complained to the khan. Getting acquainted with the text of the complaint, you can be sure that the attack was a burden to ordinary people. For example, in this complaint there are the following thoughts: “Tell me, ruler, is there an akim for this oppressed people? What misfortune fell on us? The enemies were preaching, the governor’s face was not disclosed, and the pervert was not heard, so the ruler should answer anyway” [16, p. 297]. Isatay Taimanuly also appealed to the Zhangir Khan with complaints about the actions of the Karauylkozha. However, this complaint went unheeded. 

In early June 1836, 17 people under the leadership of Isatay Taimanuly and Makhambet Otemisuly went to the residence of Zhangir Khan in order to personally inform him about the arbitrariness of Karauylkozha. More than a hundred people who were under the yoke of Karauylkozha, also joined them. The event was similar to a peaceful demonstration organized by Isatay. Zhangir Khan, frightened by such actions of Isatay Taimanuly, sent ambassadors to all villages and forbade to give products to rebellious people. The rebels were met by Sultan Balpan and Khan’s adviser Altai Dosmukhametov, who introduced the Khan’s order to Isatay. According to this order Isatay had to dissolve the rebel people and to clarify all the details of the affairs within two weeks were to come the members of the Khan’s Council. However, no members of the Khan’s Council came to them.

Requirements of Isatay Taimanuly to Zhangir Khan always remained unsatisfied without attention. On June 22, 1836, a letter to Khan stated that he had not yet received a response to the complaint written on April 11. In that letter, he said that Karauylkozha and Balki bi are trying to show them despicable before the Khan, distancing him from him, while they themselves become closer to the Khan [16, p. 231]. In these data it is possible to notice that the Isatay Taimanuly prefer silence than to fight with Zhangir Khan. In addition, in order to adjust the conflict with Zhangir Khan, he corresponded with the Khan’s son Zulkarnay, expressing a desire not to be at enmity with the Khan and asking for help to establish relations with the Khan based on friendship. In response, Zalkarnai advises not to cross the Khan and go to his side: “I read your letter, I can not fulfill the appeal set out in it. If it could do, of course, would do with great enthusiasm. I hope you’ll forgive me. Ask help from God, can chase with us. Now be in your region and beware of your enemies. The situation is getting worse, there will be many people ready to throw themselves into the fire, not sparing you, me or others”. One of the main reasons for the active correspondence of Isatay with Zulkarnay was dismissed Karauylkozha. Because in one of letters after this written: “Dear, judge yourself, if governance entrust the man, which people sees as enemy, then he no one for good not will bring, from this begins mess. We will tell you then some of the bullying we had to worry about after your departure. All your orders are fully carried out through the elder Kungiz Yelemesov; however, the people suffer greatly from the fact that your promises to us are not fulfilled” [16, pp. 232-235].

The discontent of Isatay Tumanuly actively supported by ordinary people. A. Shamgonov on this occasion noted: “In the summer of 1836, the peasants, dissatisfied with the policy of the tsarist government and its officials, began to gather around Isatay and Makhambet. Oppressed people one by one, a group, and sometimes even by whole villages joined the rebels. To the peasants of the villages, subordinated to such rich people and biys as Karaulkozha, Balky, Tolegen Tynyshtykov, Shombal, Aigana and Karaboken began to join people from all over the region of Samar, the Ural river. For example, 39 persons who are subordinate to Aigana, 30 to Tolegen Tynyshtykov, 24 to biy, elder Agym Aibulatov, 14 to biy Karaboken, 15 to elder Dzhumagazy Bayarov escaped and joined the rebels. Isatay was joined by 10 villages from the Naryn region and 30 villages under the leadership of Tolegen Sarekenov” [17, p. 12]. Ordinary Kazakhs actively participated in the liberation movement under the leadership of Isatay Taimanuly. The Governor-General of Orenburg Perovsky wrote a letter to Nicholas I on the political situation in the Bokey Horde. In response, the tsar ordered to severely punish, suppress the rebellion.

1837 was the peak of the uprising led by Isatay Taimanuly. The participants of the uprising were able to take away the cattle and wealth of supporters of Zhangir Khan. This year, Zhangir Khan was forced to ask for help in suppressing the uprising from the tsarist administration and local elites. Therefore, a punitive detachment was sent under the leadership of Pokatilov, but their actions could not suppress the dissatisfied people. Undoubtedly, these events showed the weakening of the Khan’s power and strengthening the position of the rebels, which led to an increase in their number. It was because of this that Zhangir Khan was forced to rely on help from the General-Governor of Orenburg Perovsky.

In October 1837, Perovsky sent a punitive detachment under the command of Geke to defeat the uprising. Troops of Geke starting with forposta Glinski, moved to the direction of residence of Khan. Because in November of this year Isatay Taimanuly together with the associates besieged Khan’s residence. With the aim of weakening siege Perovsky gave Merkulyev the command to attack the village of Isatay Taimanuly. Sultan Aishuakov was responsible to prevent the Isatay Taimanuly to cross the Urals. Geke himself remained at the Khan’s residence. Despite the fact that the Khan’s residence was under siege, Isatay Taimanuly did not dare to take any real action. However, there were some minor battles. Nevertheless, at night from 5th to 6th November Isatay Taymanuly, ended the siege and retreated. Here his plan was to prevent Merkulyev to pillage their peaceful settlements. However Merkulyev captured family members of Isatay Taimanuly. In this case, Makhambet Otemisuly contacted Yeset Katibaruly and would like to substitute his Russian prisoners to family members Isatay. During negotiations between Makhambet Otemisuly and the officer of the Imperial power Aitov, members of Isatay’s family were released [9, pp. 244-245].

There was a great opportunity for the rebels to win the battle between Hekke and Isatay Taymanuly. But at the crucial moment, the gunfire of the punitive army solved the fate of the battle. The rebels had to shift to the Naryn sands and had to retreat. Isatay Taymauly was injured during the battle and his son Akay died. 

On November 15, 1837, Isatay Taymanuly participated in the battle at the site of Tastobe. After the battle, the rebels planned to cross the Urals. During these years, the entire Kazakh steppe was filled with the spirit of the liberation movement. Therefore, Tsar Nicholas I, sought to quickly suppress them, preventing the merger of rebellions covering the Kazakh steppes. This plan of the Zhangir khan was supported by rich sultans, who were his supporters. For the head of Isatay Taymanuly special rewards were appointed. 

The defeat of the uprising was also influenced by the betrayal of the elders and biys, who took part in their petty interests. They believed in Geke’s call and left rebels before the battle. Defeat the group of Isatay under Tastobe had a negative effect on the subsequent course of the uprising. The number of supporters had diminished and there were only dozens of partners left over to Isatay. They lost many livestock. Despite the fact that Zhangir Khan proclaimed that he had given 500 soms of silver for capturing Isatay, a betrayal did not take place among the insurgents. In the month of December 1837, a group of Isatay crossed the Ural River in Sartorgai, Karakum, Taisoigan, with the aim of escaping. In order to deviate from the punitive detachment, they moved to Sagyz area [9, pp. 184-187].

On December 14, 1838, Baimagambet Aishuakov, along with his detachments, with the help of a troop of 80 Cossacks, came to the end of the uprising under the fortress of Saraishyk. As a result, Isaatay’s wife, Nesibeli, and her sister, Baghlan Kalymova, who were separated from the main group on that day, were captured. And on December 24 children of Isatay Zhakiya and Dinbayan and Suleiman Utemisov were arrested [18, p. 287].

At the beginning of March, 1838 the punitive troops received new information about Isatay. According to information supporter of Isatay Taimanuly Tolegen and the son of Makhambet Otemisuly was seen in the area near the Taisoigan. There Isatay was besieged by 500 soldiers. Makhambet Otemisuly at this time was sent by order of Isatay to negotiate with Kaiypkali Yessimov to create an alliance against Zhangir Khan.

On March 7, 1838, Colonel Danilevsky was sent to the Inner Horde. Its main purpose was to prevent the re-uprising of Isatay Taimanuly. Later Danilevsky stated that the Isatay Taimanuly fled in a place called Ak-tau and Kara-tau, and was collected new forces. At the end of March, it was reported that Isatay Taimanuly moved along the Sagyz River.

 In may 1838, Isatay declared the liberation struggle against Russia. On the land of the Junior Zhuz again begins to occur excitement. During these years, together with Isatay Kaipkali Yessimov, in June of the same year, two thousand soldiers were organized in the village of Kokbakty along the Temir river. Here Kaipkali Yessimov sends letters to the biys and elders of the Junior Zhuz, warning about the need to collect Kazakhs until June 20. In case of non-gathering of people, he promised to “trample by horse hooves”. Isatay Taimanuly visited a number of villages of the Shekti tribe and called for an uprising. But Kaiypkali Yessimov’s subordination to the Khiwa khanate caused a disagreement among Kazakhs. Because the Kazakhs were ready to oppose the tsardom of Russia for their own benefit, they did not want bloodshed for the interests of the Khiva khan. Meanwhile, the name of Kayipkali Yessimov is often mentioned in the final stage of the liberation movement under the leadership of Isatay Taimanuly. He even considered himself a khan and tried to collect the Zakat tax on the Kazakhs of the Junior Zhuz. Because about it the letter of the batyr of Tabyn tribe Asau Barakov remained. In a letter Asau Barakov informed Kaiypkali Yessimov that he could not pay taxes and said that he did not recognize him as Khan and paid taxes to his Russian government [9, p. 222]. 

Of course, the Tsarist government felt the danger of political tensions in the Kazakh land. The uprising process, not only in the Inner Horde, but also in the whole Junior zhuz, was also exacerbated. And their interconnection would certainly have a great impact on the colonial Russia’s colonization of the Kazakh land. Therefore, regulation of the situation has become a turning point. To this end, at the end of June, 150 soldiers of the Orenburg Cossack regiment, 50 soldiers from the rifle battalion, 2 guns will be additionally allocated. From the very beginning of the struggle of Geke against Isatay, it was believed that other Kazakh rulers should be against Isatay. 

On June 17, 1838, Sultan Aishuakov wrote a letter to the Chairman of the border Commission asking for more than five hundred additional soldiers. According to him, it was not easy to keep the population who came out to protest with military force in the Inner Horde. In his letter he wroted: “New forces are needed to prevent other dissatisfied peoples from joining Kaiypkali Yessimov and Isatay Taimanuly. And if they don’t give me new strength, I won’t be able to protect the calmly subordinate villages from the oppressed people”.

Without waiting for the new military forces, Sultan Baimagambet Aishuakov began forming new military units from the subordinate Kazakh troops. To this end, tarhan Kazy Syrymov, the head of the 5th division headed by Yelzhan Yesergalimov, the elder Sarybobek and many other kings joined forces to fight against Isatay. However, in July, a collective letter came from these foremen. The text of the letter says that it is necessary to avoid thinking about the formation of a new military structure. Because people say they don’t go out to revolt against Isatay. It is also reported that today the detachments of the elders of Kaiypkali and Isatay reached two soldiers, and today their power reigned throughout the steppe. Comparatively speaking, we can say that in the territory of the Middle Zhuz there was a national liberation movement led by Kenessary Kassymov, as well as in the territory of the Junior Zhuz there were several uprisings. And the actions of Isatay Taimanuly and Makhambet Utemisuly, subsequently annexed by Kaiypkali Yessimov, led to significant damage to Russia’s trade relations with Central Asia. The main thing is that the colonial policy of the tsarist government would be unconditional, when these movements were connected with each other. So Perovsky wrote a letter to the Minister of war. In the letter he asked to send a large and strong army to the Kazakh steppe and it was believed that the period of stay of this army in the Kazakh steppe should be planned for a longer time. Since one military structure was aimed at the punish the liberation movement of Isatay Taimanuly and Makhambet Utemisuly and Kaiypkali Yessimov, and then was aimed at countering the movement of Kenessary Kassymov and Zholaman Tlenshiuly. At the request of Perovsky was satisfied and arrived detachment ataman Padurov against Zholaman Tlenciuly, and against the liberation movement led by Isatay Taimanuly came Colonel Geke. 

On July 9, 1838, a punitive army led by Geke was stationed along the Ulken Kobda river. Here it is believed that it should be strengthened and paired with the Ural regiment. The next day, the army of Geke was supplemented by the forces of the Sultan Aishuak. Thus, in the coming days they strengthened along the Akbulak river. Probably, Isatay Taimanuly had no information of the punitive troops against them. The Balta spies who had been sent from the home side came to the side and brought allegiance to the Sultan Aishauakov with a small army, collecting alms from nearby villages, and even becoming the guide of those rebels. Thus, the perpetrators of the guerrilla army had a great opportunity not to disclose their whereabouts and the number of troops. It really did work. Isatay, who was fooled by false information, went to the village of Sultan Aishuakov with a small army. However, in this village, along with the sultan’s own army, there were hundreds of Geka’s punitive soldiers. Despite Isatay’s consent, Isatay’s army tried to fight until the gun shot. However, he was forced to retreat and face the enclosure. In the first years of the uprising, Isatay Taimanuly managed to organize a number of victorious actions, but in the battle on the Bank of the Akbulak river on July 12, 1838, as a result of weak armament, the intended uprising could not be carried out. 

A local group led by Balkybay from the village of Isatay Taimanuly, persuaded the commander to make a false statement that Geke and Aishuakov wanted to negotiate. During this time, the punitive troops managed to siege the group led by Isatay Taimanuly. On July 12, 1838, in the decisive battle on the Akbulak River, the Battle of Akbulak between the dissatisfied groups and the armed forces led by Colonel Geka took place, and Isatay, the leader of the liberation movement, died in that battle. About this battle of Isatay Taimanuly and his death his contemporary E.P. Kovalevsky was recorded in his essay against Khiva called “Expedition on the way to Bukhara and military expedition”. In the essay, the author writes that Isatay Taimanuly’s squad was facing and surrounded by more and more well-armed Kazakh troops in the steppes: «Isatay was forced to fight beyond the limits of long time. During the war, Isatay constantly visited his troops. He had too much faith in his horse. However, his horse stumbled. Then Makhambet grabbed the horse and took it. Cossacks, who had noticed this, shot Isatay and fired on him. But no bullet hit Isatay. That is why the Cossack troops fired at his horses and Isatay with the horse fell. Utemisov took the last opportunity to take Isatay to his horse. But all too late, Cossack troops killed Isatay. Makhambet has just escaped» [19, p. 86].

The information about where Isatay Taimanuly was buried was also unilateral. In other words, there are two opinions about the burial place of the hero. According to the first version, Isatay Taymanuly was buried in the Sholakmolde area, another version claims that he was buried in the Sheyitsay area of the Kobda district of Aktobe region. Among the first followers of the first opinion can be called Khalel Dosmukhamedov, Alash representative. In his work he states that Isatay Taimanuly died at 49 years old and he is buried in Sholakmolde in Temir district. However, the author makes chronological errors and does not correctly indicate the age of the batyr. Of course, accurate information about the course of the uprising in the early twentieth century and the fate of the two batyrs were very little. Therefore, the conclusions of the national intelligentsia are questioned by subsequent researchers. The first information about the burial of Isatay Taimanuly on Sheiytsay became known already in the Soviet period. A. Shamgonov wrote about this in his article, where he claims that the assumption expressed on the pages of the newspaper “Kazakh literature” dated December 14, 1962 by Kh. Duysemaliev that Isatay was buried in the area of Sheyitsay, is a correct view and notes that his cemetery was studied by scientist N Shayakhmetov. The author also gives information that the son of Isatay Ospan was buried there too.


Isatay Taimanuly became one of the organizers of the liberation movement of the Kazakh people in the first half of the XIX century. The image of Isatay Taimanuly, who put the interests of the people above his own interests and the interests of individual groups, became a symbol of courage and bravery. At the same time, he was well aware that an attack on the Khan’s residence would lead to nothing good. By deep analysing of the chronicle of events of the uprising it can be understood that he sought to use force and find a compromise without compromising the stability of the people. Therefore, Isatay is characterized in history not only as a commander and leader, but also a peacemaker who thought primarily about his people. Despite the fact that dissatisfied people became more and more and began to join Isatay, he tried not to resort to force action, preferring to find a common language through negotiations. For example, in June 1836, Isatay went to express his dissatisfaction with Khan Zhangir and find common solutions. However, in this his such intentions were not perceived by Zhangir Khan. Instead of negotiating with the rebels, the Khan tried to stall for time, waiting for the arrival of a punitive detachment to suppress the uprising. Isatay’s good intentions to find a compromise through negotiations are well reflected in one of letters to Isatay: «Knowing your wisdom and heart, I do not want to lose your trust, and to clarify all the circumstances, I demand to personally come to me for negotiations» [16, р. 230]. However, these negotiations have been stalled and practically not implemented. He may be influenced by Khan’s supporters. As a result, on March 17, 1836, Zhangir Khan ordered the biys and elders to arrest Isatay Taimanuly and Makhambet Utemisov as rebels [20, p. 21-23]. Another aspect of his peacemaking character is his correspondence with Zhangir Khan’s son Zulkarnai. Paying attention to the contents of the letters can be understood that Isatay was disagree more with Khan’s supporters, than with Khan exactly. Undoubtedly, in many cases, the causes of discontent were the actions of officials and close people of the Khan, who had their own personal interests and acted on behalf of Zhangir Khan. After all, Isatay Taimanuly and Makhambet Otemisuly were also close to Zhangir Khan, even had certain positions. Therefore, it was important for them to maintain their former privileges by establishing friendly relations with the Khan. They decided to fight Khan only when the negotiations reached a deadlock and did not give the desired results.  

Another factor of his peacemaking character is that of his correspondence with Zhangir Khan. On the eve of the uprising, in his letter to the Khan, he listed all the facts of the autocracy and disorder of Karauylkozha. In particular, he pointed out how Karauylkozha in his favor forced the Kazakhs to cut reeds near the settlements of Duke Yusupov and collected from the Kazakhs of other villages for 30 soms for labor, who cut reeds. At the same time, the most interesting thing is that he promised to pay by the distribution of bread, but he did not give money to the workers and did not fulfill any of his promises. Also in the letter of Isatay Taimanuly it is said that Karauylkozha collects from subordinate villages kazy and meat, taxes on 2 som, and from elders takes on one horse. Isatay demands an end to the arbitrariness and oppression of Karauylkozha. Even threatened to refuse to obey from such positions in case of not consideration of these problems by the Khan with elders [6, рр. 20-21]. This letter is clearly not a letter written by a man seeking for power. This letter is written for the purpose of informing the Khan of the current problems of the ordinary people. Zhangir Khan responded to the letters of Isatay Taimanuly and in he calls Isatay as a rebel and rebuke him, instead of treating solution to the requirements of Isatay. Of course, all the companions of the Khan held the same opinion. The actions of Khan’s supporters promoted to the actions of Isatay Taimanuly, as stated in the work of Manash Kozybayev called “Attacked the enemy with a flag”: “In 1836-37, under the leadership of Isatay, Makhambet, the national liberation movement was the most important stage in the history of the Kazakh people… Strengthening of the Khan’s government, its fiscal function caused the officials mischief. The bureaucratic apparatus oppressed the people. So, at that time, public figures such as Isatay Taimanuly and Makhambet Otemisuly began an uprising” [21, p. 116]. Supporter of Isatay Taimanuly, one of the organizers of the liberation movement Makhambet Otemisuly said: 

Isatay degen agam bar [I have brother Isatay],

Ak kireuke zhagam bar [Who like a gold-plated collar].

Khan ulymen kas bolyp [Being enemy for ruler],

Kara ulymen dos bolyp [Being friend with poor]. Here author characterized how Isatay was close to ordinary people. 

To resolve the situation, Isatay Taimanuly made attempts to negotiate with the chief of the punitive troops Geke. Isatay Taimanuly refused a letter to Geke, where he invited Isatay to the Khan’s residence to solve the problem. Because before that there were cases when invited representatives of the uprising were subjected to arrest. Isatay even knowing the small number of soldiers of the Khan, when he besieged the Khan’s residence, did not take real measures. His demands were only to dismiss those who oppressed the ordinary people. Of course, here can be discern as he cared about his people and avoided bloodshed.

The liberation movement led by Isatay Taimanuly actively involved ordinary Kazakhs who needed a shortage of land and heavy taxes. At the same time, it should be noted that Isatay Taimanuly had high managerial qualities. Isatay Taimanuly was the one who could lead the people and influence them. Isatay Taimanuly also had a military command. One thing to note is that Isatay Taimanuly engaged not only people from his own tribe, but also everyone who were capable of carrying weapons. In the following lines Makhambet Otemisuly described the braveness of Isatay:  

Balasy Isataydyn Zhakiya-dy [Zhakiya, who son of Isatay],

Zhakiya zhaudy korse akiyady [Stares to enemy menacingly].

Tuleide tunde zhortkan zholbarystai [As a tiger at the night],

Aldyrdym zholdasymdy kapiyada-ai [Got such a friend suddenly]!

But, despite the fact that the liberation movement, led by Isatay Taimanuly, was regional in nature, there is a popular basis for the reasons that made them rise. Because in the Kazakh steppes the colonial policy of the tsarist government came into force, and the actions of officials leading this policy were aimed at eradicating the interests of the Kazakh people. Of course, the most important difficulty was due to the narrowing of the land and improper tax policy. The possession of large land plots on the lands of the Junior Zhuz by non-Kazakh nationalities and the spontaneously begun resettlement policy that began at the beginning of Russian peasants subsequently everywhere became widespread and the order to place them in lakes and oases led to the crowding out of Kazakhs in desert lands. Even after the Kazakhs lost the right to move to the rivers-lakes, where they moved for a long time, the problem even worsened. Lost from the oasis lands and land contraction led to the decline of the traditional economy of the Kazakh people, formed from ancient times. Cattle breeding played a big role in the life and economy of the Kazakh people, who, when meeting, first of all asked about the state of livestock. And the narrowing of the migratory range led to a decrease in the number of cattle. At the same time, as Isatay Taimanuly, deeply aware of this situation, faced this pressure. Attempts to prevent the end of the nation’s interest, of course, illustrate the patriotic image of Isatay Taimanuly. 

To date, there are a number of opinions related to this event. In many books and literature, the events are called as uprising in Bukey Horde, and others say that this event covers the territory of the Junior Zhuz. Undoubtedly, the national liberation movement led by Isatay Taimanuly and Makhambet Utemisov continued not only in the territory of Bukey Horde, but also in the territory of the Junior Zhuz. Therefore, this political event should not be considered only within the inner Horde. In addition, in accordance with the nature of this movement, a number of rubrics have so far been laid down for it. One of them regarded as a revolt, and the other as a peasant revolt. It is appropriate to describe this event as a “people’s liberation movement”, because the purpose of the revolt was to protect the interests of all peoples not only of peasants, but also of the entire people suffering from the Tsar and the officials implementing his policy.


To date, the native historiography conducted systematic research on the history of the liberation movement, their leaders. Works in this direction is still ongoing. This is certainly a question of the importance of forming patriotism. After all, the life and life ideas of the leaders of the liberation movement are closely related to the concept of freedom. Among such important topics is the history of the liberation movement led by Isatay Taimanuly. The personality of Isatay Taimanulyich and the history of his liberation movement have not begun to be considered in the native historiography since the sovereignty. The history of the life of the batyr and the uprising have been studied in Soviet historiography. There were published fundamental monographs, which are readily available and actively used by present historian-researchers in their researches. In the works of such scientists as A. Yakunin, A.F. Ryazanov, V.F. Shakhmatov, the historical personality of the batyr is revealed, new conclusions about the image of liberation are made. One of the distinctive features of the revolt history led by Isatay Taimanuly and the scientific approach to it has already been positively influenced by that Soviet era. 

Undoubtedly, various events are organized regularly to keep the name of Isatay Taimanuly forever. First of all, let’s start with research work, a number of fundamental works have been published in this direction. I. Kenzhaliyev, K.L. Yesmagambetov, M.K. Koygeldiyev, M. Kozybayev, A. Shamongov, Anes Sarai and many other scientists published their works and made their concepts. 

Undoubtedly, scientific research aimed at promoting the idea of liberation and life of Isatay Taimanuly concerns scientific conferences. One of such conferences was organized in 2013 under the name “Isatay and Makhambet: researches, findings, positions”, “High spirit of ancestor does not fade away”. Also in 2016, in honor of the 225th anniversary of Isatay Taimanuly, a regional conference “History and personality” began its work.

It should be noted that in order to honor the name of Isatay Taimanuly, a number of scientific expeditions were conducted. For example, in 2017, in order to visit the burial place of the hero, who organized the liberation movement, propagating his great deeds for today’s generations and disclosing news, such as the inclusion of various scholars, auto-expedition through “Karoy-Sheytsay-Karoy” was organized.

Monument to Isatay Taimanuly on the highway Uralsk-AktobeAuto-expedition “Karoy-Sheytsay-Karoy”
To perpetuate the memory of Isatay Taimanuly was built historical monuments. In Kobda district of Aktobe region there is a monument to Isatay Taimanuly and his son Ospan, in Isatay district of Atyrau region there is a monument to Isatay Batyr. Monument to Isatay Taimanuly in Atyrau. Input mode: http://atpress.kz/kz/9208-atyrauda-isatay-taymanulyna-eskertkish-ornatyldy 

And in 2017 in the center of Kobda district of Aktobe region there was a complex of monuments dedicated to famous heroes from the western region. Features of this complex of monuments unite glorious heroes and commanders of the Kazakh people of different times. There is also monument dedicated to Isatay Taimanuly in this complex of monuments. 

Such a monument was built in the city of Uralsk in 2019. There are several streets and schools named after Isatay Taimanuly in our country. The Kazakhfilm film studio directed the documentary film “Aktaban horse of Isatay, revealing the historical image of Isatay Taymanuly.

List of literature and sources:

  1. Saray A. Isatay Taimanuly. – Almaty, 2004. – 5-8 b.
  2. Shorekov Y. Isatay-Mahambet. Dastan men olender. – Almaty: Zhazushy, 1976. – 161 b.
  3. Kenzhaliyev I. Isatay-Mahambet. – Almaty, 1991. – 192 b.
  4. Berdigozhin L.B. Isatay-Mahambet: Azattyk kures saldarlary. – Almaty: Olke, 2011. – 208 b.
  5. Isatay-Mahambet (1801-1845). Kuzhattar // Mahambet alemi – Almaty: Arys, 2003. – 9 kitap.
  6. Ryazanov А.F. Vosstanie Isataya Taimanova (1836-1838 г.). Ocherki po istorii natsionalnogo dvijenia kazaskogo naroda. – Tashkent, 1927. – 103 s.
  7. TsGA RK, 78-fond, І opis, 6 delo
  8. Istoria Bukeevskogo hanstva. 1801-1852 gg: Sb. Dokumentov I materialov / Sost. B.T. Zhanayev, V.A. Inochkin, C.H. Sagnayeva. – Almaty: Daik-Press, 2002. – 1120 p. – 8 p.
  9. Yakunin А. Isatay Taimanov, vojd’ natsionalno-osvoboditelnogo vosstania kazahov v 1836-1838 //istoricheskii zhurnal. – №10. – Moskva, 1940. – 159 s.
  10. Shahmatov V.F. Vnutrennya orda I vosstanie Isataya Taimanova. – Alma-Ata, 1946. – 255 s.
  11. Kazakhstan (Kazah eli) tarihy. – 4 kitaptan turatyn okulyk.  –Almaty: Kazah universiteti, 2016.
  12. Nebolsyn P.I. Ocherki Volzhskogo nizovja. – Sankt-Peterburg, 1852. S.135
  13. Yesmagambetov K.L. Azat ruhtyn kureskeri. – Almaty: Orkeniet, 2003. – 176 b.
  14. TsGA RK 4-fond: 1- opis, 4197-delo
  15. Gizzatov S.М. Bokei ordasyndagy agrarlyk sayasat tarihy (ХІХ gasyrdyn І-zhartysy). – Oral, 2012. – 103 b.
  16. TsGA RK 4-fond: 1- opis, 1974-delo
  17. Shamgonov А. Isatay men Mahambet batyrlar bastagan koterilis jane ony mektepterde okytu: komekshi oku-adistemelik kural. – Atyrau, 2008
  18. TsGA RK 4-fond: 1- opis, 34-delo
  19. Kovalevskiy Е.P. Stranstvovatel po sushe i moryam. – Ch. 1. – Sankt-Peterburg., 1843
  20. TsGA RK 4-fond: 1- opis, 1965-delo
  21. Kozybayev М. Zhaudy shaptym tu bailap. Almaty: Kazahstan, 1994. – 188 b.

Аuthor: Кaipbayeva А.Т., candidate of historical sciences