Nogai Khan (died 1299), also called Kara Nogai (Black Nogai), was a general and de facto ruler of the Golden Horde and a great-grandson of [[Genghis Khan]. His father was Baul/Teval Khan, the 7th son of Jochi. His name is also spelled Nogay and Nogaj. Pelliot wrote that Nogay means A dog (Нохай).
Early life under Batu and BerkeEdit
After the Mongol invasion of Europe, Batu Khan left Nogai with a tumen (10,000 warriors) in modern-day Moldavia as a frontier guard. He was a nephew of Berke Khan as well as Batu Khan and Orda Khan, and under his uncle, he became a powerful and ambitious warlord.
In his later years, Berke began to delegate more and more responsibility to his promising nephew. Nogai's leading role first appears as a battle commander in 1259, leading the second Mongol raid against Poland and plundering Sandomierz, Kraków and other cities with famous mongol general Burundai.
Nogai converted to Islam, just like his great-uncle, Berke Khan, but it is not known exactly when his conversion occurred, probably soon after Berke converted, in the 1250s. His name was included on the list of new converts sent by Berke to the Mameluke Sultan al-Malik az-Zahir in 1262/1263. Almost a decade later, in 1270/1271, Nogai himself claimed that he embraced Islam in a letter to the Sultan of Egypt.
Rise to power in Golden Horde and EuropeEdit
In 1262, during the civil war between Berke and Hulagu Khan, Nogai's army surprised the invading forces of Hulagu at the Terek river. Many thousands were drowned, and the survivors fled back into Azerbaijan. In 1265, Nogai led his army across the Danube, sending the Byzantine forces fleeing before him, and devastated the cities of Thrace. In 1266, the Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus, anxious to make an alliance, gave his illegitimate daughter Euphrosyne Palaeologina to Nogai as a wife. That same year, Nogai lost an eye fighting his relative, Abaqa Khan, in Tiflis.
He attacked Lithuania with the northern russian princes in 1275. Unlike the successful invasion of Europe under General Subutai during the reign of Ogedei Khan over forty years earlier, Nogai led an unsuccessful attack against Hungary in 1285 alongside with Tulabuga and Cuman troops. After ravaging Transylvania, he was beaten off by the Hungarian royal army under Ladislaus IV in an area near Pest and subsequently ambushed by the Szekely in the return. He also participated in the third raid against Poland in 1287 along with Tulabuga. But sources mentioned nothing about the result of their campaign. A group of 4,000 Mongol soldiers were dispatched by Nogai to Constantinople in 1282, to help his father in law emperor Michael to suppress the rebels of Thessaly.
In 1286, he compelled the Serbian king Stephen Uros II Milutin to recognize his suzerainty. He also reasserted Mongol claims on Bulgaria, had the swineherd Ivajlo, leader of a mystical popular movement, murdered, made George Terter (1280-1302) his vassal and, after George's flight to Byzantium, set his own creature Smilec on the throne.
Despite his power and prowess in battle, Nogai never attempted to seize the khanate for himself, preferring to act as a sort of kingmaker. He served under Berke, Mengu-Timur, Tuda-Mengu, Tulabuga, and Tokhta. This last khan proved to be more headstrong than the others, and he and Nogai began a deadly rivalry. By this time, Nogai effectively had control of the western-most sections of the Golden Horde. He overthrew Tuda-Mengu and killed Tulabuga.
When he helped the young Tokhta to assume power, Nogai no doubt hoped to find in him a puppet to be manipulated or ignored as the case might be. Things turned out differently, for Tokhta (1291-1312), a man of exceptional ability, took in hands the reins of government with a marked will to rule. He won the first battle between Tokhta Khan and him. But He didn't want to chase Tokhta, because Nogai's grandson Agtji was murdered by Genoese in Crimea while collecting tributes from them. Then Nogai's Tatars plundered Italian ports in Crimea.
Nogai was killed in battle in 1299 at the Kagamlik, near the Dnieper, against fellow Mongols. Because of his feud with Tokhta Khan, he was too dangerous to be kept alive. His head was brought to Tokhta Khan, who was offended that a mere Russian soldier had slain the mighty khan. He had the Russian put to death since "a commoner is unfit to kill a noble."
His son by Euphrosyne, Chaka, became tsar of Bulgaria, and Nogai's name was borne by the Nogai Horde, who ruled east of the Ural mountains.