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The Relations between the Tang Dynasty and the Gök Turks and Did It Lead to Turkish Western Migration?

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DOI: 10.25236/cstss.2019.033


Qihan Long

Corresponding Author

Qihan Long


By the early seventh century, the Göktürks had become the biggest threat to the Celestial Dynasty (China ) since the days of the Xiongnu empire. According to the Old Book of Tang, the primary document of the Tang dynasty, “the Göktürks held a large standing army over one million soldiers. The strength of northern barbarian was unprecedented”. The Göktürks had become a threat to China since the previous dynasties. Before the Tang dynasty was established, the Göktürks, just like the Roman empire once did, was split into two parts: the eastern Göktürks and the western Göktürks; however, both parts of the Göktürks were still strong enough to threaten the newly established Chinese dynasty. When Emperor Gaozu started the uprising, the Tang dynasty made an alliance with the Göktürks. In 630, the lands of the eastern Göktürks were annexed by the Tang dynasty. Just decades later, the western Göktürks fell under Tang attack. The Tang dynasty established protectorates in the land of former Göktürks empire. The battles and relationship between the Turks and Tang dynasty will be explored in order to understand how the once powerful Turkic empire collapsed both internally and externally and why the Turks eventually migrated westward. It will be argued that the Tang empire’s military conquest of Göktürks eventually led to the Turkic westward migration. As some of the Turkic tribes did not want to surrender to the rule of the Tang Dynasty during the process of decomposition and integration, they migrated to Central Asia and West Asia and came to dominate the tribes they encountered.


History, turkish western migration, Chinese dynasty