The history of Kyrgyzstan in the Middle Ages begins with the formation of the Turkish Kaganate (551-744) in the Altai region. In the 1970s of the 6th century it reached the height of its power, its territory stretching from Khingan to the North Caucasian plains, from the upper Yenisei to the upper Amu-Darya. In 603 the Turkish empire was officially divided into East and West Kaganat.
The West Turkish Kaganat (603-704) occupied a vast territory – from East Turkistan, the foothills of the Tien Shan and Jetisu to the North Caucasus. The administrative, political and main commercial centre was the city of Suyab (the ruins of Ak-Beshim near Tokmak).
With the disintegration of the Western Turkish Kaganat on the territory of Kyrgyzstan, there was a Turkish Kaganat (704-746), which was invaded by the Karluks in 746. The state of the Qarluqs consisted of a strong union of nomadic tribes. The VIIIth to IXth centuries were marked by the rule of Karluk Khaganate in the Jetisu and Tien Shan areas. During this time the state of Yenisei Kyrgyzstan began to develop in Southern Siberia. As a result of the 20-year war with the Uyghurs (820-841) the Kyrgyz defeated them. The defeat of the Uyghur Kaganate and the conquest of huge areas in Central Asia led to the foundation of the Great Kyrgyz Kaganate.
With the formation of the Qarakhanid Kaganate (10th early 13th century) in the history of Kyrgyzstan in the Middle Ages, Islamic culture began to spread in Kyrgyzstan. It meant a rapid rise of urban culture, writing, literature and history. The great scholars Jusup Balasaguni and Mahmud Kashgari created their invaluable works. ⇒ History of Kyrgyzstan in the USSR