The Empire and the Khanate
Drawing primarily on Qing archival sources, this study charts the changes in Qing policy that characterized the empire’s relations with the Central Asian khanate of Khoqand, from the Qianlong era to the mid-19th century. It explores how the development of Khoqand as a regional power and its involvement with the khoja-cause impacted on Qing policy towards Xinjiang (Eastern Turkestan) and the consolidation of the north-western frontier. Focussing on the Altishahr region, it illustrates how, a notion of border defined by geography, politics and military logistics began to replace the earlier open and more fluid notion of frontier in Qing political thinking. It suggests that these developments presaged a transition from empire to nation-state long before the upheavals of the late 19th century.