Nogai Khan (died 1299), also called Kara Nogai (Black Nogai), was a Khan 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.
He was a nephew of Berke 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 first appears as a battle commander in the late 1250s, leading the second Mongol raid against Poland and plundering Kraków and other cities. 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 brother-in-law, Abaqa Khan, in Tiflis. In 1284 he led an unsuccessful attack against Hungary where he was beaten off by the Hungarian royal army Under Ladislaus IV and subsequently ambushed by the Szekely. He also participated in the unsucessfull third raid against Poland in 1287 alongside with Telubuga.
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, Talabuga, 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.
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 king.”
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.
* Saunders, J.J. The History of the Mongol Conquests, 2001