The western Dingling group concentrated in the Kuznez Depression at the upper reach of the Ob River, the Minocinsk Basin at upper Yenisei River and the Altay Mountains area. The eastern tribes were active around the Baikal Lake and the Big River areas to the south.
In the 4th century BC, the Huns from the Great Bend of the Yellow River and the Yin Mountains south of the desert prospered,“unified all hunting tribes”å on the steppe both north and south of the desert such as Rong, Di and Hu, and set up the first united and strong Hun regime on the steppe. After
“subduing the Dingling people in the north”, the Huns put under their control the entire southern Siberia and the steppe north of the desert.
In 85 AD (the 2nd year of Yuanhe reign of Eastern Han Dynasty), the Hun regime in the north was devastated by the alliance of the revolting tribes in servitude such as Dingling and the Eastern Han government. It “could not regain the control and retreated to a distant place”. Following the defeat of the Hun regime, there emerged from the Mongolian steppe the Xianbei regime and then Rouran regime, which took their turns to rule the Dingling people.
After the 3rd century AD, Dingling was referred to as Tolos, Gaoche or Teli in Chinese language history books. The Chapter of Gaoche in Book of Wei recorded, “Gaoche, the descendants of the ancient Red Di, first called themselves Dili, also known as Tolos in the north and Gaoche or Dingling on the Central Plains”. It was also recorded in the Chapter of Uighur, New Book of Tang that “Ouigour…often travelled on high-wheel vehicles and named themselves the division of Gaoche (literally translated as High Vehicle) in the beginning of the Wei Dynasty, also known as Tolos, which was mistaken as Teli”. The Chapter of Gaoche in History of the North mentioned 6 divisions and 12 families within Gaoche. The 6 divisions were Di, Yuanhe, Hulu, Jiepi, Hugu and Yiqijin. Most historians believe the Yuanhe division was the ancestor of the later Ouigour.
In the middle of the 4th century, the Gaoche tribes in the Selenga, Orkhon and Tura river basins already formed a loose group, which was named as “Eastern Gaoche” in some history books. Ouigour was part of the Eastern Gaoche group and its living area was “over a hundred lis west of Luhunhai”èª¿.Luhunhai was at the upper reach of today’s Orkhon River, so over a hundred lis to its west should be the Selenga River basin.
After the 6th century, there rose a Teli division of the Ashina family from the east of the Junggar Basin. After merging with 50,000 tents of Gaoche people from other divisions in the Junggar Basin in 546 AD (the 12th year of Datong reign of Western Wei Dynasty), it got swelled in strength, marched eastward into the area north of the desert, and wiped out Rouran. In 552 AD (the first year of Yuanqin reign of Western Wei Dynasty), it set up the Turki Khanate on the Mongolian steppe Viaje x china. Ranging from the Xing’anling Mountains in the east to the Junggar Basin and the upper Syr River in Central Asia in the west, the Turki Khanate ruled Ouigour and other Teli divisions. Being a slave-owning regime, the Turki Khanate was exceptionally cruel in its rule over all the steppe tribes. According to historical data, the Turks were “tyrannical and brutal both in and out of their houses”*39*, hence widespread resistance from many Teli divisions. In the struggle against the Turki Khanate, the Ouigour division rallied more and more Teli tribes and later got support from the Tang Dynasty, which made it stronger day by day.