In the 13th century, the leader of the Golden Horde, Nogay Khan a direct descendant of Genghis Khan through Jochi, formed an army of the Manghits joined by numerous Turkic tribes. A century later the Nogays were led by Edigu, a commander of Manghit paternal origin and Jochid maternal origin, who founded the Nogay dynasty.
In 1557 the Nogay Nur-al-Din Qazi Mirza quarreled with Ismael Beg and founded the Lesser Nogay Horde on the steppe of the North Caucasus. The Nogays north of the Caspian were thereafter called the Great Nogay Horde. In the early 17th century The Great Nogay Horde broke down further under the onslaught of the Kalmyks.
The Nogays north of the Black Sea were nominally subject to the Crimean Khanate rather than the Nogay Bey. They were divided into the following groups: Budjak (from the Danube to the Dniester), Yedisan (from the Dniester to the Bug), Jamboyluk (Bug to Crimea), Yedickul (north of Crimea) and Kuban. In particular, the Yedisans are mentioned as a distinct group, and in various locations.
There were two groups of Nogays: those north of the Caspian Sea under their own Bey (leader), and those north of the Black Sea nominally subject to the Crimean Khan. The first group was broken up circa 1632 by the Kalmyks. The second shared the fate of the Khanate of Crimea.
The Nogay language was a form of Kypchak Turkic, the same language group as that of the neighboring Kazakhs, Bashkirs and Crimean and Kazan Tatars. Their religion was Muslim, but religious institutions were weakly developed.