Nogai Khan's father was Baul/Teval Khan, the seventh son of Jochi. His name is also spelled Nogay and Nogaj. Descended from a concubine, he was unable to claim the throne in his own name but exercised power through the khan, virtually as co-ruler of much of what later became Ottoman territory in the Balkans. His military successes constitute episodes in the later decades of the wider Mongol invasion of Europe. His domain extended into Russia; he brought Bulgaria under Mongol suzerainty, where his son became tsar. He also attacked Hungary and Poland. During his rise to prominence, he rampaged across Thrace, laying numerous cities to waste as he did so.
Nogai became a Muslim and began a process of cultural adaptation that characterized Mongol imperialism. He married a daughter of the Byzantine Emperor, forging an alliance with his powerful Christian neighbor. In 1282, he helped his father in law suppress a rebellion. From the European perspective, the Mongols are usually depicted as representing a threat but the reality of Mongol rule was somewhat different; it represented what has been called a Pax Mongolica, which facilitated cultural exchange and trade between the East, West, and the Middle East in thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Marco Polo mentioned Nogai in his writing. Mongol incursion into and towards the European space helped to open European eyes to a world beyond their borders. As long as the Mongol Empire lasted, the Silk Road was safe for trade and travel.
Over the long term, Nogai's legacy contributed to cross-cultural exchange and bridge-building, despite the devastation he caused during his earlier campaigns. Unification was actually at the heart of the mongol mission. Numerous people around the world are descended from them; the descendants of the Mongols have the facial features associated with every race on earth, yet they are sisters and brothers. This huge potential for discovering the oneness of the human family has been realized by Sun Myung Moon in the Mongolian Peoples' Federation for World Peace. The MPFWP is:
is not about one isolated nation. It is about a great homecoming, bringing together people of distant relationships who share certain common values and ideals of interdependence, mutual prosperity, and universal values. Resisting the negative effects of globalization, people of Mongolian descent from all nations, ethnic groups, and races gather in these Assemblies and explore the ways in which they may contribute to dissolving the barriers between civilizations, religions, races, and nations and make a unique contribution to peace (Mongolian Peoples' Federation for World Peace. Retrieved October 23, 2008).