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The Khoton people are an ethnic group in Mongolia. Most live in Uvs Province, especially in Tarialan, Naranbulag and Ulaangom. While the Khotons spoke a Turkic language until the 18th century, most now speak the Dörbet dialect of the Oirat people. Khotons often avoid mainstream Mongolian written culture.
There were officially about 6,100 Khotons in 1989.
History and culture
The Khotons are reputed to be descended from members of Uighur and Kazakh tribes.
Khoton or Khotong was originally a Turkic language term for a Central Asian Muslim community. In Inner Mongolia (China) it designates members of the Hui people, or Chinese language-speaking Muslims.
The Khotons settled in Mongolia after 1753, when their leader, the Dörbet Prince Tseren Ubashi, surrendered to the Qing Dynasty and the Khotons were deported from Central Asia by the Dzungar Oirats.
Unlike most Mongolians, Khotons follow a syncretic religion retaining some aspects of Islam, and traditionally avoid intermarriage with other ethnic groups.
The Khotons of Western Mongolia, 1979.