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Kyrgyz people

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For the language spoken by this ethnic group, see Kyrgyz language.
Kyrgyz people
Кыргыздар
Total population
approx. 4.5 million
Regions with significant populations
 Kyrgyzstan 3,804,800[1]
 Uzbekistan 250,000[2]
 China 143,500[3]
 Russia 103,422[4]
 Tajikistan 60,000
 Kazakhstan 23,274[5]
 Afghanistan 1,130[6]
 Ukraine 1,128[7]
Languages
Kyrgyz, Russian
Religion
Predominantly Sunni Islam[8][9]
Related ethnic groups
Khakas, Tuvans, Altay people, Shors, Kazakhs, Mongols

The Kyrgyz people (also spelled Kyrghyz and Kirghiz) are a Turkic ethnic group that live primarily in Kyrgyzstan.

Etymology

There are several theories on the origin of ethnonym Kyrgyz. It is often said to be derived from the Turkic word kyrk ("forty"), with -iz being an old plural suffix, so Kyrgyz literally means "a collection of forty tribes".[13] It also means "imperishable", "inextinguishable", "immortal", "unconquerable" or "unbeatable", as well as its association with the epic hero Manas, who – according to a founding myth – unified the 40 tribes against the Khitans. A rival myth, recorded in 1370 in the Yuán Shǐ ("history of Yuan"), concerns 40 women born on a steppe motherland.[14]

The original root of the ethnonym appears to have been the word kirkün (Chinese Tszyan-kun), probably meaning "field people" (or, arguably, "field Huns"). This and the Chinese transcription Tse-gu (Gekun; Jiankun) suggest that the original ethnonym was Kirkut (pronounced "kirgut") and/or Kirkur ("kirgur"), both of which can be traced back to kirkün. By the time of the Mongol Empire, the meaning of the word kirkun had apparently been forgotten – as was shown by variations in readings of it across different reductions of the Yuán Shǐ. This may have led to the adoption of Kyrgyz and its mythical explanation.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, European writers used the early Romanized form Kirghiz – from the contemporary Russian киргизы – to refer not only to the modern Kyrgyz, but also to their more numerous northern relatives, the Kazakhs. When distinction had to be made, more specific terms were used: the Kyrgyz proper were known as the Kara-Kirghiz ("Black Kirghiz", from the colour of their tents),[15] and the Kazakhs were named the Kaisaks.[16][17] or "Kirghiz-Kazaks".[15]

Origins

A Kyrgyz around Murghab, in the Pamirs of Tajikistan.
A Kyrgyz family

The early Kyrgyz people, known as Yenisei Kyrgyz, have their origins in the western parts of modern-day Mongolia and first appear in written records in the Chinese annals of the Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian (compiled 109 BC to 91 BC), as Gekun (鬲昆, 隔昆) or Jiankun (堅昆). They were described in Tang Dynasty texts as having "red hair and green eyes", while those with dark hair and eyes were said to be descendants of a Chinese general Li Ling.[18] In Chinese sources, these Kyrgyz tribes were described as fair-skinned, green- or blue-eyed and red-haired people with a mixture of European and Mongol features.[19][20][21][22] The Middle Age Chinese composition Tanghuiyao of the 8–10th century transcribed the name "Kyrgyz" as Tsze-gu (Kirgut), and their tamga was depicted as identical to the tamga of present-day Kyrgyz tribes Azyk, Bugu, Cherik, Sary Bagysh and few others.[23]

According to recent historical findings, Kyrgyz history dates back to 201 BC.[24] The Yenisei Kyrgyz lived in the upper Yenisey River valley, central Siberia. In Late Antiquity the Yenisei Kyrgyz were a part of the Tiele people. Later, in the Early Middle Ages, the Yenisei Kyrgyz were a part of the confederations of the Göktürk and Uyghur Khaganates.

In 840 a revolt led by the Yenisei Kyrgyz brought down the Uyghur Khaganate, and brought the Yenisei Kyrgyz to a dominating position in the former Turkic Khaganate. With the rise to power, the center of the Kyrgyz Khaganate moved to Jeti-su, and brought about a spread south of the Kyrgyz people, to reach Tian Shan mountains and Xinjiang, bringing them into contact with the existing peoples of western China, especially Tibet. By the 16th century the carriers of the ethnonym Kirgiz lived in South Siberia, Xinjiang, Tian Shan, Pamir-Alay, Middle Asia, Urals (among Bashkorts), in Kazakhstan.[25] In the Tian Shan and Xinjiang area, the term Kyrgyz retained its unifying political designation, and became a general ethnonym for the Yenisei Kirgizes and aboriginal Turkic tribes that presently constitute the Kyrgyz population.[26] Though it is obviously impossible to directly identify the Yenisei and Tien Shan Kyrgyz, a trace of their ethnogenetical connections is apparent in archaeology, history, language and ethnography. A majority of modern researchers came to the conclusion that the ancestors of Kyrgyz tribes had their origin in the most ancient tribal unions of Sakas/Scythians, Wusun/Issedones, Dingling, Mongols and Huns.[27]

Also, there follow from the oldest notes about the Kyrgyz that the definite mention of Kyrgyz ethnonym originates from the 6th century. There is certain probability that there was relation between Kyrgyz and Gegunese already in the 2nd century BC, next, between Kyrgyz and Khakases since the 6th century A.D., but there is quite missing a unique mention. The Kyrgyz as ethnic group are mentioned quite unambiguously in the time of Genghis Khan rule (1162–1227), when their name replaces the former name Khakas.[28]

Genetics

Kara-Kyrgyz tribesman, late 19th century

The genetic makeup of the Kyrgyz is consistent with their origin as a mix of tribes.[29][30] For instance, 63% of modern Kyrgyz men of Jumgal District[31] share Haplogroup R1a1 (Y-DNA) with Ishkashimis (68%),[29] Tajiks of Panjikent[32] (64%, three times more than other Tajiks[33]), Pashtuns (51%),[34] and Bartangis (40%).[29][35] Low diversity of Kyrgyz R1a1 indicates a founder effect within the historical period.[32] Other groups of Kyrgyz show considerably lower haplogroup R frequencies and almost lack haplogroup N.[36]

West Eurasian mtDNA ranges from 27% to 42.6% in the Kyrgyz[37] with Haplogroup mtDNA H being the most predominant marker at 21.3% among the Kyrgyz.[37]

Because of the processes of migration, conquest, intermarriage, and assimilation, many of the Kyrgyz peoples who now inhabit Central and Southwest Asia are of mixed origins, often stemming from fragments of many different tribes, though they speak closely related languages.[38] They are considered to be a people that were created by a combination of Mongol, Khitan, and Uyghur tribes. They generally have an East Asian appearance like their neighbours the Kazakhs, in contrast to the mostly Caucasoid Tajiks and the mixed-looking Uzbeks.

Political development

The Kyrgyz state reached its greatest extent after defeating the Uyghur Khaganate in 840 AD, in alliance with the Chinese Tang dynasty.

The Kirghiz khagans of the Yenisei Kirghiz Khaganate claimed descent from the Han Chinese general Li Ling (general), which was mentioned in the diplomatic correspondence between the Kirghiz khagan and the Tang Dynasty emperor, since the Tang imperial Li family claimed descent from Li Ling's grandfather, Li Guang. The Kirghiz qaghan assisted the Tang dynasty in destroying the Uyghur Khaganate and rescuing the Princess Taihe from the Uyghurs. They also killed a Uyghur khagan in the process.

Then Kyrgyz quickly moved as far as the Tian Shan range and maintained their dominance over this territory for about 200 years. In the 12th century, however, Kyrgyz domination had shrunk to the Altai and Sayan Mountains as a result of Mongol expansion. With the rise of the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, the Kyrgyz migrated south. In 1207, after the establishment of Yekhe Mongol Ulus (Mongol empire), Genghis Khan's oldest son Jochi occupied Kyrgyzstan without resistance. The state remained a Mongol vassal until the late 14th century.

Various Turkic peoples ruled them until 1685, when they came under the control of the Oirats (Dzungars).

Religion

A mosque in Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan
Further information: Islam in Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyz are predominantly Muslims of the Hanafi Sunni school.[39] Islam was first introduced by Arab traders who travelled along the Silk Road in the seventh and eighth century. In the 8th century, orthodox Islam reached the Fergana valley with the Uzbeks. However, in the tenth-century Persian text Hudud al-'alam, the Kyrgyz was still described as a people who "venerate the Fire and burn the dead".[40]

Atheism has some following in the northern regions under Russian communist influence. As of today, few cultural rituals of Shamanism are still practiced alongside Islam, particularly in Central Kyrgyzstan. During a July 2007 interview, Bermet Akayeva, the daughter of Askar Akayev, the former President of Kyrgyzstan, stated that Islam is increasingly taking root, even in the northern portion which came under communist influence.[41] She emphasized that many mosques have been built and that the Kyrgyz are "increasingly devoting themselves to Islam."[41][not in citation given]

Many ancient indigenous beliefs and practices, including shamanism and totemism, coexisted synthetically with Islam. Shamans, most of whom are women, still play a prominent role at funerals, memorials, and other ceremonies and rituals. This split between the northern and southern Kyrgyz in their religious adherence to Muslim practices can still be seen today. Likewise, the Sufi order of Islam has been one of the most active Muslim groups in Kyrgyzstan for over a century.

In Afghanistan

The Kyrgyz population of Afghanistan was 1,130 in 2003, all from eastern Wakhan District in the Badakhshan Province of northeastern Afghanistan.[6] They still lead a nomadic lifestyle and are led by a khan or tekin.

The suppression of the 1916 rebellion against Russian rule in Central Asia caused many Kyrgyz later to migrate to China and Afghanistan. Most of the Kyrgyz refugees in Afghanistan settled in the Wakhan region. Until 1978, the northeastern portion of Wakhan was home to about 3–5 thousand ethnic Kyrgyz.[42][43] In 1978, most Kyrgyz inhabitants fled to Pakistan in the aftermath of the Saur Revolution. They requested 5,000 visas from the United States consulate in Peshawar for resettlement in Alaska, a state of the United States which they thought might have a similar climate and temperature with the Wakhan Corridor. Their request was denied. In the meantime, the heat and the unsanitary conditions of the refugee camp were killing off the Kyrgyz refugees at an alarming rate. Turkey, which was under the military coup rule of General Kenan Evren, stepped in, and resettled the entire group in the Lake Van region of Turkey in 1982. The village of Ulupamir (or “Great Pamir” in Kyrgyz) in Erciş in Van Province was given to these, where more than 5,000 of them still reside today. The documentary film 37 Uses for a Dead Sheep – the Story of the Pamir Kirghiz was based on the life of these Kyrgyz in their new home.[44] Some Kyrgyz returned to Wakhan in October 1979, following the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.[45]

In China

Main article: Kyrgyz in China
China's Kyrgyz people (柯尔克孜族) portrayed on a poster near the Niujie Mosque in Beijing. (Fourth from the left, between the Dongxiang and the Kam).

The Kyrgyz form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China. There are more than 145,000 Kyrgyz in China. They are known in China as Kēěrkèzī zú (simplified Chinese: 柯尔克孜族; traditional Chinese: 柯爾克孜族).[citation needed]

In the 19th century, Russian settlers on traditional Kirghiz land drove a lot of the Kirghiz over the border to China, causing their population to increase in China.[46] Compared to Russian controlled areas, more benefits were given to the Muslim Kirghiz on the Chinese controlled areas. Russian settlers fought against the Muslim nomadic Kirghiz, which led the Russians to believe that the Kirghiz would be a liability in any conflict against China. The Muslim Kirghiz were sure that in an upcoming war, that China would defeat Russia.[47]

The Kirghiz of Xinjiang revolted in the 1932 Kirghiz rebellion, and also participated in the Battle of Kashgar (1933) and again in 1934.[citation needed]

They are found mainly in the Kizilsu Kirghiz Autonomous Prefecture in the southwestern part of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, with a smaller remainder found in the neighboring Wushi (Uqturpan), Aksu, Shache (Yarkand), Yingisar, Taxkorgan and Pishan (Guma), and in Tekes, Zhaosu (Monggolkure), Emin (Dorbiljin), Bole (Bortala), Jinghev (Jing) and Gongliu County in northern Xinjiang.[48]

A peculiar group, also included under the "Kyrgyz nationality" by the PRC official classification, are the so-called "Fuyu Kyrgyz". It is a group of several hundred Yenisei Kirghiz (Khakas people) people whose forefathers were relocated from the Yenisei river region to Dzungaria by the Dzungar Khanate in the 17th century, and upon defeat of the Dzungars by the Qing dynasty, they were relocated from Dzungaria to Manchuria in the 18th century, and who now live in Wujiazi Village in Fuyu County, Heilongjiang Province. Their language (the Fuyü Gïrgïs dialect) is related to the Khakas language.[citation needed]

Certain segments of the Kyrgyz in China are followers of Tibetan Buddhism.[11][12][49][50][51][52]

Notable Kyrgyz people

Chinghiz Aitmatov

See also

Notes

  1. ^ 2009 Census preliminary results (Russian)
  2. ^ Censuses 1970–1989 show 0.9 % Kyrgyz population share in Uzbekistan total, 2000 estimates were also 0.9 % (Ethnic Atlas of Uzbekistan), actually Uzbekistan population is 27,767,100 (2009), so 0.9 % is appr. 250,000
  3. ^ http://www.paulnoll.com/China/Minorities/China-Nationalities.html
  4. ^ http://www.perepis2002.ru/content.html?id=11&docid=10715289081463
  5. ^ http://92.46.60.130/open.php?exten=pdf&nn=760179
  6. ^ a b "Wak.p65" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  7. ^ Ukrainian population census 2001: Distribution of population by nationality. Retrieved on 23 April 2009[dead link]
  8. ^ West, Barbara A., p. 440
  9. ^ Mitchell, Laurence, pp. 23–24
  10. ^ Mitchell, Laurence, pp. 24
  11. ^ a b c Mitchell, Laurence, p. 25
  12. ^ a b West, Barbara A., p. 441
  13. ^ Pulleyblank 1990, p.108.
  14. ^ Zuev, Yu.A., Horse Tamgas from Vassal Princedoms (Translation of Chinese composition "Tanghuyao" of 8–10th centuries), Kazakh SSR Academy of Sciences, Alma-Ata, 1960, p. 103 (Russian)
  15. ^ a b The 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica: "Kirghiz" (scanned version)
  16. ^ Michell, John; Valikhanov, Chokan Chingisovich; Venyukov, Mikhail Ivanovich (1865). The Russians in Central Asia: their occupation of the Kirghiz steppe and the line of the Syr-Daria : their political relations with Khiva, Bokhara, and Kokan : also descriptions of Chinese Turkestan and Dzungaria. Translated by John Michell, Robert Michell. E. Stanford. pp. 271–273. 
  17. ^ Vasily Bartold, Тянь-Шаньские киргизы в XVIII и XIX веках (The Tian Shan Kirghiz in the 18th and 19th centuries), Chapter VII in: Киргизы. Исторический очерк. (The Kyrgyz: an historical outline), in Collected Works of V, Bartold, Moscow, 1963, vol II, part 1, pp. 65–80 (Russian)
  18. ^ Rachel Lung (2011). Interpreters in Early Imperial China. John Benjamins Publishing Company. p. 108. ISBN 9027224447. Retrieved 15 June 2012. During the reign period of Kaiyuan of [emperor] Xuanzong, Ge Jiayun, composed A Record of the Western Regions, in which he said "the people of the Jiankun state all have red hair and green eyes. The ones with dark eyes were descendants of [the Chinese general] Li Ling [who was captured by the Xiongnu]...of Tiele tribe and called themselves Hegu. 
  19. ^ Laurence Mitchell, Kyrgyzstan: The Bradt Travel Guide, 2008, p. 7.
  20. ^ Carter Vaughn Findley, The Turks in World History, Oxford University Press, 2004, p.118.
  21. ^ Sergei A. Yatsenko, In: The Turks: Early ages, Wu-Suns pp.244–249, 2002.
  22. ^ Egon Eickstedt (Freiherr von), Rassenkunde und Rassengeschichte der Menschheit, F. Enke, 1934, p.264.
  23. ^ Abramzon S.M. The Kirgiz and their ethnogenetical historical and cultural connections, Moscow, 1971, p. 45
  24. ^ "U.S. State Dept.". U.S. State Dept. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  25. ^ Abramzon S.M., p. 31
  26. ^ Abramzon S.M., pp. 80–81
  27. ^ Abramzon S.M., p. 30
  28. ^ The Kyrgyz – Children of Manas. Кыргыздар – Манастын балдары. Petr Kokaisl, Pavla Kokaislova (2009). p.132. ISBN 80-254-6365-6
  29. ^ a b c Wells, R. S.; Yuldasheva, N.; Ruzibakiev, R.; Underhill, P. A.; Evseeva, I.; Blue-Smith, J.; Jin, L.; Su, B.; Pitchappan, R.; Shanmugalakshmi, S.; Balakrishnan, K.; Read, M.; Pearson, N. M.; Zerjal, T.; Webster, M. T.; Zholoshvili, I.; Jamarjashvili, E.; Gambarov, S.; Nikbin, B.; Dostiev, A.; Aknazarov, O.; Zalloua, P.; Tsoy, I.; Kitaev, M.; Mirrakhimov, M.; Chariev, A.; Bodmer, W. F. (2001). "The Eurasian Heartland: A continental perspective on Y-chromosome diversity". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 98 (18): 10244–9. doi:10.1073/pnas.171305098. PMC 56946free to read. PMID 11526236. 
  30. ^ Day, J. (2001). Indo-european origins: The anthropological evidence. Inst for the Study of Man. ISBN 978-0941694759.
  31. ^ Figure 7c in Zerjal, Tatiana; Wells, R. Spencer; Yuldasheva, Nadira; Ruzibakiev, Ruslan; Tyler-Smith, Chris (2002). "A Genetic Landscape Reshaped by Recent Events: Y-Chromosomal Insights into Central Asia". The American Journal of Human Genetics. 71 (3): 466–82. doi:10.1086/342096. PMC 419996free to read. PMID 12145751. 
  32. ^ a b Zerjal, Tatiana; Wells, R. Spencer; Yuldasheva, Nadira; Ruzibakiev, Ruslan; Tyler-Smith, Chris (2002). "A Genetic Landscape Reshaped by Recent Events: Y-Chromosomal Insights into Central Asia". The American Journal of Human Genetics. 71 (3): 466–82. doi:10.1086/342096. PMC 419996free to read. PMID 12145751. 
  33. ^ Table 1, section "CENTRAL ASIA" in Wells, R. S.; Yuldasheva, N.; Ruzibakiev, R.; Underhill, P. A.; Evseeva, I.; Blue-Smith, J.; Jin, L.; Su, B.; Pitchappan, R.; Shanmugalakshmi, S.; Balakrishnan, K.; Read, M.; Pearson, N. M.; Zerjal, T.; Webster, M. T.; Zholoshvili, I.; Jamarjashvili, E.; Gambarov, S.; Nikbin, B.; Dostiev, A.; Aknazarov, O.; Zalloua, P.; Tsoy, I.; Kitaev, M.; Mirrakhimov, M.; Chariev, A.; Bodmer, W. F. (2001). "The Eurasian Heartland: A continental perspective on Y-chromosome diversity". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 98 (18): 10244–9. doi:10.1073/pnas.171305098. PMC 56946free to read. PMID 11526236. 
  34. ^ Haber, Marc; Platt, Daniel E.; Ashrafian Bonab, Maziar; Youhanna, Sonia C.; Soria-Hernanz, David F.; Martínez-Cruz, Begoña; Douaihy, Bouchra; Ghassibe-Sabbagh, Michella; Rafatpanah, Hoshang; Ghanbari, Mohsen; Whale, John; Balanovsky, Oleg; Wells, R. Spencer; Comas, David; Tyler-Smith, Chris; Zalloua, Pierre A.; Genographic, Consortium (2012). Kayser, Manfred, ed. "Afghanistan's Ethnic Groups Share a Y-Chromosomal Heritage Structured by Historical Events". PLoS ONE. 7 (3): e34288. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034288. PMC 3314501free to read. PMID 22470552. 
  35. ^ Takezawa , Y. (2011). Racial representations in asia. Trans Pacific Press. ISBN 978-1920901585
  36. ^ Deka, Papiha, Chakraborty, R. S. R. (2012). Genomic diversity: Applications in human population genetics . (1st ed.). Springer. ISBN 978-1461369141
  37. ^ a b Table 2 in Yao, Yong-Gang; Kong, Qing-Peng; Wang, Cheng-Ye; Zhu, Chun-Ling; Zhang, Ya-Ping (2004). "Different Matrilineal Contributions to Genetic Structure of Ethnic Groups in the Silk Road Region in China". Mol Biol Evol. 21 (12): 2265–2280. doi:10.1093/molbev/msh238. PMID 15317881. 
  38. ^ http://www.britannica.com[full citation needed]
  39. ^ U.S. Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report 2010
  40. ^ Scott Cameron Levi, Ron Sela (2010). "Chapter 4, Discourse on the Qïrghïz Country". Islamic Central Asia: An Anthology of Historical Sources. Indiana University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-253-35385-6. 
  41. ^ a b EurasiaNet Civil Society – Kyrgyzstan: Time to Ponder a Federal System – Ex-President's Daughter
  42. ^ FACTBOX-Key facts about the Wakhan Corridor. Reuters. 12 June 2009
  43. ^ "Mock and O'Neil, Expedition Report (2004)". Mockandoneil.com. Retrieved 2012-09-27. 
  44. ^ EurasiaNet (20 May 2012). "Turkey: Kyrgyz Nomads Struggle To Make Peace With Settled Existence". Eurasiareview.com. Retrieved 2012-09-27. 
  45. ^ "Hermann Kreutzmann (2003) ''Ethnic minorities and marginality in the Pamirian Knot''" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-09-27. 
  46. ^ Alexander Douglas Mitchell Carruthers, Jack Humphrey Miller (1914). Unknown Mongolia: a record of travel and exploration in north-west Mongolia and Dzungaria, Volume 2. Lippincott. p. 345. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  47. ^ Alex Marshall (22 November 2006). The Russian General Staff and Asia, 1860–1917. Routledge. pp. 85–. ISBN 978-1-134-25379-1. 
  48. ^ The Kyrgyz – Children of Manas. Кыргыздар – Манастын балдары. Petr Kokaisl, Pavla Kokaislova (2009). pp.173–191. ISBN 80-254-6365-6
  49. ^ 柯尔克孜族. China.com.cn (in Chinese). Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  50. ^ The Kyrgyz – Children of Manas. Кыргыздар – Манастын балдары. Petr Kokaisl, Pavla Kokaislova (2009). p.4. ISBN 80-254-6365-6
  51. ^ The Kyrgyz – Children of Manas. Кыргыздар – Манастын балдары. Petr Kokaisl, Pavla Kokaislova (2009). pp.185–188. ISBN 80-254-6365-6
  52. ^ The Kyrgyz – Children of Manas. Кыргыздар – Манастын балдары. Petr Kokaisl, Pavla Kokaislova (2009). pp.259–260. ISBN 80-254-6365-6

References and further reading

External links