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The Kazakhs (also spelled Kazaks, Qazaqs; Şablon:Lang-kk, Şablon:Lang Şablon:Audio-IPA, Şablon:Lang, Şablon:Lang Şablon:Audio-IPA; the English name is transliterated from Russian) are a Turkic people who mainly inhabit the southern part of Eastern Europe Ural mountains and northern parts of Central Asia (largely Kazakhstan, but also found in parts of Uzbekistan, China, Russia and Mongolia), the region also known as Eurasian sub-continent. Kazakh identity is of medieval origin and was strongly shaped by the foundation of the Kazakh Khanate between 1456 and 1465, when several tribes under the rule of the sultans Zhanibek and Kerey departed from the Khanate of Abu'l-Khayr Khan.

The Kazakhs are descendants of the Turkic and medieval Mongol tribes – Argyns, Dughlats, Naimans, Jalairs, Keraits, Khazars, Qarluqs; and of the Kipchaks and Cumans,<ref>Şablon:Cite web</ref><ref>Şablon:Cite journal</ref> and other tribes such as the Huns, and ancient Iranian nomads like the Sarmatians, Saka and Scythians who populated the territory between Siberia and the Black Sea and remained in the area when other nomadic groups started to invade and conquer the area between the 5th and 13th centuries AD.<ref>Şablon:Cite web.</ref><ref>Şablon:Cite web</ref><ref>Şablon:Cite web</ref><ref>Şablon:Cite journal</ref>

Etymology of Kazakh

The Kazakhs probably began using this name during either the 15th or 16th century.<ref>Şablon:Cite book</ref> There are many theories on the origin of the word Kazakh or Qazaq. Some speculate that it comes from the Turkish verb Şablon:Lang ("to wander"), because the Kazakhs were wandering steppemen; or that it derives from the Proto-Turkic word Şablon:Lang (a wheeled cart used by the Kazakhs to transport their yurts and belongings).<ref name="olcott">Şablon:Cite book</ref>

Another theory on the origin of the word Kazakh (originally Şablon:Lang) is that it comes from the ancient Turkic word Şablon:Lang, first mentioned on the 8th century Turkic monument of Uyuk-Turan. According to the notable Turkic linguist Vasily Radlov and the orientalist Veniamin Yudin, the noun Şablon:Lang derives from the same root as the verb Şablon:Lang ("to obtain", "to gain"). Therefore, Şablon:Lang defines a type of person who seeks profit and gain.<ref>Şablon:Cite book</ref>


Kazakh was a common term throughout medieval Central Asia, generally with regard to individuals or groups who had taken or achieved independence from a figure of authority. Timur described his own youth without directory authority as his Şablon:Lang ("Qazaq-ness").<ref>Şablon:Cite journal</ref> At the time of the Uzbek nomads' Conquest of Central Asia, the Uzbek Abu'l-Khayr Khan had differences with the Chinggisid chiefs Giray/Kirey and Janibeg/Janibek, descendants of Urus Khan.
Dosya:SB - Inside a Kazakh yurt.jpg
Kazakh family inside a Yurt, 1911/1914
These differences probably resulted from the crushing defeat of Abu'l-Khayr Khan at the hands of the Qalmaqs.<ref>Şablon:Cite encyclopedia</ref> Kirey and Janibek moved with a large following of nomads to the region of Zhetysu/Semirechye on the border of Moghulistan and set up new pastures there with the blessing of the Moghul Chingisid Esen Buqa, who hoped for a buffer zone of protection against the expansion of the Oirats.<ref>Şablon:Cite book</ref> It is not explicitly explained that this is why the later Kazakhs took the name permanently, but it is the only historically verifiable source of the ethnonym. The group under Kirey and Janibek are called in various sources Qazaqs and Uzbek-Qazaqs (those independent of the Uzbek khans). The Russians originally called the Kazakhs 'Kirgiz' and later Kirghiz-Kaisak to distinguish them form the Kyrgyz proper.

In the 17th century, Russian convention seeking to distinguish the Qazaqs of the steppes from the Cossacks of the Russian Imperial military transforms the ending of the word to "kh" instead of "q" or "k".

The Russian term Cossack probably comes from the same Kypchak etymological root: wanderer, brigand, independent free-booter.

Oral history

Due to their nomadic pastoral lifestyle, Kazakhs kept an epic tradition of oral history. The nation, which amalgamated nomadic tribes of various Kazakh origins, managed to preserve the distant memory of the original founding clans. It was important for a Kazakh to know his or her genealogical tree for no less than seven generations back (known as Şablon:Lang, from the Arabic word Şablon:Lang – "tree").

Three Kazakh Zhuz (Hordes)


Approximate areas occupied by the three Kazakh jüz in the early 20th century.
Şablon:Legend Şablon:Legend Şablon:Legend

In modern Kazakhstan, tribalism is fading away in business and government life. Still it is common for a Kazakh man or woman to ask another one which tribe he or she belongs to when getting acquainted with each other. Nowadays, it is more of a tradition than necessity. There is no hostility between tribes. Kazakhs, regardless of their tribal origin, consider themselves one nation.

Those modern-day Kazakhs who yet remember their tribes know that their tribes belong to one of the three Zhuz (juz, roughly translatable as "horde" or "hundred"):

History of the Hordes

There is much debate surrounding the origins of the Hordes. Their age is unknown so far in extant historical texts, with the earliest mentions in the 17th century. The Turkologist Velyaminov-Zernov believed that it was the capture of the important cities of Tashkent, Yasi, and Sayram in 1598 by Tevvekel (Tauekel/Tavakkul) Khan that separated the Qazaqs, as only a portion of the Century possessed the cities.<ref>Russian, Mongolia, China in the 16th, 17th, and early 18th centuries. Vol II. Baddeley (1919, MacMillan, London). Reprint – Burt Franklin, New York. 1963 p. 59</ref> This theory suggests that the Qazaqs then divided among a wider territory after expanding from Zhetysu into most of the Dasht-i Qipchaq, with a focus on the trade available through the cities of the middle Syr Darya, of which Sayram and Yasi belonged.



The Kazakh language is a member of the Turkic language family, as are Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Tatar, Uyghur, Turkish, Azeri, Turkmen, and many other living and historical languages spoken in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Xinjiang, and Siberia.

Kazakh belongs to the Kipchak (Northwestern) group of the Turkic language family. Kazakh is characterized, in distinction to other Turkic languages, by the presence of Şablon:IPA in place of reconstructed proto-Turkic Şablon:IPA and Şablon:IPA in place of Şablon:IPA; furthermore, Kazakh has Şablon:IPAslink where other Turkic languages have Şablon:IPAslink.

Kazakh, like most of the Turkic language family lacks phonemic vowel length, and as such there is no distinction between long and short vowels.

Kazakh was written with the Arabic script during the 19th century, when a number of poets, educated in Islamic schools, incited revolt against Russia. Russia's response was to set up secular schools and devise a way of writing Kazakh with the Cyrillic alphabet, which was not widely accepted. By 1917, the Arabic script was reintroduced, even in schools and local government.

In 1927, a Kazakh nationalist movement sprang up but was soon suppressed. At the same time the Arabic script was banned and the Latin alphabet was imposed for writing Kazakh. The native Latin alphabet was in turn replaced by the Cyrillic alphabet in 1940 by soviet interventionists. Today, there are efforts to return to the Latin script.

Kazakh is a state (official) language in Kazakhstan. It is also spoken in the Ili region of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China, where the Arabic script is used, and in western parts of Mongolia (Bayan-Ölgii and Khovd province), where Cyrillic script is in use. European Kazakhs use the Latin alphabet.


Dosya:Kazakh wedding 3.jpg
A Kazakh wedding ceremony in a mosque.

Ancestors of modern Kazakhs believed in Shamanism and Tengrism, then Zoroastrianism, Buddhism and Christianity including Church of the East. Islam was first introduced to ancestors of modern Kazakhs during the 8th century when the Arab missionaries entered Central Asia. Islam initially took hold in the southern portions of Turkestan and thereafter gradually spread northward.<ref>Atabaki, Touraj. Central Asia and the Caucasus: transnationalism and diaspora, pg. 24</ref> Islam also took root due to the zealous missionary work of Samanid rulers, notably in areas surrounding Taraz<ref>Ibn Athir, volume 8, pg. 396</ref> where a significant number of Turks accepted Islam. Additionally, in the late 14th century, the Golden Horde propagated Islam amongst the Kazakhs and other tribes. During the 18th century, Russian influence toward the region rapidly increased throughout Central Asia. Led by Catherine, the Russians initially demonstrated a willingness in allowing Islam to flourish as Muslim clerics were invited into the region to preach to the Kazakhs whom the Russians viewed as "savages" and "ignorant" of morals and ethics.<ref>Khodarkovsky, Michael. Russia's Steppe Frontier: The Making of a Colonial Empire, 1500–1800, pg. 39.</ref><ref name=EncycSex572>Ember, Carol R. and Melvin Ember. Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender: Men and Women in the World's Cultures, pg. 572</ref> However, Russian policy gradually changed toward weakening Islam by introducing pre-Islamic elements of collective consciousness.<ref name=Hunter14>Hunter, Shireen. "Islam in Russia: The Politics of Identity and Security", pg. 14</ref> Such attempts included methods of eulogizing pre-Islamic historical figures and imposing a sense of inferiority by sending Kazakhs to highly elite Russian military institutions.<ref name=Hunter14 /> In response, Kazakh religious leaders attempted to bring religious fervor by espousing pan-Turkism, though many were persecuted as a result.<ref>Farah, Caesar E. Islam: Beliefs and Observances, pg. 304</ref> During the Soviet era, Muslim institutions survived only in areas where Kazakhs significantly outnumbered non-Muslims due to everyday Muslim practices.<ref>Farah, Caesar E. Islam: Beliefs and Observances, pg. 340</ref> In an attempt to conform Kazakhs into Communist ideologies, gender relations and other aspects of the Kazakh culture were key targets of social change.<ref name=EncycSex572 />

In more recent times however, Kazakhs have gradually employed a determined effort in revitalizing Islamic religious institutions after the fall of the Soviet Union. Some Kazakhs continue to identify with their Islamic faith,<ref>Page, Kogan. Asia and Pacific Review 2003/04, pg. 99</ref> and even more devotedly in the countryside. Those who claim descent from the original Muslim soldiers and missionaries of the 8th century command substantial respect in their communities.<ref>Atabaki, Touraj. Central Asia and the Caucasus: transnationalism and diaspora.</ref> Kazakh political figures have also stressed the need to sponsor Islamic awareness. For example, the Kazakh Foreign Affairs Minister, Marat Tazhin, recently emphasized that Kazakhstan attaches importance to the use of "positive potential Islam, learning of its history, culture and heritage."<ref>inform.kz | 154837 Şablon:Webarchive</ref>

Pre-Islamic beliefs—the worship of the sky, of the ancestors, and of fire, for example—continued to a great extent to be preserved among the common people, however. The Kazakhs believed in the supernatural forces of good and evil spirits, of wood goblins and giants. To protect themselves from them, as well as from the evil eye, the Kazakhs wore protection beads and talismans. Shamanic beliefs are still widely preserved among the Kazakhs, as well as belief in the strength of the bearers of this worship—the shamans, which the Kazakhs call bakhsy. In contradistinction to the Siberian shamans, who used drums during their rituals, the Kazakh shamans, who could also be men or women, played (with a bow) on a stringed instrument similar to a large violin. At present both Islamic and pre-Islamic beliefs continue to be found among the Kazakhs, especially among the elderly.<ref name="Everyculture.com" /> According to 2009 national census 39,172 Kazakhs are Christians.<ref name="2009 Census">Şablon:Cite web</ref>

Genetic studies

According to mitochondrial DNA studies<ref>Şablon:Cite web</ref> (where sample consisted of only 246 individuals), the main maternal lineages of Kazakhs are: D (17.9%), C (16%), G (16%), A (3,25%), F (2.44%), which is of Eastern Eurasian origin (58%), and haplogroups H (14.1), T (5.5), J (3.6%), K (2.6%), U5 (3%), and others (12.2%) of western Eurasian origin (41%). An analysis of ancient Kazakhs found that East Asian haplogroups such as A and C did not begin to move into the Kazakh steppe region till around the time of the Xiongnu (1st millennia BCE), which is around the onset of the Sargat Culture as well Şablon:Harv.<ref>Şablon:Cite web</ref>

In a sample of 54 Kazakhs and 119 Altaian Kazakh. The main paternal lineages of Kazakhs are: C (66.7% and 59.5%), O (9% and 26%), N (2% and 0%), J (4% and 0%), R (9% and 1%).<ref name=Zerjal2002>Şablon:Cite journal</ref>

In a sample of 409 ethnic Kazakhs the main paternal lineages of Kazakhs are C, R, G, J, N, O, Q.<ref>Kazakh Family Tree DNA-project – Y-DNA – https://www.familytreedna.com/public/alash/default.aspx?section=yresults</ref>

Şablon:Multiple image


Dosya:Issaliev Rauan.JPG
Rauan Isaliyev is captain for the ethnic Russians dominated Kazakhstan national bandy team


Ethnic Kazakhs in percent of total population of Kazakhstan
1897 1911 1926 1939 1959 1970 1979 1989 1999 2009
73.9% 60.8% 59.5% 38.0% 30.0% 32.6% 36.0% 39.7% 53.4% 63.1%

Historical population of Kazakhs: <ref name="ReferenceA">rjgg.org/index.php/RJGGRE/article/download/129/146 Этногенез казахов с точки зрения популяционной генетики</ref>

Year Population
1520 1,000,000
1600 1,200,000
1723 2,000,000
1800 2,500,000
1900 3,600,000
1939 3,000,000
1980 6,500,000?
2013 13,600,000

Kazakh minorities



In Russia, the Kazakh population lives primarily in the regions bordering Kazakhstan. According to latest census (2002) there are 654,000 Kazakhs in Russia, most of whom are in the Astrakhan, Volgograd, Saratov, Samara, Orenburg, Chelyabinsk, Kurgan, Tyumen, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Altai Krai and Altai Republic regions. Though ethnically Kazakh, after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, these people acquired Russian citizenship.

Ethnic Kazakhs of Russia<ref>Şablon:Cite web</ref>
1939 % 1959 % 1970 % 1979 % 1989 % 2002 %
356 646 0.33 382 431 0.33 477 820 0.37 518 060 0.38 635 865 0.43 653 962 0.45


Dosya:Kazakhs people.jpg
Kazakh family in Xinjiang, China

Şablon:Main Şablon:See also

Kazakhs migrated into Dzungaria in the 18th century after the Dzungar genocide resulted in the native Buddhist Dzungar Oirat population being massacred.

Kazakhs, called Hāsàkè Zú in Chinese (; literally "Kazakh people" or "Kazakh tribe") are among 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China. Thousands of Kazakhs fled to China during the 1932–1933 famine in Kazakhstan.

In 1936, after Sheng Shicai expelled 30,000 Kazakhs from Xinjiang to Qinghai, Hui led by General Ma Bufang massacred their fellow Muslim Kazakhs, until there were 135 of them left.<ref>Şablon:Cite book</ref><ref>Şablon:Cite book</ref><ref>Şablon:Cite book</ref>

From Northern Xinjiang over 7,000 Kazakhs fled to the Tibetan-Qinghai plateau region via Gansu and were wreaking massive havoc so Ma Bufang solved the problem by relegating the Kazakhs into designated pastureland in Qinghai, but Hui, Tibetans, and Kazakhs in the region continued to clash against each other.Şablon:When<ref>Şablon:Cite book</ref>

Tibetans attacked and fought against the Kazakhs as they entered Tibet via Gansu and Qinghai.Şablon:Citation neededŞablon:When

In northern Tibet Kazakhs clashed with Tibetan soldiers and then the Kazakhs were sent to Ladakh.Şablon:When<ref>Şablon:Cite book</ref>

Tibetan troops robbed and killed Kazakhs 400 miles east of Lhasa at Chamdo when the Kazakhs were entering Tibet.Şablon:When<ref>Şablon:Cite book</ref><ref>https://www.academia.edu/4534001/STUDIES_IN_THE_POLITICS_HISTORY_AND_CULTURE_OF_TURKIC_PEOPLES page 192</ref>

In 1934, 1935, and from 1936–1938 Qumil Eliqsan led approximately 18,000 Kerey Kazakhs to migrate to Gansu, entering Gansu and Qinghai.<ref name="Benson1988">Şablon:Cite book</ref>

In China there is one Kazakh autonomous prefecture, the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and three Kazakh autonomous counties: Aksai Kazakh Autonomous County in Gansu, Barkol Kazakh Autonomous County and Mori Kazakh Autonomous County in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Many Kazakhs in China are not fluent in Standard Chinese, instead speaking the Kazakh language. "In that place wholly faraway", based on a Kazakh folk song,Şablon:Citation needed is very popular outside the Kazakh regions, especially in the Far Eastern countries of China, Japan and Korea.Şablon:Citation needed


In the 19th century, the advance of the Russian Empire troops pushed Kazakhs to neighboring countries. In around 1860, part of the Middle Jüz Kazakhs came to Mongolia and were allowed to settle down in Bayan-Ölgii, Western Mongolia and for most of the 20th century they remained an isolated, tightly knit community. Ethnic Kazakhs (so-called Altaic Kazakhs or Altai-Kazakhs) live predominantly in Western Mongolia in Bayan-Ölgii Province (88.7% of the total population) and Khovd Province (11.5% of the total population, living primarily in Khovd city, Khovd sum and Buyant sum). In addition, a number of Kazakh communities can be found in various cities and towns spread throughout the country. Some of the major population centers with a significant Kazakh presence include Ulaanbaatar (90% in khoroo #4 of Nalaikh düüreg,<ref>Education of Kazakh children: A situation analysis. Save the Children UK, 2006 [1]</ref> Töv and Selenge provinces, Erdenet, Darkhan, Bulgan, Sharyngol (17.1% of population total)<ref>Sharyngol city review Şablon:Dead link</ref> and Berkh cities.

Ethnic Kazakhs of Mongolia<ref name="#10">"Монгол улсын ястангуудын тоо, байршилд гарч буй өөрчлөлтyyдийн асуудалд" М.Баянтөр, Г.Нямдаваа, З.Баярмаа pp.57–70 Şablon:Webarchive</ref>
1956 % 1963 % 1969 % 1979 % 1989 % 2000 % 2010<ref name="Mong2010">Mongolia National Census 2010 Provision Results. National Statistical Office of Mongolia Şablon:Webarchive (in Mongolian.)</ref> %
36,729 4.34 47,735 4.69 62,812 5.29 84,305 5.48 120,506 6.06 102,983 4.35 101,526 3.69


400,000 Şablon:Citation needed Kazakhs live in Karakalpakstan and 100,000 Şablon:Citation needed in Tashkent province. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the vast majority of Kazakhs are returning to Kazakhstan, mainly to Manghistau Oblast. Most Kazakhs in Karakalpakstan are descendants of one of the branches of "Junior juz" (Kişi juz) - Adai tribe.


Iran bought Kazakh slaves who were falsely masqueraded as Kalmyks by slave dealers from the Khiva and Turkmens.<ref>http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/barda-iv</ref><ref name="AbbottAmanat1983">Şablon:Cite book</ref>

Iranian Kazakhs live mainly in Golestan Province in northern Iran.<ref>Şablon:Cite web</ref> According to ethnologue.org, in 1982 there were 3000 Kazakhs living in the city of Gorgan.<ref>Şablon:Cite web</ref><ref>http://www.golestanstate.ir/layers.aspx?quiz=page&PageID=23 Şablon:Webarchive</ref> Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the number of Kazakhs in Iran decreased due to emigration to their historical motherland.<ref>Şablon:Cite web</ref>


Afghan Kypchaks are Aimak (Taimeni) tribe of Kazakh origin that can be found in Obi district to the east of the western Afghan province of Herat, between the rivers Farāh Rud and Hari Rud. Afghan Kypchaks, together with the Durzais and Kakars, two other tribes of Pushtun origin, constitute the Taymani tribe. There are approximately 440,000 Afghan Kipchaks.


Turkey received refugees from among the Pakistan-based Kazakhs, Turkmen, Kirghiz, and Uzbeks numbering 3,800 originally from Afghanistan during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.<ref>Şablon:Cite book</ref> Kayseri, Van, Amasva, Cicekdag, Gaziantep, Tokat, Urfa, and Serinvol received via Adana the Pakistan-based Kazakh, Turkmen, Kirghiz, and Uzbek refugees numbering 3,800 with UNHCR assistance.<ref>Şablon:Cite book</ref>

In 1954 and 1969 Kazakhs migrated into Anatolia's Salihli, Develi and Altay regions.<ref name="Espace">Şablon:Cite book</ref> Turkey became home to refugee Kazakhs.<ref name="Forbes1986">Şablon:Cite bookŞablon:Cite book</ref>

The Kazakh Turks Foundation (Kazak Türkleri Vakfı) is an organization of Kazakhs in Turkey.<ref>Şablon:Cite web</ref>




Many are also skilled in the performance of Kazakh traditional songs. One of the most commonly used traditional musical instruments of the Kazakhs is the dombra, a plucked lute with two strings. It is often used to accompany solo or group singing. Another popular instrument is kobyz, a bow instrument played on the knees. Along with other instruments, these two instruments play a key role in the traditional Kazakh orchestra. A notable composer is Kurmangazy, who lived in the 19th century. After studying in Moscow, Gaziza Zhubanova became the first woman classical composer in Kazakhstan, whose compositions reflect Kazakh history and folklore. A notable singer of the Soviet epoch is Roza Rymbaeva, she was a star of the trans-Soviet-Union scale. A notable Kazakh rock band is Urker, performing in the genre of ethno-rock, which synthesises rock music with the traditional Kazakh music.

See also

Notable Kazakhs




External links

Şablon:Commons category

Şablon:Kazakhstan topics Şablon:Turkic peoples Şablon:Ethnic groups in Kazakhstan Şablon:Ethnic groups in China Şablon:European Muslims

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