Infobox Ethnic group
group = Kyrgyz

caption = A traditional Kyrgyz Manaschi performing part of the "Manas" epic poem at a yurt camp in Karakol
population = approx. 4 million
region1 = flag|Kyrgyzstan
pop1 = 3.55 million
ref1 = []
region2 = flag|Uzbekistan
pop2 = 225,000
ref2 = Fact|date=December 2007
region3 = flag|China
pop3 = 144,000
ref3 = []
region4 = flag|Afghanistan
pop4 = 125,000
ref4 = Fact|date=December 2007
region5 = flag|Tajikistan
pop5 = 81,000
ref5 = Fact|date=December 2007
region6 = flag|Pakistan
pop6 = 60,000
ref6 = Fact|date=December 2007
region7 = flag|Russia
pop7 = 32,000
ref7 = []
region8 = flag|Kazakhstan
pop8 = 11,000
ref8 = []
region9 = flag|Ukraine
pop9 = 3,000
ref9 = []
region10 = flag|Turkey
pop10 = 1,000
ref10 = []
languages = Kyrgyz
religions = Predominantly Sunni Islam, small Buddhist minority
related = other Turkic peoples

The Kyrgyz (also spelled Kirgiz, Kirghiz) are a Turkic ethnic group found primarily in Kyrgyzstan.


There are several etymological theories on the name "Kyrgyz." First, the name Kyrgyz may mean "forty girls" (kyrk + kyz), a reference to the Manas epic. This is symbolized by the yellow sun in the center of the flag of Kyrgyzstan, which has 40 rays referring to forty Kyrgyz tribes. Next, a meaning of "forty tribes" (kyrk + uuz) which makes more direct sense. Finally, a meaning (kyrgys, "adj."), meaning "imperishable", "inextinguishable" or "undying". This version has an obvious popular appreciation. Historical evidence for many conflicts with other peoples also supports this theory.

The Chinese transcription "Tse-gu" (Gekun, Jiankun)" allows to restore the pronunciation of the ethnonym as "Kirkut (Kirgut)" and "Kirkur (Kirgur)". Both forms go back to the earliest variation "Kirkün" (Chinese "Tszyan-kun") of the term "Kyrgyz" meaning "Field People", "Field Huns". The term "Kirkün" went through a notable evolution: "Kirkün (Kirgün) = Kirkut (Kirgut) = Kirkur (Kirkor, Kirgur) = Kyrkyz (Kyrgyz)". The evolution is traced well chronologically. The semantic connection between "kün (gün)" and "gür" is obvious, chronologically consecutive development of the concept "kün = "female progenitor" = her offsprings = "tribe" = "a people" at the last stage coincides with the "gür = "people", like in the Khitan title Gurkhan. Application of affixes of plurality "t" - "r" - "z" in the ethnonym "Kirkun" shaded the initial sound, and then also the meaning, making its roots enigmatic. By the Mongol epoch, the initial meaning of the word "Kirkun" was already lost, evidenced by differing readings of the earlier reductions of the Uanshi. The change of ethnonym produced a new version of an origin, and the memory about their steppe motherland, recorded in Uanshi, survived only as a recollection of the initial birthplace of forty women. Subsequently, however, that recollection was also lost. [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 (In Russian)]


The early Kyrgyz people, known as Yenisei Kyrgyz or Xiajiasi, 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" or "Jiankun" (鬲昆 or 隔昆). The Middle Age Chinese composition "Tanghuiyao" of the 8-10th century transcribed the name "Kyrgyz" Tsze-gu (Kirgut), and their tamga was depicted identical with the tamga of present day Kyrgyz tribes Azyk, Bugu, Cherik, Sary Bagysh and few others. [Abramzon S.M. "Kirgizes and their ethnogenetical historical and cultural connections", Moscow, 1971, p. 45] According to recent historical findings, Kyrgyz history dates back to 201 BC.Fact|date=October 2007 The Yenisei Kyrgyz lived in the upper Yenisey River valley, central Siberia. Yenisei Kyrgyzes in the Late Antique times were a part of the Tele tribes. Later, in the Early Middle Age, Yenisei Kyrgyzes were under the rule of Göktürk Kaganate and Uigur Kaganate. In 840 a revolt led by Yenisei Kyrgyzes brought down the Uigur Kaganate, and brought the Yenisei Kyrgyzes to a dominating position in the former Turkic Kaganate. With the rise to power, the center of the Kyrgyz Kaganate moved to Jeti-su, and brought about a spread south of the Kyrgyz people, to reach Tian Shan mountains and Eastern Turkestan, bringing them immediately to the borders of China and Tibet. By the 16th century the carriers of the ethnonym "Kirgiz" lived in South Siberia, Eastern Turkestan, Tian Shan, Pamir Alay, Middle Asia, Urals (among Bashkorts), in Kazakhstan. [Abramzon S.M. "Kirgizes and their ethnogenetical historical and cultural connections", Moscow, 1971, p. 31] In the Tian Shan and Eastern Turkestan 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. [Abramzon S.M. "Kyrgyzes and their ethnogenetical historical and cultural connections", Moscow, 1971, p. 80-81] Though it is obviously impossible to directly identify the Yenisei and Tien Shan Kyrgyzes, a trace of their ethnogenetical connections is apparent in archaeology, history, language and ethnography. Majority of modern researchers came to a conclusion that the ancestors of the southern Kyrgyz tribes had their origin in the most ancient tribal unions of Sakas and Usuns, Dinlins and Huns. [Abramzon S.M. "Kyrgyzes and their ethnogenetical historical and cultural connections", Moscow, 1971, p. 30] Approximately 300,000 Yenisei Kyrgyzes survived in the Tuva depression until present.Chinese and Muslim sources of the 7th–12th centuries AD describe the Kyrgyz as red-haired with fair complexion and green (blue) eyes.

The descent of the Kyrgyz from the autochthonous Siberian population is confirmed by recent genetic studies. [ [ The Eurasian Heartland: A continental perspective on Y-chromosome diversity] ] Remarkably, 63% of modern Kyrgyz men share Haplogroup R1a1 (Y-DNA) with Tajiks (64%), Ukrainians (54% Fact|date=July 2007), Poles and Hungarians (~60%), and even Icelanders (25%). Haplogroup R1a1 (Y-DNA) is variously believed to be a marker of the Proto-Indo-European language and Turkic [Wells 2001, Karafet 2001, Zerjal 2002, Underhill 2000, and others] speakers.

Political development

The Kyrgyz state reached its greatest expansion after defeating the Uygur Kaganate in 840 AD. 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, the Kyrgyz domination had shrunk to the Altai Range and the Sayan Mountains as a result of the rising 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. They remained a Mongol vassal until the late of 14th century.

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


Kyrgyz are predominantly Muslims. Islam was first introduced by Arab traders who travelled along the Silk Road in the seventh and eight century.

In the 8th century, orthodox Islam reached the Fergana valley with the Uzbeks. Atheism, on the other hand, took some following in the northern regions under Russian communist influence. As of today, few cultural rituals of Shamanism are still practiced alongside with 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. [ [ EurasiaNet Civil Society - Kyrgyzstan: Time to Ponder a Federal System - Ex-President's Daughter ] ] She emphasized that many mosques have been built and that the Kyrgyz are increasingly devoting themselves to Islam, which she noted was "not a bad thing in itself. It keeps our society more moral, cleaner." [ [ EurasiaNet Civil Society - Kyrgyzstan: Time to Ponder a Federal System - Ex-President's Daughter ] ]

The Kyrgyz in China

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" (zh-st|s=柯尔克孜族|t=柯爾克孜族).

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 Gonliu in northern Xinjiang. Several hundred Kyrgyz whose forefathers emigrated to Northeast China more than 200 years ago now live in Wujiazi Village in Fuyu County, Heilongjiang Province.

Certain segments of the Kyrgyz in China are followers of Tibetan Buddhism. [cite web |url= |title=柯尔克孜族 |accessdate=2007-02-18 | zh icon]

Notable Kyrgyz people

*Chinghiz Aitmatov - author
*Askar Akayev - politician, scientist, first President of Kyrgyzstan
*Kurmanbek Bakiyev - politician, current President of Kyrgyzstan
*Kurmanjan Datka - politician, former stateswoman
*Felix Kulov - politician, former Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan
*Abdylas Maldybaev - actor/musician
*Zamira Sydykova - journalist/ambassador
*Omurbek Tekebayev - politician, speaker of the Kyrgyz parliament
*Kasym Tynystanov - a prominent Kyrgyz scientist, politician and poet, first minister of education
*Nasirdin Isanov - politician, first Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan
*Orzubek Nazarov - former World Boxing Association lightweight boxing champion

ee also

* Kyrgyz language
* List of indigenous peoples of Russia
* History of Kyrgyzstan
* History of Kazakhstan
* History of Tuva
* History of China
* Eagle hunting
* Turkic languages
* R1a1


References and further reading

* Abramzon, S.M. "Kirgizes and their ethnogenetical historical and cultural connections", Moscow, 1971, ISBN 5-655-00518-2 "(in Russian)".
* Kyzlasov, L.R."Mutual relationship of terms "Khakas" and "Kyrgyz" in written sources of 6-12th centuries". Peoples of Asia and Africa, 1968, "(in Russian)".
* Zuev, Yu.A. "Kirgiz - Buruts". Soviet Ethnography, 1970, No 4, "(in Russian)".
* Shahrani, M. Nazif. (1979) "The Kirghiz and Wakhi of Afghanistan: Adaptation to Closed Frontiers and War". University of Washington Press. 1st paperback edition with new preface and epilogue (2002). ISBN 0-295-98262-4.
* "Kyrgyz Republic", by Rowan Stewart and Susie Steldon, by Odyssey publications.
* [ Books by Chokan Valikhanov]
* [ 2002 Smithsonian folklife festival]
* [ Kyrgyz Healing Practices: Some Field Notes]
* [ Culture of Kyrgyz Republic.Well made JAPANESE pages.]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужна курсовая?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Kyrgyz — Kyr·gyz or Kir·ghiz or Kir·giz (kîr gēzʹ) n. pl. Kyrgyz or Kyr·gyz·es or Kirghiz or Kir·ghiz·es or Kirgiz or Kir·giz·es 1. A member of a traditionally nomadic people living principally in Kyrgyzstan. 2. The Turkic language of the Kyrgyz. * * * ▪ …   Universalium

  • Kyrgyz — 1. noun a) A person from Kyrgyzstan or of Kyrgyz descent. b) The Western Turkic language of Kyrgyzstan. 2. adjective Of, from, or pertaining to Kyrgyzstan, the Kyrgyz peopl …   Wiktionary

  • Kyrgyz — [kɪə gi:z, kə:gɪz] (also Kirghiz) noun (plural same) 1》 a member of a people of central Asia, living chiefly in Kyrgyzstan. 2》 the Turkic language of the Kyrgyz. Origin the name in Kyrgyz …   English new terms dictionary

  • Kyrgyz — /ˈkɜgɪz/ (say kergiz) noun 1. (plural Kyrgyz or Kyrgyzes) a member of a widespread people of Mongolian physical type, dwelling chiefly in west central Asia. 2. their language, belonging to the Turkic branch of the Altaic family. –adjective 3. of… …  

  • Kyrgyz Airways — IATA Code: N5 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kyrgyz Host — (Бишкек,Киргизия) Категория отеля: Адрес: улица Тыныстанова, 244, БЧК, 720017 Бишкек, К …   Каталог отелей

  • Kyrgyz language — language name=Kyrgyz nativename= ky. кыргыз тили, قىرعىز ٴتىلى region=Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Xinjiang (China) speakers=3,136,733 (1993) familycolor=Altaic fam1=Altaic [ [… …   Wikipedia

  • Kyrgyz literature —       the written works of the Kyrgyz people of Central Asia, most of whom live in Kyrgyzstan. A smaller population of Kyrgyz in China also produces works of literary significance.       The literary history of the modern day Kyrgyz begins in the …   Universalium

  • Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences — National Academy of Sciences of Kyrgyz Republic Abbreviation NAN KR Type GO Purpose/focus …   Wikipedia

  • Kyrgyz cuisine — Besh barmak Kyrgyz cuisine, originating in Kyrgyzstan, is similar in many respects to that of its neighbors, particularly Kazakh cuisine. Traditional Kyrgyz food revolves around mutton and horse meat, as well as various milk products. The cooking …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”