Infobox Ethnic group
group = Kyrgyz
caption = A traditional Kyrgyz Manaschi performing part of the "Manas" epic poem at a yurt camp in
population = approx. 4 million
region1 = flag|Kyrgyzstan
pop1 = 3.55 million
ref1 = [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/kg.html]
region2 = flag|Uzbekistan
pop2 = 225,000
ref2 = Fact|date=December 2007
region3 = flag|China
pop3 = 144,000
ref3 = [http://www.paulnoll.com/China/Minorities/China-Nationalities.html]
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 = [http://www.perepis2002.ru/content.html?id=11&docid=10715289081463]
region8 = flag|Kazakhstan
pop8 = 11,000
ref8 = [http://www.ide.go.jp/English/Publish/Mes/pdf/51_cap1_2.pdf]
region9 = flag|Ukraine
pop9 = 3,000
ref9 = [http://www.ukrcensus.gov.ua/eng/results]
region10 = flag|Turkey
pop10 = 1,000
ref10 = [http://www.ozturkler.com/data/0006/0006_08_22.htm]
languages = Kyrgyz
religions = Predominantly
Sunni Islam, small Buddhistminority
related = other
The Kyrgyz (also spelled Kirgiz, Kirghiz) are a Turkic
ethnic groupfound 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
Khitantitle 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 Kyrgyzor Xiajiasi, first appear in written records in the Chinese annals of the Sima Qian's " Records of the Grand Historian" (compiled 109 BCto 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 tamgawas 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 Rivervalley, 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 Shanmountains and Eastern Turkestan, bringing them immediately to the borders of Chinaand 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 Yeniseiand Tien ShanKyrgyzes, 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 Sakasand Usuns, Dinlinsand 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
Siberianpopulation is confirmed by recent genetic studies. [ [http://hpgl.stanford.edu/publications/PNAS_2001_v98_p10244.pdf 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), Polesand Hungarians(~60%), and even Icelanders(25%). Haplogroup R1a1 (Y-DNA) is variously believed to be a marker of the Proto-Indo-European languageand Turkic[Wells 2001, Karafet 2001, Zerjal 2002, Underhill 2000, and others] speakers.
The Kyrgyz state reached its greatest expansion after defeating the Uygur Kaganate in 840 AD. Then Kyrgyz quickly moved as far as the
Tian Shanrange 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 Mountainsas a result of the rising Mongolexpansion. With the rise of the Mongol Empirein 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.
Turkic peoplesruled 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 Roadin the seventh and eight century.
In the 8th century, orthodox Islam reached the
Fergana valleywith 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 Shamanismare still practiced alongside with Islam particularly in Central Kyrgyzstan. During a July 2007interview, Bermet Akayeva, the daughter of Askar Akayev, the former President of Kyrgyzstan, stated that Islamis increasingly taking root even in the northern portion which came under communist influence. [ [http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav071707a.shtml 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." [ [http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav071707a.shtml 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 Prefecturein the southwestern part of the XinjiangUygur 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 Gonliuin northern Xinjiang. Several hundred Kyrgyz whose forefathers emigrated to Northeast China more than 200 years ago now live in WujiaziVillage in Fuyu County, HeilongjiangProvince.
Certain segments of the Kyrgyz in China are followers of
Tibetan Buddhism. [cite web |url=http://www.china.com.cn/chinese/2005/ethnic/837167.htm |title=柯尔克孜族 |accessdate=2007-02-18 |work=China.com.cn 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 boxingchampion
List of indigenous peoples of Russia
History of Kyrgyzstan
History of Kazakhstan
History of Tuva
History of China
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.
* [http://expat.nursat.kz/?3245 Books by Chokan Valikhanov]
* [http://haldjas.folklore.ee/folklore/nr1/heredit.htm HEREDITARY TRANSMISSION IN SIBERIAN SHAMANISM AND THE CONCEPT OF THE REALITY OF LEGENDS]
* [http://www.silkroadproject.org/smithsonian/nomads/shamanism.html 2002 Smithsonian folklife festival]
* [http://www.silk-road.com/newsletter/vol3num2/8_duyshembiyeva.php Kyrgyz Healing Practices: Some Field Notes]
* [http://kyrgyz.org.uk/ Culture of Kyrgyz Republic.Well made JAPANESE pages.]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.