Kazakhstan Senior Juz, after M.S.Mukanov [Mukanov M.S., "Ethnic territory of Kazakhs in 18 - beginning of 20th century", Almaty, 1991, Муканов М. С. "Этническая территория казахов в 18 – нач. 20 вв. Алма-Ата, 1991 (In Russian)] ]

Uysyn (Uyshyn, Uyshun, Uysun, Uisyn, Usyn, Ushun, Ushin, Usun, Wusun, etc.) [Zuev L. Yu. "Ethnic History Of Usuns", p. 14] is a name of one of the largest tribes of the Senior Juz in the Republic of Kazakhstan. The Uysyn history is traced from the 3rd century BC [Bartold W.W., "Four studies in history of Central Asia", p.80] . P.Pelliot and L.Ηambis determined a commonality of the origin of the ancient Usuns (Chinese Pinyin "Wusun") with the Sary-Uysuns between Kirgiz, Uzbek Ushuns and Uyshuns, and also with the Uysuns of the Kazakh Senior Juz. [P.Pelliot et L.Ηambis, "Histoire des compagnes de Gengizkhan", vol. 1, Leiden, 1951, p. 72] . Modern Uysyn consist of two divisions, Dulat (Dulu, Dogolat) and Sary Uysyn ("Yellow Uysyn").

Dulat, numbering 250,000 people, is a most numerous subdivision, formally a tribe or a tribal confederation, in the Kazakh Senior Juz. It consists of the clans Botbai, Shymyr, Sikym, Yanys, Alban, and Suan. The Suan clan was mentioned in the Chinese dynastic chronicles under the name of the Hunnish major tribal subdivision Chuban (Ch. Yueban). Dulat clan tamga is and . Numerous Eurasian royal dynasties were known under the names Dulat and Dulu, the most prominent of them was a royal dynasty of Kubrat ("Kurbat") and Asparukh of Late Antique Bulgaria, rivals of the Ashina dynasty of Khazaria.

Sary Uysyn, numberung 10,000 people, also belongs to the Kazakh Senior Juz. It consists of the clans Kuttymbet, Janai, Jolai, Talai, Jandosai, Kuleke, Kyryk. Sary Uysyn clan tamga is . Sary Uysyn occupy an upper course of the r. Ili.

Uysyn diaspora is also known in modern Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Historical outline

Usuns (Wusuns) of Antique Time

Main article: Wusun

The first authentic record in the Chinese annals about proto-Hunnish tribes belongs to the 7-4th centuries BC about "generation Ushi" in Andin and Pinlian (modern Pinlian and Guüan in the PRC), between Lu-hun and Kuyan Hun tribes. The transcription of "Ushi" means "raven generation", semantically identical with "U-sun" - "raven descendants". The presence of a raven as clan totem among the ancient Usuns is beyond doubt. In the Usun legends, the ancestors of Usuns were a raven and a wolf. This fact is reflected in the Usun-Ashina (Oshin) tamga with an image of raven [Zuev L. Yu. "Ethnic History Of Usuns", pp.13-14, note 54: "Shiji", ch. 110, p. 2 a; "Tun dian", ch. 189, p. 3 a; "Vensian tunkao", ch. 333, p. 3 b-4 a; A.N.Bernshtam, "Sketch of Huns history", p. 219".] .

The first historical records about Usuns already name them as separate and distinct tribe of the Huns (Ch. 匈奴 Xiongnu, Hsiung-nu, etc), living in the territory of the modern Gansu province of the PRC, in the valley of the "Ushui-he" (Ch. "Raven-river") river. It is not clear if the river was named after the name of the Usun tribe, or the other way around. Early in their known history, Usuns migrated in three stages, lasting near two hundred years. The first exodus from Shaanxi to Tsilyan-shan [Tsilyan (Qilian/Kilian etc.) mountains is Richtgofen ridge in Nanshan mountains] ca 410 BC was forced by military intervention of As-Tochar coalition (Ch. Yuezhi 月氏), who moved into the area vacated by Hunno-Usun tribes. In the interim period between 410 and 177 BC, Usuns with the Huns were vassals of the Yuezhi As-Tochar coalition. The second migration ca. 178 BC, connected with a campagn of Maodun (Mode)-Shanyu's Western Tuki (prince) aganst Yuezhi, was a reconquest by Usuns of their Sichen homeland. The third migration ca. 160 BC was a deliberate displacement by the Usuns of the defeated Ases-Tochars from their temporary stop-over in the Jeti-su. In 160 BCE, after a death of the Hun's supreme shanyu Laoshan (173-161), Usuns separated from the Hun Empire, migrated to the region of the Ili river and lake Issyk Kul, established their independence, and formed a powerful state in the Jeti-su area. Chinese historical annals offer a demographic description of the Usuns at that time, naming a very considerable for that time number of 630,000 people, and 120,000 families [Zuev L. Yu. "Ethnic History Of Usuns", pp.7-19] .

In 5 BCE, during the reign of Uchjulü-Chanyu (8 BCE–13 CE), Usuns attempted a raid against the Hun pastures, but Uchjulü-Chanyu repulsed the attack, and the Usun commander had to send his son to the Hun court as a hostage. Forceful intervention of the Chinese usurper Wan Man and internal strifes brought disorders, and in 2 BCE one of the Usun chietains brought 80,000 Usuns to Kangar (modern Kazakhstan, asking for Kangly help against Chinese. In a vain attempt to reconcile with China, he was duped and killed in 3 CE [Gumilev L.N., "History of Hun People", Moscow, 'Science', Ch.12, (In Russian)] .

Usuns left multiple diaspora islands along their senturies-old trek. A part of a tribe, as a rule, remained in old habitats and later on participated in composing new ethnic unions. Usun principalities are known in Ordos; in the Khangai and Beitin-Bishbalyk (Bogdoshan ridge in Guchen area, PRC) for a long time existed separate Usun princedoms, remains of the ancient Hunno-Usuns of the northern and northwestern China [Zuev L. Yu. "Ethnic History Of Usuns", p. 18] .

Usun-related scholarship

The Usun-Wusun problem attracted extensive attention from historians and Sinologists. Major contributions to linguistic, historical, and ethnological studies were made by the historians and ethnographers Aristov and Bartold; historians and linguists Altheim, Bacot, Bailey, Chavannes, Harmatta, Maenchen-Helfen; Sinologists Bazen, Franke, Haloun, Hamilton, Hirth, Marquart, Pelliot, Pulleyblank, Shiratori, Zuev; ethnologists Levi-Stros, Kosven.

The authors G. Haloun, and then Η. W. Bailey, O. Maenchen-Helfen, J. Harmatta, F. Altheim and others objected to the working hypothesis identifying Usuns with Ases - Asii. Present consensus is that the identification of Usuns with Asii had been invalidated. The works of these researchers detached the question about the ancient Usuns from the Alano-Tocharian problems of the Eastern Iranism [Zuev L. Yu. "Ethnic History Of Usuns", p. 6] .

Linguistic affiliation

In 1896 an outstanding historian and ethnographer of Türkic peoples N.A.Aristov, based on a mass of historical-ethnographical material, posited the Türkic-speaking of the ancient Usuns, whom he (erroneously) thought were a western branch of the Enisei Kirgizes. Six years later, Aristov hypothesis was confirmed by a Japanese scientist K.Shiratori, who deciphered some Usun titles and names, recorded in the Chinese dynastic history "Hanshu". Other Sinologists, F.Hirt, O.Franke, J.Marquart, Yu. Zuev and in part P.Pelliot concurred with this conclusion. All Usun words that could could have been deciphered by now have obviously Türkic character. The fact of Usuns' Türkic-speaking, evidenced by the Chinese sources from the end of the 3rd century BC, draws a serious doubt in the sometime popular thesis about Türkification of Usuns in the end of the 1st century BC by Sunnu-Huns [Zuev L. Yu. "Ethnic History Of Usuns", p. 18] .

Ancient Chinese transmitted the title of the Usun tribal union leader with hieroglyphs "kunmo, kunmi, and kunbyan". An equivalent of the term "Kunmo" (Kün-bag, "Kün Prince") was a title "Ushan-mu" (Ushin-Bag, "Usun Prince"), assumed in 53 BC by an Usun separatist prince Utszutu (Ujutu). K.Siratori [К. Siratori, "Uber die Wu-sun Stamm in Zentral Asien", Keleti Szemle, 2-3, Budapest, 1902, p. 118.] determined that the term "kunmo" was a Chinese transmission of a title "Khan-beg" (or "Khan-biy"). J.Marquart [J. Marquart, "Ueber das Volkstum der Komanen", Berlin, 1914, p. 44, 45, 69.] offered a form Kun-beg, Kun-biy with the meaning Beg (Prince) of Kuns, Kunnish Beg, confirmed with P.Pelliot's [P. Pelliot, "A propos des Comans", Journal Asiatique, April-June, 1920, p. 138.] study of dialectal specifics of the language of the ancient Usuns. With the help of B.Karlgren's works [В. Karlgren, "Analitic dictionary of Chinese and Sino-Japanese" P., 1923, No 466] and L.Bazen research [L. Bazin, "Recherches sur les parlers T'o-ba", "T'oung Pao", vol. 39 (1950), Bk. 4-5, p. 232] in Tabgach (Ch. "Toba") language the reading: Kun-mo = Kün-bag is decoded as Prince of Kün (people, tribe) and Künnish (Hunnish) Prince.


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Usuns and Yuezhi were not two different state confederations, but one state from the beginning, with two ethnically different and opposing halves of a uniform cosmo-ideological complex "Sun - Moon". It was a gynetocratic state of a lunar clan As ("Uti, Ati, Asi, Yuezhi"), based on the maternal form of the community with matriarchal principle of inheritance, including dynastic succession. The crisis of this form has caused separation of the Usuns (initially called in the Chinese annals "As-mans") in the transition to the patriarchal form of the family. The gynetocratic form of community was a "brotherly family" with the inheritance principle "senior brother - younger brother (from the same mother) - nephew (from a female line, the son of the senior brother)", combining in the inheritance the male and female lines [Yu. Zuev, "Early Türks: Sketches of history and ideology", Almaty, Daik-Press, 2002, p. 10, ISBN 9985-441-52-9] .

After 160 BCE, the Usun state in Jeti-su incorporated Usuns and remains of Saka and As-Tochar Yuezhi. Usun growth created conditions for a state independent from the Huns. Political hierarchy was simple, the army of 188,800 men had only 16 officers. Usun family was small, and unlike the Huns, women did not have an equal status. Social inequality was an accepted norm, rich owners had herds with thousands of horses [Gumilev L.N., "History of Hun People", Moscow, 'Science', Ch.12, (In Russian)] .

References to Usuns in the Chinese annals allude to tri-partite division of the state, typical for the Türkic nomadic states, based on a military principle of attacking with left (tolos) and right (tardush) wings or flanks, led by the center, and likewise formation during multi-group encircling hunts. Members of the tribes belonging to each wing were stationed in exact hierarchical order, depending on their place in the traditional structure. The left (eastern) wing had a privileged status, with a successor to the throne, and the queen's residence. Two predominant (royal) tribes are known from the Chinese annals in the Antique Time period, Ashina (Oshin) and Ashide (Ashtak, tamga ‎ [Zuev Yu.A., "Horse Tamgas from Vassal Princedoms (Translation of Chinese composition "Tanghuyao" of 8-10th centuries)", Kazakh SSR Academy of Sciences, Alma-Ata, I960, p. 132 (In Russian)] ). In the 7th century a "ten-arrow" (Ten tribes, On-ok) Western Türkic Kaganate was located "on the lands of the former Usun state", the Kaganate backbone consisted of ten Türkic tribes, five in each wing. The first tribe in the list of left (eastern) wing tribes is Ulug-ok/uk, a conjugal tribe of the Kagans who belonged to the western branch of the "celestial-blue" Ashina tribe. The term "ulug" belongs to the Ashide tribe, it was a tribe of the co-ruler chancellor and katun queen, a spouse of the Kagan from the Ashina tribe. Only offspring of Ashina on the father side and Ashtak on mother side could inherit the Kagan throne. Succession to the throne followed the established so-called "brotherly family" along the avunculism line "senior brother - younger brother - nephew (a son of the senior brother)", with compulsory participation of the queen's Ashtaks at each step of the sequence [Zuev L. Yu. "Ethnic History Of Usuns", p. 33-34] .

The Queen and chancellor held a decisive vote in the election of the Kagan, performed in accordance with the norms of the "brotherly family". The Queen tribe Ashtak represented lands and people of the state. The bearers of the title Ulug had a position of "chancellor", "vizier", "state elder" in the later times too, like in the archaic text of the "Turkmen’s Family Tree" (17th century), the "ruler of the state" was Il Ulugy, or the Ulug Beg of the Timurids. In the Antiqie Time Usun state, a second man after a supreme ruler is called a "chancellor" (Ch. "syan"), the combination "Da lu" "Great Lu" is a calque translation of the Türkic ulug [Zuev L. Yu. "Ethnic History Of Usuns", p. 33-34] .

In the Antiqie Time Usun state a son could not inherit his father, therefore Hunmo ostensibly only "out of pity for the dying" successor to the throne agreed to transfer this post to his son, causing a fury of the Great Ulug, his relatives, and people, who had taken to arms. The arbitrary decision of the supreme ruler to institute a new principle of inheriting the throne by the line "father - son", bypassing the queen (maternal) Ulug tribe did not gain support and was rejected at that time [Zuev L. Yu. "Ethnic History Of Usuns", p. 37] .


Burial traditions and archeology

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Jety-su is one of the most rich and studied centers of the Kurgan tradition, spanning from 3,050 BC to recent times, and they include dozens of studied Usun and Hun (Chuban/Yueban) burials. Archeological finds include plenty of ceramics, gold, bronze mirrors, wooden boxes, silk, pots with charred grain, and millstones, evidencing affluent lifestile and complex pastoral-agricultural economy. Of especial note are numerous glazed flasks, "Jeti-su altar" with 25 winged "barses" (snow leopards), and "Kargala diadem", dated by 2nd century BCE. Timber log burial chambers in the kurgans show that Jety-su people had winter log houses. Most kurgans are 6-20 m in diameter and 0.5-1.5 m height, dirt and stone fill. Typical burial chambers are earthen with a catacomb, without wooden cover. Kurgan burials dated by the 1st century BCE to 1st century CE include complexes Utegen, Taigak, Karlak, Altyn-Emel, and dated by the 2nd-3rd century CE include complexes Kapchagai, Chupak-Didj, Gur-Kara, etc. [Voevodsky M.V., Gryaznov M.P., "Usun graves in the territory of Kirgiz SSR (history of Usuns)", VDI, 1938, No 3] , [Gumilev L.N., "History of Hun People", Moscow, 'Science', Ch.12, (In Russian)] . Numerous archeological artifacts were taken to Russia, and are now in the Hermitage Museum.


From the west Usuns bordered Kangar (Ch. "Kanju"), located in the modern Kazakhstan steppe, under a nominal domination of the Huns. It was twice weaker then Usuns, and served as a buffer between the Huns and As-Tochar (Yuezhi). South of Usuns and Kangar was Sogdiana, independent of Huns and consisting of 70 sovereign mini-states. East of Usuns towered the Hun state [Gumilev L.N., "History of Hun People", Moscow, 'Science', Ch.12, (In Russian)] .

Uysyns of Early Middle Ages

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In the second century AD, after disintegration of the Hun Empire, the hegemony over the nomads of Jeti-Su and Eastern Turkestan passed to the Syanbi (Ch. 鲜卑 Xianbei, Hsien-pei, etc.) people. Before 160 CE Syanbi people, linguistically Tungus or Mongolian with strong Turkic admixture, were politically amorphous, and for centuries were controlled by Huns. Between 155 and 165 CE, Syanbi chieftain Tanshihai took over the Hun empire from the Huns to control a territory 14,000 li (6,500 km) east to west, from Ussuri to Urals. Resisting Huns were displaced to beyond Tarbagatai, Dinlins were displaced to beyond Sayans, and Usuns and Chuban (Yueban) in the Jeti-su were brought under Syanbi control. Syanbi overlordship lasted through the 2th-4th century CE. In the 4th-6th century CE Jujan people took over the control of the Eurasian steppes. In 436 CE the Jujan dislodged Uysyns to the Tian-Shan (Ch. "Congling"=Onion) mountains [Tynyshbaev M., "Uysyns", [] ] [Gumilev L.N., "History of Hun People", Moscow, 'Science', Ch.15, (In Russian)] ..


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Uysyns of Middle Ages

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With the rise of the Turkic Kaganate (First Turkic Kaganate) in the 552 CE, Usuns fell into the newly formed state, ruled by the same royal clan Ashina on the male side, and by the Ediz katun clan on the female side. After the Turkic Kaganate split into the Western Turkic Khaganate and Eastern Turkic Khaganate in the 603 CE, Usuns remained in the Western Turkic Khaganate, ruled by the kagans from the Ashina clan. At the beginning of the 7th century CE the peoples of the Western Turkic Kaganate separated into two groups, divided by the river Chu, to the west of it lived Dulu, and to the east lived Nushibi. See Ili river treaty. ‎The "Dulu" were the ancestors of the "Dulat", nowadays a most numerous and strongest clan of the Uysyns. Dulats reside exactly in the same places where two centuries prior was mentioned the Uysyn name. Next to the Dulu, the Chinese Middle Age chronicles mention Chuban, in which name is recognized another clan of the modern Uysyns, the "Suan" clan [Tynyshbaev M., "Uysyns", [] ] . The kaganate was overrun by Chinese forces under Su Dingfang in 658-659, bringing Usuns under direct control of Chinese for nearly half a century, and amassing in the Chinese annals detailed information about Usuns [Hans J. Van de Ven. "Warfare in Chinese History", Brill Academic Publishers, 2000, Page 118, ISBN 9004117741] .

Centuries after migration of the main masses of the Usun population west to the Jeti-su, the name Usuns appeared again in the east in the text of the monument to the Türkic prince Tonyukuk, in the description of the new pastoral coaching routes of the eastern Türks: "I brought troops to the cities of Shantung ("Mountainous East") and to the sea river (r. Huang He). They destroyed twenty three cities and remained to live in the land of Usyn union ("Usun bundatu yurt")". The text allows to locate the "Usun bundatu yurt" on the northern branch of Huang He in the Sichen area, and another group in Ordos, noted by many medieval and modern authors. Remains of the ancient Huno-Usuns of the northern and northwestern China continued their existence for a long time in the Usun separate princedoms in Khangai and in Beitin-Bishbalyk [Zuev L. Yu. "Ethnic History Of Usuns", p. 18] .

After restoration of the Turkic Kaganate in the 682-745 period, usually referred to as Second Turkic Kaganate, Usuns again were incorporated into the kaganate, until its dismemberment, when Usuns fell under a sway of the Uigur Kaganate (745-840 CE). After the fall of the Uigur Kaganate at the arms of the Yenisei Kirgizes in the 840 CE, Usuns were squeezed out of Jeti-su valleys, to make space for the victorious Kirgizes, and were incorporated into the Kyrgyz Kaganate. The Kyrgyz Kaganate maintained its dominance for about 200 years. In the 12th century, as a result of the rising Mongol expansion, the Kyrgyz domination shrunk, and with the rise of the Mongol Empire early in the 13th century Usuns fell under Chingisid rule.

In their westward advance in the 1253-1254, the Hulagu army passed through the Jeti-Su, and the Persian historian Rashid-ad-din (1247-1318) wrote his "History of Mongols" from the words of the Mongols who in 1255 came to Persia with Hulagu-Khan, indicating that at that time Uysyns lived in the mountains near the river Chu. Rashid-ad-din calls Uysyn people "Uyshun", they were Chagataid subjects. Nowadays one "kishlak" in the Tashkent province is called "Uyshun", as Uzbeks and Karakirgizes pronounce "Uysyn", its inhabitants claim they are Uysyns [Tynyshbaev M., "Uysyns", [] ] .

The author of the "Tarihi-Rashidi" historian Muhamed-Haydar came from the Dulat clan and was a "kuregen" (i.e. he was married to a Chingisid princess). Muhamed-Haydar's 6-th ancestor Emir Bolatchi-Dulat in the 1348 brought Tokluk-Temyr from Kuldja region to the Issyk-Kul region, where lived Dulats or Dogolats, and proclaimed him a Khan of the Chagatai Ulus. After the death of Tokluk and Balatchi, Balatchi brother Kamareddin, a famous opponent of Timur, was a factual ruler of the Chagatai Ulus. Further, the history mentioned ethnically Dulat rulers Hudaydat, a nephew of Kamareddin, a son of Hudaydat Mir Muhamed, and his grandson Seid-Ali (1440) [Tynyshbaev M., "Uysyns", [] ] . The historian Muhamed Haydar was a cousin of both Babur and Chagataid's Seidkhan, he took part in their wars against Uzbeks and Kirgiz. After the death of Seidkhan, Muhamed Haydar led a part of Dulats to Babur in Laghor, then he seized Kashmir, annexed Tibet, and died there as an independent sovereign. After the expulsion of Seidkhan from the Jeti-Su (1527-1545), the remaining Dulats anf other Uysyns joined Kirgizes during Tairkhan and his successors. In the 1650es, under a pressure of the Oirats ("Djungars, Kalmyks, Kalmuks)", Uysyns migrated to the west, and in the 1690-1790 they lived in the Tashkent province of moderm Uzbekistan [Tynyshbaev M., "Uysyns", [] ] .

In the Late Middle Age, Middle Asia steppes were divided between Nogai Ulus (Ulus-Nogai), a splinter of Kipchak Khanate-Juchi Ulus, and Kazakh Khanate, a splinter of the Chagatai Ulus. In the 16th century, Nogai Ulus extended from Itil (Volga) to Irtysh, and from Kama to Syr-darya, with its capital in Saraichik. Among the 120 tribes (called "Ils" = "lands"), and among its 8 largest tribes were Uyshuns. A drawn-out period of disintegration of the Nogai Ulus resulted that its population was switching allegiance to the Kazakh Khanate, and by 1730-es most of the Nogai Ulus Uysyns were in the orbit of the Kazakh Khanate. In spite of centuries-old conflicts between Nogai Ulus and Kazakh Khanate, the people felt that the fights were solely between the rulers, and continued to relate themselves as one contigious entity, not divided by the political borders. All constituent tribes, including Uysyns, retained their tamgas, battle cries (uran), and exogamic traditions [Ilkhamov Alisher et al., "Ethnic atlas of Uzbekistan", Uzbekistan, "Open Society foundation", 2002, p. 176, ISBN 5-862800-10-7 (In Russian)] .

One of the most famous biys of the Kirgiz people, Tolebiy Alibek, a Dulatian of the Djanys branch, was a factual ruler the Senior Horde. Sabalak, a drifter boy at the time, and later a famous Ablay Khan, in 1725 was shepherding Tolebiy's camels [Tynyshbaev M., "Uysyns", [] ] .

Uysyns of New Age

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In the 1723 the Kirgiz people fled from Djungars, settling near the lake Alka-Kol. The hungry crowd then headed to Samarkand and Bukhara, casting the settled population of Turkestan into a famine. In the 1725-26th the Uysyns actively participated in a victorious attack on the Djungars, they managed to expel Djungars to beyond the Ili river, but after a half of the Kirgiz people left the campaign, Uysyns had to submit to the Djungars, until they freed themselves in the 1757-1758. After that, Dulats controlled Tashkent until they were expelled in the 1798 by a coalition of the townspeople and the Kirgiz clans Kanly, Chanshkly and Ramadan, whose descendants continue to live in the Tashkent province. In the Tashkent province live remains of Uysyns, called Uyshuns by the Uzbeks and Karakirgizes [Tynyshbaev M., "Uysyns", [] ] .

Modern Uysyns

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* Bartold W.W., "Four studies in history of Central Asia", Leiden E. J. Brill, 1962
* Kudayberdy-Uly S. "Family tree of Türks, Kirgizes, Kazakhs and their Khan dynasties", Alma-Ata, Dastan, 1990 (In Russian) []
* Tynyshbaev M. "Uysyns", in "Materials on history of Kazakh people", Tashkent, 1925, (In Russian)
* Zuev L. Yu. "Ethnic History Of Usuns", Works of Academy of Sciences Kazakh SSR, "History, Archeology And Ethnography Institute", Alma-Ata, Vol. VIII, 1960, (In Russian)

See also

*History of Kazakhstan
*History of Kyrgyzstan
*History of Uzbekistan
*History of China

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