from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kara-Kyrgyzstan, late 19th century

The Kyrgyz ( Kyrgyz Кыргыз Kyrgyz , Кыргыздар Kyrgyzdar , also Qirġiz) are a Turkic-speaking ethnic group in Central Asia and today comprise about 5 million people.

The vast majority of them live in the Kyrgyz Republic . Kyrgyz minorities also live in the neighboring countries of Kazakhstan , Uzbekistan , Tajikistan and China ( Kizilsu in Xinjiang and Fuyu in Heilongjiang ).

Origin of name

To this day, Kyrgyz historians only agree on the origin of the name with regard to the first syllable Kyrk 'forty' . Opinions differ as to whether the word Kyrkys in its entirety is a combination of Kyrk 'forty' and Kys 'girl' or whether it is just the old plural form of forty with the appendix -ys .

In the mythology of the Kyrgyz there are several myths about their ancestry. The most popular is that of the forty girls who were impregnated by the waters of Lake Issyk Kul , which was formerly revered as sacred , and from whom the Kyrgyz would then descend. There are also other versions of this story, according to which the Forty Girls went on a great wandering and on their return could no longer find their tribe because they were wiped out by an attack by their enemies. They develop into good warriors, multiply and form the Kyrgyz tribe.

According to another legend, the legendary Oghus Khan is said to have had a grandson named Kirgiz Khan, from whom the Kyrgyz are said to have descended.

In 1946, the historian Camgertschinov put forward the thesis that the Kyrgyz were originally an amalgamation of forty tribes. He has compiled these forty tribes from the extensive Kyrgyz epic Manas and listed them by name. His theory was further expanded and improved by Nasanov in 1967. In 1994 Karatayev developed this theory further and supported it with additional evidence.

With the Mongol conquest in the 13th century, the name Kyrgyz went under and was replaced by the term " Mongols ".


Today the Kyrgyz belong to Islam . Islamization dragged on from the 14th to the 18th century, but numerous traditions of the original Altaic shamanism have survived. Around 1500 Kyrgyz people in the Chinese counties of Dorbiljin and Fuyu are followers of Tibetan Buddhism .

Portrait of a Kyrgyz with a traditional hat ( Kalpak ). Naryn Province , Central Kyrgyzstan.


The Kyrgyz originate from the southern Altai Mountains . There they are already at the end of the 3rd century BC. Mentioned by the neighboring Chinese. This called the "wild mountain people" among others 黠戛斯 , Xiájiásī and 纥里迄斯 , Hélǐqìsī .

Various Chinese writers described the Kyrgyz people of that time as fair-skinned, with reddish hair and light eyes. Around 49 BC The Kirghiz moved to the upper Yenisei and became neighbors of the Dingling , who in turn moved on to the Selenge .

However, today's Kyrgyz are not direct descendants of the ancient Kyrgyz mentioned by the early Chinese. Their ethnogenesis only found its conclusion under the Mongolian rule from the 13th to the 15th century. The ancestors of today's Kyrgyz are both Kipchak-Turkish and Mongolian tribes, with the Mongolian influence anthropologically predominating, but the Turkish linguistically.

According to Rachel Lung (2011), a significant part of the Kyrgyz have at least some Han Chinese ancestors, who immigrated to what is now Kyrgyzstan during the rule of Kaiyuan and mixed with the local population. According to Chinese sources, many of today's Kyrgyz are descendants of General Li Ling ( Hegu )

Linguistically and ethnically, the Kazakhs are the closest relatives of the Kyrgyz people.


Early history

Kyrgyz storyteller
A Kazak Kirghiz, mid-19th century.

Clear evidence from the early Kyrgyz era is more than scanty. It was only in the 6th century the Kyrgyz history is real tangible: 560 subjugated the Göktürkenherrscher Muhan (reigned 553-572.) The areas of the upper Yenisei and so the Kyrgyz appeared as a vassal of the Eastern Göktürkenreiches. At that time, the Yenisei Kyrgyz even mined iron and gold, which they had to hand over to the Gök-Turk rulers as tribute with "gritting teeth" (at least that is what the Chinese chronicles noted in 583).

As a result, the Kyrgyz princes made contact with the Chinese Tang dynasty or they paid the Chinese ruler a tribute (horses) every year, so that they also appeared as vassals of the Chinese. According to the Chinese chroniclers, their settlement area at that time is said to have been in the west of Hami and in the north of Karashahr .

The Orkhon inscriptions of the 8th century vividly describe a bloody war between the Gök Turks and the Kyrgyz. The climax was little more than a surprise winter raid, and the respected Kyrgyz ruler Bars Beg fell during the battle (711/12):

“It was Bars-Beg. We ourselves had given him the title of Khagan . We had also given my younger sister - the princess - to wife. But he betrayed us. Therefore the khagan was killed and his people became slaves and servants. "

- From the "Köl Tegin" stele; East side, line 20 (approx. 732)

Something similar was repeated in 758 with a defeat against the Uyghur Kaganat , which had succeeded the Second Turk Kaganat of the Gök Turks as the steppe supremacy. The Uyghurs destroyed a 50,000-strong Kyrgyz army. But, unlike their predecessors, they were able to finally cut ties between the Kyrgyz Empire and Tang China .

Kingdom of the Yenisei Kyrgyz

In the fight against the Uyghurs, a hard winter (839) and even more a Uyghur deserter came to the rescue: General Külüg Bagha changed sides in 840 and together with Prince Uje Khan († 847) from the Yaġlaqar clan, the Uyghur Empire became destroyed, the remnants of the Uighurs fled southwards.

The Kyrgyz then rose to become the main power in Central Asia for a while and sent some embassies to Tang China . Her sphere of influence included the areas between Lena, Irtysh, Lake Baikal to the Tianshan - around 198,000 km². The center of Uje after 840 were the Du-man mountains in Tuwa , and in the former Uighur empire or today's Mongolia he and his successors saw only their "hinterland".

But the Tang ruler of China was not willing to give the Kyrgyz nobility with Chinese titles etc. the Kyrgyz could not fully develop their new power. The Kyrgyz people mention the existence of several cities and the city of Kemidjkat as a residence from several sides. Excavations testify to the spread of agriculture and even irrigation, although contemporary Turkish representations speak of nomadism . In addition to smaller towns, mining, agriculture and irrigation, they are also assigned a runic script and road construction. Byzantine coins were also found on the Altai. Nevertheless, the Kyrgyz empire is comparatively poorly documented.

In 924 the empire was overrun by the Kitan of Apaoka Khan († 926) and the Kyrgyz withdrew to their actual homeland on the Yenisei. During the 10th century they were pushed south and into the Tianshan Mountains by the neighboring Tungus . As early as the end of the 8th century, some Kyrgyz clans are suspected to be in league with the Karluken in East Tianshan, at least the traditional clan names from the time of the great empire indicate this.

Under Mongolian rule

In the years 1207/8 the three or four main Kyrgyz princes (Yedi, Inal, Aldi'er, Örebek Digin) submitted to the Mongols of Genghis Khan's son Jötschi , but soon rebelled. The Kyrgyz people were disbanded by the Mongol rulers in the course of the 13th century after several rebellions, some of them deported to Manchuria in 1293 , lost their runic script and the few agriculture they had. The Kyrgyz now took on the nomadism of the Mongols and the tribe name Kyrgyz went under.

Small remnants probably also moved to Central Asia in the Tianshan Mountains in 1220 in the army of Jötschi Khan , where they still live today. (At least that is what Emanuel Sarkisyanz suspected from folk tradition, which is also in line with Jötschi Khan's campaign.) There, the Kara-Kyrgyz people emerged from merging with the Mongols and various Turkic tribes. Gradually they received influx from the groups remaining in the Yenisei area. So achieved z. B. 1469 (under Ababartsi Chinsang) and 1702 large groups in the retinue of the Oirats the Tianshan.

The Kyrgyz groups living on the Yenisei made a name for themselves again at the beginning of the 15th century under Ugechi (around 1402/03) and his son Essekü († 1425), but only in fights that were confused by later Mongolian historians and which ultimately dominated the Oirats . The murder of a Mongolian khan named Elbek (1399 or 1401/02) goes to Ugechi's account.

In the 15./16. In the 19th century, the name Kyrgyz was resumed when Central Asian steppe nomads began to refer to themselves as Kazak Kyrgyz . The steppe nomads were generally referred to as "Kazak Kirghiz" and the inhabitants of the mountainous region as "Kara Kirghiz", who were also in a loose alliance with one another. (The Kazakhs later emerged from the "Kazak Kirghiz" and the present-day Kirghiz from the "Kara Kirghiz".)

In the first half of the 16th century they fought against the Chagatai -Khan Abdur Raschid and his son and undertook some raids against cities like Tashkent .

In the first half of the 17th century there was a confrontation with the Russians advancing into Siberia, and the princes Ischej, Tabun and Ischinej regularly attacked Krasnoyarsk (founded in 1628) and other Russian settlements.

Under Oratian supremacy

When the Oirats reorganized themselves from 1638 under the leadership of the Dzungars and founded the Dzungarian Khanate , the Kyrgyz fell into Mongolian dependency again and continued their attacks with their support. Ultimately, they were unsuccessful after defeats in 1640–42 and 1679. After the fall of the Oiraten Empire, the Kyrgyz came formally under Russian sovereignty. But power over the region lay with the clan and tribal princes of the nomads.

Under Chinese domination

In the middle of the 18th century, Russia and China fought over different border areas. So the Chinese Empire was finally able to expand its influence to the southern shores of Lake Balkhash when it was able to occupy Djungaria and the Seven Rivers Land in 1757. However, between 1864 and 1876, Chinese domination in this region ended.

Under Russian domination

In 1864, Tsarist Russia began subjugating the West Turkestan territories, which was completed by 1876. But as early as 1898, the Kyrgyz rose against the settlement of Russian and Ukrainian settlers.

In 1905 the young Kyrgyz intelligentsia took part in a Muslim congress in Tashkent , where the foundations of the later Alash party were laid. From 1916 the Kyrgyz also took part in various uprisings in Turkestan , which were initiated and supported by the Panturkists and nationalists . In the spring of 1917, a section of the Alash Orda was founded in the Kyrgyz city of Bishkek , which called for Kyrgyz autonomy within a federated Russia. In 1920 the rule of the Alash Orda was over again.

Between 1920 and 1924 the territory of the Kyrgyz was administered centrally by the young USSR . In 1924 the Kyrgyz received autonomous territories:

  • The Kazak Kyrgyz received a "Kyrgyz autonomous area" in the steppe areas.
  • The Kara-Kyrgyz also had an autonomous area within the " Turkestan ASSR ".

The autonomous areas were each declared an ASSR in 1926. At the end of the 1930s, these areas were removed from Russia and made independent SSRs.

In 1991 the Kyrgyz declared their independence and later joined the CIS .

See also

supporting documents

  2. Ömürkul Karayev: MEHMET KILDIROĞLU - Kırgızistan Türkiye Manas Üniversitesi - Modern Diller Yüksekokulu (Turkish)
  3. Wolfgang-Ekkehard Scharlipp: The early Turks in Central Asia , p. 89
  4. Willi Stegner (Ed.): Pocket Atlas Völker und Sprachen , page 108. Klett-Perthes, Gotha 2006
  5. Rachel Lung: Interpreters in Early Imperial China . John Benjamin Publishing, 2011, ISBN 978-90-272-2444-6 ( limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed September 2, 2019]).
  6. Wolfgang-Ekkehard Scharlipp: ibid, p. 88
  7. Wolfgang-Ekkehard Scharlipp: ibid, p. 47
  8. Heinz-Gerhard Zimpel: Lexicon of the World Population , p. 275


  • Wolfgang-Ekkehard Scharlipp: The early Turks in Central Asia. An introduction to their history and culture , Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft Darmstadt 1992, ISBN 3-534-11689-5
  • Heinz-Gerhard Zimpel: Lexicon of the world population. Geography - Culture - Society , Nikol Verlagsgesellschaft mbh & Co. KG Hamburg 2000, ISBN 3-933203-84-8
  • Carter Vaughn Findley: The Turks in World History , Oxford University Press 2005, ISBN 0-19-517726-6

Web links

Commons : Kyrgyz people  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files