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SB - Kazakh man on horse with golden eagle 1911-1914.jpg
Total population
c.18,690,200 [1]
Regions with significant populations
Flag of Kazakhstan.svg  Kazakhstan 12,212,645 (2021) [2]
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 1,800,000 [3]
Flag of Uzbekistan.svg  Uzbekistan 925,283 [4]
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 647,732 [5]
Flag of Mongolia.svg  Mongolia 102,526 [6]
Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan 33,200 [7]
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 24,636 [8]
Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey 10,000 [9]
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada 9,600 [10]
Flag of Iran.svg  Iran 3,000–15,000 [11] [12]
Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic 5,639 [13]
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 5,526 [14]
Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg  United Arab Emirates 5,000 [15]
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 2,310 [16]
Flag of Austria.svg  Austria 1,685 [17]
Flag of Belarus.svg  Belarus 1,355 [18]
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 1,000 [19]
Sunni Islam [20]
Related ethnic groups
Nogais and the Karakalpaks

The Kazakhs (also spelled Qazaqs; Kazakh: sg.Қазақ, Qazaq, [qɑˈzɑq] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ), pl.Қазақтар, Qazaqtar, [qɑzɑqˈtɑr] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); the English name is transliterated from Russian; Russian : Казахи) are a Turkic ethnic group who mainly inhabit the Ural Mountains and northern parts of Central and East Asia (largely Kazakhstan, but also parts of Russia, Uzbekistan, Mongolia and China) in Eurasia. 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 Janibek and Kerey departed from the Khanate of Abu'l-Khayr Khan in hopes of forming a powerful Islamic empire of their own. Other notable Kazakh khans include Ablai Khan and Abul Khair Khan.


The Kazakhs are descendants of ancient Turkic tribes – Kipchaks [21] and medieval Mongolic or Turco-Mongol tribes – Dughlats, Jalairs, Keraits. [22]

Kazakh is used to refer to ethnic Kazakhs, while the term Kazakhstani usually refers to all inhabitants or citizens of Kazakhstan, regardless of ethnicity. [23] [24]


The Kazakhs likely began using that name during the 15th century. [25] There are many theories on the origin of the word Kazakh or Qazaq. Some speculate that it comes from the Turkish verb qaz ("wanderer, vagabond, warrior, free, independent") or that it derives from the Proto-Turkic word *khasaq (a wheeled cart used by the Kazakhs to transport their yurts and belongings). [26] [27]

Another theory on the origin of the word Kazakh (originally Qazaq) is that it comes from the ancient Turkic word qazğaq, first mentioned on the 8th century Turkic monument of Uyuk-Turan. [28] According to Turkic linguist Vasily Radlov and Orientalist Veniamin Yudin, the noun qazğaq derives from the same root as the verb qazğan ("to obtain", "to gain"). Therefore, qazğaq defines a type of person who seeks profit and gain. [29]


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 direct authority as his Qazaqliq ("freedom", "Qazaq-ness"). [30]

In Turko-Persian sources, the term Özbek-Qazaq first appeared during the middle of the 16th century, in the Tarikh-i-Rashidi by Mirza Muhammad Haidar Dughlat, a Chagatayid prince of Kashmir. In this manuscript, the author locates Kazakh in the eastern part of Desht-i Qipchaq . According to Tarikh-i-Rashidi, the first Kazakh union was created c. 1465/1466 AD. The state was formed by nomads who settled along the border of Moghulistan, and was called Uzbeg-Kazák. [31]

At the time of the Uzbek conquest of Central Asia, Abu'l-Khayr Khan, a descendant of Shiban, had disagreements with the Kazakh sultans Kerei and Janibek, descendants of Urus Khan. These disagreements probably resulted from the crushing defeat of Abu'l-Khayr Khan at the hands of the Qalmaqs. [32] Kirey and Janibek moved with a large following of nomads to the region of Zhetysu on the border of Moghulistan and set up new pastures there with the blessing of the Chagatayid khan of Moghulistan, Esen Buqa II, who hoped for a buffer zone of protection against the expansion of the Oirats. [33]

Regarding these events, Haidar Dughlat in his Tarikh-i-Rashidi reports: [34]

At that time, Abulkhair Khan exercised full power in Dasht-i-Kipchak. He had been at war with the Sultánis of Juji; while Jáni Beg Khán and Karáy Khán fled before him into Moghulistán. Isán Bughá Khán received them with great honor, and delivered over to them Kuzi Báshi, which is near Chu, on the western limit of Moghulistán, where they dwelt in peace and content. On the death of Abulkhair Khán the Ulus of the Uzbegs fell into confusion, and constant strife arose among them. Most of them joined the party of Karáy Khán and Jáni Beg Khán. They numbered about 200,000 persons, and received the name of Uzbeg-Kazák. The Kazák Sultáns began to reign in the year 870 [1465–1466] (but God knows best), and they continued to enjoy absolute power in the greater part of Uzbegistán, till the year 940 [1533–1534 A. D.].

In the 17th century, Russian convention seeking to distinguish the Qazaqs of the steppes from the Cossacks of the Imperial Russian Army suggested spelling the final consonant with "kh" instead of "q" or "k", which was officially adopted by the USSR in 1936. [35]

The Ukrainian term Cossack probably comes from the same Kypchak etymological root: wanderer, brigand, independent free-booter. [36] [37]

Oral history

Their nomadic pastoral lifestyle made Kazakhs keep 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 Kazakhs to know their genealogical tree for no less than seven generations back (known as şejire, from the Arabic word shajara – "tree").

Three Kazakh Zhuz (Hordes)

Approximate areas occupied by the three Kazakh juz in the early 20th century.
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Junior juz
Middle Juz
Great juz Zhuz.svg
Approximate areas occupied by the three Kazakh jüz in the early 20th century.
   Great juz

In modern Kazakhstan, tribalism is fading away in business and government life. Still it is common for Kazakhs to ask each other the tribe they belong to when they become acquainted with one another. Now, it is more of a tradition than necessity, and 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 they possessed the cities for only part of the 17th century. [38] The 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, to which Sayram and Yasi belonged. The Junior juz originated from the Nogais of the Nogai Horde.


The Kazakh language is a member of the Turkic language family, as are Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Tatar, Uyghur, Turkmen, modern Turkish, Azeri 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 /s/ in place of reconstructed proto-Turkic */ʃ/ and /ʃ/ in place of */tʃ/; furthermore, Kazakh has /ʒ/ where other Turkic languages have /j/.

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 until the mid-19th century, when a number of educated Kazakh poets from Muslim madrasahs incited a 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 for Kazakh was reintroduced, even in schools and local government.

In 1927, a Kazakh nationalist movement sprang up against the Soviet Union but was soon suppressed. As a result, the Arabic script for writing Kazakh was banned and the Latin alphabet was imposed as a new writing system. In an effort to Russianize the Kazakhs, the 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.


Almost all ethnic Kazakhs today are Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi school. Their ancestors, however, 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. [39] Islam also took root because of the missionary work of Samanid rulers, notably in areas surrounding Taraz [40] where a significant number of Turks accepted Islam. Over time, most ethnic Kazakhs became devout Muslims, with many performing the Hajj to Mecca and others choosing to perform the pilgrimage in the closer city of Turkistan (city), which was considered to be the “Mecca of the East”.

Additionally, in the late 14th century, the Golden Horde propagated Islam among Kazakhs and other tribes. Islam in Kazakhstan peaked during the era of the Kazakh Khanate, especially under rulers such as Ablai Khan and Kasym Khan. Another wave of conversions among the Kazakhs occurred during the 15th and 16th centuries via the efforts of Sufi orders. [41] 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. [42] [43] However, Russian policy gradually changed toward weakening Islam by introducing pre-Islamic elements of collective consciousness. [44] 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. [44] In response, Kazakh religious leaders attempted to bring in pan-Turkism, though many were persecuted as a result. [45] During the Soviet era, Muslim institutions survived only in areas that Kazakhs significantly outnumbered non-Muslims, such as non-indigenous Russians, by everyday Muslim practices. [46] In an attempt to conform Kazakhs into Communist ideologies, gender relations and other aspects of Kazakh culture were key targets of social change. [43]

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

In more recent times, however, Kazakhs have gradually employed a determined effort in revitalizing Islamic religious institutions after the fall of the Soviet Union. Most Kazakhs continue to identify with their Islamic faith, [47] 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. [48] 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." [49]

Pre-Islamic beliefs, such as worship of the sky, the ancestors, and fire, continued to a great extent to be preserved among the common people, however. Kazakhs believed in the supernatural forces of good and evil spirits, of wood goblins and giants. To protect themselves from them and from the evil eye, Kazakhs wore protection beads and talismans. Shamanic beliefs are still widely preserved among Kazakhs, as well as the belief in the strength of the bearers of that worship, the shamans, which Kazakhs call bakhsy. Unlike the Siberian shamans, who used drums during their rituals, 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 Kazakhs, especially among the elderly. According to 2009 national census 39,172 Kazakhs are Christians. [50]

Origin and ethnogenesis

Recent linguistic, genetic and archaeological evidence suggests that the earliest Turkic peoples descended from agricultural communities in Northeast China who moved westwards into Mongolia in the late 3rd millennium BC, where they adopted a pastoral lifestyle. [51] [52] [53] [54] [55] By the early 1st millennium BC, these peoples had become equestrian nomads. [51] In subsequent centuries, the steppe populations of Central Asia appear to have been progressively replaced and Turkified by East Asian nomadic Turks, moving out of Mongolia. [56] [57]

Genetic studies

According to mitochondrial DNA studies [58] (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%) 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 until around the time of the Xiongnu (1st millennia BCE), which is around the onset of the Sargat Culture as well ( Lalueza-Fox 2004 ). [59]

Gokcumen et al. (2008) tested the mtDNA of a total of 237 Kazakhs from Altai Republic and found that they belonged to the following haplogroups: D(xD5) (15.6%), C (10.5%), F1 (6.8%), B4 (5.1%), G2a (4.6%), A (4.2%), B5 (4.2%), M(xC, Z, M8a, D, G, M7, M9a, M13) (3.0%), D5 (2.1%), G2(xG2a) (2.1%), G4 (1.7%), N9a (1.7%), G(xG2, G4) (0.8%), M7 (0.8%), M13 (0.8%), Y1 (0.8%), Z (0.4%), M8a (0.4%), M9a (0.4%), and F2 (0.4%) for a total of 66.7% mtDNA of Eastern Eurasian origin or affinity and H (10.5%), U(xU1, U3, U4, U5) (3.4%), J (3.0%), N1a (3.0%), R(xB4, B5, F1, F2, T, J, U, HV) (3.0%), I (2.1%), U5 (2.1%), T (1.7%), U4 (1.3%), U1 (0.8%), K (0.8%), N1b (0.4%), W (0.4%), U3 (0.4%), and HV (0.4%) for a total of 33.3% mtDNA of Western Eurasian origin or affinity. [60] Comparing their samples of Kazakhs from Altai Republic with samples of Kazakhs from Kazakhstan and Kazakhs from Xinjiang, the authors have noted that "haplogroups A, B, C, D, F1, G2a, H, and M were present in all of them, suggesting that these lineages represent the common maternal gene pool from which these different Kazakh populations emerged." [60] In every sample of Kazakhs, D (predominantly northern East Asian, such as Japanese, Okinawan, Korean, Manchu, Mongol, Han Chinese, Tibetan, etc., but also having several branches among indigenous peoples of the Americas) is the most frequently observed haplogroup (with nearly all of those Kazakhs belonging to the D4 subclade), and the second-most frequent haplogroup is either H (predominantly European) or C (predominantly indigenous Siberian, though some branches are present in the Americas, East Asia, and eastern and northern Europe).

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%). [61]

In a sample of 3 ethnic Kazakhs the main paternal lineages of Kazakhs are C, R, G, J, N, O, Q. [62]

According to a large-scale Kazakhstani study (1294 persons) published in 2017, Kazakh males belong to the following Y-DNA haplogroups :

C2-M217 50.85%, including 24.88% C-M401, 17.39% C-M86, 6.18% C-M407, and 2.40% C-M217(xM401, M48, M407)C-M407 was found predominantly among members of the Qongyrat tribe (64/95 = 67.37%)
C-M86 was found predominantly among members of the Lesser/Junior Jüz (30/86 = 34.9% Jetyru) and the Alshyns in particular (58/76 = 76.3% Baiuly, 80/122 = 65.6% Alimuly)
R-M207 12.13%, including 6.03% R1a-M198, 3.17% R1b-M478, 1.62% R1b-M269, 1.00% R2-M124 (predicted), and 0.31% R-M207(xM198, M478, M269, M124)R1b-M478 was found predominantly among members of the Qypshaq tribe (12/29 = 41.38%)

R1a-M198 was found with notable frequency among members of the Suan (13/41 = 31.71%) and Oshaqty (8/29 = 27.59%) tribes and among members of the Qoja caste of Islamic scholars and gentlemen (6/30 = 20.00%), although C-M401 was more common than R1a-M198 among members of the Suan and Oshaqty tribes (25/41 = 60.98% and 11/29 = 37.93%, respectively)

O-M175 10.82%, including 9.43% O-M134, 0.70% O-M122(xM134), and 0.70% O-M175(xM122)O-M134 was found predominantly among members of the Naiman tribe (102/155 = 65.81%),
J-M304 8.19%, including 4.10% J2a-M410 (predicted), 3.86% J1-M267 (predicted), and 0.23% J-M304(xJ1, J2a)J1-M267 (predicted) was found predominantly among members of the Ysty tribe (36/57 = 63.16%)
N-M231 5.33%, including 3.79% N-M46, 1.24% N-P43, and 0.31% N-M231(xP43, M46)N-M46 was found predominantly among members of the Syrgeli tribe (21/32 = 65.63%)
G-M201 4.95%, including 3.40% G1-M285, 1.39% G2-P287, and 0.15% G-M201(xM285, P287)G1-M285 was found predominantly among members of the Argyn tribe (26/50 = 52.00%)
Q-M242 3.17%Q-M242 was found predominantly among members of the Qangly tribe (27/40 = 67.50%)
E-M35 1.78%More than half (13/23 = 56.5%) of the Kazakh E-M35 individuals observed in the study have been observed in the sample of the Jetyru tribe (13/86 = 15.1% E-M35)
I-M170 1.55%, including 0.85% I2a-L460 (predicted), 0.39% I1-M253 (predicted), and 0.31% I2b-L415 (predicted)
D-M174 0.46%
L-M20 0.31% (predicted)
H 0.23% (predicted)
T 0.15% (predicted)
K* 0.08%
Source [63]

The distribution was inhomogeneous for some Y-DNA haplogroups: because of that lack of homogeneity among Kazakhs in regard to Y-chromosome DNA, the real percentage of present-day Kazakhs who belong to each Y-DNA haplogroup may differ from the percentages found in the study, depending on the proportion of each tribe in the total population of Kazakhs.


Ethnic Kazakhs in percent of total population of Kazakhstan

Historical population of Kazakhs: Huge drop in population of Ethnic Kazakhs between 1897 and 1959 years caused by colonial politics of Russian Empire, then genocide which occurred during Stalin Regime. Sarah Cameron (Associate Professor of University of Maryland) described this genocide on her book, "The Hungry Steppe: Famine, Violence, and the Making of Soviet Kazakhstan".


Kazakh minorities


Muhammad Salyk Babazhanov - Kazakh anthropologist, a member of Russian Geographical Society. Mukhammed-Salikh Babadzhanov (1834-1871).png
Muhammad Salyk Babazhanov – Kazakh anthropologist, a member of Russian Geographical Society.
Shoqan Walikhanov and Fyodor Dostoyevsky Valikhanov.jpg
Shoqan Walikhanov and Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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, those people acquired Russian citizenship.

Ethnic Kazakhs of Russia [64]
national censuses data
356 6460.33382 4310.33477 8200.37518 0600.38635 8650.43653 9620.45647 7320.45


Kazakhs in Xinjiang, China Kazakhs people.jpg
Kazakhs in Xinjiang, China

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

Kazakhs, called " 哈萨克 " in Chinese (pinyin :Hāsàkè Zú; lit. '"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. [65] [66] [67]

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 Kazakhs to designated pastureland in Qinghai, but Hui, Tibetans, and Kazakhs in the region continued to clash against each other.[ when? ] [68] Tibetans attacked and fought against the Kazakhs as they entered Tibet via Gansu and Qinghai.[ citation needed ][ when? ] In northern Tibet, Kazakhs clashed with Tibetan soldiers, and the Kazakhs were sent to Ladakh.[ when? ] [69] Tibetan troops robbed and killed Kazakhs 640 kilometres (400 miles) east of Lhasa at Chamdo when the Kazakhs were entering Tibet.[ when? ] [70] [71]

In 1934, 1935, and from 1936–1938 Qumil Elisqan led approximately 18,000 Kerey Kazakhs to migrate to Gansu, entering Gansu and Qinghai. [72]

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,[ citation needed ] is very popular outside the Kazakh regions, especially in the Far Eastern countries of China, Japan and Korea.[ citation needed ]

At least one million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic Muslims in Xinjiang have been detained in mass detention camps, termed "reeducation camps", aimed at changing the political thinking of detainees, their identities, and their religious beliefs. [73] [74] [75]


Kazakh hunters with eagles in Bayan-Olgii Province, Mongolia Kazakh Eagle Hunters.JPG
Kazakh hunters with eagles in Bayan-Ölgii Province, Mongolia

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, [76] Töv and Selenge provinces, Erdenet, Darkhan, Bulgan, Sharyngol (17.1% of population total) [77] and Berkh cities.

Ethnic Kazakhs of Mongolia [78]
national censuses data
1956%1963%1969%1979%1989%2000%2010 [6] %


400,000 [ citation needed ] Kazakhs live in Karakalpakstan and 100,000 [ 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.


During the Qajar period, Iran bought Kazakh slaves who were falsely masqueraded as Kalmyks by slave dealers from the Khiva and Turkmens. [79] [80]

Kazakhs of the Aday tribe inhabited the border regions of the Russian Empire with Iran since the 18th century. The Kazakhs made up 20% of the population of the Trans-Caspian region according to the 1897 census. As a result of the Kazakhs' rebellion against the Russian Empire in 1870, a significant number of Kazakhs became refugees in Iran.

Iranian Kazakhs live mainly in Golestan Province in northern Iran. [81] According to ethnologue.org, in 1982 there were 3000 Kazakhs living in the city of Gorgan. [82] [83] Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the number of Kazakhs in Iran decreased because of emigration to their historical motherland. [84]


Afghan Kypchaks are Aimak (Taymani) tribe of Kazakh origin that can be found in Obe District to the east of the western Afghan province of Herat, between the rivers Farāh Rud and Hari Rud. 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–Afghan War. [85] Kayseri, Van, Amasya, Çiçekdağ, Gaziantep, Tokat, Urfa, and Serinyol received via Adana the Pakistan-based Kazakh, Turkmen, Kirghiz, and Uzbek refugees numbering 3,800 with UNHCR assistance. [86]

In 1954 and 1969 Kazakhs migrated into Anatolia's Salihli, Develi and Altay regions. [87] Turkey became home to refugee Kazakhs. [88]

The Kazakh Turks Foundation (Kazak Türkleri Vakfı) is an organization of Kazakhs in Turkey. [89]



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, both 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.

Notable Kazakhs

See also

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Kazakh Khanate Former Islamic monarchy in Central Asia

The Kazakh Khanate was a successor of the Golden Horde existing from the 15th to 19th century, centered on the eastern parts of the Desht-i Qipchaq.

Kazakh exodus from Xinjiang

The Kazakh exodus from Xinjiang occurred in waves during the 1950s and 1960s after the victory of the Communist Party of China in Xinjiang.

History of Xinjiang

Xinjiang historically consisted of two main geographically, historically, and ethnically distinct regions with different historical names: Dzungaria north of the Tianshan Mountains; and the Tarim Basin south of the Tianshan Mountains, currently mainly inhabited by the Uyghurs. They were renamed Xinjiang in 1884, meaning "new frontier," when both regions were reconquered by the Chinese Qing dynasty after the Dungan revolt (1862–1877).

Islam in Mongolia

Islam in Mongolia is practiced by approximately 3 to 5% of the population. It is practised by the ethnic Kazakhs of Bayan-Ölgii Province and Khovd Province aimag in western Mongolia. In addition, a number of small Kazakh communities can be found in various cities and towns spread throughout the country. Islam is also practiced by the smaller communities of Khotons and Uyghurs.

A Zhuz is one of the three main territorial and tribal divisions in the Kypchak Plain area that covers much of the contemporary Kazakhstan, and represents the main tribal division within the ethnic group of the Kazakhs.

Khongirad Major division of the Mongol tribes

The Khongirad, also known as Qongirat (Qoŋğırat/Қоңғырат) was one of the major divisions of the Mongol tribes. Variations on the name include Onggirat, Ongirat, Qongrat, Khungirat, Kungrad, Qunghrãt, Wangjila (王紀剌), Yongjilie (雍吉烈), Qungrat, and Guangjila (廣吉剌) in Chinese sources. Their homeland was located in the vicinity of Lake Hulun in Inner Mongolia and Khalkha River in Mongolia, where they maintained close ties with the ruling dynasties of northern China. Because the various Hongirad clans never united under a single leader, the tribe never rose to great military glory. Their greatest fame comes from being the primary consort clan of the ruling house of Genghis Khan's Mongol empire. Genghis Khan's mother, great grandmother, and first wife were all Khongirads, as were many subsequent Mongol queens and princesses. During the Yuan dynasty they were given the title Lu Wang, and a few Khongirads may have migrated west into the territory of modern Uzbekistan and South Kazakhstan Province.

Kazakhs in China

Kazakhs are a Turkic ethnic group and are among 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China.

The Dughlat clan was a Mongol clan that served the Chagatai khans as hereditary vassal rulers of several cities in western Tarim Basin, in modern Xinjiang, from the 14th century until the 16th century. The most famous member of the clan, Mirza Muhammad Haidar, was a military adventurer, historian, and the ruler of Kashmir (1541–1551). His historical work, the Tarikh-i Rashidi, provides much of the information known about the family.

Jalair, also Djalair, Yyalair, Jalayir, is one of the Darliqin Mongol tribes according to Rashid-al-Din Hamadani's Jami' al-tawarikh. They lived along the Shilka River in modern Zabaykalsky Krai of Russia. After the Mongol conquest in the 13th century many Jalairs spread over Central Asia and the Middle East. Jalairs are one of the founding tribes of Mongolia's largest ethnic group Khalkha. Smaller clans named Jalayir are also found in Inner Mongolia in China. The Jalayirs who stayed in Central Asia under the rules of Genghis Khan's older sons' descendants eventually adopted Turkic language. They are found among the Kazakhs of the Great jüz; also they are found among the Uzbeks, Karakalpaks, and the Kyrgyz. The Jalairs who went to Iran and Iraq found the Jalairid Sultanate in 1330, and expanded into Turkey. The state was subjugated by the Kara Koyunlu in 1432.

The name Dzungar people, also written as Zunghar, referred to the several Oirat tribes who formed and maintained the Dzungar Khanate in the 17th and 18th centuries. Historically they were one of major tribes of the Four Oirat confederation. They were also known as the Eleuths or Ööled, from the Qing dynasty euphemism for the hated word "Dzungar" and also called "Kalmyks". In 2010, 15,520 people claimed "Ööled" ancestry in Mongolia. An unknown number also live in China, Russia and Kazakhstan.

Ethnic demography of Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is multiethnic country where the indigenous ethnic group, the Kazakhs, comprise the majority of the population. As of 2018, ethnic Kazakhs are 67.5% of the population and ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan are 19.8%. These are the two dominant ethnic groups in the country with a wide array of other groups represented, including Ukrainians, Uzbeks, Germans, Tatars, Chechens, Ingush, Uyghurs, Koreans, and Meskhetian Turks.

Kangar union Turkic union founded in the 7th century

Kangar union, Kazakh: Қaңғар Oдағy was a Turkic state in the territory of the entire modern Kazakhstan without Zhetysu. The ethnic name Kangar is an early medieval name for the Kangly people, who are now part of the Kazakh, Uzbek, and Karakalpak nations. The capital of the Kangar union was located in the Ulytau mountains. The Pechenegs, three of whose tribes were known as Kangar, after being defeated by the Oghuzes, Karluks, and Kimek-Kypchaks, attacked the Bulgars and established the Pecheneg state in Eastern Europe.

The Khoton people are a Turkic ethnic group in Mongolia. Most live in Uvs Province, especially in Tarialan, Naranbulag and Ulaangom. While the Khotons spoke a Turkic language until the 19th century, most now speak the Dörbet dialect of the Oirat people. Khotons often avoid mainstream Mongolian written culture. There were officially about 6,100 Khotons in 1989. According to the Great Russian Encyclopedia, modern Khoton people are part of the "Mongols — a group of peoples who speak Mongolian languages".

Kyrgyz in China

The Kyrgyz are a Turkic ethnic group and form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China. There are 202,500 Kyrgyz in China.


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