Infobox Ethnic group
group = Kazakhs Қазақтар
pop = approx. 16,000,000
region1 = flag|Kazakhstan
pop1 = 9,550,000
region2 = flag|Uzbekistan
pop2 = 2,500,000
ref2 = [http://www.inform.kz/showarticle.php?lang=rus&id=136498]
region3 = flag|China
pop3 = 2,200,000
ref3 = [http://www.irinnews.org/webspecials/RR/501132Kzh.asp]
region4 = flag|Russia
pop4 = 1,310,000
ref4 = [http://sana.gov.kz/showarticle.php?lang=eng&id=152]
region6 = flag|Turkmenistan
pop6 = 120,000
region5 = flag|Mongolia
pop5 = 100,000
region7 = flag|Afghanistan
pop7 = 45,000
region8 = flag|Kyrgyzstan
pop8 = 45,000
region9 = flag|Turkey
pop9 = 30,000
region10 = flag|Germany
pop10 = 17,000
region11 = flag|Tajikistan
pop11 = 15,000
region12 = flag|Iran
pop12 = 15,000
region13 = flag|Ukraine
pop13 = 15,000
region14 = flag|France
pop14 = 15,000
region15 = flag|United States
pop15 = 10,000
region16 = flag|Belarus
pop16 = 5,000
region17 = flag|Canada
pop17 = 5,000
region18 = flag|Azerbaijan
pop18 = 3,000
region19 = flag|Georgia
pop19 = 3,000
region20 = flag|Moldova
pop20 = 3,000
region21 = flag|Pakistan
pop21 = 3,000
region22 = flag|United Kingdom
pop22 = 2,000
region23 = flag|Lithuania
pop23 = 2,000
region24 = flag|Armenia
pop24 = 1,000
region25 = flag|Estonia
pop25 = 1,000
region26 = flag|Sweden
pop26 = 1,000
languages = Kazakh, Russian (and/or languages in country of residence)
related = other
The Kazakhs (also spelled Kazaks, Qazaqs; Kazakh: Қазақтар IPA2|qɑzɑqtɑr; Russian: Казахи; the English name is transliterated from Russian) are a Turkic people of the northern parts of
Central Asia(largely Kazakhstan, but also found in parts of Uzbekistan, China, Russia, and Mongolia).
Etymology of "Qazaq"
There are many theories on the origin of the word "Qazaq". "Qazaq" was included in a 13th century Turkic-Arabic dictionary, where its meaning was given as "independent" or "free".Fact|date=January 2007. Both Kazaks and later
Cossacksadopted Turkic social term "qazaq" as their name. The Kazakhs began using this name during either the 15th or 16th century. [Barthol'd, Vasiliĭ Vladimirovich. "Four Studies on the History of Central Asia", vol. 3, trans. V. and T. Minorsky. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1962, p. 129]
In the 19th century, one etymological theory presented was that the name came from the Kazakh legend of the white goose ("Qaz" means goose, "Aq" means white). [Grodekov, Nikolaĭ Ivanovich. "Kirgizy i Karakirgizy Syr'-darinskoi oblasti", vol. 1, "Iuridicheskii byt' " Tashkent, 1889, p. 1] In this
creation myth, a white goose flying over the great steppes was impregnated by the rays of the Sun, giving birth to the first Kazak. [Humphreys, An. "Central Asia (Lonely Planet Guide)" Sydney:Lonely Planet Publications, 2004, ISBN 978-0864426734] This version was rejected by linguists, because in Turkic languages, an adjective is put before a noun, therefore, "white goose" would be "Aqqaz", not "Qazaq". fact|date=December 2007
Another of the theories 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 [http://www.orientalistica.ru/resour/runica/collection/e3a.htm Uyuk-Turan] . According to the notable Turkic linguist
Vasily Radlovand the 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 that seeks profit and gain. [Yudin, Veniamin P. "Tsentralnaya Aziya v 14-18 vekah glazami vostokoveda." Almaty: Dajk-Press, 2001, ISBN 9965-441-39-1]
Kazakhs are descendants of Turkic tribes (
Kipchaksor Cumans), Mongol groups (Kereis, Naimans, etc.) and Indo-Iranian tribes ( Wusun, Sarmatians, Scythians, etc.) which populated the territory between Siberiaand the Black Sea and remained in Central Asia when the Turkic and Mongolic groups started to invade and conquer the area between the fifth and thirteenth centuries AD [http://hgm2002.hgu.mrc.ac.uk/Abstracts/Publish/WorkshopPosters/WorkshopPoster04/hgm0179.htm] .
Due to their complex history, Kazakhs display
phenotypicaldiversity, though they tend to exhibit predominantly Mongoloid features. Fair to light-brown skin tends to be the norm. Among physical traits are aquiline noses, epicanthic foldand high cheekbones. Hair colour among Kazakhs varies from prevalent jet black to red and sandy brown. Hazel, green and blue eyes are not uncommon.
Many are also skilled in the performance of Kazakh traditional songs. 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, these two instruments play a key role in the traditional Kazakh orchestra. A famous composer is Kurmangazy, who lived in the 19th century. A famous singer of the Soviet epoch is Roza Rymbaeva, she was a star of the trans-Soviet-Union scale. A famous Kazakh rock band is Urker, performing in the genre of ethno-rock, which synthesises rock music with the traditional Kazakh music.
The Kazakh language is a member of the Turkic
language family, as are Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Tatar, Uyghur, Turkish, Azeri, Turkmen, 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 IPA|/s/ in place of reconstructed proto-Turkic *IPA|/ʃ/ and IPA|/ʃ/ in place of *IPA|/tʃ/; furthermore, Kazakh has IPA|/dʒ/ ( alveodental affricate) where other Turkic languages have IPA|/j/ (glide).
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 during the 19th century, when a number of poets, educated in Islamic schools, incited 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 was reintroduced, even in schools and local government.
In 1927, a Kazakh nationalist movement sprang up but was soon suppressed. At the same time the Arabic script was banned and the Latin alphabet was imposed for writing Kazakh. The Latin alphabet was in turn replaced by the Cyrillic alphabet in 1940.
Kazakh is one of the principal languages spoken in
Kazakhstan, along with Russian. 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 parts of Mongolia.
thumb|250 px|left|Approximate areas occupied by the three Kazakh jüz in the early 20th century.Due to their
nomadic pastoral lifestyle, Kazakhs kept an epic tradition of oral history. They had to develop phenomenal memories in order to keep an account of their 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 a Kazakh to know his or her genealogical tree for no less than seven generations back (known as "şejire", from the Arabic word shajara - "tree").
The Kazakh marriage system was exogamous, with marriage between individuals with a common ancestor within seven generations considered
taboo. In intertribal marriage, paternal descent is decisive.
In modern Kazakhstan,
tribalismis fading away in business and government life. Still it is common for Kazakhs to ask which tribe they belong to when they meet each other. Nowadays, it is more of a tradition than necessity. There is no hostility between tribes. Kazakhs, regardless of their tribal origin, consider themselves one nation.
The majority of Kazakhs belongs to one of the three "juzes" (juz, roughly translatable as "
horde"): the " Great juz" ("Ulı juz"), "Middle juz" ("Orta juz"), and "Junior juz" ("Kişi juz"). Every juz consists of tribes ("taypa") and clans ("ruw"). Also Kazakhs, but outside of the juz system are: "tore" (direct descendants of Genghis Khan), "qoja"/Khoja (descendants of Arabianmissionaries and colonists), "tolengit" (descendants of Oiratcaptives), "sunak" (like "qoja" Khoja - descendants of Arabianmissionaries and colonists) and "kolegen" (descendants of Ancient Sairam inhabitants).
Islamwas brought to the Kazakhs during the 8th century when the Arabs arrived into Central Asia. Islam initially took hold in the southern portions of Turkestan and thereafter gradually spread northward. [Atabaki, Touraj. "Central Asia and the Caucasus: transnationalism and diaspora", pg. 24] Islam also took root due to the zealous missionary work of Samanidrulers, notably in areas surrounding Taraz[Ibn Athir, volume 8, pg. 396] where a significant number of Kazakhs accepted Islam. Additionally, in the late 1300s, the Golden Hordepropagated Islam amongst the Kazakhs and other Central Asian tribes. During the 1700s, Russian influence toward the region rapidly increased throughout Central Asia. Led by Catherine, the Russians initially demonstrated a willingness in allowing Islamto 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. [Khodarkovsky, Michael. "Russia's Steppe Frontier: The Making of a Colonial Empire, 1500-1800", pg. 39.] Ember, Carol R. and Melvin Ember. "Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender: Men and Women in the World's Cultures", pg. 572] However, Russian policy gradually changed toward weakening Islam by introducing pre-Islamic elements of collective consciousness.Hunter, Shireen. "Islam in Russia: The Politics of Identity and Security", pg. 14] 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. In response, Kazakh religious leaders attempted to bring religious fervor by espousing pan-Turkism, though many were persecuted as a result. [Farah, Caesar E. "Islam: Beliefs and Observances", pg. 304] During the Sovietera, Musliminstitutions survived only in areas where Kazakhs significantly outnumbered non-Muslims due to everyday Muslim practices. [Farah, Caesar E. "Islam: Beliefs and Observances", pg. 340] In an attempt to conform Kazakhs into Communistideologies, gender relations and other aspects of the Kazakh culture were key targets of social change.
In more recent times however, Kazakhs have gradually employed determined effort in revitalizing Islamic religious institutions after the fall of the
Soviet Union. While not strongly fundamentalist, Kazakhs continue to identify with their Islamic faith, [Page, Kogan. "Asia and Pacific Review 2003/04", pg. 99] and even more devotedly in the countryside. Those who claim descent from the original Muslimsoldiers and missionaries of the 8th century, command substantial respect in their communities. [Atabaki, Touraj. "Central Asia and the Caucasus: transnationalism and diaspora".] 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." [ [http://www.inform.kz/showarticle.php?lang=eng&id=154837 inform.kz | 154837 ] ]
Kazakh population in Kazakhstan
Kazakhs, called Hāsàkè Zú in Chinese (; literally "Kazakh people" or "Kazakh nationality") are among 56 minority groups officially recognized by the
People's Republic of China. In China there is one Kazakh autonomous prefecture, the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecturein the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, three Kazakh autonomous counties, Aksai Kazakh Autonomous Countyin Gansu, Barkol Kazakh Autonomous Countyand Mori Kazakh Autonomous Countyin the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Many Kazakhs in China are not fluent in
Standard Mandarin, China's official language, instead speaking the Kazakh language.
Since the early 21st century, Mamuer Rayeskan, a young Kazakh musician from
Qitai, Xinjiang now living in Beijing, has achieved some renown for his reworking of Kazakh folk songs with his group IZ, with which he sings and plays acoustic guitar, dombra, and Jew's harp.
Russia, the Kazakh population lives in the regions bordering Kazakhstan. The 2002 Russian census recorded 655,000 Kazakhs living in the Astrakhan, Volgograd, Samara, Orenburg, Chelyabinsk, Kurgan, Tyumen, Omsk, Novosibirsk and Altai Krairegions. Since they, their ancestors, and other Turkic peoplespopulated these areas long before Russian colonisation, Russian Kazakhs are irredenta. During the 1920s, however, significant numbers of Kazakh families were left outside the designated Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic; after the end of the Soviet Unionin 1991, they acquired Russian citizenship.
Mongolia: Majority of Kazakhs live in Bayan-Ölgiy Province. The Kazakh folk music is well known and loved in Mongolia. Most of Mongolian Kazakhs belong to "Middle juz" ("Orta juz"), the largest among three juzes.
Uzbekistan: Significant Kazakh population lives in Karakalpakstanand Tashkent oblast. Since the fall of Soviet Union, vast majority of Kazakh people are returning to Kazakhstan, mainly to Manghistau Oblast'. Most Kazakhs in Karakalpakstanare descendants of one of the branches of "Junior juz" ("Kişi juz")- Adaitribe.
Iran: Iranian Kazakhslive mainly in the Golestanprovince in northern Iran. [ [http://www.anobanini.ir/travel/fa/golestan/cat-227 گلستان ] ] According to ethnologue.org, in 1982 there were 3000 Kazakhs living in the city of Gorgan. [ [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_country.asp?name=iran Ethnologue report for Iran ] ] [http://www.golestanstate.ir/layers.aspx?quiz=page&PageID=23] Since fall of Soviet Unionnumber of Kazakhs in Iran decreased due to emigration to their historical Motherland." [ [http://jolay.blogfa.com/85093.aspx قزاق ] ]
List of Kazakh historical figures
Demographics of Kazakhstan
Notes and references
* [http://clp.arizona.edu/cls/kaz.htm Kazakh Language Courseware from University of Arizona Critical Languages Series]
* [http://www.hunmagyar.org/turan/turk.html Ethnographic map of Kazakhstan]
* [http://www.akft.org Kazakhs in France - AKFT]
* [http://www.kazaktar.kz/ World Association of the Kazakhs]
* [http://www.massagan.com Massagan.com (The largest web site in kazakh language)]
* [http://www.suhbat.com Suhbat (Atameken Toby)]
* [http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/case_amazon/index.html Secrets of the Dead: Amazon Warrior Women (PBS)]
* [http://www.orientalistica.ru/resour/runica/collection/e3a.htm Turk monument of Uyuk-Turan mentioning the word "qazğaq"]
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