1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Turkestan

TURKESTAN, a name conventionally employed to designate the regions of Central Asia which lie between Siberia on the N. and Tibet, India and Afghanistan on the S., the western limit being the Caspian Sea and the eastern Mongolia and the Desert of Gobi. Etymologically the term is intended to indicate the regions inhabited by Turkish races. How far this name was appropriate in the past need not be considered here; at present the regions called Turkestan not only contain races which do not belong to the Turk family, but it excludes races which do, e.g. the Turks of the Ottoman Empire. Nevertheless the term, in its dual application of West Turkestan and East or Chinese Turkestan, has long been established, and in default of any better designations cannot very well be dispensed with.

I.—West Turkestan

West Turkestan is very nearly, though not quite, coincident with the territories which Russia possesses and controls in Asia, Siberia excepted. Thus it includes (1) the governor-generalship of Turkestan, embracing the provinces of Ferghana, Samarkand, Semiryechensk, and Syr-darya; the provinces of Akmolinsk and Semipalatinsk, and sometimes that of Turgai belonging to the governor-generalship of the Steppes; the Transcaspian region; and the semi-independent states of Bokhara and Khiva. Its total area amounts approximately to 1,290,000 sq. m.

Physical Geography.—Physically this region is divided into two sharply contrasted parts, the mountainous and highland country in the east and the flat steppes and deserts in the west and north. The former are sufficiently described under the heading Tian-Shan. It will be enough to say here that the mountainous region belongs to the great orographical flange which runs from south-west to north-east along the north-western margin of the great plateau of Central Asia. Hence it consists (1) partly of ranges, mostly snow-capped, which stretch from south-west to north-east, and which in several cases terminate en échelon on the verge of the desert, and (2) partly of ranges which strike away from the above at various angles, but in a predominantly north-western direction. The latter, including such ranges as the Chingiz-tau, Chu-Ili Mountains, Kandyk-tau and Khan-tau, the Ferghana range, the Kara-tau and the Nura-tau, are geologically of later origin than the great border ranges of the Tian-shan proper, e.g. Trans-Alai, Alai, Kokshal-tau, Alexander range, Terskei Ala-tau, Kunghei Ala-tau, Trans-Ili Ala-tau and Dzungarian Ala-tau. The Tarbagatai Mountains, still farther north, are often classified as belonging to the Altai system. Generally speaking, the ranges of both categories run at 10,000 to 20,000 ft., though altitudes as high as 23,000 ft. are attained by individual peaks, such as Mt Kaufmann and Khan-tengri. Most of the loftier summits are capped with perpetual snow, and on some of them, e.g. Khan-tengri (Mushketov, Semenov, Inylchik) and the Kok-su Mountains (Fedchenko, Shurovsky), south of Peak Kaufmann, there are well-developed glaciers. Nearly all these border ranges rise abruptly and to great heights from the plains on the north or north-west, but have a much shorter and easier descent on the south or south-east. Hence the passes lie at great altitudes, ranging from about 9000 to 14,000 ft. On the other hand the fact of the ranges radiating outwards towards the west, and the further fact that they are in more than one place penetrated by deep depressions (e.g. Dzungaria, Kulja, Issyk-kul, Ferghana) for a considerable distance towards the east, greatly facilitate access to the loftier plateau lands of Central Asia, and have from time immemorial been the highways of human intercourse between East and West.

Like the highlands of Siberia, those of Turkestan are fringed by a girdle of plains, having an altitude of 1000 to 1500 ft., and these again are skirted by an immense lowland area reaching only 400, 300 and 150 ft. above sea-level, or even sinking below the level of the ocean.Lowland Plains. Some geographers divide them into two sections—the higher plains of the Balkash (the Ala-kul and Balkash drainage areas) and the Aral-Caspian depression, which occupies nearly two-thirds of the whole and has been ably described by I. V. Mushketov under the appropriate name of Turanian basin—the Kara-tau Mountains, between the Chu and the Syr-darya rivers, being considered as the dividing line between the two. The Balkash plains, more than 1000 ft. above the sea, and covered with clay, with a girdle of loess at their foot, are well drained by the Ili and other feeders of Lake Balkash and support the numerous flocks and herds of the Kirghiz. To the south-west the clayey soil becomes saline. There is the Famine steppe (Bekpak-dala), while in the Ak-kum steppe, which surrounds Lake Kara-kul, large areas consist of nothing but sands, partly shifting. The plains and lowlands of the Turanian basin are subdivided by a line drawn from north-east to south-west along a slight range of hills running from the sources of the Ishim towards the south-east corner of the Caspian (Bujnurd and Elburz edge of Khorasan). This low range, which most probably separated the lowlands of the Aral-Caspian region (submerged during the Post-Pliocene period) from the higher plains which had emerged by the end of the Tertiary period, now divides the Transcaspian steppes from the somewhat different higher plains. In the Turanian basin the contrast between desert and oasis is much stronger than in the Balkash region. Fertile soil, or rather soil which can be rendered fertile by irrigation, is limited to a narrow terrace of loess along the foot of the mountains, and is surrounded by barren deserts. Even where the loess stretches out over terraces at some distance from the mountains, as in the south-east of the Transcaspian region, it can be cultivated only when irrigated. Two rivers only—the Syr and the Amu—succeed in getting across the desert and reaching the Sea of Aral. But their former tributaries no longer run their full course: the glacier-fed Zarafshan dries up amid the gardens of Bokhara soon after emerging from the highlands; and the Tejen and the Murghab lose themselves in the recesses of the Kara-kum desert. The only tributaries which the Amu retains are those whose whole course is within the highlands. In the north such formerly important tributaries of the Syr-darya as the Chu, with its sub-tributary the Sary-su, now dry up some hundreds of miles before reaching the main stream.

The whole area is now undergoing geological changes on a vast scale. Rivers have changed their courses, and lakes their outlines. Far away from their present shores the geologist finds indubitable signs of the recent presence of lakes in the shells they have left amid the sands.Desiccation. Traces of former rivers and channels, which were the main arteries of prosperous regions within the period of written history, have now disappeared. Of the highly developed civilizations which grew up and flourished in Bactria, Bokhara and Samarkand the last survivals are now undergoing rapid obliteration with the simultaneous desiccation of the rivers and lakes. The great “Blue Sea” of Central Asia, the Sea of Aral, which at a recent epoch (Post-Glacial) extended south-west as far as Sary-kamysh, and the shells of which are found north and east of its present shores 50 to 200 ft. above its present level (157 ft. above the ocean, and 248 above the Caspian), now occupies but a small portion of its former extent. It fills a shallow depression which is drying up with astonishing rapidity, so that the process of desiccation can be shown on surveys separated by intervals of only ten years; large parts of it, like Aibughir Gulf, have dried up since the Russians took possession of its shores. The whole country is dotted over with lakes, which are rapidly disappearing under the hot winds of the deserts.

Geology.[1]—Like the highlands of eastern Asia, those of Turkestan are mostly built up on Pre-Cambrian gneisses and metamorphic slates, resting upon granites, syenites, old orthoclase porphyries, and the like. These upheavals date from the remotest geological ages; and since the Primary epoch a triangular continent having its apex turned towards the north-east, as Africa and America have theirs pointing southward, rose in the middle of what now constitutes Asia. It is only in the outer foldings of the highlands that Palaeozoic fossiliferous deposits are found—Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous and Permo-Carboniferous. Within that period the principal valleys were excavated, and their lower parts have been filled up subsequently with Jurassic, Cretaceous and Tertiary deposits. One of the most striking instances of this is the very thick Cretaceous and Tertiary deposits which cover the bottom of the valley of the Vakhsh (right tributary of the Amu) and are continued for about 300 m. to the north-east, as far as the Alai valley—probably along the edge of the Pamir plateau. The deposits of the Secondary period have not maintained their horizontal position. While upheavals having a north-eastern strike continued to take place after the Carboniferous epoch,[2] another series of upheavals, having a north-western strike, and occasioned by the expansion of diabases, dolerites, melaphyres and andesites, occurred later, subsequently at least to the close of the Tertiary period, if not also before it, dislocating former chains and raising rocks to the highest levels by the addition of new upheavals to the older ones. Throughout the Triassic and Jurassic periods nearly all Turkestan remained a continent indented by gulfs and lagoons of the south European Triassic and Jurassic sea. Immense fresh-water lakes, in which were deposited layers of plants (now yielding coal), filled up the depressions of the country. Cretaceous and Tertiary deposits occur extensively along the edge of the highlands. Upper and Middle Cretaceous, containing phosphates, gypsum, naphtha, sulphur and alum, attain thicknesses of 2000 and 5000 ft. in Hissar. Representatives of all the Tertiary formations are met with in Turkestan; but while in the highlands the strata are coast-deposits, they assume an open sea character in the lowlands, and their rich fossil fauna furnishes evidence of the gradual shallowing of that sea, until at last, after the Sarmathian period, it became a closed Mediterranean. During the Post-Pliocene period this sea broke up into several parts, united by narrow straits. The connexion of Lake Balkash with the Sea of Aral can hardly be doubted; but this portion of the great sea was the first to be divided. While the Sea of Aral remained in connexion with the Caspian, the desiccation of the Lake Balkash basin, and its break-up into smaller separate basins, were already going on. The Quaternary epoch is represented by vast morainic deposits in the valleys of the Tian-shan. About Khan-Tengri glaciers descended to a level of 6800 ft. above the sea,[3] and discharged into the wide open valleys or syrts. It is most probable that, when allowance has been made for the obliteration of glacial markings, and the region has been better explored, it will appear that the glaciation of Turkestan was on a scale at least as vast as that of the Himalayas. In the lowlands the Aral-Caspian deposits, which it is difficult to separate sharply from the later Tertiary, cover the whole of the area. They contain shells of molluscs now inhabiting the Sea of Aral, and in their petrographical features are exactly like those of the lower Volga. The limits of the Post-Pliocene Aral-Caspian sea have not yet been fully traced. It extended some 200 m. north and more than 90 m. east of the present Aral shores. A narrow strait connected it with Lake Balkash. The Ust-Urt plateau and the Mugojar Mountains prevented it from spreading north-westward, and a narrow channel connected it along the Uzboi with the Caspian, which sent a broad gulf to the east, spread up to the Volga, and was connected by the Manych with the Black Sea basin. Great interest, geological and historical, thus attaches to the recent changes undergone by this basin. Since the theory of geological cataclysms was abandoned, and that of slow modifications of the crust of the earth accepted, new data have been obtained in the Aral-Caspian region to show that the rate of modification after the close of the Glacial period, although still very slow, was faster than had been supposed from the evidence of similar changes now going on in Europe and America. The effects produced by desiccating agencies are beyond all comparison more powerful than those which result from the earthquakes that are so frequent in Turkestan. All along the base of the highlands, from Khojent to Vyernyi, earthquakes are frequent;[4] but their effects lie beyond the scope of our observational methods.

Climate.—The climate of West Turkestan is exceedingly dry and continental. Although the country is approximately comprised within the latitudes of Sicily and Lyons, it has a south Norwegian January and a Persian summer. Temperatures of more than 100° F. in the shade are common, and the heat is rendered still more unbearable by the reflection from a soil destitute of vegetation. The winter is for the most part so cold that the average temperature of January is below the freezing point, and even reaches 0° F. Snow falls for several months on the lower Syr-darya, and, were it not blown away by the winds, sledge-communication would be possible. This river is frozen for an average of 123 days every year in its lower parts and nearly 100 days at Perovsk. At Tashkent there is snow during two months and temperatures of −10° F. have been observed; on the other hand the maximum observation is 108°. To the south of Khojent the winter becomes more clement. Absence of rain is the distinctive feature of the climate. Although it rains and snows heavily on the mountains, only 11 in. of rain and snow fall throughout the year at Tashkent, at the base of the highlands; and the steppes of the lower Amu have less. A few showers are all that fall from the almost invariably cloudless sky above the Transcaspian steppes.

Fauna.—The fauna of Turkestan belongs to the zoo-geographical domain of northern Asia, and is only differentiated by the presence of species which have disappeared from the peripheral parts of the Old World and now find a refuge in the remotest regions of the uninhabited plateau. From the Palaeoarctic region it is distinguished by the presence of Himalayan species. The distinctive animal of the Pamir plateau is the magnificent Ovis poli (conjectured to be the ancestor of the common sheep). In the alpine tracts of the Tian-shan, on the borders of the Pamir, their horns and skulls are frequently met with, but there the place of the species is now taken by Ovis karelini. The wild horse, which occurred in Poland a few centuries ago, was discovered by Prezhevalsky in the highlands of Dzungaria. The wild camel inhabits the lonely plateaus south of the Ala-shan. The other mammals of Turkestan are mostly those which are met with elsewhere in north Asia. The Himalayan bear (Ursus isabellinus) has its home on the Pamir, and the smaller Leuconyx up to the highest levels on the Tian-shan. Antelopes, Lepus lehmanni, Lagomys rutilus, various species of Arvicolae, and the Himalayan long-tailed marmot (Arctomys caudatus), the most characteristic inhabitant of the alpine meadows, are the only mammals of the Pamir proper. In the alpine region are found the badger (Meles taxus), the ermine (Putorius ermineus) and six other Mustelidae, the wild dog (Canis alpinus), the common and the black-eared fox (C. melanotis), while the corsac fox (C. corsac) is met with only on the plains. Two species of lynx, the cheetah (Felis jubata), F. manul, and F. irbis, must be added to the above. The tiger is met with only on the lower Amu-darya, except when it wanders to the alpine region in pursuit of the maral deer (Cervus maral). The jackal is characteristic of the steppes; it banishes the wolves and foxes. Hares are represented by several species, Lepus lehmanni being the most characteristic. Both the common and the long-tailed marmot (A. baibacinus and A. caudatus) live at the foot of the mountains, as well as four species of Spermophilus, three of voles, two of the mouse and three of the hamster. The Meriones (four species) and the jerboa (five species) are only met with in the steppe region. Of ruminants, beside the sheep (O. poli, O. karelini, O. nigrimontana, O. heinsii), we find one moufflon (Musimon vignei), formerly known only in the Himalayas, the Chinese antelope (Antilope subgutturosa) and the saiga antelope in the steppes, the Siberian ibex and another goat, the yak, the zebu or Indian ox, the common ox, the camel and the dromedary. The wild boar is common in the reed thickets along the rivers and lakes, where it stays during the winter, migrating to the highlands in summer. The hedgehog and porcupine are common in the plains.

No fewer than 385 species of avifauna are recorded, most of them being middle-European and Mediterranean. A large number were formerly known only in the Himalayas, or in Persia, while others have their origin in East Asia. The commonest are mostly European acquaintances. The insect fauna is truly multitudinous. Among the Lepidoptera of the Pamir there is an interesting mixture of Tian-shan with Himalayan species. G. E. Grum-Grshimailo found on the Pamir the butterfly Colias nastes, a species characteristic of Labrador and Lapland; like the alpine plants which bear witness to a Glacial period flora in the Himalayas, this butterfly is a survival of the Glacial period fauna of the Pamir.[5] Of 50 species of molluscs found in Turkestan quite one half are peculiar to the region.

Flora.—As a whole the flora of Turkestan is identical with that of Central Asia, which was formerly continued by geo-botanists as far west as the steppes of Russia, but which must now be considered as a separate region subdivided into two—the Central Asian proper and that of the Gobi. It has its own habitus, notwithstanding the number of species it has in common with Siberia and south-east Russia on the one hand and with the Himalayas on the other, and this habitus is due to the dryness of the climate and the consequent changes undergone by the soil. Towards the end of the Glacial period the Tian-shan Mountains had a flora very like that of northern Caucasia, combining the characteristics of the flora of the European Alps and the flora of the Altai, while the prairies had a flora very much like that of the south Russian steppes. During the Stone Age the human inhabitants lived in forests of maple, white beech and

apple trees. But the gradual desiccation of the country resulted

EB1911 Turkestan.jpg

in the immigration from the Central Asian plateau of such species

as could adapt themselves to the dry climate and soil, in the disappearance of European and Altaic species from all the more arid parts of the region, in the survival of steppe species, and in the adaptation of many of the existing species to the needs of an arid and extreme climate and a saline soil.[6] The Pamir vegetation and that of the Aral-Caspian steppes constitute two types with numberless intermediate gradations.

There is no arboreal vegetation on the Pamir, except a few willows and tamarisks along the rivers. Mountain and valley alike are carpeted with soft grass, various species of Festuca predominating. In the immediate vicinity of water the sedge (Carex physoides) grows, and sporadic patches of Allium. To these may be added a Few Ranunculaceae, some Myosotis, the common Taraxacum, one species of Chamomilla, and a few Leguminosae. In the north and west the Stipa of the Russian steppes supersedes Festuca and affords splendid pasture for the herds of the Kara-Kirghiz. In the gorges and on the better-watered slopes of the mountains the herbaceous vegetation becomes luxuriant. Besides the above-named there are many other Gramineae, such as Lasiagrostis splendens, the whole seas of Scabiosae. Eremurus, 6 to 7 ft. in height, forms thickets along with Scorodosma foetida. The northern slopes of the Alai chain are richer in trees. Up to 12,000 ft. full-grown specimens occur of the archa or juniper (Juniperus pseudo-Sabina), characteristic of the whole northern slopes of the Turkestan highlands, the poplar, spruces, cedars, a very few birches (B. Sogdiana), and a copious undergrowth of shrubs familiar in European gardens, such as Rhododendron chrysanthum, Sorbus aucuparia (rowan), Berberis heteropoda (berberry), Lonicera Tatarica (honeysuckle) and Crataegus (hawthorn). Farther east and north comes the Turkestan pine (Picea Schrenkiana) , while at lower levels there grow willows, black and white poplars, tamarisk, Celtis, as well as Elaeagnus (wild olive), Hippopliae rhamnoides (sallow thorn), Rubus fructicosus (blackberry), Prunus spinosa (blackthorn) and P. Armeniaca (apricot). The characteristic poplar, Populus diversifolia, and the dwarf Acer Lobelii—very different from the European maple—also occur.

The above applies to most of the highlands of the Tian-shan. The drier southern slopes are quite devoid of arboreal vegetation. On the northern slopes, at the higher levels, Juniperus pseudo-Sabina is the only tree that grows on the mountains, and luxuriant meadow grasses cover the syrts. Lower down, at 7500 to 8000 ft. the coniferous zone begins, characterized by the Picea Schrenkiana. Of course the juniper and a few other deciduous trees also occur. The richest zone is that which comes next, extending downwards to 5000 and 4500 ft. There woods of birch, several species of poplar, the maple (Acer Semenovii), and thick underwoods spread over the mountain slopes. Orchards of apple and apricot surround the villages. The meadows are clothed with a rich vegetation—numberless Paeoniae, Scabiosae, Convolvulaceae, Campanulae, Eremurus, Umbelliferae, Gallium, Rosaceae, Altheae, Glycyrrhizae, Scorodosma foetida and Gramineae. But as soon as the soil loses its fertile humus it produces only a few Phlomis, Alhagi camelorum, Psammae, Salsolaceae, Artemisiae, Peganum and some poppies and Chamomillae, but only in the spring. The invading steppe plants appear everywhere in patches in the Turkestan meadows.

The “culture” or “apricot” zone is followed by the prairie belt, in which black-earth plants (Stipa and the like) struggle for existence against invading Central Asian forms. And then come the lowlands and deserts with their moving sandy barkhans, shors and takyrs (see Transcaspian Region). Two species of poplar (P. pruinosa and P. diversifolia), Elaeagnus angusttfolia, the ash, and a few willows grow along the rivers. Large areas are wholly destitute of vegetation, and after crossing 100 m. of such a desert the traveller will occasionally come upon a forest of saksaul (Anabasis Ammodendron). Contorted stems, sometimes of considerable thickness, very hard, and covered with a grey cracked bark, rise out of the sand, bearing green plumes with small greyish leaves and pink fruit. Sometimes the tree is a mere knot peeping above the sand with a sheaf of thin branches. In spring, however, the steppe assumes quite another aspect, being clothed, except where the sands are shifting, with an abundance of vegetation. Persian species penetrate into Bokhara and the region of the upper Amu.

Vegetable Products.—As already stated the climate of Turkestan varies considerably from north to south. In Akmolinsk and Semiryechensk most of the kinds of corn which characterize Middle Russia are grown. South of the Chu and the Syr-darya gardening is a considerable industry; and, although rye and wheat continue to be the chief crops, the cultivation of the apple, and especially of the apricot, acquired importance. Attempts are also made to cultivate the vine. The inhabitants of the neighbourhood of Tashkent and Samarkand, as well as those of the much more northern but better sheltered Kulja oasis, add the cultivation of the almond, pomegranate and fig. Vines are grown and cotton planted in those districts. Finally, about Khojent and in Ferghana, where the climate is milder still, the vine and the pistachio tree cover the hills, while agriculture and horticulture have reached a high degree of perfection. Successful attempts are being made to grow the tea-plant in the Transcaspian region. Large numbers of oleaginous plants are cultivated, such as sunflower.

Agriculture.—The arable land, being limited to the irrigated terraces of loess, occupies little more than 2 % of the whole area of West Turkestan. The remainder is divided between pasture land (less than 44%) and desert (54%). Owing to a very equitable distribution of irrigation water in accordance with Moslem law, agriculture and gardening have reached a high stage of development in the oases. Altogether close upon 4,000,000 acres are irrigated, and the crops are usually taken every year. Wheat, barley, millet, pease, lentils, rice, sorghum, lucerne and cotton are the chief agricultural products. Carrots, melons, vegetable marrows, cucumbers and onions are extensively grown. Rye and oats are cultivated at Kazalinsk and Kopal. Corn is exported. Owing to the irrigation, total failure of crops and consequent famines are unknown, unless among the Kirghiz shepherds. The kitchen gardens of the Mahommedans are, as a rule, admirably kept. Potatoes are grown only by the Russians. The cultivation of cotton is extending rapidly—from 1300 acres in 1883 to 531,000 acres in 1902, of which 402,000 acres were in Ferghana. Sericulture, a growing industry, is chiefly carried on in Ferghana, whence silk cocoons are an important item of export, the output having doubled between 1892 and 1903 (3869 tons). Livestock breeding is extensively pursued. The flocks of sheep on the Kirghiz steppe are so large that the proprietors themselves do not know their exact numbers.

Minerals.—The mineral wealth of Turkestan is considerable. Traces of auriferous sands have been discovered at many places, but the percentage of gold is too poor to make the working remunerative. Silver, lead and iron ores occur in several localities; but the want of fuel is an obstacle to their exploitation. The vast coal-beds of Kulja and some inferior ones in Samarkand are not seriously worked. The petroleum wells of Ferghana and the beds of graphite about Zairamnor are neglected. There are abundant deposits of gypsum, alum, kaolin, marble and similar materials. Asphalt is obtained in Ferghana. Notwithstanding the salt springs of Ferghana and Syr-darya, the salt lakes of the region, and the rock-salt strata of the Alexander Mountains, salt is imported.

Industry and Trade.—Turkestan has no manufacturing industry carried on by means of machinery, except distilleries and establishments for dressing raw cotton. These last have greatly increased in number; over a score are driven by steam and about a hundred by water. But there is a great variety of artisan work, such as copper and brass, paper, knives (at Bokhara), silver filigree, shoes, caps (at Samarkand and Andijan) and carpets; but most of these have been for some time declining and now stand at a rather low level. Trade is very actively carried on. Tashkent and Bokhara are the chief commercial centres, the principal articles of export to Russia, via Orenburg and Semipalatinsk, being raw cotton and silk, cattle and their products, while manufactured wares are imported in return. There is also an import and export trade to and from Urumchi and China, via Kulja and Ak-su.

Population.—Turkestan has been the theatre of so many migrations and conquests that its present population could not fail to be very mixed. Both Aryans and Mongols have their representatives there, the former settled for the most part, the latter chiefly nomad. The Ural-Altaians are numerically the predominant element, and consist of Turkomans, Kirghiz, Uzbegs and Sarts. The Turkomans inhabit chiefly the Transcaspian region. They number less than a quarter of a million. The Kara-Kalpaks (“Black Bonnets”) number about 104,000. They are supposed to be recent immigrants to Syr-darya, having come from the former Bulgarian Empire on the middle Volga. Their language and habits are the same as those of the Kirghiz; but for the last century and a half they have had some acquaintance with agriculture. Their pacific temper exposed them to the raids of the Kirghiz, who compelled them first to settle in Dzungaria, then to move their dwellings several times, and ultimately (in 1742) to recognize the sovereignty of Russia. Even since that time they have been driven by the persecution of their old enemies to cross the Aral-Caspian steppes and seek refuge near Astrakhan. The real masters of the steppes and highlands of Turkestan are the Kirghiz, of whom there are two branches—the Kazak (Cossack) Kirghiz, who number about 3,787,000, and the Kara (Black) Kirghiz or Burut, who number nearly 202,000. The Uzbegs, who played a predominant political part in Turkestan before the Russian conquest, are of Turko-Tatar origin and speak a pure Jagatai (Turkish) dialect; but they are mixed to a great extent with Persians, Kirghiz and Mongols. They are subdivided into clans, and lead a semi-nomadic life, preserving most of the attractive features of their Turkish congeners—especially their honesty and independence. They number some 726,500 in all. When settled they are mostly designated Sarts a name which has reference more to manner of life than to anthropological classification, although a much stronger admixture of Iranian blood is evident in the Sarts, who also speak Persian at Khojent and Samarkand. Their numbers amount to very nearly 1,000,000. Taranchi or Taranji (“labourer” in Chinese) is the name given to those Sarts who were settled in the Kulja region by the Chinese government after the rising of 1758. They constitute about two-fifths of the population of Kulja. The origin of the Dzungans is somewhat problematical. They number nearly 20,000, and inhabit the valley of the Ili in Kulja and partly are settled in Russian Turkestan. They are Mahommedans, but have adopted Chinese manners of life. The Mongol branch is represented in Turkestan by Kalmucks (191,000) and Torgutes (Torgod) in the north-east and in Kulja, where they are intermingled with Solons, Sibos and Chinese. The Aryan Tajik, the aborigines of the fertile parts of Turkestan, were subdued by the Turko-Mongol invaders and partly compelled to emigrate to the mountains, where they are now known as Galchas. They number over 350,000 and constitute the intellectual element of the country and are the principal owners of the irrigated land—the Uzbegs being their labourers—merchants, and mollahs or priests. They are Sunnite Mussulmans. The other representatives of Aryan race in Turkestan are a few (8000) Persians, mostly liberated slaves; Indians (300), who carry on trade and usury in the cities; a few Gipsies (800), and the Russians. Among these last two distinct elements must be noticed the Cossacks, who are settled on the borders of the Kirghiz steppe and have assumed many Kirghiz habits, and the peasant-settlers, who are beginning to colonize the valley of the Ili and to spread farther south. Inclusive of the military, the Russians number about 100,000. The total population numbers approximately 9,000,000.

Notwithstanding immigration, the Russians still constitute a very small proportion of the population, except in the province of Semiryechensk, where the Cossacks, the peasants, and the artisans in towns number 130,000, and, with the Russian troops, constitute 14% of the aggregate population. The only other province containing any considerable number of Russians is Syr-darya, where there are about 10,000 settlers (less than 1% of the population). About 12,000 Russians are settled in Bokhara and about 4000 in Khiva. The total estimated population of Russian Turkestan in 1906 was 5,746,600.

There are several populous cities in Russian Turkestan. Its capital, Tashkent, in the Syr-darya province, had 156,414 inhabitants in 1897, and other cities of importance are Samarkand (58,194), Marghilan (42,855 in Old Marghilan, and 8977 in New Marghilan) in Ferghana, Khojent (31,881) in Syr-darya, Khokand (86,704), Namangan (61,388) and Andijan (49,682) in Ferghana.

Education.—In the way of education nearly everything has still to be done; but a technical school and an experimental agricultural station with a school have been opened at Tashkent.

Railways.—Turkestan possesses only two railway systems; the Transcaspian line and the Orenburg-Tashkent line. The former, built in 1880-1888, starts at Krasnovodsk on the Caspian and runs east-south-east between the Kara-kum desert and the Kopet-dagh Mountains until it reaches the oasis of Tejen. Then it turns north-east via Merv to Bokhara and Samarkand, the total distance being 940 m. From Samarkand it is continued east-north-east via Khojent to Andijan (330 m.), sending off on the way a branch to Tashkent (94 m.). This last city was in 1905 connected by rail via Perovsk, Kazalinsk, and Irgiz with Orenburg (1149 m.).

General Condition.—Populous cities adorned with fine monuments of Arabian architecture, numerous ruins of cities decayed, grand irrigation canals now lying dry, and written monuments of Arabian literature testify to a time when civilization in Turkestan stood at a much higher level than at present. This period was during the first centuries after its conversion to Islam. Now all is in decay. The beautiful mosques and madrasas (theological colleges) are dilapidated; no astronomers study the sky from the tops of their minarets; and the scholars of the madrasas waste their time on the most deplorably puerile scholasticism. The inspiration of early belief has disappeared; the ruling motive of the mollahs (priests) is the thirst for personal enrichment, and the people no longer follow the khojas or theologians. The agricultural labourer has preserved the uprightness, diligence and sobriety which characterize the Turkish peasant; but the richer inhabitants of the cities are grossly sensual.

It remains, however, an open question whether the Russians will be able to bring new vigour to the country and awaken intellectual life. The followers of Islam, whose common law and religion know only of a temporary possession of the land, which belongs wholly to the Prophet, cannot accept the principles of unlimited property in land which European civilization has borrowed from Roman law; to do so would put an end to all public irrigation works and to the system by which water is used according to each family's needs, and so would be fatal to agriculture. The Russians have abolished slavery; and their rule has put an end to the interminable intestine struggles which had weakened and desolated the whole region. The barbarous tortures and executions which rendered Khiva notorious in the East are no longer heard of; and the continual appeals of the khojas for “holy” war against their rivals find no response. But the Russian rule has imposed many new taxes, in return for which Turkestan only gets troops of Russian merchants and officials, who too often accept the worst features of the depraved Mussulman civilization of the higher classes of the country. Schools are being diligently built; but the wants of the natives are subordinated to the supposed necessities of Russification. A consulting hospital for Mahommedan women has been opened by women graduates in medicine at Tashkent.

Bibliography.—I. V. Mushketov's Geological and Orographical Description of Turkestan (in Russian, St Petersburg, 1866) is still a standard authority. But consult also A. M. B. Meakin, Turkestan (London, 1903); F. von Schwarz, Turkestan (Freiburg-im-Breisgau, 1900); H. Krafft, À travers le Turkestane russe (Paris, 1902); H. Lansdell, Russian Central Asia (London, 1885); E. Huntingdon, “The Mountains of Turkestan,” in Geog. Journ. (1905); G. F. Wright, Asiatic Russia (New York, 1903); N. A. Syevertsov, “Vertical and Horizontal Distribution of Mammalia in Turkestan,” in Izvestia Lub. Est. of Moscow (1873); L. F. Kostenko, Turkestanskiy Krai (3 vols., 1880); O. Fedchenko, Album of Views of Russian Turkestan (1885); Navilkin's History of the Khanate of Kokand (in Russian, Kazan, 1885); A. Vambéry's Life and Adventures (London, 1883), Travels and Adventures in Central Asia (London, 1864); Sketches of Central Asia (London, 1867); and History of Bokhara (London, 1873); F. H. Skrine and E. D. Ross, The Heart of Asia (London, 1899), relating the history of the region; Heinz von Ficker, “Zur Meteorolpgie von West-Turkestan,” Denksch. a. mathemat.-naturw. Kl. d. kaiserl. Akademie d. Wissenschaft, lxxxi. (Vienna, 1907).

II.—East Turkestan

East or Chinese Turkestan, sometimes called Kashgaria, is a region in the heart of Asia, lying between the Tian-shan ranges on the north and the Kuen-lun ranges on the scuth, and stretching east from the Pamirs to the desert of Gobi and the Chinese province of Kan-su (98° E.). The country belongs to China, and to the Chinese is known as Sin-kiang; but administratively the Chinese province of Sin-kiang crosses over the Tian-shan and includes the valleys of Kulja or Ili and Dzungaria on the north.

Physical Geography..—Along with the desert of Gobi East Turkestan occupies the lower terrace of the great central Asian plateau, which projects from the Himalayas north-east towards the Bering Straits. But though it is in reality an elevated plateau, with a general altitude of 4600 down to 2675 ft., it is nevertheless a depression when compared with the girdle of mountains which surround it on every side except the east, and even on that side it is shut in by the crumbling remains of a once mighty mountain system, the Pe-shan (see Gobi). The region as a whole slopes very gently towards the Lop district, where the lake, or rather marsh, of Kara-koshun, in 39° 51′ N. and 89° 24′ E., lies at an altitude of 2675 ft. This is not, however, the absolutely lowest point in East Turkestan: that is found in the local depression of Turfan-Lukchun, south-east of Urumchi, between the Choltagh and the Bogdo-ola ranges of the Tian-shan. The deepest part of that depression lies 56-426 ft. below the level of the sea; but this remarkable pit in the surface is of very limited area, for within less than 30 m. to the north the level rises up to 250 ft. (at the town of Turfan) and to 3500 ft. in the Chol-tagh only 12 m. to the south, while at Pichang, 60 m. east, it is 3400 ft. above the sea, and immediately behind Turfan the Jargoz Mountains run up to an altitude of 10,000 ft. There are also two other depressions which lie at a lower altitude than the Kara-koshun, but they lie, one (Kulja or Ili) among the Tian-shan ranges and the other (Dzungaria) beyond them. The town of Kulja, which stands about the middle of the Chinese part of the valley of the Ili river, has an altitude of 2165 ft., but the valley of Dzungaria ranges at 900 to 3000 ft., and in the lakes (e.g. Ebi-nor) which dot its surface it descends to 820 ft. The mountain ranges which shut off East Turkestan from the rest of the world rank among the loftiest and most difficult in Asia, and indeed in the world. The Kuen-lun on the south rise steeply from the flat deserts of the Takla-makan and Kum-tagh by successive terraces until they reach

an elevation of 19,000 to 20,000 ft. on the summit of the Tibetan plateau. The passes in them range generally at altitudes of 10,000 ft. to 18,300 ft. (e.g. Kyzyl-da van, 16,900 ft.; Sughet-davan, 17,825 ft.; a pass in the Arka-tagh 18,300 ft.). On the west East Turkestan is generally approached from India by the famous pass of Karakorum (18,300 ft.), from Ferghana and West (Russian) Turkestan by the passes of Kyzyl-art (14,015 ft.) and Terek (12,730 ft.), and the mountains on this side attain to altitudes of 25,780 ft. in the Muztagh-ata or Tagarma, of 23,000 ft. in the Kaufmann Peak, in the Trans-Alai range, and of 19,680 ft. in the Alai range. The Tian-shan Mountains skirt East Turkestan on the north-east, where the Kokshal-tau range rises to 16,000 to 18,000 ft. and is crossed by passes (e.g. Bedel and Jan-art) which reach 13,000 to 14,500 ft., and on the north, where the mountain knot of Khan-tengri has an altitude of 22,800 ft. and the Bogdo-ola and Karlyk ranges run up to 15,000 to 18,000 ft., while the passes (e.g. Muz-arton the north-east shoulder of Khan-tengri) climb up to 8000 to 12,000 ft. But here two natural gaps or gateways, those of Urumchi at 2790 ft. and Otun-koza at 2390 ft., facilitate communication between the basins of the Tarim and the Hi (Dzungaria). The Pe-shan swelling, with its flanking ranges of the Chol-tagh and Kuruk-tagh, which, by gradually approaching the Nan-shan section of the Kuen-lun in about 98° E., narrow the desert, are a good deal lower, namely 5000 to 9000 ft.

Within this mountain girdle lies the basin of the Tarim, extending over an area of 354,000 sq. m., but of this 51.2% consists of arid and almost impassable deserts, namely the Takla-makan (q.v.), the desert of Lop, the Ghashiun Gobi, and the desert of Kum-tagh, which are described under Gobi. The principal stream is, of course, the Tarim, about 1000 m. in length. It is virtually composed of the Yarkand-darya, the Kashgar-darya, and the Ak-su-darya, with constant augmentation from the Koncheh-darya, which drains Lake Bagrash-kul (at the south foot of the eastern Tian-shan), and intermittent augmentation from the Khotan-darya and the Cherchen-darya from the south. The basin of the Tarim contains, indeed, numerous other streams, most of them summer torrents seaming the flanks of the encircling mountains, but once no doubt affluents of the Tarim, though now all swallowed up in the desert soon after quitting the shelter of the mountains. The Tarim, which is on the whole a sluggish, shallow, winding stream, fringes the great desert of Takla-makan on the west, north and east, and, after being extensively drawn upon for irrigation purposes in the oases (Yarkand, Kashgar, Maral-bashi, Ak-su), through which it passes, it eventually dies away in the salt reed-grown lake or marsh of Lop-nor (Kara-koshun). Along the south foot of the Tian-shan, and in the high valleys which intervene between the constituent ranges of that system, there exist numerous flourishing oases, such as Uch-turfan, Ak-su, Kucha, Korla, Kara-shahr, Hami, Barkul, Turfan, Urumchi, Manas and Kulja. A similar string of oases exist all along the north foot of the Kuen-lun, e.g. Kargalik, Khotan, Keriya, Niya, Cherchen, Charkhlik, Sa-chou, and An-hsi-chou, but these settlements, some of them of very great antiquity, have to maintain a constant fight against the encroachments of the desert sand. In broad, general terms the Takla-makan may be described as a tumbled sea of sand, with waves (barkhans or sand-accumulations) as much as 300 ft. in height, diversified by occasional patches of hard clay, mostly elongated from north-east to south-west, between the ridges of the dunes. In the deserts that lie east of the Lop-nor the sand is not piled up to such great heights, nor is it generally of such a shifting character. There are ampler expanses of hard saliferous clay (shor) and on the north side of the desert of Lop the surface has been carved and sculptured by the wind into innumerable flat, table-topped masses (jardangs) with vertical or even overhanging sides, separated from one another by deep-cut, wind-swept gullies, running from north-east to south-west. During the later Tertiary period all these desert regions would appear to have been covered by an Asian Mediterranean or, at all events, by vast fresh-water lakes, a conclusion which seems to be well warranted by the existence of salt-stained depressions of a lacustrine character; by traces of former lacustrine shore-lines, more or less parallel and concentric; by discoveries of vast quantities of fresh-water mollusc shells (e.g. Limnaea and Planorbis); the existence of belts of dead poplars, patches of dead and moribund tamarisks, and vast expanses of withered reeds, all these crowning the tops of the jardangs, never found in the wind-scooped furrows; the presence of ripple-marks of aqueous origin on the leeward side of the clay terraces and in other wind-sheltered situations; and, in fact, by the general conformation, contour lines, and shapes of the deserts as a whole. From the statements of older travellers, like the Venetian Marco Polo (13th century) and the Chinese pilgrim Hsüan Tsang (7th century), as well as from other data, it is perfectly evident, not only that this country is suffering from a progressive desiccation, but that the sands have actually swallowed up cultivated areas within the historical period.

Climate.—The climate is characterized by great extremes and a wide range of temperature, not only between summer and winter, but sometimes also in the course of twenty-four hours. In the desert of Gobi the thermometer descends as low as -19.3° F. in January, and in the desert of Cherchen as low as -26° in the same month, and snow falls in winter even in the heart of the latter desert. At Yanghi-kol (40° 52′ N. and 86° 51′ E.), beside the lower Tarim, the January mean is -1.3° F., the June mean 88°, and the lowest minimum recorded -14° (February). In both the desert of Gobi and in the desert of Lop a diurnal range of 44° has been observed. The lower Tarim begins to freeze early in November. As regards the summer temperature, as early as the 12th of March a reading of 70.5° has been obtained in the desert of Lop, and as high as 90° at Charkhlik early in May. In June beside the lower Tarim the thermometer has registered 104° before a buran, 77° during its continuance, and 48.7° at night. At Kashgar (alt. 4275 ft.) the mean temperature for the year is 55.4°, the January mean 21.2°, and the July mean 81.5°; at Yarkand (alt. 4165 ft.) the annual mean is 54.0°, the January mean 20.3°, and the July mean 81.4°. In the Lukchun depression (55 ft. below sea-level), which is situated at approximately the centre of the Asiatic continent (42° 42′ N. and 89° 42′ E.), the climate is fairly typical of Central Asia, the mean for the year being 55.5°. for January 16.7° and for July 89.6°; in other words, while the summer is as hot as in the Sahara, the winter is as cold as at St Petersburg. Minimal observations of -4.0° and -4.5° have been taken at Yarkand and Lukchun respectively, and maximal observations of 103.2° and 109.5° at the same two places. The atmosphere in the desert regions is remarkably dry, and though a little rain falls occasionally on the lower slopes of the mountains, scarcely any falls in the desert, at the most a smart shower at intervals of several years. At Kashgar the annual rainfall amounts to less than 18 in. During a large part of the year, and more especially in spring, the atmosphere is heavily charged with sand, and blinding sandstorms (burans) are of frequent occurrence.

Fauna.—In the more arid regions animal life is naturally not abundant. The tiger and wild boar haunt the thickets beside the Tarim, wild duck and wild geese throng its waters, and more especially the waters of its marginal and deltaic lakes. There also the wild swan is found. Antelopes, hares and occasionally the lynx, fox, deer, rats, vultures, crows, ravens, hawks, with lizards are other denizens of the borders of the deserts. The wild camel frequents the scattered oases along the margins of the desert and roams into the desert itself. Gadflies and mosquitoes are a veritable plague around the lakes of the lowlands in the hot weather. In the higher mountainous parts animal life is more abundant, the typical forms being the wild yak, the kulan or wild ass, the arkhari or wild sheep, the orongo and other antelopes, the marmot, wolf, hare partridge and bear. Fish are plentiful in the lower Tarim and in its lakes.

Vegetable Products.—In the desert regions vegetation is, of course, extremely scanty, being restricted almost entirely to the tamarisk, Elaeagnus, tussock grass, and a few Salsolaceae. Poplars and in some places willows grow along the river-sides, and dense reed brakes, of ten 6 to 10 ft. high, fill the lakes and dot the quieter reaches of the river beds. But as the slopes of the mountains are ascended the rainfall becomes more copious and grass makes its appearance, together with a few species of arboreal vegetation, such as the juniper. What cultivation there is, is confined to the oases which nestle at the foot of the mountains all round the Tarim basin. The soil in them is of great fertility wherever it is irrigated, and despite the supineness of the Chinese authorities, irrigation is very extensively practised in nearly all the oases. Excellent crops of wheat, barley, maize, sesame, millet, cotton, opium, tobacco and rice are grown, and several of the oases, e.g. Khotan, Kashgar, Korla, Turfan and Hami, are famous for their orchards, in which cucumbers, the mulberry, apple, pear, apricot, peach, melon, grape, pomegranate and walnut ripen to perfection.

Population.—The people who inhabit the plains and mountain slopes of East Turkestan consist partly of Aryans and partly of races of Ural-Altaic stock, and are partly of mixed blood. In Dzungaria they are Dzungans or Dungans, a Turko-Tatar tribe who nominally profess Mahommedanism, and in Kulja they are Kirghiz, Tatars, Mongols, Dungans and others. The agricultural population of the oases are principally of Turkish stock, powerfully influenced by Aryan blood. The townsmen are more distinctly Turkish, i.e. Sarts and Uzbegs. The language universally spoken is Jagatai Turkish. Kirghiz graze the slopes of the Tian-shan. The trade is mostly in the hands of the Chinese, natives of West Turkestan (known as Andijanis from the town of Andijan) and Hindus. The total population, excluding Kulja and Dzungaria, is estimated by A. N. Kuropatkin at 1,200,000, by M. V. Pyevtsov at 2,000,000, and by Sven Hedin at 1,800,000 to 2,000,000. The last named distributes it thus—1,500,000 rural, 200,000 urban, and 100,000 shepherds. The principal towns and their populations are Yarkand, 100,000; Khotan, 40,000; Kashgar, 33,000; Ak-su, 15,000; Keriya, 12,000; and Kulja, 20,000. The population of Dzungaria is estimated at 600,000 and of Kulja at 150,000. The prevailing religion all over East Turkestan is Mahommedanism. The country belongs politically to China, and Chinese fill all the higher administrative positions and form the garrisons in the towns. The region is divided into the administrative districts of Kashgar, Yarkand, Ak-su and Urumchi. The capital is the town of Urumchi.

Industries.—In addition to agriculture, the breeding of livestock, more especially sheep, camels, horses and asses, fishing in the waters of the lower Tarim, and the transportation of merchandise are all important means of livelihood. East Turkestan contains several minerals, such as gold, mined to a very small extent in the Kuen-lun Mountains; lead found in the country west of Kashgar and once worked in the Kuruk-tagh, and copper and petroleum near Kashgar; coal exists in abundance in the Kulja valley and is found at Ak-su, Korla, Kara-shahr, Turfan and Hami on the northern verge of the deserts. Salt is obtained from stagnant lakes and from certain parts of the desert. Jade, which is very highly valued by the Chinese for making into ornaments, vases, cups, &c., has been extracted from time immemorial, and is still extracted to-day at Khotan. In a region like East Turkestan, where the settlements are so scattered and the population so thin, the arts and crafts are prosecuted necessarily on only a local scale. Nevertheless certain of the oases are famous individually for one or more handicrafts: for instance, Khotan for its silks, white carpets and felt goods; Kashgar and Turfan for cottons, Kucha and Kara-shahr for leather and saddlery, Ak-su for felts and leather and metal goods, Yarkand for silks, carpets and felts, and Urumchi and Uch-Turfan for sulphur.

Trade and Communications.—A considerable amount of trade is done in the export of wool, hides, cotton, carpets, silks, felts, cereals (wheat, barley, maize, rice), sheep, fruit and vegetables, and in tea, silver, porcelain and opium imported from China, cloth and groceries from India, and cloth, cottons, silks, sugar, matches and leather from West Turkestan and Russia. The entire trade with India does not exceed £200,000 per annum. Traffic is carried on principally by means of caravans of camels, horses, asses and oxen. The caravan routes mostly followed between China and the more populous centres (Kashgar and Yarkand) of East Turkestan start from An-si-chow and Sa-chow respectively, converge upon Hami on the north side of the Pe-shan swelling, and continue westward along the south foot of the Tian-shan Mountains through the oases of Turfan, Kara-shahr, Korla, Kucha, Ak-su and Uch-turfan. From Hami other routes proceed to Barkul and to the main caravan road which skirts the southern edge of the Dzungarian valley and leads to Vyernyi in the Russian province of Semiryechensk. A similar branch route strikes off at Turfan and cuts through the Tian-shan ranges at Urumchi. Ak-su is an important trading town. From it three routes start for West Turkestan; the one principally used climbs over the Bedel pass (13,000 ft.) in the Kokshal-tau and makes a detour round the east and along the north side of the Issyk-kul, while the others cross over the Muz-art pass (12,000 ft.), on the north-east shoulder of Khan-tengri, and the Terek pass (12,730 ft.) respectively, the latter into Ferghana. Kashgar has connexion with Ferghana and Bokhara over the Kyzyl-art pass (14,015 ft.) and down the Alai valley. Yarkand and Khotan communicate with India over the lofty pass of Karakorum (18,300 ft.) and through Leh in Ladak, and thence over the difficult pass of Zoji-la (11,500 ft.). There is another route between Kashgar and China along the southern edge of the desert via Lop-nor, but it is not much used. A telegraph line was constructed between Lanchow in the Chinese province of Kan-su and Turfan in 1893.

History.—It appears very probable that at the dawn of history East Turkestan was inhabited by an Aryan population, the ancestors of the present Slav and Teutonic races, and that a civilization not inferior to that of Bactria had already developed at that time in the region of the Tarim.[7] Our knowledge, however, of the history of the region is very fragmentary until about the beginning of the Christian era. When the Huns (Hiung-nu) occupied west and east Mongolia in 177-165 B.C., they drove before them the Yue-chi (Yutes, Yetes or Ghetes), who divided into two hordes, one of which invaded the valley of the Indus, while the other met the Sacae in East Turkestan and drove them over the Tian-shan into the valley of the Ili. Thus by the beginning of our era the Tarim region had a mixed population of Aryans and Ural-Altaians, some being settled agriculturists and others nomads. There were also several independent cities, of which Khotan was the most important. One portion of the Aryans emigrated and settled in what is now Wakhhan (on the Pamir plateau), the present language of which seems very old, dating anterior to the separation of the Vedic and Zend languages. Between 120 and 101 B.C. the Chinese extended their rule westwards over East Turkestan as far as Kashgar. But their dominion seems to have been merely nominal, for it was soon shaken off. By the end of the 5th century the western parts fell under the sway of the “White Huns” (Ephthalites, or Tochari), while the eastern parts were under Tangut (Thygun) dominion. The Chinese, however, still retained the region about Lop-Nor. Buddhism penetrated into the country at an early date, and possessed famous monasteries there in the 5th and 7th centuries. There were also at the same time followers of Zoroastrianism, of Nestorian Christianity, and even of Manichaeism. An active trade was carried on by means of caravans, corn and silk especially being mentioned at a very early date. The civilization and political organization of the country were dominated by the Chinese, but were also influenced to some extent by Graeco-Bactrian civilization, which had probably secured a footing in the country as early as the 3rd century B.C. Our information as to the history of this region from the 2nd century to the first half of the 7th is slight, and is derived chiefly from the Journeys of the Chinese pilgrims, Fa-hien in 399-415, Song-yun and Hwei-seng in 518-521, and Hsüan-Tsang in 629-645. By this time Buddhism had reached its culminating point: in Khotan there were 100 monasteries and 5000 monks, and the Indian sacred literature was widely diffused. But already there were tokens of its decay; even then the eastern parts of the Tarim basin seem to have been growing less and less populous. To the east of Khotan, cities which were prosperous when visited by Song-yun had a century later fallen into ruins.

Little is known about these regions during the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries. In the 7th century the Tibetan king, Srong-btsan, with the help of the western Turks, subjugated the western part of the Tarim basin. During the following century the Mahommedans under Kotaiba ibn Moslim, after several excursions into West Turkestan, invaded (712-13) East Turkestan, penetrating as far as Turfan and even China. The Chinese supremacy was not shaken by these invasions. But, on the outbreak of internal disturbances in China, the Tibetans took possession of the western provinces of China, and intercepted the communications of the Chinese with Kashgaria, so that they had to send their troops through the lands of the Hui-khe (Hoei-ke, or Hoei-hu). In 790 the Tibetans were masters of East Turkestan; but their rule was never strong, and towards the 9th century we find the country under the Hoi-he. Who these people were is somewhat uncertain. According to Chinese documents they came from the Selenga; but most Orientalists identify them with the Uighurs. In the opinion of M. Grigoriev,[8] the Turks who succeeded the Chinese in the western parts of East Turkestan were the Karlyk Turks, who extended farther south-west up to Kashmir, while the north-eastern parts of the Tarim region were subdued by the Uighurs. Soon Mongol hordes, the Kara-Kitais, entered East Turkestan (11th century), and then penetrated into West Turkestan. During the following century the Mongol conqueror Jenghiz Khan overran China, and Turkestan and Kashgaria fell under his rule in 1220, though not without strenuous resistance followed by massacres. The Mongol rule was, however, not very heavy, the Mongols merely exacting tribute. In fact, Kashgaria flourished under them, and the fanaticism of Islam was considerably abated. Women again acquired greater independence, and the religious toleration then established permitted Christianity and Buddhism to spread freely. This state of affairs lasted until the 14th century, when Tughlak Timur, who extended his dominions to the Kuen-lun, accepted Islam. He transferred his capital from Ak-su to Kashgar, and had a summer residence on the banks of the lake Issyk-kul. His son reigned at Samarkand, but was overthrown by Timur (Tamerlane), the Mongol sovereign of Samarkand, who, to put an end to the attacks of the wild Tian-shan tribes, undertook in 1389 his renowned march to Dzungaria, which was devastated, East Turkestan also suffering severely.

The reintroduction of Islam was of no benefit to the Tarim region. In the 14th and 15th centuries Bokhara and Samarkand became centres of Moslem scholarship, and sent great numbers of their learned doctors to Kashgaria. Rubruquis, who visited East Turkestan in 1254, Marco Polo between 1271 and 1275, and Hoïs in 1680, all bore witness to great religious tolerance; but this entirely disappeared with the invasion of the Bokharian mullahs or Mahommedan priests. They created in East Turkestan the power of the khojas, or “theologians,” who afterwards fomented the many intestine wars that were waged between the rival factions of the White and the Black Mountaineers. In the 17th century a powerful Kalmuck confederation arose in Dzungaria, and extended its sway over the Ili and Issyk-kul basins, having its capital on the Ili. To this power or to the Kirghiz the “Whites” and “Blacks” alternately appealed in their struggles, in which Yarkand supported the latter and Kashgar the former. These struggles paved the way for a Chinese invasion, which was supported by the White khojas of Kashgar. The Chinese entered Dzungaria in 1758, and there perpetrated an appalling massacre, the victims being estimated at one million. The Kalmucks fled, and Dzungaria became a Chinese province, with a military colonization of Sibos, Solons, Dahurs, Chinese criminals and Moslem Dzungars. The Chinese next re-conquered East Turkestan, marking their progress by massacres and transporting 12,500 partisans of independence to the Ili (Kulja) valley. Hereupon the dissentient khojas fled to Khokand in West Turkestan, and there gathered armies of malcontents and fanatic followers of Islam. Several times they succeeded in overthrowing the Chinese rule—in 1825, in 1830 and in 1847—but their successes were never permanent. After the “rebellion of the seven khojas” in 1847 nearly 20,000 families from Kashgar, Yarkand and Ak-su fled to West Turkestan through the Terek-davan pass, many of them perishing on the way. In 1857 another insurrection broke out; but a few months later the Chinese again took Kashgar. In the course of the Dzungarian outbreak of 1864 the Chinese were again expelled; and Yakub Beg became master of Kashgar in 1872. But five years later he had again to sustain war with China, in which he was defeated, and East Turkestan once more became a Chinese province.

Antiquities.—In 1896 Dr Sven Hedin discovered in the desert not far from the town of Khotan, in a locality known as Borasan, objects in terra-cotta, bronze images of Buddha, engraved gems, coins and MSS.; the objects, which display artistic skill, give indications of having been wrought by craftsmen who laboured to reproduce Graeco-Indian ideals in the service of the cult of Buddha, and consequently date presumably from the 3rd century B.C., when the successors of Alexander the Great were founding their kingdoms in Persia, Khwarezm (Khiva), Merv, Bactria (Afghanistan) and northern India, and from that date to the 4th or 5th century A.D. At the same time the same explorer excavated part of the ruins of the ancient city of Takla-makan (near the Keriya-darya), which had been overwhelmed by the moving sands of the desert. There he found mural paintings, some of which represented local lake or river scenes, carved woodwork, fragments of pottery, gypsum images of Buddha, and traces of gardens. These discoveries were followed by others made by Dr M. Aurel Stein in the same part of East Turkestan, though at other localities, namely, at Yotkan, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Khotan, and at Dandan-uiliq, Endere, Karadong, Rawak and other places, all lying east and north-east of the town of Khotan. His “finds” consisted of pottery, images, statues, coins, seals, frescoes, MSS. written in Sanskrit, Brahmi and Chinese characters, wooden tablets in the Kharoshti script, furniture and various cereals. These things appear to date from the very beginning of the Christian era, and continue down to the end of the 8th century. Again, in another part of the country, namely, in the heart of the desert of Lop, in approximately 40° 40′ N. and 90° E., Dr Sven Hedin was fortunate enough to discover early in 1901 the ruins of the ancient city of Lou-lan or Shanshan, which was destroyed, apparently by a desert storm or by an inundation, or perhaps by both, towards the end of the 3rd century A.D. Among the objects found on this site were documents testifying to the name of the locality and furnishing materials for fixing the date.

A little before the date of these last discoveries, others of a somewhat similar nature were made by D. A. Klements in the Lukchun depression already mentioned. Here in 1898 the explorer discovered the ruins of ancient monasteries, dating from the beginning of the Christian era down to the 13th and 16th centuries. Among these ruins Klements found several very interesting MSS., some of them written in the language of the Uighurs, an ancient Turkish race, and others in tongues unknown. Finally, in 1904, Dr von Le Coq, when excavating the sand-buried ruins of Kara-khoja, between Turfan and Lukchun, discovered extremely valuable MSS., some written on Chinese paper, some on white leather, and some on wood, besides Buddhistic wall-paintings. The MSS. are written in ten different alphabets, and of the languages employed two are entirely unknown. The excavators also brought to light a vast number of human corpses in the garb of Buddhist monks. Other finds were subsequently made by the same explorer, in conjunction with Professor A. Grünwedel, at Kucha and Korla, two other oases at the south foot of the Tian-shan Mountains.

In 1906-1908 Dr Stein made a second and more important journey, principally for the purpose of antiquarian research, though he also carried out important geographical investigations, with the assistance of a native surveyor, in the Eastern Pamirs (about Mustagh-ata), in the Nissa valley south of Khotan, and elsewhere. His archaeological investigations were carried on chiefly in the following localities: (i.) at and about Tashkurghan. (ii.) North-east of Khotan, where a large Buddhist temple, with relievos derived from Graeco-Buddhist models, were investigated and numerous MSS. and wooden tablets were discovered, inscribed in Sanskrit, Chinese, Tibetan and the Brahmi script of Khotan, the arid conditions, here as elsewhere, having caused these and other perishable objects to remain remarkably well preserved. (iii.) At Niya, east of Kenya, where many Kharoshti documents on wood were [recovered, sometimes retaining their clay seals of Greek type and wooden covers as envelopes, together with implements, furniture, &c. (iv.) At Miran, near the western extremity of Lop-nor, where Buddhist shrines with frescoes, &c., were investigated. (v.) At Lop-nor itself, where Chinese and Kharoshti records on paper, wood and silk were recovered, and flint implements and other evidences of prehistoric occupation were discovered. (vi.) At and about the oasis of Tung-hwang, east of Lop-nor. Here the explorer traced a Chinese wall with watch-towers, guard-stations, &c., for a considerable distance, and made an important archaeological collection. Evidence of settlement back to the close of the 2nd century A.D. was obtained, and also of commercial traffic from the distant west in the shape of records in Indian, Kharoshti and Brahmi scripts and an unknown script resembling Aramaic. The sacred grottoes known as the Halls of the Thousand Buddhas, south-east of Tung-hwang, were visited, with their frescoes and cave temples, and a large number of documents and examples of early Chinese art were recovered. Dr Stein also investigated sites in the neighbourhood of Kara-shahr and others to the north-east of the great desert.


.—The best and the most exhaustive accounts of East Turkestan are contained in Sven Hedin's Scientific Results of a Journey in Central Asia, 1899-1902 (vols. i.-ii., Stockholm, 1905-1906), Through Asia (2 vols., London, 1898), and Central Asia and Tibet (2 vols., London, 1903). See also H. H. P. Deasy, In Tibet and Chinese Turkestan (London, 1901); F. Grenard, in vol. ii. of J. L. Dutreuil de Rhins's Mission Scientifique dans la Haute Asie (1890-1895, n.p., 1897); Futterer, Durch Asien (Berlin, 1901); N. M. Przhevalsky, From Kulja across the Tian-shan to Lob-nor (Eng. trans., by Delmar Morgan, London, 1879); G. E. Grum-Grshimailo, Opisanie Puteshestviya v Sapadniy Kitai (St Petersburg, 1897-1899); V. I. Roborovsky and P. K. Kozlov, Trudy Ekspeditsiy Imp. Russ. Geog.}}

Obshchestva po centralnoy Asiya, 1893–1895 (St Petersburg, 1897,&c.); V. I. Roborovsky, Trudy Tibetskoi Ekspeditsiy, 1889–1890; K. Bogdanovich, Geologicheskiya Isledovaniya v. Vostochnom Turkestane and Trudy Tibetskoy Ekspeditsiy, 1889–1890 (St Petersburg, 1891–1892); V. A. Obruchev, Centralnaya Asiya, Severniy Kitai i Nan-schan, 1892–1894 (2 vols., St Petersburg, 1899–1901); A. N. Kuropatkin, Kashgaria (Eng. trans., London, 1883); and P. W. Church, Chinese Turkestan with Caravan and Rifle (London, 1901). For the archaeological discoveries, see the books of Sven Hedin already quoted; M. A. Stein, The Sand-buried Cities of Khotan (London, 1903), and Geographical Journal (London, July and Sept., 1909); and D. A. Klements and W. Radlov, Nachrichten über die von der k. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu St Petersburg im Jahre 1898 ausgerüsteten Expedition (St Petersburg, 1899). Consult also books cited under Tian-shan, Lop-nor, Gobi and Kuen-lun.  (J. T. Be.; P. A. K.) 

  1. R. Pumpelly and others, Explorations in Turkestan (Washington, 1905), contains references to the geological literature to the date of publication.
  2. I. V. Mushketov's Turkestan (pp. 35, 681) seems to justify this conclusion.
  3. See I. Ignatyev, in Izvestia of Russ. Geog. Soc. (1887), vol. xxiii.
  4. Ibid.; also Orlov in Mem. of Kazan Naturalists (1873), vol. iii.
  5. For ampler information, see N. A. Syevertsov's “Vertical and Horizontal Distribution of Turkestan Animals,” in Itsvestia of the Moscow Soc. of Amateurs of Nat. Science (1873); A. P. Fedchenko's “Travels in Turkestan” (vols. xi., xix., xxi., xxiv. and xxvi. of the same Izvestia), forming a series of monographs by specialists which deal with separate divisions of the animal and vegetable kingdom (the flora by E. A. Regel); Oshanin's Zoo-Geographical Problems in Turkestan (Tashkent, 1880); G. E. Grum-Grshimailo's “Flora and Fauna of Pamir,” in Izvestia of Russ. Geog. Soc. (1886); Works of the Aral-Caspian Expedition.
  6. See Krasnov’s researches in Izvestia of Russ. Geog. Soc. (1887), vol. xxiii.
  7. Such is the conclusion reached by C. Lassen, Indische Alterthumskunde (4 vols., Bonn, 1844-1861), and supported by M. Grigoriev (Ritter's Asien in Russ. trans.; addenda to “East Turkestan”). In connexion with the objection based upon the sub-boreal character of the regions which were the cradle of the Aryans, as proved by the so-called palaeontology of the Aryan languages, it may be observed that by the end of the Glacial, and during the earlier Lacustrine (Post-Glacial) period, the vegetation of Turkestan and of Central Asia was quite different from what it is now. It was Siberian or north European. The researches by M. Krasnov (in Izvestia of Russ. Geog. Soc., St Petersburg, 1887, vol. xxiii.) as to the characteristics of the former flora of the Tian-shan, and the changes it has undergone in consequence of the extremely rapid desiccation of Central Asia, must be carefully borne in mind in all speculations founded upon the testimony of language as to the original home of the Aryans.
  8. See Ritter's Asien: “East Turkestan” (Russ. trans.), ii. 282; also A. N. Kuropatkin's Kashgaria (1883).