Uyghur people

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Three Uyghur girls at a Sunday market in Khotan
Regions with significant populations
 China (Xinjiang)8,399,393 (2000)[1]
 Kazakhstan223,100 (2009)[2]
 Uzbekistan55,220 (2008)
 Kyrgyzstan49,000 (2009)[3]
 Turkey19,300 (2010)
 Russia3,696 (2010)[4]
 Ukraine197 (2001)[5]

Uyghur, Mandarin Chinese


Sunni Islam

Related ethnic groups

Karluks, and other Turkic peoples

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Three Uyghur girls at a Sunday market in Khotan
Regions with significant populations
 China (Xinjiang)8,399,393 (2000)[1]
 Kazakhstan223,100 (2009)[2]
 Uzbekistan55,220 (2008)
 Kyrgyzstan49,000 (2009)[3]
 Turkey19,300 (2010)
 Russia3,696 (2010)[4]
 Ukraine197 (2001)[5]

Uyghur, Mandarin Chinese


Sunni Islam

Related ethnic groups

Karluks, and other Turkic peoples

The Uyghurs (Uyghur: ئۇيغۇر‎, ULY: Uyghur ;[6] [ʔʊjˈʁʊː]; simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Wéiwú'ěr) are a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia. Today, Uyghurs live primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China. An estimated 80% of Xinjiang's Uyghurs live in the southwestern portion of the region, the Tarim Basin.[7] Outside Xinjiang, the largest community of Uyghurs in China is in Taoyuan County, in south-central Hunan province.[8] Outside of China, significant diasporic communities of Uyghurs exist in the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Smaller communities are found in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkey.[9]



Uyghur is often pronounced /ˈwɡər/ by English speakers, though an acceptable English pronunciation closer to the Uyghur people's pronunciation of it would be /.iˈɡʊr/.[10] Several alternate romanizations also appear: Uighur, Uygur, and Uigur. The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region provincial government recommends that the generic ethnonym [ʊjˈʁʊː], adopted in the early 20th century for this Turkic people,[11] be transcribed as "Uyghur."[12]

The meaning of the term Uyghur is unclear. Most Uyghur linguists and historians regard the word as coming from uyughur (uyushmaq in modern Uyghur language), literally meaning 'united' or 'people who tend to come together'. Chinese Tang dynasty annals refer to them by the ethnonyms Huí Hú or Huí Hé;[13] according to Yin Weixian, the Turkic runic inscriptions record a word uyɣur, which was first transcribed into Chinese as Huí Hé (回紇), but later, in response to an Uyghur request, changed to Huí Hú (回鶻) in 788 or 809. Chinese history Jiu Wudai Shi interprets the term Huí Hú literally as the "rapidity with which they turned around and swooped down like a falcon". Modern etymological explanations have ranged from "to follow, accommodate oneself" and "non-rebellious" (from Turk. uy/uð-) to "to wake, rouse, stir" (from oðğur-), none of which is satisfactory.[14] The etymology therefore cannot be accurately determined, and historically the groups it denoted were not ethnically fixed, since it denoted a political rather than a tribal identity,[15] or was used originally to refer to just one group among several, the others calling themselves Toquz Oghuz.[16]

The earliest record of an Uyghur tribe is from the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534). At that time the ethnonym Gaoche (in Uyghur: Qangqil, قاڭقىل) (Chinese: 高車; pinyin: Gāochē; literally "high carts") was used, and later, Tiele (Chinese: 鐵勒; pinyin: Tiělè; Turkic: Tele).[17] The first use of Uyghur as a reference to a political nation occurred during the interim period between the First and Second Göktürk Khaganates (630-684).[18]

The term Uyghur disappeared from historical records in the 15th century, but the Bolsheviks reintroduced the term Uyghur to replace the previously used Turk or Turki.[19][20] In modern usage, Uyghur refers to settled Turkic urban dwellers and farmers of Kashgaria or Uyghurstan who follow traditional Central Asian sedentary practices, as distinguished from nomadic Turkic populations in Central Asia.


A Uyghur naan baker

Throughout history, the term Uyghur has taken on an increasingly expansive definition. Initially signifying only a small coalition of Tiele tribes in Northern China, Mongolia, and the Altay Mountains, it later denoted citizenship in the Uyghur Khaganate. Finally it was expanded to an ethnicity whose ancestry originates with the fall of the Uyghur Khaganate in the year 842, which caused Uyghur migration from Mongolia into the Tarim Basin. This migration assimilated and replaced the Indo-Europeans of the region to create a distinct identity, as the language and culture of the Turkic migrants eventually supplanted the original Indo-European influences. This fluid definition of Uyghur and the diverse ancestry of modern Uyghurs are a source of confusion about what constitutes true Uyghur ethnography and ethnogenesis.

Modern scholars consider modern Uyghurs to be the descendants of a number of people, including the ancient Uyghurs of Mongolia who arrived at the Tarim Basin after the fall of Uyghur Khaganate, Iranian Saka tribes, and other Indo-European peoples who inhabited the Tarim Basin before the arrival of the Mongolian Uyghurs.[21] DNA analyses indicate that the peoples of central Asia such as the Uyghurs are all mixed Caucasian and East Asian.[22] Uyghur activists identify with the Tarim mummies, but research into the genetics of ancient Tarim mummies and their links with modern Uyghurs remain controversial, both to Chinese government officials concerned with ethnic separatism, and to Uyghur activists concerned that research could affect their claims of being indigenous to the region.[23][24]

Origin of modern nationality[edit]

"“The Uighurs are the people whom old Russian travellers called Sart (a name which they used for sedentary, Turkish-speaking Central Asians in general), while Western travellers called them Turki, in recognition of their language. The Chinese used to call them Ch'an-t'ou ('Turbaned Heads') but this term has been dropped, being considered derogatory, and the Chinese, using their own pronunciation, now called them Weiwuerh. As a matter of fact there was for centuries no 'national' name for them; people identified themselves with the oasis they came from, like Kashgar or Turfan.”"[25]

Owen Lattimore, (1973) "Return to China's Northern Frontier.

The term "Uyghur" was not used to refer to any existing ethnic group in the 19th century, but to an ancient people. A late 19th century encyclopedia titled The cyclopædia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia said "the Uigur are the most ancient of Turkish tribes, and formerly inhabited a part of Chinese Tartary (Xinjiang), which is now occupied by a mixed population of Turk, Mongol, and Kalmuck".[26] The inhabitants of Xinjiang were not called Uyghur before 1921/1934. Westerners called the Turkic speaking Muslims of the Oases "Turki", and the Turkic Muslims in Ili were known as "Taranchi". The Russians and other foreigners used the names "Sart",[27] "Turk", or "Turki"[28][29] for them. These groups of peoples identified themselves by the oases they came from, not by an ethnic group.[30] Names such as Kashgarliq to mean Kashgari were used.[31] The Turkic people also just used "Musulman", which means "Muslim", to describe themselves.[31][32]

The name "Uyghur" reappeared after the Soviet Union took the 9th century ethnonym, from the Uyghur Khaganate, and reapplied it to all non-nomadic Turkic Muslims of Xinjiang,[33] following a 19th-century proposal from Russian historians that modern-day Uyghurs were descended from the Turpan Kingdom and Kara-Khanid Khanate, which had formed after the dissolution of the Uyghur Khaganate.[34] Historians generally agree that the adoption of the term "Uyghur" is based on a decision from a 1921 conference in Tashkent, which was attended by Turkic Muslims from the Tarim Basin (Xinjiang).[33][35][36] There, "Uyghur" was chosen by them as the name of their own ethnic group, although the delegates noted that the modern groups referred to as "Uyghur" were distinct from the old Uyghur Khaganate.[27] According to Linda Benson, the Soviets and their client Sheng Shicai intended to foster a Uyghur nationality in order to divide the Muslim population of Xinjiang, whereas the various Turkic Muslim peoples themselves preferred to identify as "Turki", "East Turkestani", or "Muslim".[27]

On the other hand, the ruling regime of China at that time, the Kuomintang, grouped all Muslims, including the Turkic-speaking people of Xinjiang, into the "Hui nationality".[37][38] They generally referred to the Turkic Muslims of Xinjiang as "Chan Tou Hui" (turban-headed Muslim).[27][39][40] Westerners traveling in Xinjiang in the 1930s, like George W. Hunter, Peter Fleming, Ella K. Maillart, and Sven Hedin all referred to the Turkic Muslims of the region not as Uyghur, but as "Turki", in their books. Use of the term "Uyghur" was unknown in Xinjiang until 1934, when the governor Sheng Shicai came to power in Xinjiang. Sheng adopted the Soviets' ethnographic classification rather than that of the Kuomintang and became the first to officially promulgate the use of the term "Uyghur" to describe the Turkic Muslims of Xinjiang.[34][27][41] After the Communist victory, the Chinese Communist Party under Mao Zedong continued the Soviet classification, using the term Uyghur to describe the modern ethnic group.[27]

Another ethnic group, the Buddhist Yugur of Gansu, by contrast, have consistently been called by themselves and others the "Yellow Uyghur" (Säriq Uyghur).[42] Scholars like Joana Breidenbach say that the Yugur's culture, language, and religion are closer to the original culture of the original Uyghur Karakorum state than is the culture of the modern Uyghur people of Xinjiang.[43] Linguist and ethnographer S. Robert Ramsey has argued for inclusion of both the Yugur and the Salar as subgroups of Uyghur (based on similar historical roots for the Yugur and on perceived linguistic similarities for the Salar). These groups are recognized as separate ethnic groups, though, by the Chinese government.[44]

Pan-Turkic Jadidists and East Turkestan Independence activists Muhammad Amin Bughra (Mehmet Emin) and Masud Sabri rejected the Soviet imposition of the name "Uyghur" upon the Turkic people of Xinjiang. They wanted instead the name "Turkic ethnicity" (Tujue zu in Chinese) to be applied to their people. Masud Sabri also viewed the Hui people as Muslim Han Chinese and separate from his own people.[45] The names "Türk" or "Türki" in particular were demanded by Bughra as the real name for his people. He slammed Sheng Shicai for his designation of Turkic Muslims into different ethnicities which could sow disunion among Turkic Muslims.[46]

In current usage, Uyghur refers to settled Turkic urban dwellers and farmers of the Tarim Basin and Ili who follow traditional Central Asian sedentary practices, as distinguished from nomadic Turkic populations in Central Asia. However, the Chinese government has also designated as "Uyghur" certain peoples with significantly divergent histories and ancestries from the main group. These include the Loplik people and the Dolan people, who are thought to be closer to the Oirat Mongols and the Kyrgyz.[47][48]



The history of the Uyghur people, as with the ethnic origin of the people, is an issue of contention between Uyghur nationalists and the Chinese authority.[49] Uyghur historians viewed the Uyghurs as the original inhabitants of Xinjiang with a long history. Uyghur politician and historian Muhemmed Imin Bughra wrote in his book A history of East Turkestan, stressing the Turkic aspects of his people, that the Turks have a 9000-year history, while historian Turgun Almas incorporated discoveries of Tarim mummies to conclude that Uyghurs have over 6400 years of history,[50] and the World Uyghur Congress claimed a 4,000-year history.[51] However, official Chinese view asserts that the Uyghurs in Xinjiang originated from the Tiele tribes and only became the main social and political force in Xinjiang during the ninth century when they migrated to Xinjiang from Mongolia after the collapse of the Uyghur Khaganate, replacing the Han Chinese they claimed were there since the Han Dynasty.[50] Many modern Western scholars however do not consider the modern Uyghurs to be of direct linear descent from the old Uyghur Khaganate of Mongolia, rather they are descendants of a number of people, of which the ancient Uyghurs are but one.[52][21]

Early history[edit]

Discovery of well-preserved Tarim mummies of a people European in appearance indicates the migration of an Indo-European people into the Tarim area at the beginning of the Bronze age around 2,000 BCE. These people probably spoke Tocharian, and were suggested by some to be the Yuezhi mentioned in ancient Chinese text.[53][54] Uyghur nationalists claimed these mummies to be of Uyghur origin, based partly on a word, which they argued to be Uyghur, found in written scripts associated with these mummies, although other linguists suggest it to be a Sogdian word later absorbed into Uyghur.[55] Later migrations brought peoples from the West and Northwest, probably speakers of various Iranian languages such as the Saka tribes. Other people in the region mentioned in ancient Chinese texts include the Wusun, Dingling, as well as the Xiongnu who fought for supremacy in the region against the Chinese for several hundred years. The Dingling is seen by some to be the ancestors of the ancient Uyghurs. Some Uyghur nationalists also claimed descent from the Xiongnu (according to Chinese history Weishu, the founder of the Uyghurs was descended from a Xiongnu ruler),[14] but the view is contested by modern Chinese scholars.[50]

The Yuezhi were driven away by the Xiongnu, but founded the Kushan Empire which exerted some influence in the Tarim Basin where Kharoshti scripts used by the Kushan Empire have been found in Loulan, Niya and Khotan. Loulan and Khotan were some of the many city states that existed in the Xinjiang region during the Han Dynasty, others include Kucha, Turfan, Karashahr and Kashgar.

An 8th-century Uyghur Khagan

Uyghur Khaganate[edit]

The Uyghurs of the Uyghur Khaganate were part of a Turkic confederation called the Tiele,[56] who lived in the valleys south of Lake Baikal and around the Yenisei River. They overthrew the Göktürk Khaganate and established the Uyghur Khaganate.

The Uyghur Khaganate stretched from the Caspian Sea to Manchuria and lasted from 745 to 840.[18] It was administered from the imperial capital Ordu-Baliq, one of the biggest ancient cities built in Mongolia. In 840, following a famine and civil war, the Uyghur Khaganate was overrun by the Kirghiz, another Turkic people. As a result the majority of tribal groups formerly under Uyghur control dispersed and moved out of Mongolia.

Uyghur king from Turfan region attended by servants. Mogao cave 409, 11th-13th century.

Uyghur kingdoms[edit]

According to Tang Dynasty history Xin Tangshu, the ancient Uyghurs who founded the Uyghur Khaganate dispersed after the fall of the Khaganate; some went to live amongst the Karluks, and some moved to Turpan and Gansu.[57] These Uyghurs soon founded two kingdoms, the easternmost state was the Ganzhou Kingdom (870–1036), with its capital near present-day Zhangye in the Gansu province of China. The modern Yugur people are believed to be descendants of the Old Uyghur people. The kingdom was absorbed by the Tanguts in 1036.

The second Uyghur kingdom, the Kingdom of Qocho (also known as Uyghuristan in its later period), was founded in the Turpan area with its capital in Gaochang (Qocho) and Beshbalik. The Qocho Kingdom lasted from the ninth to the fourteenth century, and proved to be longer-lasting than any power in the region, before or since.[21] The Uyghurs were originally Manichean, but converted to Buddhism in Qocho. The Qocho Kingdom accepted the Kara-Khitans as the overlord in 1130s, and in 1209 submitted voluntarily to the rising Mongol Empire. The Uyghurs of Kingdom of Qocho were allowed significant autonomy and played an important role as civil servants to the Mongol Empire, but was finally destroyed by the Chaghataid Mongols in the 1390s.


In the tenth century, the Karluks, Yaghmas, Chigils and other Turkic tribes founded the Kara-Khanid Khanate in Semirechye, Western Tian Shan, and Kashgaria, and later conquered Transoxiana. The Karakhanid rulers were likely to be Yaghmas who were associated with the Toquz Oghuz, and some historians therefore see this as a link between the Karakhanid and the Uyghurs of the Uyghur Khaganate, although this connection is disputed by others.[58]

The Karakhanids converted to Islam in the tenth century, the first Turkic dynasty to do so, and modern Uyghurs see the Muslim Karakhanids as an important part of their history. However, Islamization of the people of the Tarim Basin was a gradual process. The Buddhist Kingdom of Khotan was conquered by the Muslim Karakhanids from Kashgar in the early 11th century, but Qocho remained mainly Buddhist until the 15th century, and the conversion of the Uyghur people to Islam was not completed until the 17th century.

The 12th century saw the domination by Kara-Khitans, who were followed by Mongols in the 13th century. After the death of the Genghis Khan in 1227, Transoxiana and Kashgar became the domain of his second son, Chagatai Khan. The Chagatai Khanate split into two in the 1340s, and area of the Chagatai Khanate where the modern Uyghurs lived came to be known as Moghulistan, which meant "land of the Mongols". In the 14th century, a Chagatayid khan Tughluq Temür converted to Islam, and the Mongols of Chagatai Khanate became largely Islamised by the mid-14th century. His son Khizr Khoja conquered Qocho and Turfan in the 1390s, and the Uyghurs there became largely Muslim by the beginning of the 16th century.

Qing rule[edit]

Eventually the Naqshbandi Sufi Khojas usurped power from the Chagataid Khans in Kashgar. As the Buddhist Oirat Mongol Zunghar Khanate grew in power, it conquered and took control over the territory of the Chagatai Khans. The Aqtaghlik Khojas became vassals to the Zunghars while the Qarataghlik Khojas sided with the Qing Chinese against the Zunghars and Aqtaghliks.

Chagatai Khanate (Moghulistan) in 1490

The Qing dynasty, with the support of the Chagataid ruled Uyghur Kumul Khanate, Turfan Khanate and the Uyghur Qarataghlik Khojas conquered Xinjiang in the 18th century from the Zunghar Khanate and the Zunghar allied Aqtaghlik Khojas.[59] In Beijing, a community of Uyghurs was clustered around the Mosque near the Forbidden City, having moved to Beijing in the 1700s.[60] In the Dungan revolt of 1864, Andijani Uzbeks from the Kokand Khanate under Buzurg Khan and Yakub Beg expelled Qing Dynasty officials from parts of southern Xinjiang and founded an independent Kashgaria kingdom, called Yettishar (English: "country of seven cities"). Under the leadership of Yakub Beg, it included Kashgar, Yarkand, Hotan, Aksu, Kucha, Korla, and Turpan. Large Qing Dynasty forces under Chinese General Zuo Zongtang attacked Kashgaria in 1876. After this invasion, the region, which had been known as the Xiyu special administrative area, was reorganized into a province named "Xinjiang", which when literally translated means "New Territory".

Modern era[edit]

In 1912, the Qing Dynasty was replaced by the Republic of China. By 1920, Pan-Turkic Jadidist Islamists had become a challenge to Chinese warlord Yang Zengxin (杨增新) who controlled Siankiang. Uyghurs staged several uprisings against Chinese rule. Twice, in 1933 and 1944, the Uyghurs successfully gained their independence (backed by the Soviet Communist leader Joseph Stalin): the First East Turkestan Republic was a short-lived attempt at independence around Kashghar, and it was destroyed during the Kumul Rebellion by Chinese Muslim army under General Ma Zhancang and Ma Fuyuan at the Battle of Kashgar (1934). The Second East Turkistan Republic was a Soviet puppet Communist state that existed from 1944 to 1949 in what is now Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture after the Ili Rebellion.

Map of Xinjiang, the prefectures with Uyghur majority are in blue

Mao declared the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949. He turned the Second East Turkistan Republic into the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, and appointed Saifuddin Azizi as the region's first Communist Party governor. Many Republican loyalists fled into exile in Turkey and Western countries. The name Xinjiang was changed to Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where Uyghurs are the largest ethnic group, mostly concentrated in the southwestern Xinjiang.[61] (see map, right)

Uyghur identity remains fragmented, as some support a Pan-Islamic vision, exemplified by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, while others support a Pan-Turkic vision, such as the East Turkestan Liberation Organization. A third group would like a "Uyghurstan" state, such as the East Turkestan independence movement. As a result, "[n]o Uyghur or East Turkestan group speaks for all Uyghurs, although it might claim to", and Uyghurs in each of these camps have committed violence against other Uyghurs who they think are too assimilated to Chinese or Russian society or are not religious enough.[62] Mindful not to take sides, Uyghur leaders like Rebiya Kadeer mainly try to garner international support for the "rights and interests of the Uyghurs", including the right to demonstrate, although the Chinese government has accused her of orchestrating the deadly July 2009 Ürümqi riots.[63]

Uyghurs of Taoyuan, Hunan[edit]

Around 5,000 Uyghurs live around Taoyuan County and other parts of Changde in Hunan province.[64][65][66][67] They are descended from a Uyghur leader, Hala Bashi, from Turpan, sent to Hunan by the Ming Emperor in the 14th century, to crush the Miao rebels during the Miao Rebellions (Ming Dynasty).[8][68] Along with him came Uyghur soldiers from whom the Hunan Uyghurs also descend. The 1982 census records 4,000 Uyghurs in Hunan.[69] They have genealogies which survive 600 years later to the present day. Genealogy keeping is a Han Chinese custom which the Hunan Uyghurs adopted. These Uyghurs were given the surname Jian by the Emperor.[70] There is some confusion as to whether they practice Islam or not. Some say that they have assimilated with the Han and do not practice Islam anymore, and only their genealogies indicate their Uyghur ancestry.[71] Chinese news sources report that they are Muslim.[8]

The Uyghur troops led by Hala were ordered by the Ming Emperor to crush Miao rebellions and were given titles by him. Jian is the predominant surname among the Uyghur in Changde, Hunan. Another group of Uyghur have the surname Sai. Hui and Uyghur have intermarried in the Hunan area.[72] The Hui are descendants of Arabs and Han Chinese who intermarried, and they share the Islamic religion with the Uyghur in Hunan.[72] It is reported that they now number around 10,000 people. The Uyghurs in Changde are not very religious, and eat pork.[72] Older Uygurs disapprove of this, especially elders at the mosques in Changde, and they seek to draw them back to Islamic customs.[72]

In addition to eating pork, the Uyghurs of Changde Hunan practice other Han Chinese customs, like ancestor worship at graves. Some Uyghurs from Xinjiang visit the Hunan Uyghurs out of curiosity or interest.[72] Also, the Uyghurs of Hunan do not speak the Uyghur language, instead, they speak Chinese as their native language, and Arabic for religious reasons at the mosque.[72]


The Uyghurs are an Eurasian (mixed ancestry) population with Eastern and Western Eurasian anthropometric and genetic traits. Uyghurs are thus one of the many populations of Central Eurasia that can be considered to be genetically related to European and East Asian populations. However, various scientific studies differ on the size of each component.[73] One study, using samples from Hetian (Hotan) only, found that Uyghurs have 60% European ancestry and 40% East Asian ancestry.[74] A further study showed slightly greater European component (52% European) in the Uyghur population in southern Xinjiang, but slightly greater East Asian component (47% European) in the northern Uyghur population.[75] Another study used a larger sample of individuals from a wider area, and found only about 30% European component to the admixture.[76] A study on mitochondrial DNA (therefore the matrilineal genetic contribution) found the frequency of western Eurasian-specific haplogroup in Uyghurs to be 42.6%.[77]

The admixture may be the result of a continuous gene flow from populations of European and Asian descent, or may be formed by a single event of admixture during a short period of time (the hybrid isolation model). If a hybrid isolation model is assumed, it can be estimated that the hypothetical admixture event occurred about 126 generations ago, or 2,520 years ago assuming 20 years per generation.[74][78]

According to the paper by Li et al.

STRUCTURE cannot distinguish recent admixture from a cline of other origin, and these analyses cannot prove admixture in the Uyghurs; however, historical records indicate that the present Uyghurs were formed by admixture between Tocharians from the west and Orkhon Uyghurs (Wugusi-Huihu, according to present Chinese pronunciation) from the east in the 8th century CE. The Uyghur Empire was originally located in Mongolia and conquered the Tocharian tribes in Xinjiang. Tocharians such as Kroran have been shown by archaeological findings to appear phenotypically similar to northern Europeans, whereas the Orkhon Uyghur people were clearly Mongolians. The two groups of people subsequently mixed in Xinjiang to become one population, the present Uyghurs.



An Uyghur mosque in Khotan.

Most Uyghurs are Sunni Muslim.[79]


The Uyghur language belongs to the Karlik Turkic (or Karluk) branch of the Turkic language family. It is closely related to Äynu, Lop, Ili Turki, the extinct languages Old Turkic and Chagatay (the East Karluk languages), and more distantly to Uzbek (which is West Karluk).


Uyghurs in China, unlike the Salar and Hui who are also mostly Muslim, generally do not oppose coeducation (grouping male and female students together).[80] Conversely, women are generally excluded from public Uyghur Muslim life, also in contrast to Salar and Hui practice.[79]


Most of the early Kara Khanid literary works were Islamic religious texts and histories of Turkic peoples. Among hundreds of important works surviving from that era are Qutatqu Bilik (Wisdom Of Royal Glory) by Yüsüp Has Hajip (1069–70), Mähmut Qäşqäri's Divan-i Lugat-it Türk- A Dictionary of Turkic Dialects(1072), and Ähmät Yüknäki's Atabetul Hakayik. Perhaps the most famous and best loved pieces of modern Uyghur literature are Abdurehim Otkur's Iz, Oyghanghan Zimin, Zordun Sabir's Anayurt and Ziya Samedi's (former minister of culture in Sinkiang Government in 50's) novels Mayimkhan and Mystery of the years.[citation needed]


Today, traditional Uyghur medicine can still be found at street stands. Similar to other traditional medicine, diagnosis is usually made through checking the pulse, symptoms, and disease history, and then the pharmacist pounds up different dried herbs, making personalized medicines according to the prescription. Modern Uyghur medical hospitals adopted modern medical science and medicine and adopted evidence-based pharmaceutical technology to traditional medicines.


Xinjiang carpet factory


Muqam is the classical musical style. The 12 Muqams are the national oral epic of the Uyghurs. The muqam system developed among the Uyghur in northwest China and Central Asia over approximately the last 1500 years from the Arabic maqamat modal system that has led to many musical genres among peoples of Eurasia and North Africa. Uyghurs have local muqam systems named after the oasis towns of Xinjiang, such as Dolan, Ili, Kumul and Turpan. The most fully developed at this point is the Western Tarim region's 12 muqams, which are now a large canon of music and songs recorded from the traditional performers Turdi Akhun and Omar Akhun among others in the 1950s and edited into a more systematic system. Although the folk performers probably improvised their songs as in Turkish taksim performances, the present institutional canon is performed as fixed compositions by ensembles.

The Uyghur Muqam of Xinjiang has been designated by UNESCO as part of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity.[81]

Amannisa Khan, sometimes called Amanni Shahan, (1526–1560) is credited with collecting and thereby preserving the Twelve Muqam.[82] Russian scholar Pantusov writes that the Uyghurs manufactured their own musical instruments; they had 62 different kinds of musical instruments and in every Uyghur home there used to be an instrument called a "dutar".


Uyghur pilaf (پولۇ)

Uyghur food (Uyghurche Yemekliri) is characterized by mutton, beef, camel, chicken, goose, carrots, tomatoes, onions, peppers, eggplant, celery, various dairy foods, and fruits.

Uyghur-style breakfast is tea with home-baked bread, hardened yogurt, olives, honey, raisins, and almonds. Uyghurs like to treat guests with tea, naan and fruit before the main dishes are ready.

Sangza (Uyghur: ساڭزا) are crispy and tasty fried wheat flour dough twists, a holiday specialty. Samsa (Uyghur: سامسا) are lamb pies baked using a special brick oven. Youtazi is steamed multi-layer bread. Göshnan (Uyghur: گۆشنان) are pan-grilled lamb pies. Pamirdin are baked pies with lamb, carrots, and onion inside. Xurpa is lamb soup (Uyghur: شۇرپا). Other dishes include Tohax, a different type of baked bread, and Tunurkawab.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chen, Yangbin (2008). Muslim Uyghur Students in a Chinese Boarding School. Lexington Books. p. 9. "In 1990, the Uyghur population was 7,214,431, the Hui population 8,602978, according to data from the fourth national census. China's Population Statistics Yearbook 1990, www., viewed on 23 July 2006. In 2000, the Uyghur population was 8,399393, and the Hui population 9,816805, according to data from the fifth national census. Tabulation of the 2000 Population Census of the People's Republic of China. China Statistics Publishing House (2002), 218–221." 
  2. ^ Агентство Республики Казахстан по статистике :Итоги переписи населения Республики Казахстан 2009 года...Численность населения Республики Казахстан по итогам переписи населения 2009 года на момент счета на 12 часов ночи с 24 на 25 февраля 2009г. составила 16004,8 тыс. человек . Доля уйгуров в общей численности населения страны составила – 1,4%.Численность казахов увеличилась по сравнению с предыдущей переписью на 26,1% и составила 10098,6 тыс. человек. Увеличилась численность узбеков на 23,3%, составив 457,2 тыс. человек, уйгур - на 6%, составив 223,1 тыс. человек. Снизилась численность русских на 15,3%, составив 3797,0 тыс. человек; немцев - на 49,6%, составив 178,2 тыс. человек; украинцев – на 39,1%, составив 333,2 тыс. человек; татар – на 18,4%, составив 203,3 тыс. человек; других этносов – на 5,8%, составив 714,2 тыс. человек.
  3. ^ Национальный статистический комитет Кыргызской Республики : Перепись населения и жилищного фонда Кыргызской Республики 2009 года в цифрах и фактах - Архив Публикаций - КНИГА II (часть I в таблицах) : 3.1. Численность постоянного населения по национальностям
  4. ^ Перепись населения России 2010 года
  5. ^ State statistics committee of Ukraine - National composition of population, 2001 census (Ukrainian)
  6. ^ Mair, Victor (13 July 2009). "A Little Primer of Xinjiang Proper Nouns". Language Log. Retrieved 30 July 2009. 
  7. ^ Dillon, Michael (2004). Xinjiang: China's Muslim far northwest. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-32051-1. p.24
  8. ^ a b c "Ethnic Uygurs in Hunan Live in Harmony with Han Chinese". People's Daily. 29 December 2000. 
  9. ^ "Ethno-Diplomacy: The Uyghur Hitch in Sino-Turkish Relations" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-08-28. 
  10. ^ Reinhard F. Hahn, Spoken Uyghur, University of Washington Press, 2006, p. 4. Ui or uy is pronounced as in '(b)uoy'. See Michael Robert Drompp, Tang China and the collapse of the Uighur Empire: a documentary history, Brill, 2005, p. 7, n. 1.
  11. ^ J. Fletcher, "China and Central Asia 1368-1884," in J.K. Fairbank, (ed.) The Chinese World Order, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1968, pp. 206–224, 337–368; p. 364, n. 90. Hakan Özoğlu, Kurdish notables and the Ottoman state: evolving identities, competing loyalties, and shifting boundaries, SUNY press, 2004, p. 16 cites Dru C. Gladney for the view that: "The ethnonym 'Uighur' was most likely suggested to the Chinese nationality affairs officials by Soviet advisors in Xinjiang in 1930."
  12. ^ The Terminology Normalization Committee for Ethnic Languages of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (11 October 2006). "Recommendation for English transcription of the word 'ئۇيغۇر'/《维吾尔》". Retrieved 14 June 2011. 
  13. ^ Colin MacKerras, The Uighur Empire According to the T'ang Dynasty Histories, Australian National University, 1972, p. 224.
  14. ^ a b Peter B. Golden (1992). "Chapter VI - The Uyğur Qağante (742-840)". An Introduction to the History of the Turkic Peoples: Ethnogenesis and State-Formation in Medieval and Early Modern Eurasia and the Middle East. p. 155. ISBN 978-3447032742. 
  15. ^ Hakan Özoğlu, p. 16.
  16. ^ Lilla Russell-Smith, Uygur patronage in Dunhuang: regional art centres on the northern Silk Road in the tenth and eleventh centuries. Brill, 2005, p. 32.
  17. ^ Hamilton, 1962.
  18. ^ a b Güzel, Hasan Celal; Oğuz, C. Cem (2002). The Turks 2. Ankara: Yeni Türkiye. ISBN 975-6782-55-2. OCLC 49960917. 
  19. ^ The term Turk was a generic label used by members of many ethnic groups in Soviet Central Asia. Often the deciding factor for classifying individuals belonging to Turkic nationalities in the Soviet censuses was less what the people called themselves by nationality than what language they claimed as their native tongue. Thus, people who called themselves "Turk" but spoke Uzbek were classified in Soviet censuses as Uzbek by nationality. See Brian D. Silver, "The Ethnic and Language Dimensions in Russian and Soviet Censuses", in Ralph S. Clem, ed., Research Guide to the Russian and Soviet Censuses (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1986): 70-97.
  20. ^ Ramsey, S. Robert (1987). The Languages of China. Princeton: Princeton University Press, pp. 185–6.
  21. ^ a b c James A. Millward and Peter C. Perdue (2004). "Chapter 2: Political and Cultural History of the Xinjiang Region through the Late Nineteenth Century". In S. Frederick Starr. Xinjiang: China's Muslim Borderland. M. E. Sharpe. pp. 40–41. ISBN 978-0-7656-1318-9. 
  22. ^ "The mystery of China's celtic mummies". The Independent (London). August 28, 2006. Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  23. ^ "Genetic testing reveals awkward truth about Xinjiang's famous mummies". 2005-04-19. Retrieved 2011-08-28. 
  24. ^ Wong, Edward (2008-11-19). "The Dead Tell a Tale China Doesn't Care to Listen To". The New York Times. 
  25. ^ Lattimore (1973), p. 237.
  26. ^ Edward Balfour (1885). The cyclopædia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia: commercial, industrial and scientific, products of the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms, useful arts and manufactures (3 ed.). LONDON: B. Quaritch. p. 952. Retrieved 2010-06-28. (Original from Harvard University)
  27. ^ a b c d e f Linda Benson (1990). The Ili Rebellion: the Moslem challenge to Chinese authority in Xinjiang, 1944-1949. M.E. Sharpe. p. 30. ISBN 0-87332-509-5. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  28. ^ The term "Turk" was a generic label used by members of many ethnic groups in Soviet Central Asia. Often the deciding factor for classifying individuals belonging to Turkic nationalities in the Soviet censuses was less what the people called themselves by nationality than what language they claimed as their native tongue. Thus, people who called themselves "Turk" but spoke Uzbek were classified in Soviet censuses as Uzbek by nationality. See Brian D. Silver, "The Ethnic and Language Dimensions in Russian and Soviet Censuses", in Ralph S. Clem, Ed., Research Guide to the Russian and Soviet Censuses (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1986): 70-97.
  29. ^ Ildikó Bellér-Hann (2008). Community matters in Xinjiang, 1880-1949: towards a historical anthropology of the Uyghur (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 50. ISBN 90-04-16675-0. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  30. ^ Justin Jon Rudelson (1997). Oasis identities: Uyghur nationalism along China's Silk Road (illustrated ed.). Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-10787-0. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  31. ^ a b Ho-dong Kim (2004). Holy war in China: the Muslim rebellion and state in Chinese Central Asia, 1864-1877 (illustrated ed.). Stanford University Press. p. 68. ISBN 0-8047-4884-5. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  32. ^ Ho-dong Kim (2004). Holy war in China: the Muslim rebellion and state in Chinese Central Asia, 1864-1877 (illustrated ed.). Stanford University Press. p. 3. ISBN 0-8047-4884-5. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  33. ^ a b Ildikó Bellér-Hann (2007). Situating the Uyghurs between China and Central Asia. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 32. ISBN 0-7546-7041-4. Retrieved 2010-07-30. 
  34. ^ a b James A. Millward (2007). Eurasian crossroads: a history of Xinjiang. Columbia University Press. p. 208. ISBN 0-231-13924-1. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  35. ^ Arienne M. Dwyer, East-West Center Washington (2005). The Xinjiang conflict: Uyghur identity, language policy, and political discourse (illustrated ed.). East-West Center Washington. p. 75, note 26. ISBN 1-932728-28-7. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  36. ^ Edward Allworth (1990). The modern Uzbeks: from the fourteenth century to the present : a cultural history (illustrated ed.). Hoover Press. p. 206. ISBN 0-8179-8732-0. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  37. ^ Suisheng Zhao (2004). A nation-state by construction: dynamics of modern Chinese nationalism (illustrated ed.). Stanford University Press. p. 171. ISBN 0-8047-5001-7. Retrieved 2011-06-12. 
  38. ^ Murray A. Rubinstein (1994). The Other Taiwan: 1945 to the present. M.E. Sharpe. p. 416. ISBN 1-56324-193-5. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  39. ^ American Asiatic Association (1940). Asia: journal of the American Asiatic Association, Volume 40. Asia Pub. Co. p. 660. Retrieved 2011-05-08. 
  40. ^ This is in contrast to the Hui people, who were just called "Hui" (Muslim) by the Chinese, and the Salar people, who were called "Sala Hui" (Salar Muslim), by the Chinese. The usage of the term "Chan Tou Hui" was considered a slur and was demeaning. (Garnaut, Anthony. 2008. From Yunnan to Xinjiang:Governor Yang Zengxin and his Dungan Generals. Pacific and Asian History, Australian National University. p. 95)
  41. ^ Simon Shen (2007). China and antiterrorism. Nova Publishers. p. 92. ISBN 1-60021-344-8. Retrieved 2010-06-28. 
  42. ^ Justin Ben-Adam Rudelson, Justin Jon Rudelson (1997). Oasis identities: Uyghur nationalism along China's Silk Road. Columbia University Press. p. 178. ISBN 0-231-10786-2. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  43. ^ Joana Breidenbach (2005). Pál Nyíri, Joana Breidenbach, ed. China inside out: contemporary Chinese nationalism and transnationalism (illustrated ed.). Central European University Press. p. 275. ISBN 963-7326-14-6. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  44. ^ Ramsey, S. Robert (1987). The Languages of China. Princeton: Princeton University Press. pp. 185–6. 
  45. ^ [1] Wei 2002, p. 181
  46. ^ [2] Millward 2007, p. 209
  47. ^ Gladney, Dru (2004). Dislocating China: Reflections on Muslims, Minorities, and Other Subaltern Subjects. C. Hurst. p. 195. 
  48. ^ Harris, Rachel (2004). Singing the Village: Music, Memory, and Ritual Among the Sibe of Xinjiang. Oxford University Press. pp. 53, 216. 
  49. ^ Gardner Bovingdon (2010). "Chapter 1 - Using the Past to Serve the Present". The Uyghurs - strangers in their own land. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-14758-3. 
  50. ^ a b c Nabijan Tursun. "The Formation of Modern Uyghur Historiography and Competing Perspectives toward Uyghur History". The China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly 6 (3): 87–100. 
  51. ^ "Brief History of East Turkestan". World Uyghur Congress. 
  52. ^ Susan J. Henders (2006). Susan J. Henders, ed. Democratization and Identity: Regimes and Ethnicity in East and Southeast Asia. Lexington Books. p. 135. ISBN 0-7391-0767-4. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  53. ^ Millward, James A. (2007). Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang. Columbia University Press, New York. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-231-13924-3. 
  54. ^ A. K Narain. "Chapter 6 - Indo-Europeans in Inner Asia". In Denis Sinor. The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia. p. 153. ISBN 978-0521243049. 
  55. ^ Gardner Bovingdon. "Chapter 14 - Contested histories". In S. Frederick Starr. Xinjiang, China's Muslim Borderland. pp. 357–358. ISBN 978-0765613189. 
  56. ^ Peter B. Golden (1992). "Chapter VI - The Uyğur Qağante (742-840)". An Introduction to the History of the Turkic Peoples: Ethnogenesis and State-Formation in Medieval and Early Modern Eurasia and the Middle East. p. 157. ISBN 978-3447032742. 
  57. ^ Xin Tangshu Original text: 俄而渠長句錄莫賀與黠戛斯合騎十萬攻回鶻城,殺可汗,誅掘羅勿,焚其牙,諸部潰其相馺職與厖特勒十五部奔葛邏祿,殘眾入吐蕃、安西。 Translation: Soon the great chief Julumohe and the Kirghiz gathered a hundred thousand riders to attack the Uyghur city; they killed the Kaghan, executed Jueluowu, and burnt the royal camp. All the tribes were scattered - its ministers Sazhi and Pang Tele with fifteen clans fled to the Karluks, the remaining multitude went to Turfan and Anxi.
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Further reading[edit]

  • Chinese Cultural Studies: Ethnography of China: Brief Guide at
  • Beckwith, Christopher I. (2009). Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-13589-2.
  • Findley, Carter Vaughn. 2005. The Turks in World History. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-516770-8, ISBN 0-19-517726-6 (pbk.)
  • Güzel, Hasan Celal; Oğuz, C. Cem (2002). The Turks 2. Ankara: Yeni Türkiye. ISBN 975-6782-55-2. OCLC 49960917. .
  • Hessler, Peter. Oracle Bones: A Journey Through Time in China. New York: Harper Perennial, 2006.
  • Hierman, Brent. "The Pacification of Xinjiang: Uighur Protest and the Chinese State, 1988-2002." Problems of Post-Communism, May/Jun2007, Vol. 54 Issue 3, pp 48–62
  • Human Rights in China: China, Minority Exclusion, Marginalization and Rising Tensions, London, Minority Rights Group International, 2007
  • Kaltman, Blaine (2007). Under the Heel of the Dragon: Islam, Racism, Crime, and the Uighur in China. Athens: Ohio University Press. ISBN 978-0-89680-254-4. 
  • Kamberi, Dolkun. 2005. Uyghurs and Uyghur identity. Sino-Platonic papers, no. 150. Philadelphia, PA: Dept. of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Mackerras, Colin. Ed. and trans. 1972. The Uighur Empire according to the T'ang Dynastic Histories: a study in Sino-Uyghur relations 744–840. University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 0-87249-279-6
  • Millward, James A. and Nabijan Tursun, (2004) "Political History and Strategies of Control, 1884–1978" in Xinjiang: China's Muslim Borderland, ed. S. Frederick Starr. Published by M. E. Sharpe. ISBN 978-0-7656-1318-9.
  • Millward, James A. (2007). Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang. Columbia University Press, New York. ISBN 978-0-231-13924-3.
  • Rall, Ted. Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East? New York: NBM Publishing, 2006.
  • Rudelson, Justin Ben-Adam, Oasis identities: Uyghur nationalism along China's Silk Road, New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.
  • Tyler, Christian. (2003). Wild West China: The Untold Story of a Frontier Land. John Murray, London. ISBN 0-7195-6341-0.
  • Islam in China, Hui and Uyghurs: between modernization and sinicization, the study of the Hui and Uyghurs of China, Jean A. Berlie, White Lotus Press editor, Bangkok, Thailand, published in 2004. ISBN 974-480-062-3, ISBN 978-974-480-062-6.

External links[edit]