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Kyrgyzstan, History

The Kyrgyz are believed to have originally inhabited the upper Yenisey River in central Siberia (now part of Russia). By the 9th century they spoke a Turkic language. In the late 16th century the Kyrgyz settled in the area that is now Kyrgyzstan. The region was conquered by the Oirats, a Mongol people, in the late 17th century. In the 19th century it came under the jurisdiction of the Uzbek khanate (state) of Quqon (Kokand). The first Russian invasion of the region took place in the mid-19th century. Russian forces conquered the Quqon khanate in 1876, thereby incorporating present-day Kyrgyzstan into the Russian Empire. Russia then designated Central Asia the Turkistan Kray (Russian for “territory”) within Russia. In 1916 many Kyrgyz and other Central Asian peoples waged a large-scale revolt against Russian rule. The Russian government responded with force, which compelled many Kyrgyz to seek refuge in China, across the eastern border. The Russian monarchy fell during the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the Bolsheviks (Communists) seized control of the Russian government.

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