From Academic Kids

Map of Turkestan (dark grey) with borders of modern states in red
Map of Turkestan (dark grey) with borders of modern states in red

Turkestan (also spelled Turkistan or Trkistan) is a region in Central Asia, which today is largely inhabited by Turkic people. It also contains some of the great cities of Persian culture, notably Samarkand and Bukhara, and still has a substantial Iranian population, known today as Tajiks.

It is subdivided into West Turkestan and East Turkestan, with the Tian Shan and Pamir ranges forming a rough division between the two.

Western Turkestan has also been known historically as Sogdiana; Ma wara'u'n-nahr (By its Arab Conquerors) and Transoxiana by Western travellers. The latter two names refer to its position beyond the River Oxus when approached from the South, emphasising Turkestan's long-standing relationship with Iran, the Persian Empires and the Ummayyad and Abbasid Caliphates. The region became part of the Russian Empire in the 1860s, and is thus sometimes called Russian Turkestan or the Turkestanskii Krai. After the Russian Revolution, a Turkestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union was created, which was eventually split into the Kazakh SSR (Kazakhstan), Kirghiz SSR (Kyrgyzstan), Tajik SSR (Tajikistan), Turkmen SSR (Turkmenistan) and Uzbek SSR (Uzbekistan). After the collapse of the Soviet Union, these republics gained their independence.

Eastern Turkestan, often called Chinese Turkestan, is home to the oldest settled Turkic people in the region, the Uyghurs. It was conquered by the Manchu Empire in the mid-18th century and was named Ice Jecen or Xinjiang (Otherwise spelt Sinkiang), meaning New Frontier. It was taken over by the People's Republic of China by which it is now administered as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

There is also a town named Turkestan in southern Kazakhstan.

Notable References

The fictional character Arslan, in a novel by the same name, was the ruler of Turkestan before taking over the rest of the world.

Further Reading

V.V. Barthold "Turkestan Down to the Mongol Invasion" (London) 1968 (3rd Edition)

Ren Grousset "L'empire des steppes" (Paris) 1965

David Christian "A History Of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia" (Oxford) 1998 Vol.I

Svat Soucek "A History of Inner Asia" (Cambridge) 2000

В.В. Бартольд "Работы по Исторической Географии" (Москва) 2002

External links

ca:Turquestan de:Turkestan (Landschaft) fr:Turkestan he:טורקסטן it:Turkestan ja:トルキスタン nl:Turkestan sv:Turkestan zh-cn:土耳其斯坦


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