From Academic Kids

Hunza is the northernmost part of a region known as the Northern Areas of Pakistan. It comprises an area of 3,900 mi² (10,101 km²) and borders China.

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For many centuries it has provided the quickest access to Swat and Gandhara (in modern north Pakistan) for a person on foot. The route was impassible to baggage animals, only human porters could get through, and then only with permission from the locals.

It was easily defended as the paths were often less than half a metre (about 18") wide. The high mountain paths often crossed bare cliff faces on logs wedged into cracks in the cliff, with stones balanced on top. They were also constantly exposed to regular damage from weather and falling rocks. These were the much feared "hanging passageways" of the early Chinese histories that terrified all, including several famous Chinese Buddhist monks.

Travelling up the valley from the south, Hunza is the land to the the left, and Nagar to the right of the river. They traditionally have been separate principalities.

From Hunza there are spectacular views of the beautiful and magnificent 7,788m (25,551 ft) Rakaposhi.

The famous Karakoram Highway crosses Hunza, connecting Pakistan to China via the Khunjerab Pass.

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A Hunza Rajah and Tribesmen, 1891. E. F. Knight

Hunza has three parts, not divided administratively but ethnically: Gojal, mainly populated with Wakhi speakers; Central, with Brushaski speaking people and Shinaki, the Shina speaking people. Brushaski is understood throughout Hunza.

Until 1974 Hunza was a princely state with its capital situated at Baltit (also known as Karimabad). It is now ruled directly from Islamabad through the administration based in Gilgit, the regional capital of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Hunza was an independent principality for 900 years. There is a common missbelief that Hunza was under the rule of Maharajas of Kashmir, but it never was. The British failed to gain control over Hunza and the neighbouring valley of Nagar until 1889. However, in 1892, after a decisive fight against the Mirs (Chiefs) of both of the valleys, they succeeded entering Hunza. The king of Hunza escaped to China.

The British kept its status as a 'principality' until 1947. According to Habib R. Sulemani, the people of Hunza and Gojal were ruled by a local Mir for more than 950 years, which came to an end in 1974. The Mirs were assisted by Wazirs whose role was rather like a Prime Minister.

The people of Hunza are called 'Hunzukuts', while Burusho is the term used for only Brushaski speaking people. The majority of the people are Ismaili, a sect in Shia Islam. They are followers of The Aga Khan. The Aga Khan-IV has put a lot of funding into the area to help with agriculture and the local economy.

Burushaski, (like the Basque langauge in Europe), is not known to be related to any other language. While Burushaski is the main language spoken in Hunza, there are three other languages spoken by small numbers of people. They are Wakhi, Shina, and Domaski. Domaski is dying out, as the youngsters of Domaski families prefer to speak Burushaski.


  • Hill, John E. 2003. "Annotated Translation of the Chapter on the Western Regions according to the Hou Hanshu." 2nd Draft Edition.[1] (
  • Hill, John E. 2004. The Peoples of the West from the Weilue 魏略 by Yu Huan 魚豢: A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between 239 and 265 CE. Draft annotated English translation. [2] (
  • Hulsew, A. F. P. and Loewe, M. A. N. 1979. China in Central Asia: The Early Stage 125 BC AD 23: an annotated translation of chapters 61 and 96 of the History of the Former Han Dynasty. E. J. Brill, Leiden.
  • Knight, E. F. 1893. Where Three Empires Meet: A Narrative of Recent Travel in: Kashmir, Western Tibet, Gilgit, and the adjoining countries. Longmans, Green, and Co., London. Reprint: Ch'eng Wen Publishing Company, Taipei. 1971.
  • Lorimer, D.L.R. 1981. Folk Tales of Hunza. Institute of Folk Heritage, Islamabad.
  • Leitner, G. W. 1893. Dardistan in 1866, 1886 and 1893: Being An Account of the History, Religions, Customs, Legends, Fables and Songs of Gilgit, Chilas, Kandia (Gabrial) Yasin, Chitral, Hunza, Nagyr and other parts of the Hindukush, as also a supplement to the second edition of The Hunza and Nagyr Handbook. And An Epitome of Part III of the author's The Languages and Races of Dardistan. First Reprint 1978. Manjusri Publishing House, New Delhi.
  • Drew, Frederic. Date unknown. The Northern Barrier of India: a popular account of the Jammoo and Kashmir Territories with Illustrations. Reprint: Light & Life Publishers, Jammu. 1971.

See also

External links

fr:Hunza ja:フンザ sv:Hunza


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