From a land 90 times Belgium: Kazakhstan #1 Early history

The last few weeks we come to hear more disturbing news from a huge country wich historically had been inhabited by nomadic groups and empires.

Herod. i. wrote in 125 about “a clan fretre of the Pasargadae”. According to Darius in the Behistun inscription and Herod. iii. 75, vii. 11, Achaemenes (Hakhāmani), as son of the Achaemenid king Darius I of Persia became the eponymous ancestor of the royal house of Persia, the Achaemenidae. He was the father of Teispes, the great-grandfather of Cyrus. According to Aelian (Hist. anim. xii. 21), he was bred by an eagle. We learn from Cyrus’s proclamation that Teispes and his successors had become kings of Anshan, i.e. a part of Elam (Susiana), where they ruled as vassals of the Median kings, until Cyrus the Great also called Cyrus II, in 550 B.C.E. founded the Achaemenian or Persian empire, centred on Persia and comprising the Near East from the Aegean Sea eastward to the Indus River.

After the death of Cambyses, the younger line of the Achaemenidae came to the throne with Darius, the son of Hystaspes, who was, like Cyrus, the great-grandson of Teispes. Cyrus, Darius and all the later kings of Persia call themselves Achaemenides (Hakhāmanishiya). With Darius III,. also called Codomannus, the dynasty became extinct and the Persian empire came to an end (330). The adjective Achaemenius is used by the Latin poets as the equivalent of “Persian” (Horace, Odes, ii. 12, 21).

Long before the Christian era the satrapies of Darius comprehended roughly an immense range of territory, from the Mediterranean to the Indus and from the Caucasian chain and Jaxartes to the Persian Gulf and Arabian Ocean.

The Achaemenid Empire at its greatest territorial extent, under the rule of Darius I (522 BC to 486 BC)

The nomadic Scythians, also called Scyth, Saka, and Sacae, who were known from as early as the 9° century BCE and who migrated westward from Central Asia to southern Russia and Ukraine in the 8th and 7th centuries BCE inhabited the land and the Persian Achaemenid Empire that expanded towards the southern territory of the modern country. Turkic nomads, who trace their ancestry to many Turkic states such as the First and Second Turkic Khaganates, have inhabited the country starting from the 6th century. In the 13th century, the territory was subjugated by the Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan. In the 15th century, the Kazakh Khanate conquered much land that would later form territories of modern Kazakhstan.

The Turkish nomads scattered over Persian territory are often known by the name of Azerbaijanis or Adharbaijanis, though this name is strictly applicable only to the inhabitants of the province of Azerbaijan, of which Tabriz or Tauris was the capital. They are the descendants of various bodies of Turks who have wandered into Persia at various times, but more particularly of the Ghuzz tribes (the Οὔζοι of the Greeks) who invaded it during the Seljuk period. They are also known as Ilāt or Iliyāt, meaning tribes, and each tribe had its own chieftain or Ilkhani appointed by the shah.

In the 17th and 18th centuries C.E. the conquests of ‛Abbas and Nadir kept up these boundaries more or less on the east, but failed to secure them on the west, and were limited to the Caucasus and Oxus on the north. Persia of the early 20th century was not only, in the matter of geographical definition, far from the vast empire of Sacred Writ and remote history, but it was not even the less extensive dominion of the Safawi kings and the Iranian ruler Nadir Shah who created an Iranian empire that stretched from the Indus River to the Caucasus Mountains. It may be said, however, to comprise now quite as much settled and consolidated territory as at any period of its political existence of which we can speak with authority.

The Turkic-speaking people of medieval origin, the Kazakhs (also spelled Qazaqs; Kazak) spread over the Ural Mountains and northern parts of Central and East Asia (largely Kazakhstan, but also parts of Russia, Uzbekistan, Mongolia and China) in Eurasia. The Kazakh identity was strongly shaped by the foundation of the Kazakh Khanate between 1456 and 1465, when several tribes under the rule of the sultans Janibek and Kerey departed from the Khanate of Abu’l-Khayr Khan in hopes of forming a powerful khanate of their own. Other notable Kazakh khans include Ablai Khan and Abul Khair Khan.

A mixed commission was appointed in 1843 for the settlement of the Perso-Turkish frontier. The labours of this commission resulted in the Erzerum treaty of 1847, by which both powers abandoned some lands and agreed to appoint commissioners to define the frontier. The commissioners met in 1849, 1850 and 1851 at Bagdad and Muhamrah without arriving at any result. In 1851 the English Whig-Liberal statesman Lord Palmerston proposed that the general line of frontier should be traced by the agents of Turkey and Persia at Constantinople, assisted by the commissioners, in conformity with the treaty of Erzerum, leaving doubtful localities to be settled in future. The Russian government agreed to this proposal, and the work of surveying the country from Mt Ararat to the Persian Gulf was then undertaken. When this was done the preparation of a map, embracing territory 700 m. in length by 20 to 40 m. broad, was put in hand, and this work lasted from November 1857 till March 1865, when the Porte was informed in May of that year that

“in the opinion of the mediating Powers, the future line of boundary between the respective dominions of the sultan and the shah was to be found within the limits traced on the map; that the two Mahommedan governments should themselves mark out the line; and that in the event of any differences arising between them in regard to any particular locality, the points in dispute should be referred to the decision of the governments of England and Russia.”

This boundary remained unsettled, and disputes had frequently arisen between the Turkish and Persian governments with regard to their respective claims to land (Hertslet, Persian Treaties). In the autumn of 1907 Turkish troops occupied not only “doubtful localities” but also adjoining lands which were indisputably Persian territory.

The frontier from Mt Ararat to Astara was defined by the treaty of Turkmanchai (Feb. 22, 1828), and a convention of the 8th of July 1893. The frontier east of the Caspian was defined by the Akhal-Khorasan Boundary Convention of the 21st of December 1881 and the frontier convention of the 8th of July 1893.

By the beginning of the 20° century Persia occupied the western and larger half of the great Iranian plateau which, rising to a height of from 4000 to 8000 ft. between the valleys of the Indus and Tigris, covering more than a million square miles. Taking the Kuren Dagh or Kopet Dagh to form the northern scarp of this plateau east of the Caspian, we could find a prolongation of it in the highlands north of the political frontier on the Aras, and even in the Caucasus itself. On the north-west Persia was united by the highlands of Armenia to the mountains of Asia Minor; on the north-west the Paropamisus and Hindu Kush connected it with the Himalayas. The lines of boundary on the western and eastern faces were to be traced amid high ranges of mountains broken here and there by deserts and valleys. These ranges lied for the most part north-east and south-east, as did those in the interior, with a marked exception between Teherān and Bujnurd, and in Baluchistan, where they lied rather north-east and south-west, or, in the latter case, sometimes east and west. The real lowlands were the tracts near the sea-coast belonging to the forest-clad provinces of the Caspian in the north and the shores of the shallow, rarely deeper than about 300 feet (90 metres) Persian Gulf below Basra and elsewhere.

On December 5, 1936, the area stretching across the rolling tablelands of the heart of the Eurasian landmass became the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic (or Kazakhstan). As one of the 15 constituent republics of the Soviet Union, it stretched about 1.200 miles (1.900 kilometres) from east to west and 800 miles (1.300 kilometres) from north to south. By the mid-1970s, it was the home of 14-170.,000 persons. The capital being at Alma-Ata.

The ancient nomadic way of life in this part of the world had been changed greatly during the Soviet period. Industry, particularly the extractive industries, came to play the major role in the economy of Kazakhstan, the republic functioning as an important supplier of raw materials for the entire Soviet Union. Agriculture, however, continued to be of significance.

File:Syr Darya Oblast. Ferry on the Arys River WDL10990.png

Ferry on the Arys River

In the Soviet Union urbanisation increased. Vital to Kazakh agriculture, several dams got built to prevent floods and aid irrigation. The major tributary of the 1.509 miles (2.428 km) long Ural , the Arys, providing water for more than 500.000 acres (200.000 hectares).

Along the streams and lake shores distinct regional patterns of settlements, large villages, centres of collective and state farms (kolkhozy and sovkhozy, respectively) came to characterise the northern steppes, forming green oases separate wheat fields.

The more arid steppes, semideserts, and deserts also contained large villages, housing the state farms of sheep breeders, while chabany, or herdsmen, lived in temporary settlements made up of yurts, tents maid of felt. The foothills were fringed by a string of village settlements, clustering along highways and surrounded, in the north, by fields of wheat and sugar beets and, in the south, by orchards, vineyards, and fields of melons.

Almaty, Kazakhstan. – © Kristina Postnikova/

Before 1897 around 400.,000 Russians had arrived in Kazakhstan. Some Uyghur and Dungan settlers (both Muslim). After Russia conquered Kazakhstan in the last third of the 19th centurythose  Uyghur and Dungan people came to settle in the south and in the Alma-Ata and Taldy-Kurgan regions; to the east. Some Uzbeks and Kirgiz also inhabited the Chimkent, in the valley of the Sayram River in the foothills of the Ugam Range at an elevation of 1.680 feet (512 metres) and Dzhambul regions in the south.

The Kazakh S.S.R. in 1975 was made up of 19 regions, including 82 cities and 183 semi-urban settlements, a total population estimated at 14.170.,000.




Summary for the year 2015 #1 Threat and fear


From a land 90 times Belgium: Kazakhstan #2 Natural wealth attractive to Russia as well as Europe

From a land 90 times Belgium: Kazakhstan #3 Kazakhstan in the grip of a dictator


About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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7 Responses to From a land 90 times Belgium: Kazakhstan #1 Early history

  1. Pingback: From a land 90 times Belgium: Kazakhstan #2 Natural wealth attractive to Russia as well as Europe | Marcus Ampe's Space

  2. Pingback: From a land 90 times Belgium: Kazakhstan #3 Kazakhstan in the grip of a dictator | Marcus Ampe's Space

  3. Pingback: Almaty ablaze – Some View on the World

  4. Pingback: From a communist country to a capitalist dictatorship – Some View on the World

  5. Pingback: The world on the very brink of conflict | Marcus Ampe's Space

  6. Pingback: Kazakhstan: strikes and riots rock the regime | From guestwriters

  7. Pingback: 31 years ago also facing a world threat – Some View on the World

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