History of Kazakhstan

Ancient History

Millions of years ago people began to develop fertile land rich in wild animals in the territory of the modern Kazakhstan. First ancestors of Homo sapiens - Pithecanthropus and Neanderthal are known to have settled in the mountains of Karatau (Zhambyl region) and Mangystau and northern Balkhash. Moreover, it is confirmed by archeologists that tribes in northwest Kazakhstan domesticated camel, wild shepherd dog, mountain sheep, mastered the horse breeding, learned to make various items from copper, stone, bone and clay as early as in IV-III millennium BC.

In the Bronze Age (XVII -VIII century BC) tribes living on the territory of Kazakhstan practiced cattle breeding, agriculture and metallurgy, lived in large villages, surrounded by walls and moats (the prototype of the cities), and were famous for their brave warriors.

Later, the territory was settled by Sakas (Scythians). These tribes were nomadic and semi-nomadic, some of them practiced agriculture (in the valleys of the rivers Syrdarya, Shu and Talas). Sakas were famous for being excellent horsemen. They are among the first to have mastered the technique of shooting a bow at full gallop. In addition, Sakas had their own written language, mythology and engaged art. The style in which Saka painters and jewelers created their works, subsequently were named "animal style" by historians.

Empress Tomyris is one of the most famous Saka rulers, who fought against Persian invaders, namely Cyrus the Great, subsequently winning his army and executing him.

A Saka warrior, clothes of which were covered with golden sheets, was first found in Esik mound by archeologists along with 4000 golden ornaments and was called Altyn Adam or the Golden Man. Later, three more of similar burials were discovered.

In the II century BC, the Xiongnu Empire, the lands of which stretched from Manchuria in the east to the Pamir mountains in the west started to split and one of its parts moved to the Kazakhstan territory, thus influencing the population, lifestyle, etc.


History of the I millennium

In the middle of the I-st millennium the ancient Turkic tribal union started to be formed on the expanse of the Mongolian mountains to the Caspian Sea, which ultimately lead to the emergence of statehood.

In 551, the first turkic state formed in this region, known as Turkic Khanate. This fact contributed to the development of crafts and trade. Formation of the Turkic khanate had a positive impact on the functioning of the Asia-Europe trade route, historians now refer to as the Great Silk Road, as well as the construction of the first cities in the steppes, such as Chirik-Rabat, Otrar, Syganak, Ispijab, Taraz and Balasagun. The cities were located along the flow of the rivers and were important locations of the Silk Road.

During this period many turkic states were replacing each other one after another: Turgesh, Karluk, Karakhanid, Kipshak, Oguz, etc. Also, Arabs introduced the Islamic religion to the turkic tribes, as well as the inherent model of writing. Over time, the Arabic script is almost completely replaced the traditional ancient Turkic runic script.


Golden Horde

In 1218 Genghis Khan's troops invaded the territory of Kazakhstan and destroyed the cities like Otrar, Syganak, Ashnas, etc. At first nomads provided fierce resistance, but then many nations lay down their arms voluntarily or forcibly and joined the Genghis Khan army.

After the death of Genghis Khan, the Mongol Empire was divided into several independent states.

Eastern Dasht-i-Kipchak (the territyro of Kazakhstan), part of the territory of Khorezm and Western Siberia became part of the Golden Horde - the state created by Batu (grandson of Genghis Khan). The vast majority of the Horde was representatives of the Turkic tribes, such as the Kipchak, Kangly, Naiman, and Kerayit Konyrat.

Fateful year for the rulers of the Golden Horde was in 1391. This year, Tamerlane, also known as "iron Timur", defeated the army of the Horde, and the once mighty state split into two parts: the western - the Ak-Orda and eastern - Kok-Orda. The latter, in turn, was divided into two wings: Nogai Horde and the Uzbek Khanate.

Kazakh Khanate

Tired from the tough policy of the Uzbek Khanate, Janibek and Kerey sultans left Syrdarya steppes with their auls in 1460. They moved to Zhetisu (Almaty region) where in 1465 created Kazakh Khanate and started to expand their boundaries after the death of Uzbek Khanate’s khan, which over time reached the territory from Irtysh to Zhaik rivers.

During the reign of Tauke Khan, Zhety Zhargy the code of laws of the Kazakh Khanate was adopted. Prominent public figures, scientists and thinkers - Tole bi, bi and Kazybek Aiteke bi participated in its preparation.

In the XVIII century, Kazakh Khanate was weakened under the onslaught of Jungars, but retained its territorial division into three Juz - Senior, Middle and Younger. Despite the military power of the enemy, in separate battles Kazakh soldiers were able to inflict considerable damage to Junggar army. However, understanding that without support from the outside, fighting the invaders was more and more difficult every year, Khan Abulhair of the Younger Juz in 1730 addressed the Russian Empress Anna Ivanovna with a proposal to establish a military alliance against Jungars. But the Empress did not support this initiative, offering to answer protectorate from Russia. Unlike the Younger Juz, the process of joining the Senior and Middle Juzes to Russian Empire, stretched for many years.

Along with the positive moments, resulting from joing Russian Empire, e.g. solving security issues, and receiving investments for constructing roads and factories, there also were negative consequences, such as changing the life of Kazakh nomadic tribes, losing much of their best pastures and elimination of Khan ruling. These and other negative changes caused discontent in the Kazakh society, which subsequently resulted in the people's liberation uprising. The most famous of them were the Peasant’s War, or Pugachev rebellion (1773 -1775), the anti-feudal and anti-colonial movement of the Kazakhs Younger Juz under the leadership of Syrym Datuly (1783 – 1797), the uprising of the poor in Western Kazakhstan lead by Isatai Taimanuly and Makhambet Utemisuly (1836 – 1838), etc.

Kazakhstan during Soviet Period

After the October Revolution, setting up of the Soviet authority in Kazakhstan completed in March 1918. The capital of Kazakh Autonomous Social Soviet Republic was Kyzylorda, and later was moved to Almaty.

In the late 30s the process of industrialization began in the country, which allowed Kazakhstan to become one of the largest industrial regions of the USSR. Over time, Kazakhstan has become a major supplier of zinc, titanium, magnesium, tin, phosphorus, chromium, silver and molybdenum for the needs of the defense industry and technical SSSR. However, harsh policy of the Soviet rulers has led to the reduction of population due to famine in 1930s, mass repression, etc.

With the beginning of Nazi aggression, over 400 factories from the European part of the country were evacuated into Kazakhstan. There were built new cities and workers' settlements, factories and mines. During the WWII 500 Kazakhs became Heroes of the Soviet Union and four of them (Talgat Begeldinov, Leonid Beda, Ivan Pavlov and Sergey Lugansky) were twice awarded Hero of the Soviet Union.

In 1955 the construction of the military polygon of Baikonur for ballistic missile tests began in Kazakhstan. Subsequently, it has become the main spaceport of the planet. After more than half a century, Baikonur remains one of the leading space centers, annually carrying out dozens of manned rocket launches.

In addition, in the post-war years in Kazakhstan the largest polygon in the world was built near the town of Semipalatinsk (Semey), designed to test the latest models of nuclear and atomic weapons. The experiments have caused significant harm to the ecosystem of the Semipalatinsk region. Therefore, in 1989, activists of the anti-nuclear movement "Nevada - Semipalatinsk demanded the elimination of the polygon and succeeded.

One more important event in the modern history of Kazakhstan, is a large-scale agricultural campaign designed at developing of virgin and fallow lands. During the virgin lands development years, tons of grain was produced in Kazakhstan. As a result of the republic became one of the largest grain producers in the world.

Independent Kazakhstan

After the collapse of the USSR, Kazakhstan declared its independence. This historical event took place on December 16, 1991, the first countries to recognize the independence of the newly proclaimed republic, were Turkey, the United States and China.

2 January 1992 Kazakhstan became a member of the OSCE. In the same year the republic was adopted in the United Nations.
15 November 1993 Kazakhstan introduced its national currency - tenge.
20 October 1997 – the capital of Kazakhstan was moved from Almaty to Astana (then called Akmola).


Useful links:

Useful tips for travellers Hotels in Astana Burabay Resort area
Kazakhstan tours Hotels in Almaty Historical tours in Kazakhstan
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