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the Iranian element is now almost, if not totally, obliterated, though Khoten itself was essentially an Arian settlement, and many of the names of places in the vicinity still retain their Arian etymology.* M. Khanikoff has drawn particular attention to the Jemshidis of Herat, and the Seistanees, as approaching nearest to the true Iranian type, founding his argument, not merely on the physical characteristics of these people, but on their language and traditions ; but in reality the Seistanees are beyond all question a mixed race; and it may even be suspected that they derive their peculiar physignomy from their Scythian rather than from their Arian descent.

It would be a curious subject of inquiry to trace the successive stages of transformation through which the population of Central Asia has passed, in exchanging its primitive homogeneous character for the kaleidoscope variety which now distinguishes it; but to render such a sketch at all intelligible, it would be necessary to enter on ethnographical details hardly suited to the pages of a non-scientific Journal; and so many links, moreover, are still wanting in the chain that, after all, we should probably fail in making out a satisfactory tradition. It must suffice, then, to explain that for about 1000 years, from B.C. 700 to A.D. 300, a succession of Scythian tribes, belonging apparently to the same family as the Uralian tribes of Russia, and the Fins, Lapps, and Hungarians of Europe, burst in from the Jaxartes, and swept over all the western portion of the Continent of Asia, extending to India in one direction and to Syria and Asia Minor in another. No doubt this vast Scythian immigration and long continued occupancy, must at the time have left its impress, more or less strongly marked, on all the countries intermediate between the Jaxartes and the Euphrates; but that impress has been gradually effaced by the scour of a later and still larger influx of tribes of another family, so that at the present day there is no distinct trace of the old Scythian nationality to be found in Western Asia, except perhaps among the Brahúi division of the Beluches of South-Eastern Persia.

The Turkish immigration which followed the Scythian, and the evidences of which are still in full activity throughout Central and Western Asia, must be also very cursorily treated, notwithstanding that it involves questions of the utmost ethnographical interest. From the fourth century to the tenth there seems to have been a continuous stream of Turkish tribes

For full details regarding the early Buddhist history of Khoten, and the evidence that the name itself is a mere corruption of the Sanscrit title Kou-stana, 'mamelle de la terre,' see Abel Remusat's Histoire de la Ville de Khoten. Paris, 1820. 2 L 2

pouring pouring in from the Altai, and not only overwhelming the contiguous countries, but in some cases, as for instance, under Attila, pushing on to the very centre of Europe ; and after this systematic colonisation had ceased, the expeditions of Chenghiz Khan and Timour, leaving extensive military settlements along the various lines of march which the armies followed, gave a still deeper colouring to the Turkish complexion of Western Asia. We see the result of this great ethnic revolution at the present day in the substitution of a Turkish for the old GrecoBarbaric population of Asia Minor, in the introduction of an extensive Turkish element among the Semitic races of Syria and Mesopotamia, and in the displacement also of a very large portion of the Arian population of Persia. Further eastwards, too, as we have already stated, the Turcomans, the Uzbegs, and the Kirghiz, hold the entire country up to the frontiers of Mongolia. The origin of these tribes, which are of a very early Turkish parentage, is involved in deep obscurity, and even their recent history is not free from doubt.

The only one which, from its present important position in Central Asia, it seems incumbent on us to notice in any detail is the Kirghiz, and this notice should be of the more interest as the present condition of the Kirghiz exemplifies in a striking manner the process by which the great nomadic nationalities of the East are formed, not by the real development of their own numbers, but by the absorption into their body of the heterogeneous fragments that are floating around them. We see, indeed, examples of this irregular formation going on before our eyes in different parts of the East at the present day, and we need not wonder therefore at the difficulty we experience in identifying the lost tribes of history, or in tracing the origin of those which have taken their places. The Mongolian race, for instance, after the death of Chenghiz Khan, must have been spread in considerable numbers over the whole East from the wall of China almost to the Mediterranean, yet at the present day, with the exception of the Russian Calmucks and a petty clan in the mountains of Ghúr, south of Herat, there is not a single tribe speaking Mongolian or retaining the name of Mongol, beyond the frontier of Mongolia proper.* The Afghans, again, in the time of Mahmoud of Ghazni were a single small clan in the mountains of the Sulieman range. They have since absorbed all the tribes from

* It is singular, too, that so very few Mongolian geographical names have been retained to the westward of the Oxus. The only such names, indeed, which occur to us at present are Olán-Robút, the red caravanserai, which marks the site of the ancient city of Arachosia ; and Kizil-uselt, the red river, forming the south-easteru froaticr of Azerbijan.


the frontiers of Cashmere to Herat, and have imposed their language indiscriminately on the whole population, Indian as well as Turkish, excepting a few small and inaccessible clans, such as the Pashái, Paránchí, Bereki, &c., and excepting also the great Turkish race of Hazarehs and Eymaks, which inhabit the Paropamisan range from Cabul to Herat, and which must have taken up the Persian, the language of the country of their adoption, before the Afghan influence became excessive. Mons. Khanikoff

, as an illustration of this self-creating principle among the minor tribes of the East, has drawn attention to the case of the Shahsewans of Persia, who are at present one of the most numerous and powerful of the nomadic bodies of that country, but who are notoriously a recent agglomeration of detached parties from other clans, clinging to a common centre for support; and he might also have referred to the Arab tribe of Muntéfík, which has been formed within the last hundred years of refugees and offshoots from a multitude of neighbouring clans bordering the valley of the Euphrates, and which now numbers over forty thousand families and dominates all lower Chaldea. The Kirghiz, as a tribe, are no doubt of considerable antiquity, for the name occurs in the account of the mission of Zemarchus in the sixth century, and the Chinese annals have also preserved notices of the same people under the names of Hakasis and Khilikizi from that period to comparatively modern times; * but they were originally limited in numbers, and settled in a remote corner of Southern Siberia upon the banks of the Yeniséí river, from whence they only emigrated, or were removed, in the seventeenth century to the shores of the Balkash and Issi-kul Lakes. In their new abodes they have thriven beyond all precedent. Having amalgamated with the Kaisaks and Buruts, and having no doubt absorbed a host of smaller tribes, the débris of the old Ghúz, Comans, and Kipchaks, they have gone on increasing until at the present day they number nearly three million souls, and constitute almost the exclusive population of the Steppe from the Ural river on the west to the Mongolian frontier on the east, and north and south from the Siberian line to the plateau of Pamír.

We propose to terminate our sketch with a brief review of the political condition of Central Asia at the present time, following the order of the four sections into which, roughly speaking, the country may be considered to be divided. The south-east

* In Mr. Gardiner's travels, wherever Kirghiz are mentioned, they are spoken of as Akas, or Hakas; but we are unable to say whether this is to be considered a mere mispronunciation of the name, or whether the old Chinese appellation is still used as a vernacular ethnic title,


section, according to this distinction, would extend from the Himalaya to the Kuen-luen, and would include the Hill States, Cashmere and Thibet. This country is both geographically and politically a mere outwork of India. The various states of which it is composed paid tribute to the Moghul Emperors of Delhi ; and must again in due course, naturally and necessarily, come under British jurisdiction. Cashmere, indeed, rescued from the Afghans by Runjeet Singh, may be considered a direct dependency of the Punjab; and little Thibet has already, on two occasions, both through Moorcroft and Dr, Henderson, proffered its allegiance to the British Crown as a means of escape from Seikh domination. Politically perhaps we should derive no strength from this extension of our frontier four hundred miles beyond the plains of the Punjab, but the possession of Cashmere and of the two natural adits to Central Asia before alluded to, one by the Bajour and Chitral Valleys to the Pamír Plateau, and the other by the Niti Pass and Rodokh to Khoten, would commercially be of vast importance; and in view, moreover, of the undoubted tendency of Russia to encroach in this direction, it would be well, we think, to preoccupy the ground against the possible exertion of a foreign influence, adverse to our interests, within the boundary of the Kara-koram and Kuen-luen.

The second or north-east section of Central Asia is Chinese Turkestan. This country has long been called Alti-shahar or Alti-chakan, 'the six cities, from the six towns in which are concentrated by far the greater portion of its population and wealth. Until quite recently these towns of Cashgar, Yengishahar, Yarkend, Khoten or Ilchi, Aksú, and Ush-Turfán," were garrisoned by Chinese soldiers, the region having been conquered by the Chinese from the Eleuths of Zungaria in 1755, and in spite of frequent insurrections on the part of the Mahommedan inhabitants, headed by their hereditary religious

* The towns constituting this group of the six cities do not appear to have been always the same, for the authorities followed by Prichard substitute for Yengi-sheher and Ush-Turfán, the Great and Little Kulja, on the river lli. These two latter towns, however, do not belong to Chinese Turkestan at all, but to Zungaria, and hardly fall, therefore, within the limits of the present sketch. Still it may be noted that the great Kulja on the Ili, after a twelvemonth's fighting, has also been lately conquered from the Chinese by the Turks of Cashgar, led by the son of the famous Khoja Jehangir; and that the Russian factory which was established in the city under the provisions of the Treaty of Pekin, and which was presided over by the great Chinese scholar Mons. Zakharoti, has been burnt down and entirely destroyed in the course of the contest. The Russians enjoy a similar treaty-right with respect to establishing a factory at Cashgar, but since the expulsion of the Chinese, such a right has become a dead letter.


The great

leaders who have ever been most influential, having been since held by military force as a subjugated territory. mass of the inhabitants are Turks, descendants of the old Ouigours, and they have long been in active communication with the Úzbegs and Kirghiz of the towns on the Upper Jaxartes, especially with those of Andijan. With the assistance of these allies the standard of revolt was again raised against the Chinese by the people of Kashgar and Yarkend in the beginning of last year, and it is understood at the present time not a single Chinese soldier is to be found in the province. The natives appear, however, to have only exchanged one master for another; for the Kokand troops, reinforced by multitudes who are retiring eastward in dismay at the advance of the Russians up the Jaxartes, are now said to be in possession of the greater part of the towns and territory both of Kashgar and Yarkend; and quite recently the ruler of Khoten fought a pitched battle with these Uzbeg invaders from Yarkend in defence of his little principality. There can be no doubt that the people of the Six Cities are thoroughly disconcerted at the menacing attitude of the Russians both on their north and north-western frontier; and that they are most solicitous of British protection and support. Earnest applications for aid have been indeed addressed to us both from Yarkend and Khoten; and although, of course, under existing circumstances, it would be preposterous to think of direct interference in the affairs of states removed five hundred miles from our frontiers, yet the time may come when, as the inheritors of the present territorial limits of Cashmere and its dependencies, it may consist both with our interests and our convenience to extend a helping hand to the fluttered communities immediately beyond our mountain barrier.

The western half of Central Asia may be considered, like the eastern, to be divided into two sections, the Uzbeg portion to the north and the Afghan to the south, and it is with these divisions of the country that British interests are more immediately concerned. In regard, then, to the south-western section, extending from the British Indian frontier to the Oxus, the general position has not materially altered since the sketch of Afghan politics was drawn up, which was published in this Journal a twelvemonth ago.

There has been another revolution, it is true, at Cabul, and Shir Ali Khan, who was designated by Dost Mahomed as his successor, and whose claim to the 'Musnud' was promptly recognised by us, has been forcibly expelled from power. By the last accounts he still maintained a precarious footing at Candahar


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