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Sources and development of the Kazakh statehood
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Sources and development of the Kazakh statehood


          Astana, the new capital of independent Kazakstan, is situated in Central Kazakstan. Since ancient times, this region has been involved in various ethnic  and genetic relations. Different communities  ranging from tribal confederations to large states, formed on the basis of interaction between different  ethnic layers, have led to the formation  of the Kazakh ethnic territory and a steppe civilization, which has developed, into the  Kazakh nation.

          The origin of Kazakstan statehood is connected with   the Sakas (the 7th - 2nd centuries BC), who mainly engaged in nomadic and seminomadic livestock breeding. The nomadic way of life allowed the sakas and Scythians to succeed in making the Great Steppe habitable. The core of the Sakas was    made up of Issedonian tribes. Eyewitnesses characterized them as brave warriors  possessed numerous herds of  horses, sheep, and cattle. The Sakas were wonderful riders and expert marksmen. A historian of ancient Greece named them the best archers in the world.

          The Sakas belonged to an early class society having three estates: chiefs, priests, and community members (shepherds and farmers). A supreme chief or king originated from warriors. The king was considered to be chosen by the gods as a mediator between heaven and mortals. The art of the Sakas culture is most vividly expressed through their painting in the animal style, manifesting their mythology and attitude toward life, and a special symbolic system for showing the nomadic concept of the world. This is proof both of their high skills in metallurgy, and progressive artistic thinking. In the 4th-3d centuries BC, the Sakas developed a written language, an inherent characteristic of any organized state.

          Therefore, the processes of establishing of a state and the appearance of a written language for the Sakas were interconnected and simultaneous. Continuos linguistic and cultural contacts among the Iranian, Ugric, and Prototurkic tribes were maintained on the Kazakstan steppe in the 1st century BC changed the ethnic and linguistic situation, and caused the Turkic expansion to prevail.

          The process of establishing a state, which had begun in the Sakas period, continued in the Hun community, which created the first nomadic empire in the interior of Asia, and soon after that some proto-Turkic structures existed in Central  Asia. When, in the 2nd century BC, the Hun confederation became politically dominant, the State of Huns, called Jueban in some Chinese sources, was then established and existed until the 5th century. Its structure was similar to those, which existed in Hun nomadic states in the 3d-1st centuries BC.

          The Hun State had an early class organization. It was governed by four aristocratic families. The supreme governor, shanjui, could at that time only be from Luyandi, the noblest family bound with three others by conjugal ties. These families were the Hun elite. The specific character of the supreme power in the nomadic community was that the entire family headed by shanjui  ran the state. There was a hierarchy of clans  and tribes playing a significant role in the Hun society. The subjugated tribes, which were included in the Hun system, were the lowest rank in this division.

          The supreme shanjui was followed by the left and the right 'wise princes',  usually his sons or closest relatives. They governed in the western and eastern regions, being at the  same time military commanders over the right and the left wings, correspondingly.  Then there were twenty-four local governors having different titles, military commanders. The rule of shanjui was exclusively hereditary, blessed by the divine power, the divine kharism (Tengri Kut). The sacred rule of the shanjui was perfectly inserted into the main features  of the universe. Heaven and Earth were described as powers giving birth, and Sun and Moon as powers promoting life. A jasper seal symbolized the authority of the shanjui.

          The army and population were organized in tens, hundreds, thousands, and ten thousands for military structuring and census taking. Beginning from the 2nd century BC, the Huns made records of the quantity of population and cattle, according to which people paid an income tax and a tax on cattle. Records were kept in a written form, and decrees and laws were issued. The territory was quarried by frontier sentinels. The economy was based on nomadic cattle breeding, and special attention was paid to horse breeding.  The hun cavalry was divided in four armies, according to colors of horses: white, gray, black, and chestnut. Well-trained and capable of great endurance, the cavalry was the main unit of the army and power of the state. The favourite expression of  Huhanie, a shanjui of the Huns, says that, 'the Huns created their state fighting on horseback'.

          Slavery was widespread. In population numbering 1.5 million people, more than 190 thousand were slaves, i.e. the one-tenth of the population. Slaves tended sheep, and were engaged in agriculture and craftsmanship. There was private property in the society  for cattle and slaves. Subjugated tribes were to pay tribute. The traditions of the Hun State served as a prototype for nomadic states in Central Asia.

          In the 6th century, the development of state system in Kazakstan attained a new stage, which was connected with the first empire in Eurasia, the Turkic Khaganat. The historiography of China associates the Turkic people's history with the breakup of the Hun State. In the middle 6th century, the Turks subordinated Zhetysu (Semirechie), Central Kazakstan, and Khorezm. Some time later, the Khaganat borders expanded to the Northern Caucasus and the Black Sea, allowing for establishment of relations with Iran and Byzantium.

          Gradually, the centre of the Turkic ethnogenesis moved from the east westward to Central Asia. In the 6th-7th centuries, ancient Turkic military and administrative systems of governing became more popular among the Turkic nations of Kazakstan. Central Kazakstan began to be influenced by the politics and culture of the Turkic Khaganat.

          In the Turkic conception, the Khagan was in the centre, personifying the entire state. There was the Turkic Khagan dynasty Ashina, originating, according to legend, from a she-wolf. People believed that their Khagans were blessed and had special power and features, which were granted by Heaven. They comprehended and honoured Heaven as having two constituents: the material essence and the supreme Deity. Turkic inscriptions prove this assumption, stating that the khagan and his dynasty were born at the will of Heaven, Earth, water, and by deeds of the Turks themselves.

          An army flag and state authorities were located in the Khagans 'headquarters'. Military administration covered 29 titles, with 5 ranks being superior: yabgu, shad, tegin, elteber, and tutuk. The other 24 were regarded as inferior. Each position was herediatory. The Khagan's closest surrounding were 'wolf' guardsmen, whose flag was decorated with a wolf head. The traditional structure featured the governing centre, the east and the west regions, providing government and defensive stability.

          The Turks had a developed common law. They collected taxes and tributes. Every region and its population could offer ten, one hundred, one thousand or ten thousand soldiers. The society was divided into the nobility, the subjugated, and vassals, arranged in a strict hierarchy.

          The main economic activity was nomadic cattle breeding, however, a part of the settled population was engaged in agriculture. Towns and steppe were interdependent elements of a single economic structure. Private property as cattle, slave, and other possessions was prevailing in the Sakas community. Cattle were stamped with tamga, a sign of ownership.

          The Turkic ideological principle was shamanism, with the 'official' cults of Tengri (Heaven) and Earth.  Apart from these, Manihaeanism, Zoroastrianism, and Buddhism were also popular. One off the best achievements of that time was the wide spreading of the ancient Turkic written language, which, obviously, became necessary for the development of administrative and diplomatic relations, and furnishing documentary evidences of state decrees and customs.

          Three powerful state organizations appeared on the territory of Kazakstan with the fall of the Western Turkic Khaganat: the Oguz state in the Syr Darya and Aral region, the Karluk state in the Zhetysu, and the Kimak Khaganat in Central, Northern and Eastern Kazakstan. These ethnic and political unions continued the state administrative, military, social, and cultural traditions of Turkic Khaganats in 9th-10th centuries. Similarity in the organization of society, the political structure, as well as in ethnic and cultural relationship allows consideration of the time of their existence as a relatively integral period in the history of steppe empires and their cultures.

          During the 8th-9th centuries, the Kimak tribes strengthened their positions over the territory stretching from the Altai to the south Ural mountains and the Syr Darya River. These events became the impulse for developing the local state system. It was first mentioned in the Arabic literature of the 9th-10th centuries. The Arabian historian Al-Yakubi, remarkable for being well informed and exact, wrote that 'Turkestan and the Turks themselves are divided into several nations, and several states (mamalik)... Each Turkic tribe has a separate state, some of them are engaged in wars with others'. The Arabian geographer Ibn al-Fakih mentioned that the Turks respected Oguzes, Kimaks, and Tokuz-Oguzes, and all of them had kings.

          The power of the Kimak ruler was significant. Beginning from the 9th century, he was given the highest title of Khagan. The state authority belonged to the ruling dynasty, which was the cradle for khagans. The consecutive transition in titles of the rulers can be observed which the social and political development of a tribe to become a state. Historians have marked the inherited connection of the Kimak titles from the ancient Turkic: khagan, yabgu, shad, and tutuk. The traditional administrative and territorial structure of the ancient Turkic state, the system of wings, is founded in Kimak state power. The East Side (the Left Wing) was located in the area of the Irtysh river, while the West Side (the Right Wing) was between the Ural and Emba Rivers.

          During formation of the Kimak state, the quantitative composition of the tribes, had changed. According to the 'Hudud al-alam' (the 10th century) and al-Idrisi (the 12th century), the core of the state was constituted of 12 tribes. The largest tribal unions were the Kipchaks (Central Kazakstan) and the Kumans. These tribes included in the Kimak Khaganat were politically dependent to the late 10th century.

          Khagans enjoyed the real power and appointed rulers and tribal nobility. The hereditary power structure existed inside each khagan dynasty, khan family, or tribal nobility. The appanages, a total of eleven, were handed down. However, the appanages' owners were subordinated to the Kimak Khagan. As the military and administrative powers were consolidated in one person, chiefs and commanders of the main tribal unions strove for strengthening their political importance and for independence.

          The majority of the Kimaks were engaged in nomadic cattle breeding. They performed long migration to seasonal grazing lands. Also, there were some compact groups of settled and semi-settled communities. With a reference to the book of the Kimak prince, Zhanah ibn Hakan al-Kimaki, geographer al-Idrisi wrote about towns along water bodies and in the mountains, at the sites of quarries, and on trade routes. The sources of the Middle Ages and archaeological findings prove that there was social stratification, taxes, and an ancient Turkic written language. Kimak tribes adopted ancient Turkic beliefs, of which the most important were the cult of Tengri and the forefathers. Some groups worshipped fire, the sun, stars, rivers, and mountains. Shamanism was widespread. Manichaeanism was also professed, along with Islam, which was popular among the nobility.

          The Kimak Khagans were often engaged in wars, though raids to neighboring states altered with peaceful communications. Many trade routes led to Kimak lands from  Eastern Europe, the Volga, Central Asia, Eastern Turkestan, and Southern Siberia. Numerous caravan routes led to the Khagans' headquarters.

          By the middle of the 10th century, some Moslem trends appeared there. They marked the initiation of a new Turkic state, Karakhanid. The Islamization of the Karakhanid Turks was a not a result of short-lived missionaries efforts, but a process of Islamic penetration into the Turkic environment, causing the replacement of the ancient Turkic written language with the Arabic script. Despite the general adoption of the traditions of the Turkic khaganats, the Karakhanid State repeated them neither in the social sphere nor in the economy. Unlike the political systems of nomadic communities in the territory of  Kazakstan, the military power was separated from the administrative. These structures were based on the principle of hierarchy. The state was divided into appanages, whose governors had great authority, up the stamping of coins with their names.

          A feudal military system was the main social and political institution in the Karakhanid State. The Khans granted their relatives authority to levy taxes on the populations of specific regions in their favour. Turkic tribes were developing a more urbanized culture and practiced agriculture. During this transition, the formation of an ethnic community, which was more developed than a tribe, became clearly determined. The growth of self-consciousness of Turkic nations under the Karakhanids induced the development of literature in the Turkic language.

          In the 11th century, Jusup of Balasagun wrote a poem, Kutadgu Bilig ('Knowledge to become happy') composed of advice and lessons. The book described the reality, public conscience, and political concepts of particular social layers. In 1074, Mahmud of Kashgar wrote Divine lugat at-Turk ('Dictionary of Turkic dialects'), containing rich linguistic, historical, cultural, historical, geographical, and ethnographic facts about the Turkic peoples. The outstanding philosopher and poet Hajji Ahmed Yassawi, one of the famous Moslem preachers, has remained in the peoples memory as a person who managed to find a compromise between the Islamic dogmas and the pre-Islamic beliefs of the nomads. His poems, collected in Divine-i Hihmet (The Book of Wisdom), praise meekness, and asceticism, and contain information about cultural, moral, and didactic features of the peoples.

          In the early 11th century, the Kimak State was broken up due to the Kipchak khans' separatism and the migration of nomadic tribes from the interior of Asia. Consequently, the Kipchaks inherited vast lands from the Kimak State. The political importance of the Kipchaks increased as they subdued peoples in the areas of the Syr Darya and the Aral and Caspian Seas to their Khanate. The changed ethnic and political situation brought about the ethno-geographical term Desht-i Kipchak.

          The political organization in the Khanate strengthened in the middle of the 11th century, when the Kimak and Kuman tribes migrated to the steppe near the Black Sea, and to Byzantium. These tribal unions established a basis for the centrifugal driving in eastern Desht-i Kipchak.

          The Kipchak community was headed by Supreme Khans, whose power was hereditary. The ruling dynasty was El-borili. The semantics of the term borili is connected with the word 'wolf'. The cult of the wolf, being the legendary 'father' of some Turkic peoples, and a totem animal at several early stages of the Turks' development, is well known in the historical and ethnographic literature.

          In the Khan's headquarters, called 'horde', there was staff in charge of the Khan's property and army. The army had a two-winged structure similar to the traditional army of ancient Turks. The headquarters of the right wing were located on the Ural River, at the site of the medieval town of Saraichik. The Khanate centre was located in Central Kazakstan, in the Turgai steppe. Military organization and the system of military administration acquired great importance, as they represented a specific nomadic life style, the most convenient for the steppe. The strict hierarchy of the rulers (khans, tarkhans, jugurs, baskaks, beks, and bais) was inequitable. Eastern Desht-i Kipchak included 16 tribes. Their composition was not haphazard, but exactly regulated in accordance with the dynastic, social, and political level of every constituting people. The composition of Kipchak tribes in the late 11th - early 13th centuries was mixed and complex. The Kipchak community 'absorbed' some Turkic speaking Kimak tribes, Kuman, Oguz, ancient Bashkir, Pechenegs, and Iranian speaking ethnic groups which became Turkic, in addition to four Kipchak tribes (El-borili, Toksoba, Ietioba, and Durtoba). A strict clan and family hierarchy in the nomadic states of Asia served as the guideline for social and state development.

          Both records were made and correspondence with the governors of the neighboring states was conducted in the Kipchak Khanate. Some Kipchak scientist and sages are mentioned in literary sources. The level of communications between nomadic civilizations on the vast steppe was rather high.

          The Kipchak society was socially stratified. The basis for the inequality was the private property of cattle. Breeding of cattle suitable for migration and development of methods to use grazing lands and water reserves of the territory created the ecological and material basis for the civilization's development. It promoted the intensification of communal production without damaging the environment. Nomadic tribes roamed for hundreds and even thousands of miles. The distances depended on historical traditions, prosperity, and features of natural conditions. The main pastures and migration routes were formed over many centuries.  In this connection, the concept of a 'native land' (or ethnic territory) originates from another concept - a 'pasture land'. The migration routes could be changed only for some global economic, social, or political reasons.

          Trespassing on cattle was strictly punished: considered a convictible offence, it was judged according to the customary law (Tore). The cattle were branded. If a person lost his cattle and could not migrate any more, he became settled (zhatak). But a soon as he had gathered enough cattle to migrate, he switched to the nomadic life again. The number of slaves was replenished from prisoners of wars, who were deprived of rights.

          The vast steppe territory and geographical conditions promoted the development of several cultural and economic systems from nomadic pasturing to farming. However, only a few groups were practicing settled agriculture, which is proved by the remains of irrigation systems. Mining was also developed. One of the metallurgical centres was the settlement of Miljuduk.

          The rapid development of the Kipchaks promoted their literary language, the creation of literary masterpieces, which became a source for the Kazakh language and literature, and the formation of characteristic anthropological features of the Kazakh nation. The Kipchak ethnic community is directly connected with the ethno-genesis of the Kazakh nation. Consolidation of Kipchak tribes in the 11th-13th centuries was the main stage in the formation of the Kazakh nationality. However, this final stage was interrupted by the Mongol invasion in the early 13th century.

          After the Mongol invasion, Kazakstan was included in the Golden Horde. Mongols took over the political reign. However, the majority o the population was composed of he Kipchaks. The Mongol nobility was gradually absorbed, becoming relatives of noble Turkic families, and assimilated in the  Turkic environment. The more developed Kipchak culture triumphed in this struggle between the two cultures. The concepts of Kipchak statehood turned out to be so enduring, that, at the end of the 13th century, they became the basis for the establishment of the Ak Horde, the first self-governing state after the Mongol invasion of the Kipchak territory. Apart from the Kipchaks, the Kereits, Naimans, Merkits, and Onguts dwelled in the areas near the Irtysh, Ishim, and Tobol Rivers, and further toward the Ulutau Mountains.

          Internal wars between dynasties, and a campaign to Kazakstan's territory by Emir Timur led to the decline of the Ak Horde, change of the dynasty, and establishment of the Abul Khair State, Mogulistan, Nogai Horde, and Siberian Khanate mostly coincided, and the differences consisted only of qualitative parameters of the ethnic components. The dominating groups in the Ak Horde and Abul Khair State were the Kipchaks, the Dulats in Mogulistan, and the Mangyts in the Nogai Horde. The ascending integrating trend in the ethnic processes gradually prevailed. In the 14th-15th centuries, the formation of the Kazakhs was completed. The name 'Kazakh' underwent many transformations, and instead of the initial social name became the name for the entire nation.

          The establishment of the Ak Horde, Abul Khair State, Mogulistan, Nogai Horde, and Siberian Khanate, which had many common features in their state systems (e.g. uniting of nomadic population in Uluses, structure of governing, army, and taxation) became a significant stage in the formation of the Kazakh nationality.

          The Kazakhs were subdivided and included in other states, but continuous internal wars between the offspring of Genghis Khan and the nobility, and increasing  aggression from the neighboring states caused the necessity to unite related ethnic groups into one state. Ethnic, political, social, and cultural processes in the territory of Kazakstan in the 14th-15th centuries resulted in the establishment of the Kazakh Khanate in 1466.

          The first Kazakh Khans were Kerei and Zhanybek. Particularly the region of Turkestan was involved in the Khans' fight for power over the East Desht-i Kipchak. The main reason for the fight was the economic and strategic importance of the area. Up to the late 15th century, the initial Khanate's area was expanded and later included western Semirechie, some towns in Southern Kazakstan, and the major part of Central Kazakstan. In the first quarter of the 16th century, the Kazakhs dominated over the major dart of the East Desht-i Kipchak.

          During Kasym's reign (1512-1523), the state attained the highest point of its significance. Its territory expanded from the basins of the Ural and Syr Darya Rivers toward north-east to lake Balkhash. It was the first time that almost all Kazakh tribes and clans were united in one state. There were one million subjects in the state of Kasym Khan. Diplomatic contacts with Moscow initiated at that time allowed the Western world to know about the Kazakh Khanate. Austrian diplomat Sigismund Gerberstein left some notes about the Kazakhs. In the 16th century, Antonio Jenkinson, an English merchant, composed a map where the territory of the Kazakh State was shown. His information was enlarged by the notes of Richard Johnson, Arthur Edvarse, Antonio Marsh, and Erancis Cherry. In the late 16th century, diverse information about Kazakstan was already available in some European countries thanks to efforts of merchants, diplomats, and travelers.

          The continuos struggle between Kazakh khans for urbanized agricultural regions of South Kazakstan and for towns along the Syr Darya was finally ended under Esim Khan (1598-1628). Turkestan was joined to Kazakstan. Khak Nazar (1538-1580), an outstanding Kazakh khan, fought against the Junggars in Semirechie. He was eager to restore the Kazakh power over the land of his father, Kasym. The situation with the neighboring countries was complicated. Having conquered Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberian Khanates, Russia was approaching borders of the steppe. Great number of Nogai people, Bashkirs, Siberian Tatars, and Kara-Kalpaks invaded the Kazakhstani steppe, and Junggars invaded Semirechie. Khak Nazar, however, intended to expand his territory in the south in search for trade, craftsmanship, and agricultural centres. Having occupied several towns in Turkestan, Tauekele Khan (1586-1598) ended a long struggle for the Syr Darya towns. Therefore, during the 16th-17th centuries, Kazakh khans were engaged in stubborn wars with the rulers of Mogulistan and Central Asia for the Kazakh ethnic territory.

          Socially, the Kazakhs were organized in pasturing nomadic aul communities consisting of related families. The families had their own cattle, but roaming routes, pastures, and watering places were in common use. Close everyday practical and ideological links were established, and mutual working and material assistance was maintained among the families of the related groups.

          There were no 'pure' nomadic nations. All nomadic tribes had stationary dwellings for wintering. The household members who had no opportunity to perform the migration stayed at such dwellings to become engaged in farming requiring irrigation, horticulture, and craftsmanship. The settled agriculture was closely connected with the nomadic culture. Farmers put their cattle out to distant pastures, while nomads dealt with agriculture during wintering. Craftsmanship was well-developed, supplying the population with all necessary commodities.  Tanning, wool, wood, and bone processing, yurt and vehicle manufacturing, blacksmithing, and production of jewellery were the most popular crafts. The manufacture of pottery, glasswork, and carpet weaving boomed in the towns.

          Specific features of Kazakh statehood are the Zhuzas, which appeared in the 16th century. Formed on the basis of fixed roaming routes, traditional state systems and tribal confederations, they transformed into ethnic and territorial unions. Zhuzes were subdivided into tribes, tribes into clans, which in their turn were divided into related groups. A sultan headed every tribe and clan, and a khan who had no relative relationship with any of the ethnic groups ruled each Zhuze. Feudalism developed in close connection with clan and traditions, rather than classically.

          Tribes roaming in the south and south-east of current Kazakstan were called the great Zhuz; tribes living in middle Kazakstan, from the Ishim and Irtysh in the north to the Syr Darya and Chu in the south became Middle Zhuz; and tribes which inhabited the western part of Kazakstan, left bank of the Ural river, Mangyshlak peninsula, and Usturt plateau were named Smaller Zhuz. Zhuzes practiced a nomadic life style. Strict regulations in the clan or tribal structure of each Zhuz, expressed in practical, social, and military spheres, promoted firmness of the structure and advanced resistance to outer 'knocks'.

          The Kazakh State strengthened under Tauke Khan (1628-1718). Kazakh union with the Kirgiz and Kara-Kalpaks weakened the Junggar onslaught to the Kazakh lands for some period. Soon, however, the economic and political situation became complicated again due to persisting raids of the Junggars, internal wars, unstable relations with the governors of Central Asia, and construction of Russian fortresses at the boundary with Kazakstan.

          Tauke Khan succeeded in bringing the political situation in the state to a normal condition. The took some steps to increase the respectability of the Khan authority, to consolidate the nation, and to deplete the separatism of the nobility with the help of the steppe elite, biys (judges), which represented a significant intelligent layer of society. The Khan surrounded himself with biys, whose advice helped him to struggle against Genghis Khan's offspring, who resisted the khan's governing. He made the biys' council an important body and eventually enlarged the rights of biys. The council, which became a permanent institution, solving the most important questions of internal and external policy of the Khanate, was formed on the basis of centralized democracy. The supreme governor had to come to agreement with the biys about national matters, especially in the struggle against the Junggars.

          Biys who played an important role during the Khanates consolidation were included in the council: Tole-bi represented the Great Zhuz, Kazybek-bi represented the Middle Zhuz, and Aiteke-bi was the representative of the Smaller Zhuz. In total, there was seven biys who represented six ethnic formations. Their wisdom and resolution were bound to overcome separatism, and to unite the Kazakhs. In a certain way, it was a legislative body which worked out the 'Steppe Constitution', Zhety-Zhargy, (Seven Rulings, or Laws of Tauke Khan) which defined the basic principles of the legal order and state system of the Kazakh Khanate.

          Thus, under the ruling of Kasym Khan, Khak-Nazar, Tauekele, Esim, and Tauke, the Kazakh Khanate was a centralized state, a unique political organism playing a significant role in Central Asia. The state system consolidated the nation, formed and strengthened the integrity of the ethnic territory, and developed the spiritual and material culture of the Kazakhs. The history of a joint Kazakh state ended with the end of Tauke Khans rule, and the history of three Zhuzes began.

          The late 17th-early 18th centuries are characterized by continuous raids of the Junggars. The situation became more serious, as the death of Tauke Khan revived the internal wars for power. The Junggars seized the opportunity and attacked the Kazakh steppe in 1723. As Abylai Khan stated, during the first 40 years of the century more than two thirds of the population were killed.

To unite the nation, Tole bi, Kazybek bi, and Aiteke bi gathered a council of Zhuzes, consisting of biys, beks, and batyrs in 1726 at the Ordabasy Mount. They made a solidarity vow, elected a supreme chief in Abukhair Khan, and blessed these who volunteered to fight. In the autumn of that year, the joint Kazakh army harassed the Junggars, and in 1729 gained the main victory.A turning-point had been reached in the war between the Kazakh and Junggars. However, a local war began among the Khans of the three Zhuzes for becoming the All-Kazakh Khan. The army gradually diminished, as the Zhuzes preferred to fight separately. Surrounded by adversaries, such as Junggars, people from Khiva, the Turkmen, Kalmmyks, Cossacks, and Bashkirs, the Smaller Zhuz was in the most difficult situation. All these made Abulkhair Khan think over Russian protection. Finally, on October 10, in 1731, the Smaller Zhuz, headed by Abulkhair Khan, was voluntarily added to the Russian Empire. Considering the objective basis for this historical event, one should mention the Khan's selfish aims to win supreme power over the three Zhuzes with the help of Russian authority.

Then the complicated and contradictory process of joining Kazakstan to Russia began and resulted in liquidation of the traditional state system in the Middle Zhuz (1822), as well as in the Smaller (1824) and in the Great Ztuzes. The reform of 1868 proclaimed all Kazakh land the property of the tsarist aristocracy. From the second half of the 19 century, Russia began an intensive migratory policy aimed to promote the regime, to assimilate the Kazakhs, and  to turn the peasants away from  the revolutionary movement. These goals were also assisted by reform in the regional government structure, which was based on territorial principles and had a multistage election mechanism.

Kazakhstan's colonization led to significant withdrawal of lands in favour of the Cossacks and peasants from Russian provinces. Reduction of the pastures forced the nomads to settle and practice husbandry. Nearly 50 per cent of the farmers in the Kustanai district quitted nomadic life style. At the end of the 19th century, the migratory politics caused some ethnic and demographic warps in Kazakstan, and the relative density of the Kazakhs declined, especially in northern and eastern regions. During those years more than 1.6 million people migrated to Kazakstan, while the total number of the Kazakhs was about 3.8 million.

The intensified oppression of the Russian government caused unrest among the nations, which developed into widespread revolt and further into a national liberation movement. The largest were the revolt and movements headed by Srym Datov (1783-1797), Isatai Taimanov and Mahambet Utemisov (1837-1838), and Kenesary Kasymov (1837-1847). The latter was large-scale and the longest. Being an anti-colonial revolt, it aimed to establish a centralised state, to over-come clan hostility, and feudal dissociation. Finally, one should mention the revolt of 1916, which involved Kazakstan and the entirety of Central Asia. The national liberation movement of 1917, which led to the organization of the party Alash and the government of the Alash Horde, had a tragic end for the movement's leaders. Their aim was to free the Kazakhs from colonial oppression and to establish the national autonomy of Kazakstan. Almost all the leaders were repressed in 1937-1938. According to historians, a total of three hundred wars, revolts, and movements took place in Kazakstan in the period from the late 16 century to 1916.

Of course, it would be unfair to describe the joining of Kazakstan to Russia only as an epoch of colonization and oppression. On the contrary, this process brought about many positive and advancing changes. Influenced by capitalist relations in Russia, the process of formation of the national bourgeois began in Kazakstan. Beginning from the first half of the 19century, the Kazakhs moved to the settled mode of living more intensively, and more Kazakhs became involved in agriculture. Trade relations widened, and production of commodities developed. With the help of Russia, the Kazakstan economy entered the sphere of the European countries. Cattle breeding and other activities obtained features of marketable commodities. The significance of Kazakstan's existence increased, as the country was both a market for Russian grain and other goods, and a supplier of cattle-breeding products. Trade and financial relations, and production of commodities developed rapidly resulting in decay of the natural economy.

Many industries developed, including transportation, mining, and oil-production. In the late 19century, Kazakstan became the main copper producer, following the Ural and Caucasus. The number of agribusiness enterprises also increased. According to statistical data of 1895, there were more than two thousand of such enterprises in Kazakstan. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Zacaspian, Orenburg, and Siberian railroads were built and put into operation. Formation of the national working class and the intelligentsia was continuing. There were 18.000 workers involved in the processing industry, of which 70 % were Kazakhs.

At the end of the 19th century, many schools were opened, including a polytechnical college and several schools for women. A large number of young Kazakh people studied at the Omsk and Nepljuevsk military schools, at the Saint Petersburg University and Military and Medical Academy, in the Kazan and Tomsk Universities and other institutes. The first Kazakh periodicals appeared at that time. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were a number of national papers and magazines, such as the Aikap magazine and Cossack newspaper.












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