The Chinese general Chang Chien founded the Silk Road in 138 B.C when he traveled to the Fergana Valley. Soon after Chang Chien%u2019s expedition, the Chinese Empire began officially trading with city states in Fergana. The cities of Osh, Uzgen, and Jul in Kyrgyzstan were at the center of this prominent trading route, making them important commerce centers. Pictured above is an ancient caravansary in Kyrgyzstan on the Silk Road. This caravansary served as a hotel or inn for travelers from the west.
The Huns Take Control of Kyrgyzstan
Prior to this point, many different nomadic empires had occupied the area of what is now modern day Kyrgyzstan. There is evidence that nomads occupied the area as early as 3000 B.C. The Usun ruled part of Kyrgyzstan until the Huns (or Hsiung-nu) took over in the 300s. The Huns, a group of nomadic clans from Mongolia, ruled much of Central Asia at this time. They were ruled by a fierce and aggressive leader named Attila, whom is pictured above.
1st Jan, 0751
The Beginning of Islamic Influence
In 744 A.D. the Tang dynasty from China controlled Northern Kyrgyzstan. The Tang dynasty would have conquered more of Kyrgyzstan, but they were stopped by Muslim armies. In 751 A.D., a huge battle ensued between the Chinese army and the Muslim army. At the Talas River, the Chinese were defeated and retreated to east of the Tien Shan mountains. This was one of the most monumental battles in Kyrgyz history because it marked the beginning of Islamic ways in Kyrgyzstan.
1st Jan, 0900
The Kyrgyzs Migrate to Kyrgyzstan
Around 900 A.D., the nomadic Kyrgyz people began to migrate to what is now Kyrgyzstan from the Yenisey River in Siberia. Specifically, the places they moved into Kyrgyzstan are the Chu, Fergana, and Talas valleys. They dwelled in a portable tent-like structure called a yurt. It is believed that the origins of the Kyrgyz people are closely tied to the Kazkah, Karakalpak, and Turkic people. The migration was a gradual process, taking two centuries to complete itself.
1st Jan, 1219
Genghis Khan Invades Eastern Asia
In 1219, Genghis Khan, sparked by an attack on the Mongols, began to conquer Central Asia. Genghis Khan, the leader of the Mongols, gained a reputation as being a merciless and ruthless leader. He executed any who would resist, including the Kyrgyzs. However, their resistance was futile so in the effort to sustain their existence, they surrendered. After Genghis Khan%u2019s death in 1227, his sons took over and continued to rule for 150 years.
The Khans of Kokand Take Control
Soon after the departure of the Kalymyks in the early 1700%u2019s, an Uzbek tribe called the Ming built a palace in Kokand, in the Fergana Valley. By 1762, they expanded into southern Kazakhstan, eastern Uzbekistan, and most of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Despite the fact that the Kyrgyz tribes frequently resisted, they did not have the technique or tools to escape the Kokand regime. The Kyrgyz often were assisted and protected by the Russians, who in the 1800%u2019s would take over most of Central Asia.
Russian Occupancy of Central Asia
In 1876, due to Russian intervention, the Khanate of Kokand was abolished. Russian armies had slowly been taking control of Kyrgyz cities, but now that the Khans were no more, there was complete Russian occupation. Though the Russian invasion was more welcome than the Khanate of Kokand%u2019s invasion, the urbanization that came disrupted the nomadic ways of the Kyrgyz people. Private land ownership affected transhumance (transferring livestock), and brought ethnic diversity.
KSSR Is Established
In 1924, 7 years after the February Revolution which ended the tsar%u2019s rule, Kyrgyzstan was assigned the Kara-Kyrgyz Autonomous Oblast. In 1936, this was elevated to the Kyrgyz Soviet Socialist Republic. This was the first time that the Kyrgyz people had their own specific piece of land, creating a nation. This change brought some benefits to %u201CKyrgyzya%u201D, such as improved literacy rates. However,many problems came, like when the USSR collected all farm land, destroying traditional nomadic ways.
Kyrgyzstan Declares Independence
Shortly after tensions between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz began to unravel, the Soviet Union collapsed. During a coup against Mikhail Gorbachev, on August 31, 1991, Kyrgyzstan declared independence. Askar Akayev was elected (running unopposed) as the new leader for Kyrgyzstan. Akayev was the only leader in Central Asia not in the Communist Party. Many new things came to Kyrgyzstan, such as independent media and new political parties. Problems came as well, one being a depleating economy.
Askar Akayev: The Falling Out
Askar Akayev%u2019s true intentions were beginning to emerge. In 2000, he had barred former Vice President Kulov from the election, and had him jailed under very vague charges. Akayev consistently resented and was rude towards reporters who questioned his actions, he was very reluctant to relinquish his power. This combined with voting irregularities sparked protests beginning February 2005. In March, Akayev fled the country and in April resigned, having President Kurmanbek Bakiyev take his place.