Central Asian Pastoralists From Genghis Khan to the Kirghiz
Introduction to Central Asia <ul><li>To most in North America, Central Asia is in the middle of nowhere </li></ul><ul><li>...
Location of Central Asia  <ul><li>These comprise the Islamic republics of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan...
Cultures of Central Asia: Overview <ul><li>Central Asia is best known for: </li></ul><ul><li>The Silk Road, which linked E...
Central Asia: Physical Geography <ul><li>The region is mountainous (purple) </li></ul><ul><li>With extensive deserts (tan)...
Central Asia: Physical Geographical Description <ul><li>The landscape includes the Caucasus Mountains to the west; </li></...
Pastoralism <ul><li>The steppes, like other grasslands, were unsuitable for non-mechanized agriculture </li></ul><ul><li>R...
Mongol Empire <ul><li>The Mongols started off as several warring tribal societies  </li></ul><ul><li>How a group of unprom...
Genghis Kahn, a.k.a. Temüjin <ul><li>Genghis Kahn (given name Temüjin) was no doubt a ruthless warrior </li></ul><ul><li>Y...
Genghis Kahn: Military Strategist <ul><li>He combined the speed and mobility of a cavalry on the plain </li></ul><ul><li>W...
Genghis Kahn: Administrator <ul><li>Popular conception ignores his effectiveness as an administrator </li></ul><ul><li>Dev...
Legacy of Genghis Kahn <ul><li>After his death in 1227, the empire continued to expand to stretch from Europe to China </l...
Contemporary Central Asian Cultures <ul><li>Changes occurred under the Russian and Soviet  empires </li></ul><ul><li>The K...
Kirghiz Cultural Patterns <ul><li>They migrate seasonally, to higher pastures in summer, lower in winter (upper photo) </l...
Ecological Analysis <ul><li>Sheep and goats are herded together as “companion animals” </li></ul><ul><li>Sheep graze (eat ...
Social Organization <ul><li>The basic unit is a household averaging 3.5 persons </li></ul><ul><li>Eighty per cent are nucl...
Kirghiz Socioeconomic Relations <ul><li>Amanat  system: a wealthy sheep owner lends his sheep to individuals for their use...
Post-Soviet Transition <ul><li>The Soviet invasion forced the Kirghiz to migrate to Pakistan and elsewhere </li></ul><ul><...
Conclusion <ul><li>The cultures of the Steppes were predominantly herders </li></ul><ul><li>However, nomadic cultures coul...
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Central Asia Pastoralist

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Deacribes the formation of the Mongols under Genghiis Kahn and the characteristics of one descending tribe, the Kirghiz.

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Central Asia Pastoralist

  1. 1. Central Asian Pastoralists From Genghis Khan to the Kirghiz
  2. 2. Introduction to Central Asia <ul><li>To most in North America, Central Asia is in the middle of nowhere </li></ul><ul><li>But out of nowhere came the hordes of Genghis Kahn and his successors </li></ul><ul><li>Later, under Soviet control, Central Asia was a nuclear testing ground </li></ul><ul><li>Since then, oil and gas have been discovered in several republics </li></ul>
  3. 3. Location of Central Asia <ul><li>These comprise the Islamic republics of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, as well as Azerbaijan to the west. </li></ul><ul><li>Plus the Christian republics of Armenia and Georgia </li></ul>
  4. 4. Cultures of Central Asia: Overview <ul><li>Central Asia is best known for: </li></ul><ul><li>The Silk Road, which linked Europe with Asia in trade (left) </li></ul><ul><li>Nomadic peoples, including Mongols, Kirghiz, and Kazaks </li></ul><ul><li>Mongols under Genghis Khan were known as pillagers </li></ul><ul><li>But they also created a space for extending secure trade routes, including the Silk Road </li></ul>
  5. 5. Central Asia: Physical Geography <ul><li>The region is mountainous (purple) </li></ul><ul><li>With extensive deserts (tan) </li></ul><ul><li>And semi-arid steppes or grassland (salmon) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Central Asia: Physical Geographical Description <ul><li>The landscape includes the Caucasus Mountains to the west; </li></ul><ul><li>The Tian Shan mountains to the south and southeast </li></ul><ul><li>Extensive deserts (Taklamakan, Kara Kum, and Kyzyl Kum) </li></ul><ul><li>Broad-ranging semi-arid grasslands known as the steppe </li></ul>
  7. 7. Pastoralism <ul><li>The steppes, like other grasslands, were unsuitable for non-mechanized agriculture </li></ul><ul><li>Reason: Sod is impenetrable with hoe and other agricultural implements </li></ul><ul><li>As elsewhere, herding draft (working) animals is the most effective means of exploiting grasslands </li></ul><ul><li>In North America, plains Indians used horses to hunt bison, also an effective use of the grasslands </li></ul><ul><li>In the steppes of Central Asia, horses were the animals of choice </li></ul><ul><li>Pictures: Mongol horsemen past (above) and present (below) </li></ul>
  8. 8. Mongol Empire <ul><li>The Mongols started off as several warring tribal societies </li></ul><ul><li>How a group of unpromising tribes could merge into an empire is an highly relevant topic </li></ul><ul><li>They began as five tribes: the Naimans, Tatars, Uighurs, Merkits, and Mongols in 1206 (upper left, in red) </li></ul><ul><li>At the end, they developed into the largest empire in the world, past and present (lower left; depicted in dark gray, 1237) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Genghis Kahn, a.k.a. Temüjin <ul><li>Genghis Kahn (given name Temüjin) was no doubt a ruthless warrior </li></ul><ul><li>Yet under him, war was a last (though brutal) resort </li></ul><ul><li>He started small; subduing four rival tribes </li></ul><ul><li>After defeating his rivals his expansion was predicated on trade and public security </li></ul><ul><li>His aim: to pacify each region to make safe for trade and travel </li></ul><ul><li>One incident: he sent emissaries to Samarkand in a bid to establish trade relations with the Shah of the Khwarezmid Empire </li></ul><ul><li>The emissaries were murdered, provoking a war that led to the slaughter of the entire empire of the shah </li></ul>
  10. 10. Genghis Kahn: Military Strategist <ul><li>He combined the speed and mobility of a cavalry on the plain </li></ul><ul><li>With adoption of siege strategy and technology (catapults, rockets) to subdue all fortified cities </li></ul><ul><li>His soldier traveled light and were highly disciplined, with death for negligence </li></ul><ul><li>They were expert archers and lancers </li></ul><ul><li>They traveled light, relying less on supply lines </li></ul><ul><li>Their rapid mobility compensated for lack of armor </li></ul><ul><li>Military academies, including West Point, still emulate many of his strategies. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Genghis Kahn: Administrator <ul><li>Popular conception ignores his effectiveness as an administrator </li></ul><ul><li>Devised a code called yassa </li></ul><ul><li>Key canon: nobility shared the same hardships as the common man </li></ul><ul><li>Promotion was based strictly on merit </li></ul><ul><li>Theft was strictly forbidden; could be punishable by death </li></ul><ul><li>The empire was safe to travel, a point Europeans commented on </li></ul><ul><li>Religious tolerance was decreed, and Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians maintained their beliefs in the empire </li></ul><ul><li>Created trade route and a postal system; the U.S. Pony Express was an imitation of the Mongol system. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Legacy of Genghis Kahn <ul><li>After his death in 1227, the empire continued to expand to stretch from Europe to China </li></ul><ul><li>The Silk Road, established in 1168, continued to flourish </li></ul><ul><li>Europeans continued to use the roads for trade; Marco Polo was the best known of these </li></ul><ul><li>The yam was the most efficient postal system worldwide </li></ul>
  13. 13. Contemporary Central Asian Cultures <ul><li>Changes occurred under the Russian and Soviet empires </li></ul><ul><li>The Kirghiz are a tribal people ranging across the Pamir Mountains </li></ul><ul><li>The Johnson-Earle book focuses of those in Afghanistan </li></ul><ul><li>Border closings with Russia and China have forced them to intensively exploit their pasture lands </li></ul>
  14. 14. Kirghiz Cultural Patterns <ul><li>They migrate seasonally, to higher pastures in summer, lower in winter (upper photo) </li></ul><ul><li>Animals include sheep and goats </li></ul><ul><li>Animals also include Bactrian (double-humped) camels, yak (cold country oxen), horses </li></ul><ul><li>Like all nomadic peoples, they live in felt yurts (lower photo) </li></ul><ul><li>In recent years, higher demand for animal products and land scarcity has induced stratification </li></ul>
  15. 15. Ecological Analysis <ul><li>Sheep and goats are herded together as “companion animals” </li></ul><ul><li>Sheep graze (eat low-growing plants such as grass) </li></ul><ul><li>Goats browse (eat high-growing plants such as brush) </li></ul><ul><li>Yaks are oxen whose two layers of hair covering matted hair protect them from the cold </li></ul>
  16. 16. Social Organization <ul><li>The basic unit is a household averaging 3.5 persons </li></ul><ul><li>Eighty per cent are nuclear families; </li></ul><ul><li>Remainder are extended or polygynous families. </li></ul><ul><li>Traditionally, the yurt (felt tent) houses the family </li></ul><ul><li>More recently, stone houses have taken their place </li></ul>
  17. 17. Kirghiz Socioeconomic Relations <ul><li>Amanat system: a wealthy sheep owner lends his sheep to individuals for their use of wool, milk, and dung </li></ul><ul><li>In return, the borrower repays the owner with lambs the sheep has borne, adding to the owner’s herds </li></ul><ul><li>Sheep were then sold in Kabul </li></ul><ul><li>Result: the formation of chiefdoms, embodied in the khan </li></ul><ul><li>Two-thirds of the households studied have few or no herd animals. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Post-Soviet Transition <ul><li>The Soviet invasion forced the Kirghiz to migrate to Pakistan and elsewhere </li></ul><ul><li>They lost their markets in Kabul and felt threatened by the Soviets, forcing the move </li></ul><ul><li>In 1981, Kirghiz leader Haji Rahman Gul led a group into Pakistan </li></ul><ul><li>Because of tropical climate, group lost its animals and more than 100 died </li></ul><ul><li>Eventually, in the group found refuge in Turkey, whose climate and culture allowed them to develop their herding again </li></ul>
  19. 19. Conclusion <ul><li>The cultures of the Steppes were predominantly herders </li></ul><ul><li>However, nomadic cultures could become complex states </li></ul><ul><li>The mobility of Genghis Khan’s Mongol prove an advantage in military conquest </li></ul><ul><li>Trade provided an incentive for developing a state </li></ul><ul><li>The Kirghiz replicated the pattern of state formation through stratification </li></ul><ul><li>As land and animals became scarce, the kahn (chief) grew wealthy through amanat </li></ul>

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