People of Kyrgyzstan

The early Kyrgyz people, known as Yenisei Kyrgyz, have their origins in the western parts of modern-day Mongolia and first appear in written records in the Chinese annals of the Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian (compiled 109 BC to 91 BC), as Gekun or Jiankun. They were described in Tang Dynasty texts as having "red hair and green eyes", while those with dark hair and eyes were said to be descendants of a Chinese general Li Ling. In Chinese sources, these Kyrgyz tribes were described as fair-skinned, green- or blue-eyed and red-haired people with a mixture of European and Mongol features. The dominant type of the Yenisey "Kyrgyz" was Mongoloid. The Middle Age Chinese composition "Tanghuiyao" of the 8–10th century transcribed the name "Kyrgyz" as Tsze-gu (Kirgut), and their tamga was depicted as identical to the tamga of present day Kyrgyz tribes Azyk, Bugu, Cherik, Sary Bagysh and few others. According to recent historical findings, Kyrgyz history dates back to 201 BC. The Yenisei Kyrgyz lived in the upper Yenisey River valley, central Siberia. In Late Antiquity the Yenisei Kyrgyz were a part of the Tiele people. Later, in the Early Middle Ages, the Yenisei Kyrgyz were a part of the confederations of the Göktürk and Uyghur Khaganates. In 840 a revolt led by the Yenisei Kyrgyz brought down the Uyghur Khaganate, and brought the Yenisei Kyrgyz to a dominating position in the former Turkic Khaganate. With the rise to power, the center of the Kyrgyz Khaganate moved to Jeti-su, and brought about a spread south of the Kyrgyz people, to reach Tian Shan mountains and Xinjiang, bringing them into contact with the existing peoples of western China, especially Tibet. By the 16th century the carriers of the ethnonym "Kirgiz" lived in South Siberia, Xinjiang, Tian Shan, Pamir-Alay, Middle Asia, Urals (among Bashkorts), in Kazakhstan.In the Tian Shan and Xinjiang area, the term "Kyrgyz" retained its unifying political designation, and became a general ethnonym for the Yenisei Kirgizes and aboriginal Turkic tribes that presently constitute the Kyrgyz population.Though it is obviously impossible to directly identify the Yenisei and Tien Shan Kyrgyz, a trace of their ethnogenetical connections is apparent in archaeology, history, language and ethnography. A majority of modern researchers came to the conclusion that the ancestors of Kyrgyz tribes had their origin in the most ancient tribal unions of Sakas and Usuns, Dinlins, Mongols and Huns. Also, there follow from the oldest notes about the Kyrgyz that the definite mention of Kyrgyz ethnonym originates from 6th century. There is certain probability that there was relation between Kyrgyz and Gegunese already in 2nd century BC, next, between Kyrgyz and Khakases since 6th century A.D., but there is quite missing a unique mention. The Kyrgyz as ethnic group are mentioned quite unambiguously in the time of Genghis Khan rule (1162–1227), when their name replaces the former name Khakas.