Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Kalmuks, the western Mongols, of whom there are seven main divisions: Tanghut, in the valley of like name; Olot (Eleat), in Ila district; Turgut, in Ila, Yulduz, Karashahr and Lake Lob districts; Koshot (Choshod), in Yulduz; Kara Kalmuk ("Black Kalmuks"), in Chanchan, North Tibet, and Lake Lob; Sarigh Kalmuk, in Turfan, Urumchi, and Yulduz; Tuwat, in Tibet. All are Buddhists and nomads, divided into numerous sub-groups under noyuns (chiefs), who are collectively ruled by the ghaldan (khan or prince). It was the Turgut Kalmuks who, to escape from the tyranny of the Zungars, migrated in 1636 to the Lower Volga, where some still survive in the government of Astrakhan. But after the destruction of the Zungars by the Chinese in 1756 the majority (350,000) returned (1771) through the Kirghiz steppes to their old homes, losing half their number on their way. At present the Kalmuk nation numbers altogether about 1,000,000 souls, of whom 160,000 are in Russia, the rest in China (Mongolia and North Tibet). In physical appearance, language, and usages they differ little from the Kalkas and other eastern Mongols.