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


Kirghiz, a main division of the Tatar race, who occupy a vast domain in South-West Siberia, Turkestan, and East Russia; but their real home are the steppes stretching from the Ural River eastwards to beyond Lake Balkash (50° - 85° E. long.). Three great historical branches - The Little Horde, between the Ural River and the Kara-Kum desert, north of the Aral Sea; The Middle Horde, from the Aral Sea to Lake Balkash; The Great Horde, from west end of Lake Balkash eastwards, besides the Kara ("Black") Kirghiz of the Turkestan highlands and those of the Volga steppes, with total population (1890) of 3,100,000. Nearly all are Sunnite Mohammedans and nomads, speaking a Turki dialect closely related to that of Kashgar. Type: medium height, square, flat features, prpminent cheek-bones, small, oblique eyes, large mouth, hands and feet very small, yellowish-brown -or swarthy complexion; morally frank, honest, and trustworthy, hospitable to strangers, and tolerant in religion, allowing their women to go unveiled, and otherwise indifferent observers of the Koranic precepts. According to national usage, the term Kirghiz, of doubtful origin, is restricted to the Kara-Kirghiz, all the others calling themselves Kazah (" Riders"), which is the same word as the Russian Cossack; hence the Russian compound word Kirghiz-Kazak applied to the whole nation. Some writers regard the Kirghiz, not as a distinct race, but as a confederation of numerous nomad Mongolo-Tatar tribes stretching from the Gobi Desert to the Volga, and united together for administrative purposes by Jenghiz Khan and his successors.