Turkistan (Click here for a Map of Turkistan - 1875)
Turkistan, dry, mountainous region of Asia, extending from the Caspian Sea on the west to the Gobi Desert on the east. The area is divided into three sections: Western Turkistan, which includes southern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan; Eastern Turkistan, which is separated from Western Turkistan by the Tian Shan and Altay Mountains and comprises the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China; and Afghan Turkistan, comprising the northeastern part of Afghanistan.
The earliest inhabitants of Turkistan were an Iranian-speaking people. The Greeks occupied the region in the 4th century BC, following the conquest of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great. Eastern Turkistan came under Chinese rule in the 2nd century BC, but was abandoned to the Persians after the fall of the Han dynasty in AD 220. In succeeding centuries Turkistan was subdued by various other Asian peoples, including the Mongol forces of Genghis Khan in the 13th century. In the 8th century Islam, which was introduced by invading Arabs, became the prevailing religion. China reconquered Eastern Turkistan in the 18th century and incorporated it into the province of Xinjiang (also spelled Sinkiang) in 1881.
Incursions were made into the western part of Turkistan by the Russians as early as the 16th century. The conquest of present Western Turkistan, however, was not complete until the latter part of the 19th century. After the Russian Revolution, the Turkistan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR) and the Kirgiz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR) were established in the region. These territories were redistributed between 1924 and 1936 into other Soviet republics. Afghan Turkistan, which had been claimed by Russia, was ceded to Afghanistan by the Anglo-Russian Agreement of 1859.
"Turkistan," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2001
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- 1865 The western part of Turkestan was conquered by Russia and was later divided into the independent republic of Uzbekistan, Kazakhistan, Kyrgysztan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.
- 1876 Eastern Turkestan was occupied by the Manchu rulers of China.
- 1884 Eastern Turkestan was annexed to the Manchu Empire and given the name Xinjiang.
- 1911 The Nationalist Chinese overthrew the Manchu rule in China and established a republic.
- 1933-1944 The Turkic peoples were successful in setting up independent Eastern Turkestan republics.
- 1949 The Nationalist Chinese forces were defeated by the Chinese Communist Peoples Liberation Army, and the period of communist rule began.
- 1996 45 armed anti-Chinese uprisings took place in 15 different parts of Eastern Turkestan.