History of Kazakhstan

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Humans have inhabited present-day Kazakhstan since the earliest Stone Age, generally pursuing the nomadic pastoralism for which the region's climate and terrain are best suited. Prehistoric Bronze Age cultures that extended onto Kazakh territory include the Srubna culture, the Afanasevo culture and the Andronovo culture. Between 500 BC and 500 AD, Kazakhstan was home to the early nomadic warrior cultures: the Saka and the Huns.

Early history

The earliest well-documented state in the region was the Turkic Kaganate, or Gokturk, Köktürk state, established by the Ashina clan, which came into existence in the 6th century AD. The Qarluqs, a confederation of Turkic tribes, established a state in what is now eastern Kazakhstan in 766. In the 8th and 9th centuries, portions of southern Kazakhstan were conquered by Arabs, who also introduced Islam. The Oghuz Turks controlled western Kazakhstan from the 9th through the 11th centuries; the Kimak and Kipchak peoples, also of Turkic origin, controlled the east at roughly the same time. The large central desert of Kazakhstan is still called Dashti-Kipchak, or the Kipchak Steppe. The capital (Astana) was home of a lot of Huns and Saka.

In the late 9h century, the Qarluq state was destroyed by invaders who established the large Qarakhanid state, which occupied a region known as Transoxiana, the area north and east of the Oxus River (the present-day Amu Darya), extending into what is now China. Beginning in the early 11th century, the Qarakhanids fought constantly among themselves and with the Seljuk Turks to the south. In the course of these conflicts, parts of present-day Kazakhstan shifted back and forth between the combatants. The Qarakhanids, who accepted Islam and the authority of the Arab Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad during their dominant period, were conquered in the 1130s by the Karakitai, a Mongol confederation from eastern Mongolia. In the mid-12th century, an independent state of Khorazm along the Oxus River broke away from the weakening Karakitai, but the bulk of the Karakitai state lasted until the Mongol invasion of Genghis Khan in 1219–1221.

After the Mongol capture of the Karakitai state, Kazakhstan fell under the control of a succession of rulers of the Mongolian Golden Horde, the western branch of the Mongol Empire. The horde, or jüz, is the precursor of the present-day clan. By the early 15th century, the ruling structure had split into several large groups known as khanates, including the Nogai Horde and the Uzbek Khanate.

Kazakh Khanate (1465–1731)

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