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name Kyrgyzstan comes from two words. The Persian word stan means "place
of" or "country" and the word kyrgyz, which is believed
to be a Turkic word that means "forty," referencing the forty clans of
The people of Kyrgyzstan were pushed into their present
state by the Mongols, so their land is a result of another's decision, but it
was the Kyrgyzs who made the most of this action and made that land home. Since
the country is very mountainous and many parts are at high elevation the land provides
little good farm land so the people have always been more dependent on animals for
survival, while this has also limited the population in numbers as well as in location.
For nearly all of Kyrgyzstan's history, the Kyrgyz
people have fallen under the control of foreign powers and their way of life today
is a result of these foreign powers in conjunction with their present state. This
string of foreign leaders dates back to the 500s and during this time of being powerless,
the people have focused almost entirely on survival with few luxuries available.
The flag of Kyrgyzstan is on a red
background, which represents bravery and valor. The sun in the middle is for peace
and wealth. Off this sun are 40 rays, one for each of the 40 Kyrgyz tribes. The
sun is also crossed with lines, which represent a tunduk, which is the
crown of a Kyrgyz yurt.
Name: Kyrgyz Republic
Independence: August 31, 1991
Population: 5,548,042 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Russian, & others
Language: Kyrgyz & Russian
Religion: Sunni Muslim
These powers also changed the people and their culture and the greatest of these
changes came with the introduction of Islam in about the 900s. Despite this change,
little else changed for the Kyrgyz people as they
nearly always fell on the periphery of the ruling empires and were subject to their
rules and demands.
Despite this, the Kyrgyz people developed a distinct
culture over time based on a simple way of life farming and raising animals. Their
housing and their food were also simple as most of their actions were done in order
to survive, not in order to gain luxury or comfort. This changed with the arrival
of the Russians in the late 1800s and the takeover by
the Soviets in the early 1900s.
The Soviets forced the people to work, but as little farm land was available in
Kyrgyzstan factories were built and the people were
forced to move to newly founded or growing cities. The borders were also re-drawn
to meet Soviet interests as the people had few choices but to oblige.
The Soviets moved the people from small villages adjacent to farm lands and water
sources to cities, changing the culture dramatically. The Soviets also introduced
new technology, expanded housing, health care, education, and infrastructure. Today,
the Kyrgyz people balance a line between these two
pasts. They use the advancements given to them by the Soviets, but still seek out
their historic culture and way of life. This balance of seeking out their past culture
comes with hesitating to give up new technologies as the cities are continuing to
remain large and few people are moving back to the villages that were once an integral
aspect of the Kyrgyz's culture and way of life.
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