Mongolian Lifestyle

Kazakh people

Who is Kazakh people


Kazakhs constitute 1. Kipchak of Turkic descent, 2. Naiman of Mongol descent, (also Khereid, Jalayr, Khongirad, Khatagin), 3. Scythians of Iran descent, (Also Sakas, Sarmatians, and Massagets).

Among the Khasags, the Naiman, Khereid, the Jalayr, and the Khongirad were large tribes, each with a population of hundreds of thousands to millions.

Today the Kazakh people are the largest ethnic minority in Mongolia constituting over 100,000. although only 4% of the total population.  The most Kazakh population reside in the western province of Bayan-Ulgii. Kazakh is the language of everyday communication and Islam is the primary religion of the Kazakhs. Local schools teach in either Mongolian or Kazakh. Mongolian is the language of inter-ethnic communication and official language of government and business.

Modern documented Kazakh migration to Mongolia begins in 1840 with many migrants arriving from areas now Western China (Xinjiang).

Bayan Ulgii province was created in 1939 as a semi-autonomous homeland for Kazakhs living in Mongolia. When the Soviet Union and China established borders, Kazakhs in Mongolia were isolated from their brethren until the 1990s.

When the former USSR dissolved, and Kazakhstan declared independence, Nazerbayev welcomed back the diasporic Kazakh community, including Kazakhs from Mongolia.  About half of the Kazakhs in Mongolia moved to Kazakhstan after independence in the 1990s. Though many returned back. In Mongolia, they always enjoyed a comparatively high status in the society.

Today, many Kazakhs in Bayan-Olgii maintain traditional semi-nomadic herding by moving with their animals several times a year, and living in a Kazakh style ger (larger and taller than a Mongolian ger) during the summer. All Kazakhs keep close ties to extended families.

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