|Titel:||A Nineteenth Century Description of Eastern Turkestan|
|Autor:||George Timkowski, Julius Heinrich Klaproth , George Malagaris|
This description of Eastern Turkestan comes from an early nineteenth century Russian envoy to China, George Timkowski. Timkowski’s Russian text was edited and translated into French by German linguist Julius Heinrich Klaproth. Klaproth’s French language text and notes were then translated into English by H. E. Lloyd in the 1820s.
The historical region of Eastern Turkestan included parts of Central Asia and Western China (Xinjiang). The name “Turkestan” means “the land of the Turks” in Persian, and was applied to the region by Europeans in the 19th century. Europeans also sometimes referred to the area as “Chinese Turkestan”, because parts of the region sometimes fell under Chinese domination. Most of the region’s people spoke Turkic languages. Among the Turkic speakers were the Uzbeks, Uyghurs, Kyrgyz, Turkmens, and Kazakhs. The Tajiks, who lived in the Bukhara region, and in other parts of Eastern Turkestan, spoke Persian or Iranian dialects, and specialized in commerce. Most of the Turkic groups, on the other and, were livestock-raising nomads.
Timkowski and Klaproth distinguish between the Persian, or Farsi, language of the Tajiks and the Turkic languages of most other Central Asians. They call the Tajiks “Bucharians” (Bukharians) after the town and region of Bukhara. The Turkic-speaking groups of the region called the Persian-speaking Tajiks “sarti”, meaning “merchants”, because many of the Central Asian Tajiks were traders.
By the early 19th century many of the people of Eastern Turkestan had converted to Islam, a religion that had been introduced by Persian and Arab traders. Central Asia was divided between 2 empires in the late 19th century. The Qing Chinese ruled over what is now Xinjiang Region in western China. Meanwhile the Russian Empire expanded to control most of the rest of Central Asia, including the Bukhara region. The former Russian imperial possessions of Central Asia came under Communist Soviet rule after the Russian Revolution, and became independent after the collapse of the USSR in the early 1990s.