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The Story of Turkestan: Ethnic Distinction of Kazakhs in European Written Sources


This research aims to examine the ethnographic data about the Kazakh ethnic group from the European sources of the middle XIII to early XX centuries. The study uses problem-chronological and comparative-historical analyses to process data published by European travellers, merchants, soldiers and scientists. The European works contain factual inaccuracies, unverified information and speculations. Their quality has improved since the XVIII century though. The findings of European explorers allow a better understanding of the ethnogenesis of Kazakhs and their transition to statehood. Data available in these sources will help find the historical roots of contemporary ethnic and inter-ethnic problems in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. The present study allowed a look at the past life of Kazakh people and their ethnic distinction in Turkestan through the lens of European mentality.


Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Turkmen, Ethnicity, Ethnogenesis, Nation, Nomads, Traditions, Turkestan, Central Asia



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