The Mongols' invasion of Central Asia in the fourteenth century
devastated the territory of Kyrgyzstan, costing its people their
independence and their written language. The son of Chinggis (Genghis)
Khan, Dzhuchi, conquered the Kyrgyz tribes of the Yenisey region,
who by this time had become disunited. For the next 200 years,
the Kyrgyz remained under the Golden Horde and the Oriot and Jumgar
khanates that succeeded that regime. Freedom was regained in 1510,
but Kyrgyz tribes were overrun in the seventeenth century by the
Kalmyks, in the mid-eighteenth century by the Manchus, and in
the early nineteenth century by the Uzbeks.
The Kyrgyz began efforts to gain protection from more powerful
neighboring states in 1758, when some tribes sent emissaries to
China. A similar mission went to the Russian Empire in 1785. Between
1710 and 1876, the Kyrgyz were ruled by the Uzbek Quqon (Kokand)
Khanate, one of the three major principalities of Central Asia
during that period (see fig. 3). Kyrgyz tribes fought and lost
four wars against the Uzbeks of Quqon between 1845 and 1873. The
defeats strengthened the Kyrgyz willingness to seek Russian protection.
Even during this period, however, the Kyrgyz occupied important
positions in the social and administrative structures of the khanate,
and they maintained special military units that continued their
earlier tradition of military organization; some Kyrgyz advanced
to the position of khan.
Data as of March 1996