History of Kurdish People

History of the Kurdish people

The Kurds are an Iranian-speaking ethnolinguistic group who have historically inhabited the mountainous areas to the south of Caucasus (Zagros and Taurus mountain ranges), a geographical area collectively referred to as Kurdistan.

There are various hypotheses as to predecessor populations of the Kurds, such as the Carduchoi of Classical Antiquity. The earliest known Kurdish dynasties under Islamic rule (10th to 12th centuries) are the Hasanwayhids, the Marwanids, the Shaddadids, followed by the Ayyubid dynasty founded by Saladin. The Battle of Chaldiran of 1514 is an important turning point in Kurdish history, marking the alliance of Kurds with the Ottomans.

The Sharafnameh of 1597 is the first account of Kurdish history. Kurdish history in the 20th century is marked by a rising sense of Kurdish nationhood focussed on the goal of an independent Kurdistan as scheduled by the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920. Partial autonomy was reached by Kurdistan Uyezd (1923–1926) and by Iraqi Kurdistan (since 1991), while notably in Turkish Kurdistan, an armed conflict between the PKK and Turkish forces was ongoing 1984 to 1999, and the region continues to be unstable with renewed flaring up of violence in the 2000s.


Assyrian documents around 1000 BC call the people living in Mt. Azu or Hizan (near Lake Van) by the name Kurti or Kurkhi[citation needed]. The country of the Kurkhi included regions of Mount Judi and districts that were later called by the names Sophene, Anzanene andGordyene. The Kurkhi fought numerous battles with Tiglath-Pileser I who eventually defeated them and burnt down 25 of their towns.[1]

According to the British scholar G. R. Driver, the ethnonym originates even earlier, in 3rd millennium BC Sumerian records, as the name of a land called Karda or Qarda. This land south of Lake Van, was inhabited by the people of Su or Subaru who were connected with the Qurtie, a group of mountain dwellers.[2]

The term “Kurd” is first encountered in Arabic sources of the 1st century of the Islamic era.[3] The term seems to refer to variety of pastoral nomadism and possibly a set of political units, rather than linguistic group.[3] Books from the early Islamic era, including those containing legends like the Shahnameh and the Pahlavi Karnamak Ardashir-e-Papkan and other early Islamic sources provide early attestation of the name Kurd.[4] However, it is likely that the “Kurds” in Fars [5] were not true Kurds, but spoke South Western Iranian languages related to Persian.[5] The Kurd in the Middle Persian documents simply means nomad and tent-dweller and could be attributed to any Iranian ethnic group having similar characteristics.[6] In the early Islamic Persian and Arabic sources, the term Kurd became synonymous with an amalgamation of Iranian and Iranicized nomadic tribes and groups[7][8][9] without reference to any specific Iranian language.[3][10]

By the 16th century, Sherefxan Bidlisi states that there are four division of Kurds: KurmanjLurKalhur and Guran. However, according to Vladimir Minorsky, only Kurmanj and possibly Kalhur come under the heading of Kurds, where-as Lur and Guran stand apart for both linguistic and ethnological reasons.[11][12] Despite the opinion of Minorsky and other linguists, the Kalhur and Guran speakers do not use linguistic differentiators. Rather they use cultural differentiators and consider themselves as Kurds, along with all KurmanjiSorani speakers and manyZazas.


Kurdish is a language of the Northwestern Iranian group which has likely separated from the other dialects of Central Iran during the early centuries CE. Even though there are no records of the Kurdish language prior to the 13th century, the presence of Armenian loanwords  indicates that there must have been Kurdish-Armenian contacts by at least 1100 CE.

The present state of knowledge about Kurdish allows, at least roughly, drawing the approximate borders of the areas where the main ethnic core of the speakers of the contemporary Kurdish dialects was formed. The most argued hypothesis on the localisation of the ethnic territory of the Kurds remains D.N. Mackenzie’s theory, proposed in the early 1960s (Mackenzie 1961). Developing the ideas of P. Tedesco (1921: 255) and regarding the common phonetic isoglosses shared by Kurdish, Persian, and Baluchi, D.N. Mackenzie concluded that the speakers of these three languages form a unity within Northwestern Iranian. He has tried to reconstruct such a Persian-Kurdish-Baluchi linguistic unity presumably in the central parts of Iran. According to his theory, the Persians (or Proto-Persians) occupied the province of Fars in the southwest (proceeding from the assumption that the Achaemenids spoke Persian), the Baluchis (Proto-Baluchis) inhabited the central areas of Western Iran, and the Kurds (Proto-Kurds), in the wording of G. Windfuhr (1975: 459), lived either in northwestern Luristan or in the province of Isfahan.[13]

Genetic origins

The Kurds are considered an ancient autochthonous population.[14][15] Although Kurdistan came under the successive dominion of various conquerors, including the ArmeniansRomansByzantinesArabsOttoman Turks, and Persians,[14] they may have remained relatively unmixed by the influx of invaders, because of their protected and inhospitable mountainous homeland.[15]

Genetic testing amongst randomly chosen Kurdish populations has began to shed light into the disparate origins of the Kurds. The results reveal a variety of connections amongst the Kurds, when assessing paternal and maternal lineages. Overall the Kurds share some genetic ties to other speakers of Iranian languages as well as with various peoples from the Caucasus such as the Armenians which suggests that the Kurds have ancient ethnic ties that connect them to both the early inhabitants of the Kurdistan area, such as the Hurrians, and the various incoming Aryan tribes.

Kurdish people,Old Darvish men

Similarity to Europeans and peoples of the Caucasus

A study by Richards and colleagues of mitochondrial DNA in the Near East found that Kurds, Azeris, Ossetians and Armenians show a high incidence of MtDNA U5 lineages, which are common among Europeans, although rare elsewhere in the Near East. The sample of Kurds in this study came form northwest Iran and northeast Iraq, where Kurds usually predominate.[16]

A geographically broad study of the Southwest and Central Asian Corridor found that populations located west of the Indus Valley mainly harbor mtDNAs of western Eurasian origin.[17]

When Ivan Nasidze and his colleagues examined both Mitochondrial and Y-Chromosome DNA, they found Kurdish groups most similar genetically to other West Asian groups, and most distant from Central Asian groups, for both mtDNA and the Y-chromosome. However, Kurdish groups show a closer relationship with European groups than with Caucasian groups based on mtDNA, but the opposite based on the Y-chromosome, indicating some differences in their maternal and paternal histories.[18]

Similarity to Azeris of Iran

According to DRB1, DQA1 and DQB1 allele frequencies showed a strong genetic tie between Kurds and Azeris of Iran. According to the current results, present-day Kurds and Azeris of Iran seem to belong to a common genetic pool.[19]

Kurdish village Turkey photo

Similarity to Georgian people

David Comas and colleagues found that Mitochondrial sequence pools in Georgians and Kurds are very similar, despite their different linguistic and prehistoric backgrounds. Both populations present mtDNA lineages that clearly belong to the Western Eurasian gene pool.[20]

Similarity to Jewish people

There also appear to be some links to northern Semitic peoples such as the Syrians and possibly ancient Hebrews, but fewer links to southern Semites in the Arabian peninsula in spite of the region having been conquered very early by Muslim Arabs. In 2001 Nebel et al. compared three Jewish and three non-Jewish groups from the Middle East: Ashkenazim, Sephardim, and Kurdish Jews from Israel; Muslim Arabs from Israel and the Palestinian Authority Area; Bedouin from the Negev; and Muslim Kurds. They concluded that Kurdish and Sephardic Jews were indistinguishable from one another, whereas both differed slightly, yet significantly, from Ashkenazi Jews. Nebel et al. had earlier (2000) found a large genetic relationship between Jews and Palestinians, but in this study found an even higher relationship of Jews with Iraqi Kurds. They conclude that the common genetic background shared by Jews and other Middle Eastern groups predates the division of Middle Easterners into different ethnic groups.[21]

Interestingly, Nebel et al. (2001) also found that the Cohen Modal Haplotype (CMH), considered the most definitive Jewish haplotype, was found among 10.1% of Kurdish Jews, 7.6% of Ashkenazim, 6.4% of Sephardim, 2.1% of Palestianian Arabs, and 1.1% of Kurds. The CMH and the most frequent Kurdish haplotype (MKH) were the same on five markers (out of six) and very close on the other marker. The MKH was shared by 9.5% of Kurds, 2.6% of Sephardim, 2.0% of Kurdish Jews, 1.4% of Palestinian Arabs, and 1.3% of Ashkenazim. The general conclusion is that these similarities result mostly from the sharing of ancient genetic patterns, and not from more recent admixture between the groups.[21]

Muslim conquests

In 641 CE, Arab commander Utba ibn farqad conquered Kurdish forts of Adiabene. Around this time, Kurds lived a partly sedentary life and raised sheep and cattle in the regions of Beth Begash and Beth Kartewaye above Arbil in Adiabene. In 696, Kurds joined the Khariji revolt near Hulwan.[22]

Under the caliphs of Baghdad there were numerous uprisings. In 838, and again in 905, formidable insurrections occurred in northern Kurdistan; the amir, Aqpd-addaula, was obliged to lead the forces of the caliphate against the southern Kurds, capturing the famous fortress of Sermaj, whose ruins are to be seen at the present day near Behistun, and reducing the province of Shahrizor with its capital city now marked by the great mound of Yassin Teppeh. One of the very well known Kurdish scholars, Al-Dinawari (828–889), from Dinawar nearKermanshah, lived in this period. He has written a book about the ancestry of the Kurds.

A Kurd named Nasr or Narseh converted to Christianity, and changed his name to Theophobos during the reign of Emperor Theophilus and was the emperor’s intimate friend and commander for many years.[23] Narseh joined Babak‘s rebellion in southern Kurdistan, but Abbasidarmies defeated his forces in 833 and according to the Muslim historian Tabari around 60,000 of his followers were killed. Narseh himself fled to the Byzantine territories and helped form the Kurdish contingent of Theophilus. This Kurdish force invaded the domain of caliphate in 838 to help Babak’s rebellion. After the defeat of Babak, Narseh and his followers settled in Pontus (north-central Anatolia).[24]

The eclipse of the Sasanian and Byzantine power by the Muslim caliphate, and its own subsequent weakening, let the Kurdish principalities and “mountain administrators” set up new independent states. The Shaddadids of the Caucasus and Armenia, the Rawadids of Azerbaijan, the Marwandis of eastern Anatolia, the Hasanwayhids, Fadhilwayhids, and Ayyarids of the central Zagros are some of the these Kurdish dynasties.

Medieval Kurdish Dynasties

In 837, the Kurdish lord Rozeguite, founded the town of Akhlat on the banks of Lake Van and made it the capital of his principality, theoretically vassal of the caliph, but in fact virtually independent. The Principality of Ake ruled a Carduchian land which lay between the upper valley of the Centritis and the Zabus. It was situated between Arzanene and Adiabene. At the beginning of 10th century, it became a vassal of the Artsrunis of VaspurakanAndzewatsi was another principality located in southeast of Van and northwest of Ake and its princes were a branch of Medo-Carduchians of Mahkert. In 780, its chief prince Tachat Andzewatsi was in Caliph‘s obedience. After him, the dynasty declined and it was reduced to vassalage of the Artsrunis in 860.[25]

In the first half of the 10th century, the Aishanid dynasty (912–961) ruled over a vast area in the central and northern Zagros. In the second half of the 10th century, Kurdistan was shared amongst five big Kurdish principalities. In the North the Shaddadid (951–1174) (in parts ofArmenia and Arran) and Rawadid (955–1221) in Tabriz and Maragheh, in the East the Hasanwayhids (959–1015), the Annazid (990–1117) (inKermanshahDinawar and Khanaqin) and in the West the Marwanid (990–1096) of Diyarbakır. Remnants of the Shaddadid Kurds are found nowadays in the Kalbajar and Lachin regions of Azarbaijan, between Nagorno Karabakh and Armenia.

Later in 12th century, Kurdish dynasty of Hazaraspid established its rule in southern Zagros and Luristan and conquered territories ofKuhgiluyaKhuzestan and Golpayegan in 13th century and annexed ShushtarHoveizeh and Basra in 14th century.

One of these dynasties would have been able, during the decades, to impose its supremacy on the others and build a state incorporating the whole Kurdish country if the course of history had not been disrupted by the massive invasions of tribes surging out of the steppes of Central Asia. Having conquered Iran and imposed their yoke on the caliph of Baghdad, the Seljuk Turks annexed the Kurdish principalities one by one. Around 1150, Ahmed Sanjar, the last of the great Seljuk monarchs, created a province out of these lands and called it Kurdistan. The province of Kurdistan, formed by Sanjar, had as its capital the village Bahar (which means “spring”), near ancient Ecbatana (Hamadan), capital of the Medes. It included the vilayets of Sinjar and Shahrazur to the west of the Zagros mountain range and those of Hamadan, Dinawar and Kermanshah to the east of this range. A brilliant autochthonous civilization developed around the town of Dinawar (today ruined), located 75 km North-East of Kermanshah, whose radiance was later on partially replaced by that of Senna, 90 km further North[26]

Marco Polo (1254–1324), famous for the first “world trip”, met Kurds in Mosul on his way to China, and he wrote what he had learned aboutKurdistan and the Kurds to enlighten his European contemporaries. The Italian Kurdologist Mirella Galetti, sorted these writings which were translated into Kurdish.[27]

The Ayyubid period

The Middle East, c. 1190. Saladin’s empire and its vassals shown in red; territory taken from the Crusader states1187–1189 shown in pink. Light green indicates Crusader territories survivingSaladin‘s death.

Main article: Ayyubid dynasty

The most flourishing period of Kurdish power was probably during the 12th century, when the great Saladin, who belonged to the Rawendi branch of the Hadabani(or Adiabene) tribe, founded the Ayyubite (1171–1250) dynasty of Syria, and Kurdish chieftainships were established, not only to the east and west of the Kurdistan mountains, but as far as Khorasan upon one side and Egypt and Yemen on the other.

Kurdish Principalities after the Mongol period

After the Mongol period, Kurds established several independent states or principalities such as ArdalanBadinanBabanSoranHakkari andBadlis. A comprehensive history of these states and their relationship with their neighbors is given in the famous textbook of “Sharafnama” written by Prince Sharaf al-Din Biltisi in 1597.[28] The most prominent among these was Ardalan which was established in early 14th century. The state of Ardalan controlled the territories of Zardiawa (Karadagh), KhanaqinKirkuk, Kifri, and Hawraman. The capital city of the state was first in Sharazour in Iraqi Kurdistan, but was moved to Sinne (in Iran) later on. The Ardalan Dynasty continued to rule the region until the Qajarmonarch Nasser-al-Din Shah(1848–1896) ended their rule in 1867.

Ottoman period

When Sultan Selim I, after defeating Shah Ismail I in 1514, annexed Armenia and Kurdistan, he entrusted the organisation of the conquered territories to Idris, the historian, who was a Kurd of Bitlis. He divided the territory into sanjaks or districts, and, making no attempt to interfere with the principle of heredity, installed the local chiefs as governors. He also resettled the rich pastoral country between Erzerum and Erivan, which had lain in waste since the passage of Timur, with Kurds from the Hakkari and Bohtan districts.

Battle against Yazidis

In 1640, Ottoman forces under the command of Firari Mustafa Pasha attacked the Yazidi Kurds of Mount Sinjar (Saçlı Dağı). According toEvliya Çelebi, the Ottoman force was around 40,000 strong. The battle lasted for seven hours and at the end 3,060 Yazidis were slain. The day after the battle, the Ottoman army raided and set fire to 300 Yazidi villages. Between 1000 to 2000 Yazidis had taken refuge in some caves around Sinjar. They were also massacred after the Ottoman army attacked the caves with cannons and hand grenades.[29]

Rozhiki Revolt

In 1655, Abdal Khan the Kurdish Rozhiki ruler of Bidlis, formed a private army and fought a full scale war against the Ottoman troops. Evliya Çelebi noted the presence of many Yazidis in his army.[30] The main reason for this armed insurrection was the discord between Abdal Khan and Melek Ahmad Pasha the Ottoman governor of Van and Abdal Khan. The Ottoman troops marched onto Bidlis and committed atrocities against civilians as they passed through Rozhiki territory. Abdal Khan had built great stone redoubts around Bitlis, and also old city walls were defended by a large army of Kurdish infantry armed with muskets. Ottomans attacked the outer defensive perimeter and defeated Rozhiki soldiers, then they rushed to loot Bidlis and attacked the civilians. Once the Ottoman force established its camp in Bidlis, in an act of revenge, Abdal Khan made a failed attempt to assassinate Melek Ahmad Pasha. A unit of twenty Kurdish soldiers rode into the tent of Yusuf Kethuda, the second-in-command and fought a ferocious battle with his guards. After the fall of Bidlis, 1400 Kurds continued to resist from the city’s old citadel. While most of these surrendered and were given amnesty, 300 of them were massacred by Melek Ahmad with 70 of them dismembered by sword and cut into pieces.[31]


The system of administration introduced by Idris remained unchanged until the close of the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–29. But the Kurds, owing to the remoteness of their country from the capital and the decline of Turkey, had greatly increased in influence and power, and had spread westwards over the country as far as Angora.

After the war the Kurds tried to free themselves from Turkish control, and in 1834, after the Bedirkhan clan uprising, it became necessary to reduce them to subjection. This was done by Reshid Pasha, also a kurd [32] The principal towns were strongly garrisoned, and many of the Kurd beys were replaced by Turkish governors. A rising under Bedr Khan Bey in 1843 was firmly repressed, and after the Crimean War the Turks strengthened their hold on the country.

Kurdistan as an administrative entity had a brief and shaky existence of 17 years between 13 December 1847 (following Bedirhan Bey’s revolt) and 1864, under the initiative of Koca Mustafa Reşit Pasha during the Tanzimat period (1839–1876) of the Ottoman Empire. The capital of the province was, at first, Ahlat, and covered DiyarbekirMuş, Van, HakkariCizreBotan and Mardin. In the following years, the capital was transferred several times, first from Ahlat to Van, then to Muş and finally to Diyarbakır. Its area was reduced in 1856 and the province of Kurdistan within the Ottoman Empire was abolished in 1864. Instead, the former provinces of Diyarbekir and Van have been re-constituted.[33]Around 1880, Shaikh Ubaidullah led a revolt aiming at bringing the areas between Lakes Van and Urmia under his own rule, however Ottoman and Qajar forces succeeded in defeating the revolt [34]

Bedr Khan of Botan

The modernizing and centralizing efforts of Sultan Mahmud II, antagonized Kurdish feudal chiefs. As a result two powerful Kurdish families rebelled against the Ottomans in 1830. Bedr Khan of Botan rose up in the west of Kurdistan, around Diyarbakır, and Muhammad Pasha ofRawanduz rebelled in the east and established his authority in Mosul and Erbil. At this time, Turkish troops were preoccupied with invading Egyptian troops in Syria and were unable to suppress the revolt. As a result, Bedr Khan extended his authority to DiyarbakırSiverik(Siverek), Veransher (Viranşehir), Sairt (Siirt), Sulaimania and Sauj Bulaq (Mahabad). He established a Kurdish state in these regions until 1845. He struck his own coins, and his name was included in Friday sermons. Bedr Khan Beg made two campaigns in 1843 and 1846 against the peaceful Assyrian Christians (Nestorians) of Hakkari region and massacred 50,000 Assyrians. Those Assyrians who met their fait were the mother and the two brothers of the spiritual Assyrian leader Mar Shimun. In 1847, the Turkish forces turned their attention toward this area, and defeated Bedr Khan and exiled him to Crete. He was later allowed to return to Damascus, where he lived until his death in 1868.

Bedr Khan become a king when his brother died. His brother’s son got very upset over this and finally the Turks tricked him in fighting his uncle. They told him that they would make him king if he killed Bedr Khan. So he brought many kurdish warriors with him and attacked his uncle’s forces.. Finally he won over him, but instead of becoming a king like the Turks said, he got executed.[35] There are two famous kurdish songs about this battle, called “Ezdin Shêr” and “Ez Xelef im” (both can be found on http://www.kurdishmusic.eu/siwanperwerm.html)

After him, there were further revolts in 1850 and 1852.[36]

Shaikh Ubaidullah’s Revolt and Armenians

Kurdish costumes, 1873.

The Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 was followed by the attempt of Sheikh Obaidullah in 1880–1881 to found an independent Kurd principalityunder the protection of Turkey. The attempt, at first encouraged by the Porte, as a reply to the projected creation of an Armenian state under the suzerainty of Russia, collapsed after Obaidullah’s raid into Persia, when various circumstances led the central government to reassert its supreme authority. Until the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–1829 there had been little hostile feeling between the Kurds and the Armenians, and as late as 1877–1878 the mountaineers of both races had co-existed fairly well together.

In 1891 the activity of the Armenian Committees induced the Porte to strengthen the position of the Kurds by raising a body of Kurdishirregular cavalry, which was well-armed and called Hamidieh soldiers after the Sultan Abd-ul-Hamid II. Minor disturbances constantly occurred, and were soon followed by the massacre of Armenians at Sasun and other places, 1894–1896, in which the Kurds took an active part. Some of the separatist Kurds, aimed to establish a separate Kurdish state.

Safavid period

During the years 1506–1510, Yazidi Kurds revolted against Shah Ismail I Safavi (who himself had Kurdish ancestry[37][38][39][40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48][49]). Their leader, Shir Sarim, was defeated and captured in a bloody battle wherein several important officers of Shah Ismail lost their lives. The Kurdish prisoners were put to death “with torments worse than which there may not be“.[50]

Displacement of the Kurds

Removal of the population from along their borders with the Ottomans in Kurdistan and the Caucasus was of strategic importance to theSafavids. Hundreds of thousands of Kurds, along with large groups of ArmeniansAssyriansAzeris, and Turkmens, were removed from the border regions and resettled in the interior of Persia. As the borders moved progressively eastward, as the Ottomans pushed deeper into the Persian domains, entire Kurdish regions of Anatolia were at one point or another exposed to horrific acts of despoliation and deportation. These began under the reign of the Safavid Shah Tahmasp I (ruled 1524–1576). Between 1534 and 1535, Tahmasp began the systematic destruction of the old Kurdish cities and the countryside. When retreating before the Ottoman army, Tahmasp ordered the destruction of crops and settlements of all sizes, driving the inhabitants before him into Azerbaijan, from where they were later transferred permanently, nearly 1000 miles east, into Khurasan. Some Kurdish tribes were deported even farther east, into Gharjistan in the Hindu Kush mountains of present day Afghanistan, about 1500 miles away from their homes in western Kurdistan.

Shah Abbas inherited a state threatened by the Ottomans in the west and the Uzbeks in the northeast. He bought off the former, in order to gain time to defeat the latter, after which he selectively depopulated the Zagros and Caucasus approaches, deporting Kurds, Armenians, and others who might, willingly or not, supply or support an Ottoman campaign.

The magnitude of Safavid Scorched earth policy can be glimpsed through the works of the Safavid court historians. One of these, Iskandar Bayg Munshi, describing just one episode, writes in the Alam-ara ye Abbasi that Shah Abbas, in furthering the scorched earth policy of his predecessors, set upon the country north of the Araxes and west of Urmia, and between Kars and Lake Van, which he commanded to be laid waste and the population of the countryside and the entire towns rounded up and led out of harm’s way. Resistance was met “with massacresand mutilation; all immovable property, houses, churchesmosques, crops … were destroyed, and the whole horde of prisoners was hurried southeast before the Ottomans should counterattack”. Many of these Kurds ended up in Khurasan, but many others were scattered into theAlburz mountains, central Persia, and even Balochistan. They became the nucleus of several modern Kurdish enclaves outside Kurdistan proper, in Iran and Turkmenistan. On one occasion Abbas I is said to have intended to transplant 40,000 Kurds to northern Khorasan but to have succeeded in deporting only 15,000 before his troops were defeated.[51][52]

Following the Battle of Chalderan, Sultan Selim I (the Grim), deported several populous Kurdish tribes into central Anatolia, south of modernAnkara. In their place, he settled a few, more loyal, Turkmen tribes. While the deported Kurds became the nucleus of the modern central Anatolian Kurdish enclave, the Turkmen tribes in Kurdistan eventually assimilated.[53]

Battle of Dimdim

There is a well documented historical account of a long battle in 1609–1610 between Kurds and the Safavid Empire. The battle took place around a fortress called “Dimdim” (DimDim) in Beradost region around Lake Urmia in northwestern Iran. In 1609, the ruined structure was rebuilt by “Emîr Xan Lepzêrîn” (Golden Hand Khan), ruler of Beradost, who sought to maintain the independence of his expanding principality in the face of both Ottoman and Safavid penetration into the region. Rebuilding Dimdim was considered a move toward independence that could threaten Safavid power in the northwest. Many Kurds, including the rulers of Mukriyan (Mahabad), rallied around Amir Khan. After a long and bloody siege led by the Safavid grand vizier Hatem Beg, which lasted from November 1609 to the summer of 1610, Dimdim was captured. All the defenders were massacred. Shah Abbas ordered a general massacre in Beradost and Mukriyan (reported by Eskandar Beg Turkoman, Safavid Historian in the Book Alam Aray-e Abbasi) and resettled the Turkish Afshar tribe in the region while deporting many Kurdish tribes to Khorasan. Although Persian historians (like Eskandar Beg ) depicted the first battle of Dimdim as a result of Kurdish mutiny or treason, in Kurdish oral traditions (Beytî dimdim), literary works (Dzhalilov, pp. 67–72), and histories, it was treated as a struggle of the Kurdish people against foreign domination. In fact, Beytî dimdim is considered a national epic second only to Mem û Zîn by Ehmedê Xanî(Ahmad Khani). The first literary account of this battle is written by Faqi Tayran.[54][55][56]

poet philosopher Ahmedi Xani Tomb photo

Ahmedi Xani Tomb

20th century history

Rise of nationalism

Main article: Kurdish nationalism

Further information: Rise of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire

Kurdish nationalism emerged after World War I with the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire which had historically successfully integrated (but not assimilated) the Kurds, through use of forced repression of Kurdish movements to gain independence. Revolts did occur sporadically but only in 1880 with the uprising led by Sheik Ubeydullah were demands as an ethnic group or nation made. Ottoman sultan Abdul Hamidresponded by a campaign of integration by co-opting prominent Kurdish opponents to strong Ottoman power with prestigious positions in his government. This strategy appears successful given the loyalty displayed by the Kurdish Hamidiye regiments during World War I.[57]

The Kurdish ethnonationalist movement that emerged following World War I and end of the Ottoman empire was largely reactionary to the changes taking place in mainstream Turkey, primarily radical secularization which the strongly Muslim Kurds abhorred, centralization of authority which threatened the power of local chieftains and Kurdish autonomy, and rampant Turkish nationalism in the new Turkish Republic which obviously threatened to marginalize them.[58]

Western powers (particularly the United Kingdom) fighting the Turks also promised the Kurds they would act as guarantors for Kurdish freedom, a promise they subsequently broke. One particular organization, the Kurdish Teali Cemiyet (Society for the Rise of Kurdistan, or SAK) was central to the forging of a distinct Kurdish identity. It took advantage of period of political liberalization in during the Second Constitutional Era (1908–1920) of Turkey to transform a renewed interest in Kurdish culture and language into a political nationalist movement based on ethnicity.[58]

During the relatively open government of the 1950s, Kurds gained political office and started working within the framework of the Turkish Republic to further their interests but this move towards integration was halted with the 1960 Turkish coup d’état.[57] The 1970s saw an evolution in Kurdish nationalism as Marxist political thought influenced a new generation of Kurdish nationalists opposed to the local feudalauthorities who had been a traditional source of opposition to authority, eventually they would form the militant separatist PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by the United Nations, European Union, NATO and many states that includes United States), or Kurdistan Workers Party in English.

Kurds under the Young Turks Regime

Jakob Künzler, head of a missionary hospital in Urfa, has documented the large scale ethnic cleansing of both Armenians and Kurds by theYoung Turks during World War I. He has given a detailed account of deportation of Kurds from Erzurum and Bitlis in winter of 1916. The Kurds were perceived to be subversive elements that would take the Russian side in the war. In order to eliminate this threat, Young Turks embarked on a large scale deportation of Kurds from the regions of DjabachdjurPaluMuschErzurum and Bitlis. Around 300,000 Kurds were forced to move southwards to Urfa and then westwards to Aintab and Marasch. In the summer of 1917, Kurds were moved to the Konyaregion in central Anatolia. Through this measures, the Young Turk leaders aimed at eliminating the Kurds by deporting them from their ancestral lands and by dispersing them in small pockets of exiled communities. By the end of World War I, up to 700,000 Kurds were forcibly deported and almost half of the displaced perished.[59]

After World War I

Some of the Kurdish groups sought self-determination and the championing in the Treaty of Sèvres of Kurdish autonomy in the aftermath of World War I,Kemal Atatürk prevented such a result. Kurds backed by the United Kingdom declared independence in 1927 and established so-called Republic of AraratTurkey suppressed Kurdist revolts in 1925, 1930, and 1937–1938, while Iran did the same in the 1920s to Simko Shikak at Lake Urmia and Jaafar Sultan of Hewraman region who controlled the region between Marivan and north of Halabja. A short-livedSoviet-sponsored Kurdish Republic of Mahabad in Iran did not long outlast World War II.

From 1922–1924 in Iraq a Kingdom of Kurdistan existed. When Ba’athist administrators thwarted Kurdish nationalist ambitions in Iraq, war broke out in the 1960s. In 1970 the Kurds rejected limited territorial self-rule within Iraq, demanding larger areas including the oil-rich Kirkukregion. For recent developments see Iraqi Kurdistan.

In 1922, an investigation was initiated for Nihad Pasha, the commander of El-Cezire front, by Adliye Encümeni (Council of Justice) of Grand National Assembly of Turkey with allegations of fraud. During a confidential convention on the issue on 22 July, a letter of introductions by the Cabinet of Ministers and signed by Mustafa Kemal was read. The text was referring to the region as “Kurdistan” three times and providing Nihad Pasha with full authorities to support the local Kurdish administrations (idare-i mahallîyeye dair teşkilâtlar) as per the principle of self-determination (Milletlerin kendi mukadderatlarını bizzat idare etme hakkı), in order to gradually establish a local government in the regions inhabited by Kurds (Kürtlerle meskûn menatık).[60]

In 1931, Iraqi Kurdish statesman Mihemed Emîn Zekî, while serving as the Minister of Economy in the first Nuri as-Said government, drew the boundaries of Turkish Kurdistan as: “With mountains of Ararat and the Georgian border (including the region of Kars, where Kurds and Georgians live side by side) to the north, Iranian border to the east, Iraqi border to the south, and to the west, a line drawn from the west ofSivas to İskenderun. These boundaries are also in accord with those drawn by the Ottomans.” [61] In 1932, Garo Sassouni, formerly a prominent figure of Dashnak Armenia, defined the borders of “Kurdistan proper” (excluding whole territory of Wilsonian Armenia) as: “…with a line from the south of Erzincan to Kharput, incorporating DersimÇarsancak, and Malatya, including the mountains of Cebel-i Bereket and reaching the Syrian border”, also adding, “these are the broadest boundaries of Kurdistan that can be claimed by Kurds.”[62]

During 1920s and 1930s, several large scale Kurdish revolts took place in this region. The most important ones were 1) Saikh Said Rebellion in 1925, 2) Ararat Revolt in 1930 and 3) Dersim Revolt in 1938 (see Kurds in Turkey). Following these rebellions, the area of Turkish Kurdistan was put under martial law and a large number of the Kurds were displaced. Government also encouraged resettlement of Albanians from Kosovo and Assyrians in the region to change the population makeup. These events and measures led to a long-lasting mutual distrust between Ankara and the Kurds .[63]

In Turkey

Main articles: Kurds in Turkey, Turkish Kurdistan, Human rights in Turkey, and Kurdistan Workers Party

About half of all Kurds live in Turkey. According to the CIA Factbook they account for 18 percent of the Turkish population.[64] They are predominantly distributed in the southeastern corner of the country.[65]

The best available estimate of the number of persons in Turkey speaking the Kurdish language is about five million (1980). About 3,950,000 others speak Northern Kurdish (Kurmanji) (1980).[66] While population increase suggests that the number of speakers has grown, it is also true that use of the language has been discouraged in Turkish cities, and that many fewer ethnic Kurds live in the countryside where the language has traditionally been used. The number of speakers is clearly less than the 15 million or so persons who identify themselves as ethnic Kurds.

From 1915 to 1918, Kurds struggled to end Ottoman rule over their region. They were encouraged by Woodrow Wilson‘s support for non-Turkish nationalities of the empire and submitted their claim for independence to the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. The Treaty of Sèvresstipulated creation of an autonomous Kurdish state in 1920, but the subsequent Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 failed to mention Kurds. In 1925 and 1930, Kurdish revolts were forcibly suppressed.

Following these events, the existence of distinct ethnic groups like Kurds in Turkey was officially denied and any expression by the Kurds of their ethnic identity was harshly repressed. Until 1991, the use of the Kurdish language – although widespread – was illegal. As a result of reforms inspired by the EU, music, radio and television broadcasts in Kurdish are now allowed albeit with severe time restrictions (for example, radio broadcasts can be no longer than sixty minutes per day nor constitute more than five hours per week while television broadcasts are subject to even greater restrictions). Additionally, education in Kurdish is now permitted though only in private institutions.

As late as 1994, however, Leyla Zana, the first female Kurdish representative in Turkey’s Parliament, was charged for making “separatist speeches” and sentenced to 15 years in prison. At her inauguration as an MP, she reportedly identified herself as a Kurd. Amnesty International reported that “[s]he took the oath of loyalty in Turkish, as required by law, then added in Kurdish, ‘I shall struggle so that the Kurdish and Turkish peoples may live together in a democratic framework.’ Parliament erupted with shouts of ‘Separatist!’, ‘Terrorist!’, and ‘Arrest her!'”[67]

The Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (PKK), also known as KADEK and Kongra-Gel, is considered by the US to be a terrorist organization dedicated to creating an independent Kurdish state in a territory(traditionally referred to as Kurdistan) consisting of parts of southeasternTurkey, northeastern Iraq, northeastern Syria and northwestern Iran. It is an ethnic secessionist organization using diplomacy towards the Turkish state, but also force against military targets for the purpose of achieving its political goal.

Between 1984 and 1999, the PKK and the Turkish military engaged in open war, and much of the countryside in the southeast was depopulated, with Kurdish civilians moving to local defensible centers such as DiyarbakırVan, and Şırnak, as well as to the cities of western Turkey and even to western Europe. The causes of the depopulation included PKK atrocities against Kurdish clans they could not control, the poverty of the southeast, and the Turkish state’s military operations.[68] Human Rights Watch has documented many instances where the Turkish military forcibly evacuated villages, destroying houses and equipment to prevent the return of the inhabitants. An estimated 3,000 Kurdish villages in Turkey were virtually wiped from the map, representing the displacement of more than 378,000 people.[69][70][71][72]

Nelson Mandela refused to accept the Ataturk Peace Award in 1992 because of the oppression of the Kurds. After the rejection, Turkish press called him An Ugly African and Terrorist Mandela.[73]

]In Iraq

Main articles: Iraqi Kurdistan and 1988 Anfal campaign

Kurds make around 17% of Iraq’s population. They are the majority in at least three provinces in Northern Iraq which are known as Iraqi Kurdistan. Kurds also have a presence in KirkukMosulKhanaqin, and Baghdad. There are around 300,000 Kurds living in the Iraqi capitalBaghdad, 50,000 in the city of Mosul and around 100,000 Kurds living elsewhere in Southern Iraq.[74] Kurds led by Mustafa Barzani were engaged in heavy fighting against successive Iraqi regimes from 1960 to 1975. In March 1970, Iraq announced a peace plan providing for Kurdish autonomy. The plan was to be implemented in four years.[75] However, at the same time, the Iraqi regime started an Arabization program in the oil rich regions of Kirkuk and Khanaqin.[76] The peace agreement did not last long, and in 1974, the Iraqi government began a new offensive against the Kurds. Moreover in March 1975, Iraq and Iran signed the Algiers Accord, according to which Iran cut supplies to Iraqi Kurds. Iraq started another wave of Arabization by moving Arabs to the oil fields in Kurdistan, particularly those around Kirkuk.[77]Between 1975 and 1978, two-hundred thousand Kurds were deported to other parts of Iraq.[78]

During the Iran–Iraq War in the 1980s, the regime implemented anti-Kurdish policies and a de facto civil war broke out. Iraq was widely-condemned by the international community, but was never seriously punished for oppressive measures such as the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of civilians, the wholesale destruction of thousands of villages and the deportation of thousands of Kurds to southern and central Iraq. The campaign of Iraqi government against Kurds in 1988 was called Anfal (“Spoils of War”). The Anfal attacks led to destruction of two thousand villages and death of between fifty and one-hundred thousand Kurds.[79]

The President of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, meeting with U.S. officials in Baghdad, Iraq, on 26 April 2006.

After the Kurdish uprising in 1991 (KurdishRaperîn) led by the PUK and KDP, Iraqi troops recaptured the Kurdish areas and hundreds of thousand of Kurds fled to the borders. To alleviate the situation, a “safe haven” was established by the Security Council. The autonomous Kurdish area was mainly controlled by the rival parties KDP and PUK. The Kurdish population welcomed the American troops in 2003 by holding celebrations and dancing in the streets.[80][81][82][83] The area controlled by peshmerga was expanded, and Kurds now have effective control in Kirkuk and parts of Mosul. By the beginning of 2006, the two Kurdish areas were merged into one unified region. A series of referendums were scheduled to be held in 2007, to determine the final borders of the Kurdish region.

In early June 2010, following a visit to Turkey, by one of the PKK leaders, the PKK announced an end to the cease fire,[84] followed by an air attack on several border villages and rebel positions by the Turkish air force.[85]

In Iran

a view of Sanandaj, a major city in Iranian Kurdistan.

Main articles: Iranian Kurdistan and History of the Kurds

The Kurds constitute approximately 7% of Iran’s overall population. The Persians, Kurds, and speakers of other Indo-European languages in Iran are descendants of the Aryan tribes that began migrating from Central Asia into what is now Iran in the 2nd millennium BC.[86] According to some sources, “some Kurds in Iran have resisted the Iranian government’s efforts, both before and after the revolution of 1979, to assimilatethem into the mainstream of national life and, along with their fellow Kurds in adjacent regions of Iraq and Turkey, has sought either regionalautonomy or the outright establishment of an independent Kurdish state”.[86] While other sources state that “most of the freedoms Turkish Kurds have been eager to spill blood over have been available in Iran for years; Iran constitutionally recognizes the Kurds’ language and minority ethnic status, and there is no taboo against speaking Kurdish in public.”.[87]

Statute of a Kurdish girl with vase in Abidar, Sanandaj.

It is also notable that Shia Kermanshahi Kurds, with the population of 1,550,000, have no interest in autonomy.[88][89]

In the 17th century, a large number of Kurds were deported by Shah Abbas I to Khorasan in Eastern Iran and resettled in the cities of Quchanand Birjand, while others migrated to Afghanistan where the took refuge.[90] The Kurds of Khorasan, numbering around 700,000, still use theKurmanji Kurdish dialect.[65][91] During the 19th and 20th centuries, successive Iranian governments crushed Kurdish revolts led by Kurdish notables such as Shaikh Ubaidullah (against Qajars in 1880) and Simko (against Pahlavis in the 1920s).[92]

In January 1946, during the Soviet occupation of north-western Iran, the Soviet-backed Kurdish Republic of Mahabad declared independence in parts of Iranian Kurdistan. Nevertheless, the Soviet forces left Iran in May 1946, and the self-declared republic fell to the Iranian army after only a few months and the president of the republic Qazi Muhammad was hanged publicly in Mahabad. After the 1953 Iranian coup d’état,Mohammad Reza Pahlavi became more autocratic and suppressed most opposition including Kurdish political groups seeking greater rights for Iranian Kurds. He also prohibited any teaching of the Kurdish language.[92]

After the Iranian revolution, intense fighting occurred between militant Kurdish groups and the Islamic Republic between 1979 and 1982. In August 1979, Ruhollah Khomeini declared a “holy war” against the Kurdish rebels seeking autonomy or independence, and ordered the Armed Forces to move to the Kurdish areas of Iran in order to push the Kurdish rebels out and restore central rule to the country.[93] An image of a firing squad of Revolutionary Guards executing Kurdish prisoners around Sanandaj gained international fame and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1980,and there is also other images available of Kurdish militants capturing the supporters of the Iranian regime.[94] The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps fought to reestablish government control in the Kurdish regions; as a result, around ten thousand Kurds were killed.[92] Since 1983, the Iranian government has maintained control over the Iranian Kurdistan.[95] Frequent unrest and the occasional military crackdown have occurred since the 1990s.[96]

In Iran, Kurds express their cultural identity freely, but have no self-government or administration. As in all parts of Iran, membership of a non-governmental political party is punishable by imprisonment or even death. Kurdish human rights activists in Iran have been threatened by Iranian authorities in connection with their work.[97][98] Following the killing of Kurdish opposition activist Shivan Qaderi and two other Kurdish men by Iranian security forces in Mahabad on 9 July 2005, six weeks of riots and protests erupted in Kurdish towns and villages throughout Eastern Kurdistan. Scores were killed and injured, and an untold number arrested without charge. The Iranian authorities have also shut down several major Kurdish newspapers and arrested editors and reporters. Among those was Roya Toloui, a Women’s rights activist and head of the Rasan (“Rising”) newspaper in Sanandaj, who was alleged to be tortured for two months for involvement in the organization of peaceful protests throughout Kurdistan province.[99] According to the one of Iran analyst’s of International Crisis Group (a NGO founded in 1995 byWorld Bank Vice-President and former US diplomats ), “Kurds, who live in the some of the least developed parts of Iran, pose the most serious internal problem for Iran to resolve, and given what they see next door—the newfound confidence of Iraqi Kurds—there’s concern Iranian Kurds will agitate for greater autonomy.” [100]

In Syria

Main article: Kurds in Syria

statue of Saladin near the Citadel of Damascus

Kurds and other Non-Arabs account for 10% of Syria‘s population, a total of around 1.9 million people.[101] This makes them the largest ethnic minority in the country. They are mostly concentrated in the northeast and the north, but there are also significant Kurdish populations in Aleppo and Damascus. Kurds often speak Kurdish in public, unless all those present do not. Kurdish human rights activists are mistreated and persecuted.[102] No political parties are allowed for any group, Kurdish or otherwise.

Techniques used to suppress the ethnic identity of Kurds in Syria include various bans on the use of the Kurdish language, refusal to register children with Kurdish names, the replacement of Kurdish place names with new names in Arabic, the prohibition of businesses that do not have Arabic names, the prohibition of Kurdish private schools, and the prohibition of books and other materials written in Kurdish.[103][104]Having been denied the right to Syrian nationality, around three-hundred thousand Kurds have been deprived of any social rights, in violation of international law.[105][106] As a consequence, these Kurds are in effect trapped within Syria.[103] In February 2006, however, sources reported that Syria was now planning to grant these Kurds citizenship.[106]

On 12 March 2004, beginning at a stadium in Qamishli (a largely Kurdish city in northeastern Syria), clashes between Kurds and Syrians broke out and continued over a number of days. At least thirty people were killed and more than 160 injured. The unrest spread to other Kurdish towns along the northern border with Turkey, and then to Damascus and Aleppo.[107][108]

In Afghanistan

Kurds had been living in regions bordering modern day Afghanistan since the 16th century notably in north eastern Iran where the Safavidruler Shah Abbas exiled thousands of Kurds.[109] Many of those who were exiled ultimately made their way into Afghanistan, taking residence in Herat and other cities of western Afghanistan. The Kurdish colony in Afghanistan numbered some tens of thousands during the 16th century.[90] Some Kurds held high governmental positions within Afghanistan, such as Ali Mardan Khan who was appointed the governor of Kabul in 1641.[110] The Kurds devotedly sided with the Afghans during their conflicts with the Safavid Empire, and in their subsequent conflicts with other regional powers.[111] The number of Kurds currently in Afghanistan is difficult to calculate, though one figure notes that there are approximately 200,000.[112] It remains unclear however whether the Kurds of Afghanistan have retained the Kurdish language.

In Armenia

See also: Kurdish-Armenian relations

Between the 1930s and 1980s, Armenia was a part of the Soviet Union, within which Kurds, like other ethnic groups, had the status of a protected minority. Armenian Kurds were permitted their own state-sponsored newspaper, radio broadcasts and cultural events. During the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, many non-Yazidi Kurds were forced to leave their homes. Following the end of the Soviet Union, Kurds in Armenia were stripped of their cultural privileges and most fled to Russia or Western Europe.[113]

In Azerbaijan

Main article: Kurdistan Autonomous Oblast

In 1920, two Kurdish-inhabited areas of Jewanshir (capital Kalbajar) and eastern Zangazur (capital Lachin) were combined to form theKurdistan Okrug (or “Red Kurdistan”). The period of existence of the Kurdish administration was brief and did not last beyond 1929. Kurds subsequently faced many repressive measures, including deportations. As a result of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, many Kurdish areas have been destroyed and more than 150,000 Kurds have been deported since 1988.[113]

Kurds In Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon

The Kurdish leader Salah El Din Al-Ayubi along with his uncles Ameer Adil and Ameer Sherko, were joined by Kurdish fighters from the cities of Tigrit ,Mosul, Hawler and Sharazur in a drive towards ‘Sham’ (Today Syria and Lebanon) in order to protect Islamic lands against the crusader attack. The Kurdish King and his uncles ruled north Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Egypt for a short period. Salah El Din in Syria, Ameer Sherko in Egypt and Ameer Adil in Jordan, with family members ruling most of the cities of today’s Iraq. The Kurds built many monumental castles in the lands which they ruled especially in what was called ‘Kurdistan of Syria’ and in Damuscus, the capital of Syria. A tall building, called ‘Qalha’, is still standing, in the mid south-west quarter of Damascus. The Ayubian dynasty continued there for many years, all from Kurdish decent.

Traditional Kurdish Dress :

The traditional Kurdish dresses [1] are for everyday wear and are not reserved only for holidays. The Kurdish costume was worn everyday in the past. Currently some women still wear them on a daily basis especially by the older generation of women. The dresses worn on a daily basis tend to be modest in colour and have little or no accessories or embroideries. In the present day the Kurdish dress is more commonly worn on special occasions.

Traditional Kurdish women’s outfit includes either a vest or long-sleeved jacket or long overcoat worn over a gown. An under dress and puffy pants is worn beneath the gown. A belt over the gown is also needed. Traditionally women wore Kurdish hats ornamented with valued coloured stones, beads and gold pieces. Overtime this has become less common. Now it is more popular among women to only accessorise with gold Jewellery. Usually younger women and young girls wear brightly coloured dresses adorned with many beads and sequences and the older women wear darker colours. However older women tend to wear more gold jewellery because traditionally when women married they would receive a dowry of gold jewellery pieces from their groom, the tradition implied that the amount of gold pieces a woman wore signified the status amongst other women in their society. This still applies today to a lesser extent.

The Costume Pieces

The vest, long-sleeved jacket and overcoat; are either made from a plain fabric, a velveteen fabric or a sequence covered fabric.

The gown; is usually the dazzling masterpiece of the outfit. Most commonly Kurdish women wear a mesh fabric or a sheer fabric which is ornamented skillfully with many beads or sequence or both. The embroidery can be the same colour as the fabric or multicoloured to create a bright dress[2]. The brightly coloured outfits characterize the spirit of the Kurdish people. There are many different structural designs of the gown. The most common ones today are the traditional Kurdish region gown which is straight top to bottom with very long sleeves and the Kurdish-Iranian gown which is frilly from the waist down. Not to be confused with puffy “Aladdin” style garments.

The under layers; the under dress and trousers are made of a plain satin fabric usually matching the colour of the gown.

The belt; Fabric belts for are colour coordinated with any piece of the outfit. Married women tend to wear gold belts. There are two common types of gold belts:

  • Lira belt; a gold belt made entirely from connected gold Lira coins or dangling gold Lira’s.
  • ‘Gobarah’ belt: similar to a lira belt but the coins are inexpensive unlike the Lira coins.

The traditional Kurdish hat; is usually black velveteen ornamented with traditional amber and turquoise beads [3] with gold or silver charms.

Traditional Kurdish gold jewellery; Traditional jewellery is gold, with gold charms and traditional amber, red or black beads and occasional dangling Lira coins. [4]

  • Sheelana ; A long gold necklace with amber, red or black beads and dangling leaf shaped charms.
  • Meglad ; A big black stone dangling from a gold chain
  • Lira belt; A gold belt made entirely from connected gold Lira coins or dangling gold Lira’s.
  • Gobarah belt; similar to a lira belt but the coins are inexpensive unlike the Lira coins.


The Modern Dress

Most Kurdish women and men have a large collection of Kurdish dresses and are always on the lookout for new designs and fabric. They usually buy the fabrics of their choice and then have it tailors as such there are tailors who specialize in making Kurdish clothes. Recently these respected tailors have turned into designers that have created different designs for the conventional structure of the dress. In villages most of the time women tailer for their entire family after everyone making their own fabric choice.

There are known designers like Dilkash ‘Della’ Murad who integrate modern techniques with traditional and modern Kurdish styles[5]. There are so many different styles of the Kurdish dress/clothes today that in recent years there have been many fashion shows, showcased for a Kurdish and International audience. For example shows have been held, in Vancouver, Canada[6], in Melbourne Australia at the Kurdish Film Festival by the Kurdish Women’s Society[7] and in Hackney Museum as part of their Kurdish Cultural Heritage Project[8].




A Map of the World That Reveals Natural Disaster Hot Zones

By Annalee Newitz and Michael Ann Dobbs

A Map of the World That Reveals Natural Disaster Hot Zones

Want to know where you should live if you are hoping to avoid the next catastrophic earthquake, flood, megavolcano, or storm? Consult our map of disaster hot zones of the world.

Most of the disasters we’ve highlighted here are caused by nature, and only occasionally helped along by humans. Arguably some of the storms are likely to be bigger due to climate changes that humans have had a hand in causing, and of course you wouldn’t get famine without humans.

How did we decide where disaster hot zones were? By looking at previous incidents of disaster in a given region, as well as places where fault lines and giant gobs of magma wait under the Earth for the perfect time to spew. Of course these kinds of forward-looking statements are subject to change. We may start geoengineering the planet to be megavolcano resistant, or slow climate change and thus prevent megahurricanes. Humans may start building structures that can maintain structural integrity during most earthquakes, thus minimizing property damage and the loss of life.

Or we might just ignore the signs of impending disaster, toss this map aside, and hope for the best.

Thanks to Michael Ann Dobbs for the research, and to Stephanie Fox for the amazing infographic!

Click the map to embiggen.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction: A Pulp Primer, Pt. 2

By Jess Nevins

The Golden Age of Science Fiction: A Pulp Primer, Pt. 2

The Golden Age of Science Fiction: A Pulp Primer, Pt. 2

In the second of historian Jess Nevins’ series on science fiction pulps, he takes us through the Golden Age of science fiction, from the late 1930s through the “last efflorescence of the pulps” in the mid-1950s.

The 1937-1941 period was the high point of the science fiction pulps. There were nine science fiction pulps published in 1937, and 26 in 1941, the apex for the genre. 1941 was the high point for the pulps as a whole, with more pulps being published in that year than at any time before or since, and it was the high point for the content of the science fiction pulps.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction: A Pulp Primer, Pt. 2

This was largely due to John W. Campbell taking over as the editor of Astounding in 1937, beginning what is often called “the Golden Age of Science Fiction.” Campbell was editor ofAstounding until 1960, and of Analog, Astounding‘s successor, from 1960 to 1971. His personality and eccentric beliefs alienated writers and made Astounding a third-rate magazine after the mid-fifties, but for the first ten years of his editorship he was the most influential figure in the history of science fiction. He insisted on clear prose and reasonable characterization, he disallowed what he called “mysticism,” and he demanded that his writers take a far more rigorous approach to both a story’s technology and how its characters behaved. The result was a set of stories which have aged less and remain more readable than the stories of any other science fiction pulp of this era. Among Campbell’s discoveries were Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Theodore Sturgeon, and A.E. Van Vogt.

The boom in science fiction was somewhat delayed. There were no new science fiction pulps in 1937, and in 1938 only two appeared: Captain Hazzard (1 issue, 1938), a mediocre hero pulp about a telepathy-wielding copy of Doc Savage, andMarvel Science Stories (15 issues, four title changes, 1938-1941, 1950-1952), whose usually trite material was occasionally leavened by stories of sex and cruelty unusually erotic for the science fiction pulps. This down period in science fiction pulps is peculiar; during these years the other major genres (with the exception of the spicy pulps) either held steady or grew.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction: A Pulp Primer, Pt. 2

The boom begins

In 1939 nine new science fiction pulps appeared, and the boom had begun. Only a handful of the new pulps were in any way significant. Like every other pulp genre, most of what appeared in the science fiction pulps was undistinguished in every way. Some science fiction pulps, like Comet (5 issues, 1940-1941) ran nothing of worth whatsoever. In others, like Fantastic Novels (5 issues, 1940-1941), the only notable material was the reprints from earlier pulps. Only six of the pulps which appeared in 1939, 1940, and 1941 are worth singling out.

Astonishing Stories (16 issues, 1940-1943), the companion pulp to Super Science Stories (see below), had an unusually high number of stories by writers who would later become famous in other venues. Astonishing ran works–some lesser-known, and some merely lesser–by Isaac Asimov, Clifford Simak, Alfred Bester, Manly Wade Wellman, and E.E. Doc Smith, among others.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction: A Pulp Primer, Pt. 2

Captain Future (17 issues, 1940-1944), while bearing the same subpar writing as most other hero pulps, is notable as the most aggressively science fictional of the science fiction hero pulps. The pulp is set in the future, the titular hero’s assistants are a sentient robot and a brain-in-a-jar, and the plots are pure space opera.

Fantastic Adventures(129 issues, 1939-1953) came into its own much later in life, after 1950, when Howard Browne became editor. In the early years, much of its content was trash, but it did also publish stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Nelson Bond, Robert Bloch, and Manly Wade Wellman.
The Golden Age of Science Fiction: A Pulp Primer, Pt. 2

The Octopus (1 issue, 1939) and The Scorpion (1 issue, 1939) The Scorpion was the sequel to The Octopus in all but name–are wonderfully excessive in their Mad Scientist Tries To Conquer The World stories, with the added bonus of a “hideously malformed,” tentacled protagonist.

Planet Stories (71 issues, 1939-1955) is in many ways the quintessential science fiction pulp. The issues were hodgepodges of planetary romances, space operas, and offbeat stories that might not have found a place anywhere else. Stories with titles like “Asteroid of the Damned” and “Queen of the Blue World” appeared alongside Carl Jacobi’s “Grannie Annie” stories (about a septuagenarian writer of science fiction novels in the future) and Fredric Brown’s “Mitkey” stories (about a mouse sent into space and altered by a race of mouse-like aliens). Quality was uneven, of course, but at its best Planet Stories could be both entertaining and literate.

The content of Super Science Stories (16 issues, 1940-1943) is generally unremarkable, but the pulp did serve as an early market for material by members of the New York science fiction writers group the Futurians, whose members included Asimov, James Blish, C.M. Kornbluth, Robert Lowndes, Frederik Pohl, and Donald A. Wollheim.

World War II and the Post-War Boom

As might be expected, the United States’ entrance into World War II had a deleterious effect on the science fiction pulps, as it did on the pulps in general, and the 1942-1945 period is one of contraction and cancellation. Wartime publishing restrictions on the use of paper affected every pulp publisher, and while the drop in numbers of science fiction pulps was more severe than what other genres suffered, they also lost titles.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction: A Pulp Primer, Pt. 2

Only three major science fiction pulps were canceled during the war years:Astonishing Stories and The Spider ended in 1943 and Captain Future ended in 1944. Fans of science fiction could still get their pulp fix at regular intervals during the war. The following science pulps regularly appeared throughout the war years:Amazing Stories (bimonthly in 1943, 1944, and 1945); Amazing Stories Quarterly (quarterly 1941-1945); Astounding Stories (monthly 1941-1945); Doc Savage (monthly 1941-1945); Fantastic Adventures (bimonthly 1943-1944, quarterly 1944-1945); Planet Stories (quarterly 1941-1945); The Shadow(biweekly 1941-1943, monthly 1943-1945); Startling Stories (bimonthly 1941-1943, quarterly 1943-1945); and Thrilling Wonder Stories (bimonthly 1941-1943, quarterly 1943-1945); and Weird Tales, which was still regularly publishing science fiction stories (bimonthly 1941-1945).

The Golden Age of Science Fiction: A Pulp Primer, Pt. 2

Only two new science fiction pulps appeared during World War II.Stirring Science Stories(4 issues, 1941-1942) was a would-be companion to Cosmic Stories, a three-issue failure from 1941. LikeCosmic Stories, Stirring is best-known for the stories from various Futurians, although it published equal numbers of science fiction and fantasy, and its best stories were Clark Ashton Smith’s fantasies.

The Shadow Annual (3 issues, 1942, 1943, 1947) reprinted the “best” stories from The Shadow which had appeared the previous years. A significant proportion of these stories was fantastic, though of course badly written.

The 1946-1949 period was the time when the death of the science fiction pulp become apparent as a phenomenon of the near-future rather than the distant future.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction: A Pulp Primer, Pt. 2

As a medium, the pulps rebounded quickly from the war, and most genres held steady during these years. Science fiction’s recovery was slower than most of the genres. No new science fiction pulps appeared in 1945 or 1946. In 1947, Fantasy Book (8 issues, 1947-1950) appeared, but it was an amateurish production of bad quality during this time period. In 1948, Fantastic Novels (20 issues, 3 issues) appeared. It was a new edition of the 1940 pulps but only contained reprints. And in 1949 Captain Zero and Super Science Stories appeared. Captain Zero (3 issues, 1949) was the last of the hero pulps, featuring a protagonist who turned invisible at night, but its stories were primarily detective with an overlay of the fantastic, rather than primarily fantastic as Doc Savage’ s and The Spider’s had been. Super Science Stories (15 issues, 1949-1951) was a new version of theSuper Science Stories published from 1940-1943 and featured entertaining and occasionally excellent material.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction: A Pulp Primer, Pt. 2

The situation in the mainstay science fiction pulps was somewhat better. Amazing Stories was in the hands of editor Raymond Palmer, who had begun stressing adventure over science from when he took over, in 1938 but who in 1945 began regularly publishing gibberish by Richard Shaver, which increased the pulp’s circulation at the cost of making the venerable pulp a laughingstock among professional science fiction writers. Astounding was the undisputed leader among science fiction pulps and was at its height under John W. Campbell. Fantastic Adventures remained of decent quality, and Planet Stories continued to regularly publish good work.

The biggest change among the pulps was in Startling Stories, which changed editors in late 1945. New editor Sam Merwin, Jr. changed the magazine’s slant from juvenile material to more adult fare, and by 1949 Startling was regularly challenging Astounding and was publishing stories from the top writers in the field.

Rise of the Digests

A much bigger change for the pulps took place outside the pulps entirely. The minutiae of magazine publishing during the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s are of little interest to non-specialists, and for the purposes of these columns the differences between “bedsheets” (8.5″ x 11.75″) and “standard” pulps (7″ x 10″ or 6.75″ x 9.75) and “small” pulps (6.5″ x 9″) are unimportant. They were all pulps, despite their varying sizes. (Again, “pulp” is about magazine size and paper quality and story content and amount of advertising).

The shift from the pulps to the digest (roughly 5.25″ x 7.5″) is important because the digests would ultimately become the next stage in the history of science fiction magazines–the digests were the Cro Magnons to the pulps’ Neanderthals.

The digest was hardly new in the 1946-1949 period. It had been introduced to the mass market with Readers’ Digest, which began in 1922, and the first science fiction pulp to switch to digest size was Astounding, in 1943. But in 1949 The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction debuted, in digest format, and it was aimed from the beginning at the adult market which had until then been the province of Astounding and more recently StartlingF&SF was a near-immediate success and substantially ate into Astounding‘s market share.

Decline of the Science Fiction Pulps

1950-1953 was the last efflorescence of the pulps. The number of pulps published hit a five-year-high in 1950–162 titles were published that year–and then began a slow decline, so that, although new pulps appeared in every genre over the next three years, especially in romance and westerns, the pulps were obviously dying. This death was a gradual rather than sudden thing, however: in 1955 there were 48 pulps published, and as late as 1960 there were still 11 pulps being published. As with the dime novels, the transition between forms took place over the course of several years rather than abruptly.

The Golden Age of Science Fiction: A Pulp Primer, Pt. 2

During the 1950-1953 period thirteen new science fiction pulps were published:Fantastic Story Quarterly (23 issues, 1950-1954), containing mostly reprints; three incarnations of Future(Future combined withScience Fiction Stories(10 issues, 1950-1951),Future Science Fiction(17 issues, 1952-1954), and Science Fiction Stories (2 issues, 1953-1954)), always pedestrian whatever its name; Marvel Science Stories (3 issues, 1950-1951) and its sequelMarvel Science Fiction(3 issues, 1951-1952), run-of-the-mill; Out of This World Adventures(2 issues, 1950), featuring poor or bad stories by good authors;Two Complete Science-Adventure Books (11 issues, 1950-1954), a lesser companion to Planet Stories; Wonder Story Annual (4 issues, 1950-1953), all reprints; Ten Story Fantasy (1 issue, 1951), remembered only for publishing Arthur C. Clarke’s “Sentinel of Eternity,” the source of 2001: A Space Odyssey; Dynamic Science Fiction (6 issues, 1952-1954), mediocre; Fantastic Science Fiction (2 issues, 1952), horrible; Space Stories (5 issues, 1952-1953), thoroughly average; andTops in Science Fiction (2 issues, 1953), reprints from Planet Stories.

This would seem, despite the poor quality of the content, to indicate a medium in good health. However, all of these new pulps were canceled by 1954. Amazing made the switch to digest form in 1953, as did Weird Tales. Fantastic Adventures was canceled in 1953. Galaxy Science Fiction, another digest, appeared in 1950 and immediately became close competition for Astounding andF&SF, which diluted Astounding‘s market share further and, because Galaxyemphasized adult, literate material, put further pressure on those pulps which specialized in the juvenile and low-quality.

Most importantly, in 1950 Fawcett Publications introduced Gold Medal Books, the first line of original paperback novels to the mass market. Before Gold Medal Books, paperbacks had been reprints of hardcover originals, but the Fawcett began turning out paperback originals under the Gold Medal imprint, and this more than anything else killed the pulps, as the content of the paperbacks was usually much better than what was in the pulps. SF paperbacks began as reprints of pulp stories but by the mid-1950s were usually originals, and the emphasis on publication shifted from magazines to books.

Next time I will discuss the science fiction pulps of Europe.

Jess Nevins is a librarian, pulp fiction historian, and comic book annotator. You can find out more on his blog.

Brief History of KRI DEWARUCI

Brief History of KRI DEWARUCI

Built in 1952 by H.C. Stulcken & Sohn Hamburg, West Germany, and Launched on January 24, 1953. The Ship was sailed to Indonesia by the Indonesian naval officers and Cadets.
Ever since, the ship has been utilized as training ship in the Indonesian Naval Academy based in Surabaya, for which she has cruised both inland waters and overseas.


About The NAME
Most of Javanese Philosophies of life follow the Hindu epic, Ramayana and Mahabharata, former from India. The epic always render good and evil characteristics of people and considered as guidance of life. However, the Javanese have their own versions, which are some sort of sub stories of the epic, written according to their own value system. One of such is episode of Dewaruci, as performed in the shadow-puppet play.

Dewaruci is the God of truth and courage. The play conveys a deep philosophy of the life, represented by a good character called Bima or Bratasena, the second of the five brother of Pandawa from Amerta Kingdom. Bima’s cousins from Astina Kingdom, the one hundred Kurawa’s brothers, representing the evil, are always jealous of the Pandawa who exceed them in all aspects. Both families, the Pandawa and Kurawa have one Guru ( the man who hold position as a spiritual advisor and teacher), the great priest Dorna. Since Dorna live in Astina, the Kurawa has stronger influence on him than the Pandawa and request him to give an imposible assignment to Bima to find “Tirta Amerta”, because Bima always strives for the best of all human beings.
Being obedient to his Guru, Bima start searching for the “Tirta Amerta”, the water of life. In his journey, when he is about to faint after fighting a gigantic dragon, he sees Dewaruci and tell him that he has been ordered by Guru to find “Tirta Amerta”.
He has to enter dewaruci’s body that is very small compared to his own. Finally, within the body of Dewaruci, Bima found the truth, which is Dewaruci himself. Dewaruci is, in fact, the transformation of Sang Hyang Wenang, the Supreme God.
In his strive for truth, Bima has to over came an enormous number of barriers, but because of his devotion and courage, he can achieve what he searches for.
By using the name Dewaruci, for the Indonesian Navy training ship, the crew and cadets would, wishfully, follow the noble character of Bima.

KRI Dewaruci’s Overseas sailing has a mission of :
1. Avenue for sea training of theIndonesia Naval cadets.
2. An Ambassador of goodwill in tourism, culture and information about Indonesia.
3. International Relationship.


Type : Barquentine.
Sail : 16 Sails, area 1091 m2.
Foremast (35.25m).
1. Flying jib.
2. Outer jib.
3. Middle jib.
4. Inner jib.
5. Royal sail.
6. Top gallant sail.
7. Upper top sail.
8. Lower top sail.
9. Fore sail.
Mainmast (35.87m).
1. Main top gallant sail.
2. Main top mast stay sail.
3. Mai stay sail.
4. Main top sail.
5. Main sail.
Mizzenmast (32.50m).
1. Mizzen top sail.
2. Mizzen sail.
• Dimension Length : 58.30 meters.
• Propultion : One 986 HP Diesel Engine 4 blades propeler.
• Beam : 9.50 meters.
• Draft : 4.50 meters.
• Speed Engine : 10.5 knots.
• Weight : 847 tons.
• Under Sail : 9 knots.
• Crew 81 and sailors, in addition, she carries a total 75 cadets.

Wunderbar !! KRI Dewaruci exhibits her beauty at Sail Bremerhaven in Germany
Wunderbar ! Toll…Super…exclaim the Germans when they saw the Dewaruci on the first day of the Sail Bremerhaven (Wednesday 25/8). The enthusiastic German crowds were lining up for a chance to see RI’s grand ship up close.
The KRI Dewaruci may be smaller than other vessels in the event, yet her capability and illustrious history, not to mention her crew’s competence in sailing the grand old ship through such a distance, were enough to lure the crowd to see the Dewaruci with their own eyes, even when they had to stand in line from morning till night. 

Kapal KRI. Dewaruci

The night before arriving, KRI Dewaruci had to wrestle strong wind and storm on her journey from Amsterdam to Bremerhaven. At the event, besides showing off their pride and joy, the crews were also on hand in putting on an amazing show of Indonesian arts and culture. They performed the Rampak Kendang and Saman dances that wowed the crowd from Bremerhaven, Bremen, Hamburg and other German cities.

The courtyard in front of Radio Bremen was suddenly swamped with an enthusiastic crowd attracted by the live music and the awesome sight of cohesiveness and dynamism of the dances performed before their own eyes.

My Favorite Indonesian Tall Ship KRI Dewaruci
Seeing such a euphoric response has convinced Eddy Pratomo, the Indonesian Ambassador for the Federal Republic of Germany, that KRI Dewaruci’s success in cultural diplomacy in past sailing events will again be repeated in Germany. (source: The Indonesian Embassy in Berlin).

My Favorite Indonesian Tall Ship KRI Dewaruci

Crew of the Indonesian Tall Ship KRI Dewaruci

Crew of the Indonesian Tall Ship KRI Dewaruci


(Tatarlar / Татарлар)
Shihabetdin Marcani.jpgGawrilowbrest.jpgMintimer Shaimiyev.jpg


Ruslan Chagaev • Dinara Safina
Şihabetdin Märcani • Pyotr Gavrilov
Mintimer Shaymiev • Charles Bronson
Diniyar Bilyaletdinov • Ğabdulla Tuqay

Total population
Regions with significant populations
Russia 5,554,601 [1]
Uzbekistan 1,250,000 [2]
Turkey 1,200,000
Kazakhstan 400,000
Ukraine 350,000
Tajikistan 200,000 [3]
Kyrgyzstan 140,000 [4]
Turkmenistan 60,000 [3]
Azerbaijan 30,000 [3]
Romania 23,000 [5]
Belarus 15,000 [3]
United States 11,000 [3]
China 8,000 [3]
Poland 4,900 [3]
Georgia 4,000 [3]
Latvia 3,000 [3]
Lithuania 3,000 [3]
Moldova 2,800 [3]
Estonia 2,500 [3]
Finland 800 [3]
Sunni Islam and Orthodox Christianity[6]

Tatars (Tatar: Tatarlar/Татарлар), sometimes spelled Tartars, are a Turkic [7] ethnic group numbering 10 million in the late 20th Century, including all subgroups of Tatars, such as Volga Tatars or Lipka Tatars.

Russia is home to the majority of ethnic Tatars, with a population of around 5,500,000. Turkey,UzbekistanKazakhstanUkraineTajikistanKyrgyzstanTurkmenistan, and Azerbaijan also each have populations greater than 30,000.[3]

The original Tatars inhabited the north-eastern Gobi in the 5th century and, after subjugation in the 9th century by the Khitans, migrated southward. In the 13th century, they were subjugated by the Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan. Under the leadership of his grandson Batu Khan, they moved westwards, driving with them many stems of the Turkic Ural-Altayans towards the plains of Russia.

In Europe, they were assimilated by the local populations or their name spread to the conquered peoples: KipchaksVolga BulgarsAlansKimaks and others; and elsewhere with Finno-Ugricspeaking peoples, as well as with remnants of the ancient Greek colonies in the Crimea and Caucasians in the Caucasus.

Siberian Tatars are survivors of the Turkic population of the UralAltaic region, mixed to some extent with the speakers of Uralic languages, as well as with Mongols. Later, each group adopted Turkic languages and many adopted Islam. The three ethnic descendants of the original 13th-century westward migration are Volga TatarsLipka Tatars and Crimean Tatars.

Tatars comprise a spectrum of physical appearance, ranking from Mongoloid and Caucasoid or a mixture of both and have an Asian origin.



File:Kultigin monument.jpg

Kul Tigin Monument on which the first mention of theTatar people is inscribed

There is a historical theory (as no actual facts remain) that the name Tatar initially appeared amongst the nomadic Turkic peoples of northeastern Mongolia in the region around Lake Baikal in the beginning of the 5th century.[8] These people may have been related to the Cumans or the Kipchaks.[8] The Chinese term is Dada (韃靼) and is a comparatively specific term for nomads to the north, emerging in the late Tang. Other names include Dadan and Tatan.

As various of these nomadic groups became part of Genghis Khan‘s army in the early 13th century, a fusion ofMongol and Turkic elements took place, and the invaders of Rus and the Pannonian Basin became known to Europeans as Tatars (or Tartars).[8] After the break up of the Mongol Empire, the Tatars became especially identified with the western part of the empire, which included most of European Russia and was known as theGolden Horde.[8]

The form Tartar has its origins in either Latin or French language, coming to Western European languages from Turkish and Persian language Tātār (“mounted courier, mounted messenger; postrider”). From the beginning the extra r was present in the Western forms, and according to the Oxford English Dictionary this was most likely due to an association with Tartarus (Hell in Greek mythology), though some claimed that the name Tartar was in fact used amongst the Tatars themselves. Nowadays Tatar is usually used to refer to the people, but Tartar is still almost always used for derived terms such as tartar sauce or steak tartare.[9]


The discrimination of the separate stems included under the name is still far from complete. The following subdivisions, however, may be regarded as established:

Tatars – Tatarlar or Татарлар. In modern English only Tatar is used to refer to Eurasian Tatars; Tartar has offensive connotations as a confusion with the Tartarus of Greek mythology, due in part to the popular association of the ferocity of the Mongol tribes with the Greek sub-underworld. In Europe the term Tartar is generally only used in the historical context for Mongolian people who appeared in the 13th century (the Mongol invasions) and assimilated into the local population later.

Volga Tatars :

are a Turkic people who live in the central and Eastern European parts of Russia. Today, the term Tatars is usually used to describe the Volga Tatars only. During the 2002 census, the Volga Tatars were officially divided into common Tatars, Astrakhan Tatars, and Keräşen Tatars. Other ethnic groups, such as Crimean Tatars and Chulyms, were not officially recognized as part of this group, and thus were counted separately.

File:Tatars in Kazan 1885 2.jpg


Bashkir People

Where they live: Bashkortostan and Tatarstan in Russia
Total population: 1,800,000
Language Branch: Altaic, Turkic, Kypchak, Kypchak-Bolgar, Bashkir
Religion: Sunni Islam
Related to: Volga Tatars

Main article: Volga Tatars

Kazan (Qazan) Tatars

File:Tatar woman XVIII century.jpgFile:Xatin-ir-3.jpg

During the 11-16th centuries, these Turkic tribes lived in what is now Russia and Kazakhstan. The present territory of Tatarstan was inhabited by the Volga Bulgarswho settled on the Volga in the 8th century and converted to Islam in 922 during the missionary work of Ahmad ibn Fadlan. On the Volga, the Bulgars mingled withScythian and Finno-Ugric speaking peoples. After the Mongol invasion, Bulgaria was defeated, ruined and incorporated in the Golden Horde. Much of the population survived, and there was a certain degree of mixing between it and the Kipchak Tatars of the Horde during the ensuing period. The group as a whole accepted the ethnonym “Tatars” (finally in the end of 19th century; although the name Bulgarspersisted in some places; the majority identified themselves simply as the Muslims) and the language of the Kipchaks; on the other hand, the invaders eventually converted to Islam. As the Horde disintegrated in the 15th century, the area became the territory of the Kazan khanate, which was ultimately conquered by Russia in the 16th century.

There is some debate among scholars about the extent of that mixing and the “share” of each group as progenitors of the modern Kazan Tatars. It is relatively accepted that demographically, most of the population was directly descended from the Bulgars. Nevertheless, some emphasize the contribution of the Kipchaks on the basis of the ethnonym and the language, and consider that the modern Tatar ethnogenesis was only completed upon their arrival. Others prefer to stress the Bulgar heritage, sometimes to degree of equating modern Kazan Tatars with Bulgars. They argue that although the Volga Bulgars had not kept their language and their name, their old culture and religion – Islam – have been preserved. According to scholars who espouse this view, there was very little mixing with Mongol and Turkic aliens after the conquest of Volga Bulgaria, especially in the northern regions that ultimately became Tatarstan. Some voices even advocate the change of the ethnonym from “Tatars” to “Bulgars” – a movement known as Bulgarism.[10][11]

In the 1910s they numbered about half a million in the Kazan Governorate (Tatarstan, the Kazan Tatars’ historical motherland), about 400,000 in each of the governments of Ufa, 100,000 in Samara and Simbirsk, and about 30,000 in VyatkaSaratovTambovPenzaNizhny Novgorod,Perm and Orenburg. Some 15,000 belonging to the same stem had migrated to Ryazan, or had been settled as prisoners in the 16th and 17th centuries in Lithuania (VilniusGrodno and Podolia). Some 2000 resided in St. Petersburg, where they were mostly employed as coachmen and waiters in restaurants. Later they were never counted as separate group of the Tatars.

The Kazan Tatars speak a Turkic language (with a big complement of Russian and Arabic words; see Tatar language). They have been described as generally middle-sized, broad-shouldered, and the majority have brown and green eyes, a straight nose and salient cheek bones[1]. Because their ancestors number not only Turkic peoples, but Finno-Ugric and Eastern Iranian peoples as well, many Kazan Tatars tend to have Caucasoid faces. Around 33.5% belong to Southern Caucasoid, 27.5% to Northern Caucasoid, 24.5% to Lapponoid and 14.5% to Mongoloid [2]. Most Kazan Tatars practice Sunni Islam.

Before 1917 in Russia, polygamy was practised only by the wealthier classes and was a waning institution. The Bashkirs who live between the Kama and Ural speak the Bashkir language, which is similar to Tatar, and have converted to Sunni Islam.

Because it is understandable to all groups of Russian Tatars, as well as to the Chuvash and Bashkirs, the language of the Volga Tatars became a literary one in the 15th century (İske Tatar tele). (However, being written in Arabic alphabet, it was spelled variously in the different regions). The old literary language included a lot of Arabic and Persian words. Nowadays the literary language includes European and Russian words instead of Arabic.

Volga Tatars number nearly 8 millions, mostly in Russia and the republics of the former Soviet Union. While the bulk of the population is to be found in Tatarstan (nearly 2 million) and neighbouring regions, significant numbers of Kazan Tatars live in Central Asia, Siberia and the Caucasus. Outside of Tatarstan, urban Tatars usually speak Russian as their first language (in cities such as Moscow, Saint-Petersburg,Nizhniy NovgorodTashkentAlmaty, and cities of the Ural and western Siberia) and other languages in a worldwide diaspora.

Chinese Tatars

Main article: Chinese Tatars

A significant number of Tatars emigrated during the Russian Civil War, mostly to Turkey and Harbin, China. According to the Chinese government, there are still 5,100 Tatars living in Xinjiang province.

Noqrat Tatars


Tatars live in Russia’s Kirov Oblast and Tatarstan.

Perm Tatars

Romanians shoveling

Chuvash people

Tatars live in Russia’s Perm Krai. Some of them also have an admixture of Komi blood.

Keräşen Tatars

Main article: Keräşen Tatars

Some Tatars were forcibly Christianized by Ivan the Terrible during the 16th century and later in the 18th century.

Some scientists suppose that Suars were ancestors of the Keräşen Tatars, and they had been converted to Christianity by Armenians in the 6th century, while they lived in the Caucasus. Suars, like other tribes (which later converted to Islam) became Volga Bulgars and later the modern Chuvash (mostly Christians) and Tatars (mostly Muslims).

Keräşen Tatars live all over Tatarstan and in UdmurtiaBashkiria and Chelyabinsk Oblast. Some of them did assimilate among Chuvash and Tatars with Sunni Muslim self-identification. Eighty years of Atheistic Soviet rule made Tatars of both confessions not as religious as they were. As such, differences between Tatars and Keräşen Tatars now is only that Keräşens have Russian names.

Some Turkic (Kuman) tribes in Golden Horde converted to Christianity in the 13th and 14th centuries (Catholicism and Nestorianism). Some prayers, written in that time in the Codex Cumanicus, sound like modern Keräşen prayers, but there is no information about the connection between Christian Kumans and modern Keräşens.


Main article: Nağaybäk

Tatars who became Cossacks (border keepers) and converted to Russian Orthodoxy. They live in the Urals, the Russian border withKazakhstan during the 17th-18th century.

The biggest Nağaybäk village is Parizh, Russia, named after French capital Paris, due to Nağaybäk’s participation in Napoleonic wars.

Tiptär Tatars

Like Noğaybaqs, although they are Sunni Muslims. Some Tiptär Tatars speak Russian or Bashkir. According to some scientists, Tiptärs are part of the Mişärs.[citation needed]

Mişär Tatars

Mişär Tatars (or Mishers) are a group of Tatars speaking a dialect of the Tatar language. They are descendants of Kipchaks in the MiddleOka River area and Meschiora where they mixed with the local Slavic and Finno-Ugric tribes. Nowadays they live in ChelyabinskTambov,PenzaRyazanNizhegorodskaya oblasts of Russia and in Bashkortostan and Mordovia. They lived near and along the Volga River, in Tatarstan.

Qasím Tatars

The Western Tatars have their capital in the town of Qasím (Kasimov in Russian transcription) in Ryazan Oblast, with a Tatar population of 1100.[citation needed] See “Qasim Khanate” for their history.

Astrakhan Tatars

The Astrakhan Tatars (around 80,000) are a group of Tatars, descendants of the Astrakhan Khanate‘s agricultural population, who live mostly in Astrakhan Oblast. For the 2000 Russian census 2000, most Astrakhan Tatars declared themselves simply as Tatars and few declared themselves as Astrakhan Tatars. A large number of Volga Tatars live in Astrakhan Oblast and differences between them have been disappearing.

The Astrakhan Tatars are further divided into the Kundrov Tatars and the Karagash Tatars. The latter are also at times called the Karashi Tatars.[12]

Text from Britannica 1911:

The Astrakhan Tatars number about 10,000 and are, with the Kalmyks, all that now remains of the once so powerful Astrakhan empire. They also are agriculturists and gardeners; while some 12,000 Kundrovsk Tatars still continue the nomadic life of their ancestors.

While Astrakhan (Ästerxan) Tatar is a mixed dialect, around 43,000 have assimilated to the Middle (i.e., Kazan) dialect. Their ancestors areKhazarsKipchaks and some Volga Bulgars. (Volga Bulgars had trade colonies in modern Astrakhan and Volgograd oblasts of Russia.)

The Astrakhan Tatars also assimilated the Agrzhan.[13]

Volga Tatars in the world

Places where Volga Tatars live include:

  • Ural and Upper Kama (since 15th century) 15th century – colonization, 16th – 17th century – re-settled by Russians, 17th – 19th century – exploring of Ural, working in the plants
  • West Siberia (since 16th century): 16th – from Russian repressions after conquering of Khanate of Kazan by Russians, 17th – 19th century – exploring of West Siberia, end of 19th – first half of 20th – industrialization, railways constructing, 1930s – Stalin‘s repressions, 1970s – 1990s oil workers
  • Moscow (since 17th century): Tatar feudals in the service of Russia, tradesmen, since 18th – Saint-Petersburg
  • Kazakhstan (since 18th century): 18th – 19th centuries – Russian army officers and soldiers, 1930s – industrialization, since 1950s – settlers on virgin lands – re-emigration in 1990s
  • Finland (since 1804): (mostly Mişärs) – 19th – from a group of some 20 villages in the Sergach region on the Volga River. See Finnish Tatars.
  • Central Asia (since 19th century) (UzbekistanTurkmenistanTajikistanKyrgyzstanXinjiang ) – 19th Russian officers and soldiers, tradesmen, religious emigrants, 1920-1930s – industrialization, Soviet education program for Central Asia peoples, 1948, 1960 – help for Ashgabat and Tashkent ruined by earthquakes – re-emigration in 1980s
  • Caucasus, especially Azerbaijan (since 19th century) – oil workers (1890s), bread tradesmen
  • Northern China (since 1910s) – railway builders (1910s) – re-emigrated in 1950s
  • East Siberia (since 19th century) – resettled farmers (19th), railroad builders (1910s, 1980s), exiled by the Soviet government in 1930s
  • Germany and Austria – 1914, 1941 – prisoners of war, 1990s – emigration
  • Turkey, Japan, Iran, China, Egypt (since 1918) – emigration
  • UK, USA, Australia, Canada, Argentina, Mexico – (1920s) re-emigration from Germany, Turkey, Japan, China and others. 1950s – prisoners of war from Germany, which did not go back to the USSR, 1990s – emigration after the break up of USSR
  • Sakhalin, Kaliningrad, Belarus, Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Karelia – after 1944-45 builders, Soviet military personnel
  • Murmansk Oblast, Khabarovsk Krai, Northern Poland and Northern Germany (1945–1990) – Soviet military personnel
  • Israel – wives or husbands of Jews (1990s)

Tatars of East Europe

Crimean Tatars

New Crimean Tatar journal for womenCrimean Tatar embroidery motif

Embroidery Motif

Memorial Meeting in Simferopol

Main article: Crimean Tatars

The Crimean Tatars constituted the Crimean Khanate which was annexed by Russia in 1783. The war of 1853 and the laws of 1860-63 and 1874 caused an exodus of the Crimean Tatars. The area that was Little Tartary is currently part of Ukraine and Russia.

Those of the south coast, mixed with Scyth, Greeks and Italians, were well known for their skill in gardening, their honesty, and their work habits, as well as for their fine features. The mountain Tatars closely resemble those of Caucasus, while those of the steppes – the Nogais – are decidedly of a mixed origin with Turks and Mongols.

During World War II, the entire Tatar population in Crimea fell victims to Stalin‘s oppressive policies. In 1944 they were accused of being Nazi collaborators and deported en masse to Central Asia and other lands of the Soviet Union. Many died of disease and malnutrition. Since the late 1980s, about 250,000 Crimean Tatars have returned to their homeland in the Crimea.[14]

Lithuanian Tatars

Main article: Lipka Tatars

File:Taniec tatarski.jpg

‘Tatar dance’ – (Crimean) Tatar soldier (left) fighting with a soldier of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (right). This was a common occurrence until the 18th century.

After Tokhtamysh was defeated by Tamerlane, some of his clan sought refuge inGrand Duchy of Lithuania. They were given land and nobility in return for military service and were known as Lipka Tatars. They are known to have taken part in theBattle of Grunwald.

Another group appeared in Jagoldai Duchy (Lithuania’s vassal) near modern Kursk in 1437 and disappeared later.

Belarusian Tatars

Further information: Islam in Belarus

Islam spread in Belarus from the 14th to the 16th century. The process was encouraged by the Lithuanian princes, who invited Tatar Muslims from the Crimeaand the Golden Horde as guards of state borders. Already in the 14th century the Tatars had been offered a settled way of life, state posts and service positions. By the end of the 16th century over 100,000 Tatars settled in Belarus and Lithuania, including those hired to government service, those who moved there voluntarily, prisoners of war, etc.

Tatars in Belarus generally follow Sunni Hanafi Islam. Some groups have accepted Christianity and been assimilated, but most adhere to Muslim religious traditions, which ensures their definite endogamy and preservation of ethnic features. Interethnic marriages with representatives of Belarusian, Polish, Lithuanian, Russian nationalities are not rare, but do not result in total assimilation.

Originating from different ethnic associations, Belarusian (and also Polish and Lithuanian) Tatars back in ancient days lost their native language and adopted Belarusian, Polish and Russian. However, the liturgy is conducted in the Arabic language, which is known by the clergymen. There are an estimated 5,000-10,000 Tatars in Belarus.

Polish Tatars

Main articles: Lipka Tatars and Islam in Poland

File:Tatarian Mosque Bohoniki Poland.jpg

Tatar mosque in the village of BohonikiPoland

From the 13th to 17th centuries various groups of Tatars settled and/or found refuge within the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth. This was promoted especially by the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, because of their reputation as skilled warriors. The Tatar settlers were all granted with szlachta (nobility) status, a tradition that was preserved until the end of the Commonwealth in the 18th century. They included the Lipka Tatars (13-14 centuries) as well as Crimean and Nogay Tatars (15th-16th centuries), all of which were noticeable in Polish military history, as well as Volga Tatars (16th-17th centuries). They all mostly settled in theGrand Duchy of Lithuania, lands that are now in Lithuania and Belarus.

Various estimates of the number of Tatars in the Commonwealth in the 17th century range from 15,000 persons to 60 villages with mosques. Numerous royal privileges, as well as internal autonomy granted by the monarchs allowed the Tatars to preserve their religion, traditions and culture over the centuries. The Tatars were allowed to intermarry with Christians, a thing uncommon in Europe at the time. The May Constitution of 1791 gave the Tatars representation in the Polish Sejm.

Although by the 18th century the Tatars adopted the local language, the Islamic religion and many Tatar traditions (e.g. the sacrifice of bulls in their mosques during the main religious festivals) were preserved. This led to formation of a distinctive Muslim culture, in which the elements of Muslim orthodoxy mixed with religious tolerance and a relatively liberal society. For instance, the women in Lipka Tatar society traditionally had the same rights and status as men, and could attend non-segregated schools.

About 5,500 Tatars lived within the inter-war boundaries of Poland (1920–1939), and a Tatar cavalry unit had fought for the country’s independence. The Tatars had preserved their cultural identity and sustained a number of Tatar organisations, including a Tatar archives, and a museum in Wilno (Vilnius).

The Tatars suffered serious losses during World War II and furthermore, after the border change in 1945 a large part of them found themselves in the Soviet Union. It is estimated that about 3000 Tatars live in present-day Poland, of which about 500 declared Tatar (rather than Polish) nationality in the 2002 census. There are two Tatar villages (Bohoniki and Kruszyniany) in the north-east of present-day Poland, as well as urban Tatar communities in WarsawGdańskBiałystok, and Gorzów Wielkopolski. Tatars in Poland sometimes have a Muslim surname with a Polish ending: Ryzwanowicz; another surname sometimes adopted by more assimilated Tatars is Taterczynski, literally “son of a Tatar”.

The Tatars were relatively very noticeable in the Commonwealth military as well as in Polish and Lithuanian political and intellectual life for such a small community.[citation needed] In modern-day Poland, their presence is also widely known, due in part to their noticeable role in the historical novels of Henryk Sienkiewicz, which are universally recognized in Poland. A number of Polish intellectual figures have also been Tatars, e.g. the prominent historian Jerzy Łojek.

A small community of Polish speaking Tatars settled in Brooklyn, New York City in the early 1900s. They established a mosque that is still in use today.

Dobruja Tatars

Main articles: Tatars of RomaniaCrimean Tatars in Romania and Crimean Tatars in Bulgaria

Tatars were present on the territory of today’s Romania and Bulgaria since the 13th century. In Romania, according to the 2002 census, 24,000 people declared their ethnicity as Tatar, most of them being Crimean Tatars living in Constanţa County in the region of Dobruja. The Crimean Tatars were colonized there by the Ottoman Empire beginning with the 17th Century.

Nogais on the Kuma

Main article: Nogais

The Nogais on the Kuma River show traces of a mixture with Kalmyks. They are nomads, supporting themselves by cattle-breeding and fishing; a few are agriculturists.

Today Nogais is an independent ethnos, living in the North of Dagestan, where they lived after Nogai Horde‘s defeating in war against Russia and settling Kalmyks in their lands in 17th century. Nogais was replaced to Black Lands in the North of Daghestan. Another part merged withKazakhs.

In 16th century Nogais supported Crimean Khanate and Ottoman Empire, but sometimes robbed Crimean, Tatar and Bashkir lands, although their rulers supported them. In 16th-17th century some defensive walls was constructed in modern Tatarstan and Samara Oblast.

In the 1770s and 1780s Catherine the Great resettled approximately 120,000 Nogais from BessarabiaYedisan, and areas northeast of theSea of Azov what is known today as New Russia to the Kuban and the Caucasus.[15]

One of the Tatar national heroes, Söyembikä, was Nogai.

Qundra Tatars

Some groups of Nogais emigrated to Middle Volga, where were (are) assimilated by Volga Tatars (in terms of language).

Siberian Tatars

Main article: Siberian Tatars

The Siberian Tatars occupy three distinct regions—a strip running west to east from Tobolsk to Tomsk—the Altay and its spurs—and South Yeniseisk. They originated in the agglomerations of Turkic stems that, in the region north of the Altay, reached some degree of culture between the 4th and the 5th centuries, but were subdued and enslaved by the Mongols. According to the 2002 census there are 500,000 Tatars in Siberia, but 300,000 of them are Volga Tatars who settled in Siberia during periods of colonization.[16]

Baraba Tatars

The Baraba Tatars take their name from one of their stems (Barama). After a strenuous resistance to Russian conquest, and much suffering at a later period from Kyrgyz and Kalmyk raids, they now live by agriculture—either in separate villages or along with Russians.

After colonisation of Siberia by Russians and Volga Tatars, Baraba Tatars used to call themselves people of Tomsk, later Moslems, and came to call themselves Tatars only in 20th century.

They numbered at least 150,000 in 1990.

Tatar language dialects

Main article: Tatar language

There are 3 dialects: Eastern, Central, Western.

The Western dialect (Misher) is spoken mostly by Mishärs, the Middle dialect is spoken by Kazan and Astrakhan Tatars, and the Eastern (Sibir) dialect is spoken by some groups of Tatars in western Siberia. All three dialects have subdialects.

Middle Tatar is the base of literary Tatar Language.

Generic meaning

The name Tatars was originally applied to both the Turkic and Mongolic tribes which invaded Europe six centuries ago, and gradually extended to the Turkic tribes mixed with Mongolian or Uralic-speaking peoples in Siberia. It is used at present in two senses:

  • Quite loosely, to designate any of the Muslim tribes whose ancestors may have spoken Uralic or Altaic languages. Thus some writers talk of the Manchu Tatars.
  • In a more restricted sense, to designate Muslim Turkic-speaking tribes, especially in Russia, who never formed part of the Seljuk orOttoman Empire, but made independent settlements and remained more or less cut off from the politics and civilization of the rest of the Islamic world.
  • Tatars are partly descendants of the Volga Bulgars. Volga Bulgars were a mixed people, whose ancestors may have included speakers of Scythian, Turkic and Finno-Ugric languages. After coming to the Middle Volga, Bulgars mixed with Finno-Ugric speaking tribes.

Various scattered articles on Tatars will be found in the Revue orientale pour les Etudes Oural-Altaïques, and in the publications of theuniversity of Kazan. See also E. H. Parker, A Thousand Years of the Tartars, 1895 (chiefly a summary of Chinese accounts of the early Turkic and Tatar tribes), and Skrine and Ross, Heart of Asia (1899). (P. A. K.; C. EL.)

Mystery Explained: How Frozen Humans Are Brought Back

Mystery Explained: How Frozen Humans Are Brought Back

Yeast and worms can survive hypothermia if they are first subjected to extreme oxygen deprivation, a new study finds.

The results could explain a long-held mystery as to how humans can be brought back to life after “freezing to death,” the scientists say.

The study uncovered a previously unknown ability of organisms to survive lethal coldby temporarily slowing the biological processes that maintain life.

“We have found that extension of survival limits in the cold is possible if oxygen consumption is first diminished,” said researcher Mark B. Roth of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash.

One form of “forced hibernation,” the behavior known as “suspended animation,” literally involves the sudden halting of chemical reactions in the body due to the lack of oxygen. A 10-hour time lapse video of a garden worm embryo in the process of developing into a full-fledged baby worm showed a rapid process of cell division freeze to a stop upon the environment’s oxygen removal. That same cell division resumed unaffected two and a half hours after oxygen was restored.

When subjected to literally freezing temperatures, the embryos of yeast and garden worms do not live, researchers found. A full 99 percent of those in the experiment died after 24 hours of exposure to temperatures just above freezing.

But, when first deprived of oxygen in the manner described above, 66 percent of the yeast and 97 percent of the garden worms survived. Upon re-warming and reintroduction of oxygen, the “two widely divergent organisms” reanimated and showed normal life spans, said scientists in a statement.

Improved understanding of the connection between low oxygen and low temperature could lead the way to extending the shelf-life of human organs for transplantation, Roth said.

It could also explain what has been an unsolved mystery: reported instances of humans “brought back to life” after succumbing to hypothermia.

“There are many examples in the scientific literature of humans who appear frozen to death. They have no heartbeat and are clinically dead. But they can be reanimated,” Roth said. “Similarly, the organisms in my lab can be put into a state of reversible suspended animation through oxygen deprivation and other means. They appear dead but are not.”

Documented cases of humans successfully revived after spending hours or days without a pulse in extremely cold conditions first inspired Roth to study the relationship between human hypothermia and his own research in forced hibernation.

In the winter of 2001, the body temperature of Canadian toddler Erica Norby plunged to 61 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius) as she lay for hours in below-freezing weather after wandering outside wearing only a diaper. Apparently dead, she recovered completely after being re-warmed and resuscitated.

The same curious fate befell Japanese mountain climber Mitsutaka Uchikoshi in 2006, who was discovered with a core body temperature of 71 degrees F (22 degrees C) after 23 days after falling asleep on a snowy mountain.

“We wondered if what was happening with the organisms in my laboratory was also happening in people like the toddler and the Japanese mountain climber. Before they got cold did they somehow manage to decrease their oxygen consumption? Is that what protected them?” Roth said. “Our work in nematodes and yeast suggests that this may be the case, and it may bring us a step closer to understanding what happens to people who appear to freeze to death but can be reanimated.”

Oxygen deprivation’s protective effect comes from the way it arrests biological processes before dangerous instabilities can develop. When reanimated, the processes continue where they left off, with no sign of disruption having occurred.

“When an organism is suspended its biological processes cannot do anything wrong,” Roth said. “Under conditions of extreme cold, sometimes that is the correct thing to be doing; when you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all.”

The ultimate goal of such research is to “buy time” for patients in physical shock, such as after heart attacks and severe blood loss, increasing their chances of survival by preserving them until they can reach medical care, researchers said in a statement. Other forms of forced hibernation include exposure to chemical agents like hydrogen sulfide.

Source: livescience