The ethnonym Kazakh ( kasach. Қазақ / Qazaq, Қазақтар / Qazaqtar ) refers to both the citizens of Kazakhstan and an ethnic group with around 13 million members, mainly in Kazakhstan, but also in Mongolia ( largest Turkic-speaking minority there ), Russia ( 1.3 million ) and in the People's Republic of China ( 2.2 million ), Uzbekistan ( 800,000 ), Iran (15,000 ), Afghanistan ( 45,000 ) and Turkey ( 30,000 ). On the European continent, there are in Germany, the largest Kazakh minority ( 17,000 ).

The great majority of Kazakhs speak Kazakh. To distinguish the nationals of ethnic Kazakhs in Kazakhstan, the former are sometimes referred to as " Kazakhs ". This article deals only with the understanding of ethnic Kazakhs.

  • 4.1 Kazakhs in the states of the former Soviet Union
  • 4.2 Kazakhs in other countries of the world

Name Meaning

The name " Qazaq " (also spelled Kazak ) is of Turkish origin. It has been translated in the 19th century by Kazakh scientists with " Independent " or with " steppe horsemen." See also Cossacks

Origin of the three Schüs ( hordes )

  • Of the Little Horde
  • The Middle Horde
  • The Great Horde

The Kazakhs are today in three " Schüs " or hordes ( " Schüs " [ Kazakh: ' Juez '] = department ) divided: into the Little Horde ( Kisi Juez ), the Middle Horde ( Orta Juez ) and the Great Horde ( Uli Juez ).

About the origin of this Schüs entwine several legends:

The Kazakh historian Manash Kossibayev now takes the view that the formation of Schüs - or the hordes - representing the formation of the Kazakh society over several centuries. The Schüs so Kossibayev were founded on the basis of the natural and geographical factors. This is in line until today the nomadic lifestyle and traditions, including the clans and tribal relationships.

The Schüs are therefore to be regarded as tribal societies, who were also the Mongol hordes. This is the equation of " Schüs " and " horde " to be justified.

But unlike the Mongol hordes, the Schuster were relatives, but not formed after according to the territorial principle: the three Schüs therefore do not differ from their structure, but according to dialect and territory covered.

What is remarkable about the Kazakh Schüs is the fact that it is possible beyond its borders prove two more divisions: the " Koscha " ( Kazakh: Koja, Turkish Hoca [ German Hodja ] ) and the "gates" ( Kazakh: Tore ), the form the Mongolian hereditary nobility among the Kazakhs. The Koscha were considered the representatives of the clergy ( and as a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed ) and the gates as the direct descendants of Genghis Khan - only members of the gates ( "custodians ", from Old Turkic word Törü [ the traditional unwritten law of the Central Asian peoples ] ) were allowed to be elected Khan.

Everyone must Kazakh today the story of his tribe and his clan to the seventh generation can trace before him - in order to ensure that the old tribal and clan traditions survive in the long term.



As a mystical progenitor of the Kazakh nation is Alash Khan. Originally included the present-day Kazakhs to the dominions of Orda ( Horde - Orda ) and Shibans ( White Horde) and bore the name of Alash. Orda and Shibani was grandson of the Mongol princes of Genghis Khan and presented the first prince of the Kazakh steppe nomads.

Emergence of the Kazakhs as federal tribal confederation

The Kazakhs emerged between the 13th and 15th centuries as an independent ethnic group. The Mongolian upper class began to merge with the Turkic Vorbevölkerung. Also Turkic clans were incorporated into the developing Kazakh tribal confederation. Witness of Clan names like Kimek and Naiman, where some parts of the old people Türgiş, Tschigil and the Yenisei Kirghiz were added.

Around 1400 a Qazaq Orda ( " Kazakh Horde " ) is mentioned for the first time. These were part of a forming tribal federation, which should entitle later as " Uzbek ".

The present-day Kazakhs were formed only around 1456 as a spin-off of the just founded Usbekenreich: The Princes Janibek and coking plant, sons Boraq Khan († 1428 Orda or White Horde) broke away from Abu'I - Chairs Usbekenreich because they wanted to remain independent as steppe nomads and justified their own Khanate.

" Kyrgyz " as a generic term for the Kazakhs

The Empire Russia dubbed from the 16th century, the Central Asian steppe nomads as " Kyrgyz ". Previously, they were generally associated with the Tatars. The generic term " Kyrgyz " was deliberately chosen by the Tsarist Empire, as the Kazakhs had a lot in common with the Kyrgyz. The latter were considered to be mountain dwellers and were generally known as " Kara- Kirghiz " titled. The proper name of Kazakhs was avoided by the Tsarist empire, to prevent confusion with the Slavic Cossacks.

Kazakh autonomy and Soviet era

After the collapse of the Tsarist Empire, the Kazakhs were united in the Alash Orda and after its destruction they belonged to the Turkestan SSR. There they were summarized in the " Kazak - Kyrgyz Autonomous Region ".

Comparisons history of Kazakhstan

Distribution of the Kazakhs in the various countries

Kazakhs in the states of the former Soviet Union

Kazakhs in other countries of the world

Population development in Kazakhstan

The percentages below indicate the percentage of the population of Kazakhstan consists of ethnic Kazakhs.

Religion of the Kazakhs

The Kazakhs are predominantly Sunni Muslims. The influence of the Islamic religion reached the Kazakhs in the 8th century after the Arabs came to Central Asia, where Islam spread of Turkmenistan to the north, and finally the present-day Kazakhstan reached. Similarly, the missionary work of Samanid many Kazakhs moved to the conversion.

In the 14th century, the Golden Horde spread Islam on a large scale and thus achieved the majority of Kazakhs and other Central Asian peoples.

Islam was adopted finally in the 19th century, when Kazan Tatars published by them, who worked as a trader and interpreter of the Russian Tsars. But should also be noted that Sufism and the numerous shamanic practices remained anchored in the Kazakh culture.

During the time of the Soviet Union had the Kazakh- Islamic associations - as well as other religious institutions - quite heavy and survived only in the areas where the Kazakhs dominated numerically. This has the effect that many Kazakhs have turned away from Islam.

The interest of the Kazakhs of Islam increased after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. Thus financed governments of Islamic countries (including Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia), the construction of mosques and cultural centers in Kazakhstan. The most famous cultural center named only Mubarak and was built in 2001 in Almaty.


The vast majority of Kazakhs speaks Kazakh, which belongs to the Turkic languages ​​and is, for example, with the Turkish and related to the Chuvash.

The Kazakh used since the 19th century the Arabic script. The Russian minority in the country founded secular schools with Cyrillic alphabet and the Kazakhs religious Arabic alphabet.

In 1927 there were in the Soviet Union to a first writing reform of the Kazakh language. The Arabic script was replaced first by a Latin alphabet and 1940 by a modified Cyrillic, as an obligatory teaching of Russian in Kazakhstan has been introduced.

1990 was passed by the Kazakh government, again change the language of the country on a Latin alphabet and a corresponding pattern alphabet was also designed to 1995. The final transition to the Latin alphabet was not carried out until today. However, even a Latin version was created for the official government websites as well as the side of the Kazakh news agency. In addition, however there until further notice before the Cyrillic script.

In the Kazakh settlement areas of Mongolia the Arabic alphabet has been adopted in the 1940s by the local Kazakhs. Even in the Chinese urban areas was the short term from 1950 to 1970 accepted the current Kazakh Cyril alphabet. But in the 1970s, the Romanization was decided and therefore introduced a Latin alphabet for the minorities of China. Since the reversal of the Romanization of the Chinese government a modified Arabic alphabet was introduced into China for the Kazakhs again.

Famous Kazakhs

  • Abai Qunanbajuly, poet and writer
  • Qanysch Sätbajew, geologist, one of the founders of the Soviet and Kazakh Economic Geology
  • Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan President
  • Toqtar Äubäkirow, military pilot and astronaut
  • Timur Bekmambetov, Film Director
  • Talghat Musabayev, Spaceman

Kazakhs and Cossacks

1936/37, the people of Kazakhstan term became common in the USSR, in order to distinguish ( spoken Russian Kasak ) of the slawischstämmigen " Cossacks " can.

The Cossacks originated in the territory of the Nogai Horde and took many elements of these " Tartars " in to " Cossack " is a Turco- Mongolian designation, the entrance into the Russian language was. Can also be assumed that a variety of real Kazakhs went up in the Cossacks before then finally embraced Islam and thus passing into religious opposition to the Christian Slavs.