1902 Encyclopedia > Kashgar

Kashgar




KASHGAR, or KASHGHAR, an important city of eastern Turkestan, in 39° 24' 26" N. lat., 76° 6' 47" E. long., 4043 English feet above the sea-level. It consists of two towns, Kuhna Shahr or " old city," and Yangi Shahr or " new city," about 5 miles apart, and separated from one another by the Kizil Su, a tributary of the Tarim river, which receives and deposits in the distant lake Lob Nor the drainage of the yast semi-desert plain included between the Kuen-lun, xhian Shan, and Pamir mountains. Situated at the junction of routes from the valley of the Oxus, from Khokand and Samarkand, Almati, Aksu, and Khotan, the last two leading from China and India, Kashgar has been noted from very early times as a political and commercial centre. Like all other cities of Central Asia, it has changed hands repeatedly, but its greatest modern prominence is probably due to its having formed a few years ago the seat of government of the Amir Yakub Beg, surnamed the Atalik Ghazi, who established and for a brief period ruled with remarkable success a Mohammedan state comprising the chief cities of the Tarim basin from Turfan round along the skirt of the mountains to Khotan. During his rule both Bussian and British missions visited Kashgar, and it is chiefly to this circumstance that we are indebted for a full and tolerabl y recent knowledge thereof. Kuhna Shahr is a small fortified city on high ground overlooking the river Tuman. Its walls are lofty and supported by buttress bastions with loopholed turrets at intervals; the fortifications, however, are but of hard clay, and are much out of repair. The city contains about 2500 houses. Beyond the bridge, a little way off, are the ruins of ancient Kashgar, which once covered a large extent of country on both sides of the Tuman, and the walls of which even now are 12 feet wide at the top and twice that in height This city—Aski Shahr as it is now called—was destroyed in 1514 by Mirza Ababakar on the approach of Sultan Said Khan's invading army. About 2 miles to the north beyond the river is the shrine of Hazrat Afak, the saint king of the country, who died and was buried here in 1693. It is a handsome mausoleum faced with blue and white glazed tiles, standing under the shade of some magni-ficent silver poplars. About it Yakub Beg erected a com-modious college, mosque, and monastery, the whole being surrounded by rich orchards, fruit gardens, and vineyards. The Yangi Shahr of Kashgar is, as its name implies, quite modern, having been built in 1838. It is of oblong shape running north and south, and is entered by a single gate-way. The walls are lofty and massive, and topped by turrets, while on each side is a projecting bastion to protect the curtains by a flank fire. The whole is surrounded by a deep and wide ditch, which can be filled from the river, at the risk, however, of bringing down the whole structure, for the walls are of mud, and stand upon a porous sandy soil. In the time of the Chinese, before Yakub Beg's sway, Yangi Shahr held a garrison of six thousand men, and was the residence of the amban or governor. Yakub erected his orda or palace on the site of the amban's residence, and two huudred ladies of his harem occupied a commodious enclosure hard by. The mixture of the various types seen in the markets of Kashgar has struck more than one traveller. A square-faced flat-nosed Calmuck, with high cheek bones and a ruddy hairless countenance, stands next to an Afghan of gigantic proportions, with nut-brown complexion, handsome features, and glossy black beard, while one's eye rests next on the fair, full face and Dutch built frame of the Andijani, who is jostled in turn by the familiar black-skinned and oily-faced Hindustani Mussul-man, the muddy-complexioned opium-smoking Chinaman, an! the brown-skinned be whiskered and gentle-looking Badakshi, with high full forehead, long arched finely carved nose and oval face of the true Aryan stamp. The population of Kashgar at the time of the visit of Sir Douglas Forsyth's mission in 1873 was about 112,000.

With the overthrow of the Chinese rule in 1865 the manufacturing industries of Kashgar declined, and in the case of some of the profitable arts altogether disappeared. Silk culture and carpet manufacture have flourished for ages at Khotan, and the products always find a ready sale at Kashgar. Other manufactures consist of a strong coarse cotton cloth called khani (which forms the dress of the common people, and for winter wear is padded with cotton and quilted), boots and shoes, saddlery, felts, furs and sheep skins made up into cloaks, and various articles of domestic use. A curious street sight in Kashgar is pre-sented by the hawkers of meat pies, pastry, and sweet-meats, which they trundle about on hand-barrows just as their counterparts do in Europe ; while the knife-grinder's cart, and the vegetable seller with his tray or basket on his head, recall exactly similar itinerant traders further west.





The earliest mention of Kashgar of which we have any authen-tic record is during the second period of ascendency of the Han dynasty, when the Chinese general Pan-Shan conquered and wrested from the hands of their masters the Hiungnu, Yutien (Khotan), Sulei (Kashgar), and a group of states in the Tarim basin almost i p to the foot of the Thian Shan mountains. This happened in 76 3.C., about the time that the Chinese and Roman empires attained their furthest expansion of dominion westward and eastward respec-tively, and were separated only by the breadth of the Caspian. Kashgar lies in the country which Ptolemy calls Scythia beyond the Imaus ; in this he has a Kasia Regit), possibly exhibiting the name whence Kashgar is formed. Next ensues a long epoch of obscurity. The Chinese lost their hold over the western provinces, and Ptolemy found no successor to continue his investigations into the countries of the far East. In 634 Tai-tsung re-established Chinese sway over eastern Turkestan and Sulei (Kashgar), and other places were converted into garrison towns. It was shortly after this that Hwen Tsang passed through Kashgar (which he calls Kie-sha) on his return journey from India to China. The Buddhist religion, then fast decaying in India, was working its way to a new growth in China, and contemporaneously the Nestorian Christians were establishing bishoprics at Herat, Merv, and Samarkand, whence they subsequently proceeded to Kashgar, and finally to China itself. In the 8th century came the Arab invasion from the west, and we find Kashgar and Turkestan lending assistance to the reigning queen of Bokhara, to enable her to repel the enemy. But although the Mohammedan religion from the very commencement sustained checks, it nevertheless made its weight felt upon the independent states of Turkestan to the north and east, and thus acquired a steadily growing influence, which, aided as it was through the chan-nels of trade, facilitated the spread of the faith, and brought it into serious collision with the Chinese religion, a struggle which has en-dured down to our day, and can by no means be said to be unlikely to reenr. It was not, however, till the close of the 10th century that Islam was established at Kashgar, when a prince of the here-ditary family of Bughra Khan became a convert thereto, and en-forced it upon his subjects at the point of the sword. After an interval, during which the Kara Khitai, a nomad race from the north-east under rulers called the Gur Khans, became suzerains of Kashgar, the growing power of Jenghiz Khan began to overspread the Kashgar borders. This great conqueror in the space of six years overran the entire country from Azerbijan on the west to the Indus on the east, and from the steppes of Kipchak on the north to Seis- tan on the south, laying waste and butchering with a ferocity which is said to have left its traces for centuries after. The invasion of Jenghiz Khan had given a decided check to the progress of the Mohammedan creed, but on his death, and during the rule of the Chaghatai Khans, who became converts to that faith, Islam began to reassert its ascendency. In 1389-90 Timur the Mughal under- took a campaign for the conquest of Moghulistan, and one of his armies ravaged Kashgar, Andijan, and the intervening country. Moghulistan was at this time under the governorship of Khudadad, a beneficent and popular ruler, who at a later date entertained the famous embassy sent from Shah Rukh to the emperor of China. Kashgar next passed through a troublous time, and in 1514, on the invasion of the Khan Sultan Said, was destroyed by Mirza Ababakar, who with the aid of ten thousand men built the new fort with massive defences higher up on the banks of the Tuman. The dynasty of the Chaghatai Khans collapsed in 1572 by the dis- memberment of the country between rival representatives; and soon after two powerful Khojah factions, the White and Black Moun- taineers (Ak and Kara Tacjhluk), arose, wdiose dissensions and war- fares, with the intervention of the Calmucks of Zungaria, fill up the history till 1759, when a Chinese army from Hi invaded the country, and, after perpetrating wholesale massacres, finally con- solidated their authority by settling therein Chinese emigrants, together with a Manehu garrison. The Chinese had thoughts of pushing their conquests towards western Turkestan and Samarkand, the chiefs of which sent to ask assistance of the Afghan king Ahmed Shah. This monarch despatched an embassy to Peking to demand the restitution of the Mohammedan states of Central Asia, but the embassy was not well received, and Ahmed Shah was too much engaged with the Sikhs to attempt to enforce his demands by arms. The Chinese continued to hold Kashgar, with sundry interruptions from Mohammedan revolts,—one of the most serious occurring in 1827, when the territory was invaded and the city taken by Jahanghir Khojah ; Chang-lung, however, the Chinese general of Hi, recovered possession of Kashgar and the other revolted cities in 1828. A revolt in 1829 under Mohammed Ali Khan and Yusuf, brother of Jahanghir, was more successful, and resulted in the concession of several important trade privileges to the Mohammedans of the district of Alty Shahr (the "six cities"), as it was then named. Until 1846 the country enjoyed peace under the just and liberal rule of Zahir-ud-din, the Chinese governor, but in that year a fresh Khojah revolt under Kath Tora led to his making himself master of the city, with circumstances of unbridled licence and oppression. His reign was, however, brief, for at the end of seventy-five days, on the approach of the Chinese, he fled back to Khokand amid the jeers of the inhabitants. The last of the Khojah revolts (1857) was of about equal duration with the previous one, and took place under Wali-Khan, a degraded debauchee, and the murderer of the lamented traveller Adolf Schlagintweit. The great Tungani revolt, or insur- rection of the Chinese Mohammedans, which broke out in 1862 in Kansuh, spread rapidly to Zungaria and through the line of towns in the Tarim basin. The Tungani troops in Yarkand rose, and (10th August 1863) massacred some seven thousand Chinese, while the inhabitants of Kashgar, rising in their turn against their masters, invoked the aid of Sadik Beg, a Kirghiz chief, who was reinforced by Buzurg Khan, the heir of Jahanghir, and Yakub Beg, his general, these being despatched at Sadik's request by the ruler of Khokand to raise what troops they could to aid his Mohammedan friends in Kashgar. Sadik Beg soon repented of having asked for a Khojah, and eventually marched against Kashgar, which by this time had succumbed to Buzurg Khan and Yakub Beg, but was de- feated and driven back to Khokand. Buzurg Khan delivered him- self up to indolence and debauchery, but Yakub Beg, with singular energy and perseverance, made himself master of Yangi Shahr, Yangi- Hissar, Yarkand, and other towns, and eventually became sole master of the country, Buzurg Khan proving himself totally unfitted for the post of ruler. Kashgar and the other cities of the Tarim basin remained under Yakub Beg's rule until 1877, when the Chinese regained possession of their ancient dominions after a campaign which, originally organized years before, and conducted in the most leisurely fashion, was characteristic of the measured tenacity and resolution with which this nation follow up a settled policy. Since the reoccupation of the country by the Chinese, trade has much declined, especially with India, this traffic being regarded as illegal by the Chinese authorities. Heavy exactions are made for military purposes, and considerable emigration has taken place to Ladak and India. (C. E. D. B.)







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