1902 Encyclopedia > Ferghana


FERGHANA, now a province of Russian Turkestan, is the valley containing the head waters of the Sir Darya or Jaxartes (one of the two great feeders of Lake Aral), and lies among the western ranges of the Thian Shan mountains, which inclose it on every side except at its west extremity, where the river emerges, passing Khojend, into the plains of western Turkestan. It is of oval form, and extends approxi-mately from 70° to 74° E. long., and from a little below 40° to 42° N. lat, having on the N. the mountains which separate it from the valleys of the Chirchik and the Talas, and on the S. the comparatively unbroken chain which divides it from the mountain state of Karategin, and further east from the long highland strath or steppe of the Alai.

There is only one road into Ferghana practicable for wheeled vehicles, viz., that from Khojend. The road from Bokhara to Kashgar enters the valley at the same place, and passing along its entire length crosses the southern border range by the Terek pass. This road, which passes through the chief towns of the province, was before our era perhaps the most important route of the active"trade between China and the West, and has ever since been much frequented for general purposes. The direct road from Bokhara to Kuldja also runs through Ferghana, but the longer and easier route by Tashkend is usually preferred. Roads to Badakhshan and the south cross the Alai range by passes 12,000 to 14,000 feet high.

The Sir Darya rises in the south-east corner of the valley, but only takes that name after joining the Nary a, a much longer and more considerable stream, having first given off several large canals for irrigation. Its affluents from the north are few and unimportant; about one-third of the valley lies to the north of the Sir, where, except in the rich districts round and to the eastof NamanghAn,the land is usually poor, hilly, and ill-watered. On the south, however, along the foot of the hills, a rich belt of cultivation 10 to 27 miles wide extends with few interruptions for about 160 miles. For luxuriant beauty this region is unequalled in Central Asia, and its wealth, being the combined result of climate, soil, and abundant water, might be developed indefinitely. The banks of the Sir (like those of the Naryn) are almost every-where sandy and sterile, for its waters are scarcely used for irrigation except near its source, and countless streams flow-ing from the southern mountains are absorbed by irrigation before reaching it. These mountains fall gradually towards the valley (whose greatest width is about 65 miles) in a succession of minor parallel ranges, inclosing terraces or valleys, each usually with its village, and cultivated up to over 4000 feet. These valleys are of easy slope; the transverse valleys through which the streams force their way to the plain are shorter, steeper, and less capable of cultivation. Rich alpine pastures occur at the heads of the valleys; the barren tracts in the plain are used for winter grazing.

Agricultural Produce, &c.—All the products of the valley (which is 1200 to 1500 feet above sea-level) are cultivated up to 3000 or 4000 feet. Grapes, indeed, ripen at 5800 feet, and barley at 8500. Produce is classed for taxation under three heads—field produce, garden produce, and fruit-trees. Among the first are wheat, barley, rice, pulses, maize, sorghum, and millet; among the second, melons, water melons, pumpkins, pease and beans, onions, garlic, carrots, red-pepper, madder and other dye plants, cotton, tobacco, flax, and oil-seeds. Among the fruits are excellent grapes, apples, pears, plums, peaches, almonds, mulberries, figs, and pomegranates.

Climate.—The climate generally is healthier and more equable than that of Russian Turkestan. The winters are milder, and in summer, though the heat is oppressive, the nights are cool. Little rain falls except in the mountains. The sky is sometimes darkened by a dry mist of fine dust, to which, in great measure, Richthofen attributes in other parts of Asia the formation of vast deposits of loess (see vol. v. p. 632).

Towns.—The principal towns, wnich nearly all lie in the fertile belt above described, are—Khokand, the late capital of the khanate, with a population of 50,000 to 70,000; Namanghan, the only important place north of the Sir Darya, 20,000; Andijan, the capital in Baber's time, 20,000 ; and Marghilan, the chief seat of the silk manufac-ture, 30,000. Ush, with Usgand, Gulsha, and other smaller places in the hill district to the south-east, is frequented by the Kirghiz, who cultivate their barley and wheat in the neighbourhood. Usgand appears, from its architec-tural remains of the 12th century, to have been a place of considerable extent. Kassan, in the north, is a very ancient Tajik town.

Population.—The population of Ferghana, which for Central Asia is a thickly-peopled region, is about 900,000, of which perhaps two-thirds are settled and the remainder nomad. The settled population consists chiefly of Tajiks and Uzbegs ; the former, the early Aryan inhabitants, are found in greatest purity in the lower mountain valleys; those in the chief towns and central districts, who are known as Sarts, show a large infusion of Uzbeg and other Turki blood. The Uzbegs, who predominate in numbers, are here much more modified by the Tajik element than they are in Bokhara. Being the dominant race, their name is assumed by the various other Turk and Tatar elements, which in successive waves have swept over or occupied this region for more than 2000 years.' There are also settlements of Kashgaris, who have fled from Chinese oppression. The nomads are mainly Kipchaks and Kara Kirghiz or Buruts; the former, the braver and more capable race, is indeed only half nomadic, occupying chiefly the northern and eastern districts of the valley. The others have their summer quarters in the surrounding mountains and high plateaus, chiefly in the Alai and Pamir, and winter in the valley, where they eke out a livelihood by cultivating patches of barley, wheat, and lucerne, thus becoming amen-able to taxation and control. They are poorer than the settled population, who are usually well-to-do. The towns-people especially are fond of good living and sociable, and being, like the Sarts everywhere, keen traders, drive good bargains with the simpler nomads. They are Sunni Mahometans; their language the classic Chaghatai Turkish, slightly influenced, M. Vambery says, by the harsher dialect of the tribes to the north-east.

History.—Ferghana was not protected by its mountain barriers from the vicissitudes which befell its neighbours. Overrun by the Arabs in 719, and subject to the Samanides in the 9th and 10th centuries, it formed part, successively, of the conquests of the Kara Kitai, of Jenghiz Khan, and of Timur, whose descendant Baber was expelled in 1513 by the Uzbegs. After a long period of disintegration the khanate was reconsolidated about 1770 by Narbuta Bai, a reputed descendant of Baber, and until 1853, when the last series of Russian aggressions began, the dominions of his successors, the khans of Khokand, extended far beyond the valley of Ferghana to the north and north-west. Their influence, everywhere considerable, was most actively exerted in Kashgar, probably from com-mercial reasons, the Chinese allowing them to maintain agents there to supervise the Khokandi traders and collect dues. The encroachments of Russia were made easier by the continual jealousy between Khokand and Bokhara, and by dissensions between the nomad and settled populations. The late ruler, Khudayar Khan, though more than once driven out by his oppressed subjects, always kept on good terms with the advancing Russians, who in 1874 sent a mission to Khokand. They found Khudayar setting out to suppress a Kirghiz rising, and, as the disturbances in-creased, persuaded him to retire with them and to place his country at the disposal of the czar. They then ostensibly adopted his son Nasr-ed-din, appropriating, at the same time, all the country north of the Sir. Their conduct, however, soon fanned the existing irritation into a religious war against the Russians, whose position for a time was critical, and the movement was only crushed, and the pro-vince annexed, after great destruction of life and property.

Trade.—There are no trustworthy statistics of the trade of Ferghana. Russian produce is probably imported to the value of 2,600,000 rubles (about £370,000), chiefly cotton, woollen, and leather manufactures, yarn, and hardware.

Most of the tea comes ostensibly from Russia"; but a great deal of Indian tea is smuggled in. The chief exports are silk and cotton. Raw silk, value about Rs.637,000, raw cotton, Rs.930,000, and cotton manufactures and yarn, Rs. 330,000, go to Tashkent!, the principal mart of Russian Turkestan. Among minor exports are timber, flax, wool, salt, and fruits fresh and dried. There is also a good deal of trade with Bokhara and with Kashgar. Manufac-tures are little developed: coarse cotton stuffs are made in large quantities for home use and export; also some woollens, hardware, and pottery of a certain merit. There are paper-mills at Khokand and at Charku, which supply nearly all Central Asia; the manufacture resembles the Chinese, one of the few remaining traces of a former extensive intercourse. Gun factories of a rude order exist at Khokand and Andijan.

There is considerable mineral wealth. Naphtha, rock-salt, and gyp-sum are extensively worked ; iron-ore, argentiferous lead, coal, and sulphur have been found, and gold in the head-streams of the Sir.

Revenue.—The revenue (under the late system, which the Russians have in the main adopted) has been about £360,000, —the chief items being the khardj, or land tax, paid in grain, £202,000; the tanapna, on garden produce and fruit trees, £67,000; and the zakdt (one-fortieth part), on the cattle of the nomads, on exports and im-ports, on trade licences, &c.

Administration.—The Russians have divided Ferghana into seven districts, viz., Khokand, Marghilan, Andijan, Ush, TJchmian or Wadil, Namanghan, and Chust. The administrative centre is removed from Khokand to Marghilan, as the nomads are more easily controlled from that quarter. Justice is administered in .civil cases by the shariat, or Mahometan code, a Russian procureur being present ; in criminal cases by the Russian code. The affairs of the nomads are managed by their own elders, who are obliged to adopt any new regulations imposed by the Government.

Ferghana is mentioned oy Chinese writers of the Han dynasty (from 200 B.C.); by Hiouen-thsang, the Buddhist pilgrim, in the 7th century; by various Arab writers between the 10th and 13th (see D'Herbelot and the Oriental Geography); in the accounts of the wars of Timur in the 14th century (see Deguignes's Histoire des Huns, &c)., of his son Shah-rukh's mission to China (1419), and of the Chinese mission to him ; in the emperor Baber's Memoirs and Mirza Haidar's Tarikhi-Rashidi in the 16th century (see Dr Bellew's "History of Kashgar" in Forsyth's Report of the Mission to Yarkand) ; in the great Chinese Geography of the 18th century, translated by Klaproth (Magasin Asiatique). See also Notices of the Medioeval Geography and History of Central and Western Asia, by E. Bretschneider, M.D.

Modern authorities are—Schuyler's Turkestan; Fedchenko's Travels in Turkestan (Russian) 1875; Terentief, Russia and England contending for tlie Markets of Central Asia (Russian), 1876 ; History ofKhokand,hy Sodhi Hukm Singh of the Punjab Secretariat, edited by Major C. E. Bates; "Journey to the W. Portion of the Thian Shan Range," &c, by N. Severtsof, translated by R. Michell, R. G. S. Journal, 1870 ; communications of Ujfalvy in Bul. de la Soc. Géog. de Paris, 1877-78; " Das Gebiet Ferghana, das friihere Chanat Chokand," from the Russische Revue, by A. Kuhn. (C. T.)

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