Kyrgyz (Kirgiz) mainly live in the southwestern of Xinjiang especially in Kezhilesu Kyrgyz autonomous state. They also live in Yili, Tachen, Akesu and Kashi in Xinjiang. and Fuyu in Heilongjiang province. The Kyrgyz are regarded as the main ethnic group of the Pamirs, a mountain range in Russia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and China known for its 7,500-meter-high peaks and snowy plateaus. Kyrgyz are found in all of the Pamir countries.

Kyrgyz speak an Altaic language. Those in China have traditionally been organized into two major tribes, corresponding with different dialects spoken in the north and south. Most belong to the Ismaili sect of Shiite Islam. They practice ground burials and celebrate Muslim holidays. A few never became Muslims and practice shamanism or Tibetan Buddhism.

Kyrgyz have a long history and have been known in China by many names. In the Han dynasty they were called "Gekun"or "Jiankun". Later they were called "Qigu"in the Jin dynasty; "Jiankun", "Jikasi"or "Qiliqisi"in the Tang and Song dynasty; and "Jirjisi" or "Qirjisi" in the Yuan and Ming periods. All these names were based on "Kyrgyz", which has had different Chinese translation at different times. Kyrgyz people call themselves "Kyrgyz", which means "40 tribes", "40 girls" or "people on the prairie". In the Qing dynasty, they were called "Bulute", which means "Mountain residence". [Source: Liu Jun, Museum of Nationalities, Central University for Nationalities, Science of China, China virtual museums, Computer Network Information Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences, ~]

Kyrgyz people have traditionally made their living by raising and breeding horses, sheep and other stock animals. A few engage in agriculture. Herdsmen have traditionally lived in tent-like yurts. In the winter, they live in adobe bungalows. Their staple foods are meat, dairy products, rice and flour. Their traditional festivals include the "Nuolaozhi Festival", Gurbang Festival” and the “Rouzhi Festival.” During these festivals, events such as catching sheep, horse racing and wrestling are held. The Kyrgyz are regarded as excellent singers, dancers and storytellers.Their heroic epic Manasi (Manas) is 200,000 lines long. It is not only a literary treasure, but also a encyclopedia to study the history and culture of the Kyrgyz. The painting, embroidery and sculpture of the Kyrgyz also has a distinct character.~

Kyrgyz Population

Kyrgyz population in China: 0.0140 percent of the total population; 186,708 in 2010 according to the 2010 Chinese census; 160,875 in 2000 according to the 2000 Chinese census; 141,549 in 1990 according to the 1990 Chinese census, up from 66,000 in 1962. [Sources: People’s Republic of China censuses, Wikipedia] The Kyrgyz population in China represents about 7 percent of the world population of Kyrgyz. There are about 3.5 million Kyrgyz in Kyrgyzstan. They make about two thirds of the population there. Most of the Kyrgyz in China live in the Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Region in the southwestern part of Xinjiang near Kyrgyzstan. Other are scattered in southern and northern Xinjiang and in Fuyu County in Heolongjiang Province.

About 80 per cent of the Kyrgyz in China live in the Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture in the southwestern part of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The rest live in the neighboring Wushi (Uqturpan), Aksu, Shache (Yarkant), Yingisar, Taxkorgan and Pishan (Guma), and in Tekes, Zhaosu (Monggolkure), Emin (Dorbiljin), Bole (Bortala), Jinghe (Jing) and Gonliu in northern Xinjiang. Several hundred Kirgiz whose forefathers emigrated to Northeast China more than 200 years ago now live in Wujiazi Village in Fuyu County, Heilongjiang Province.

Origins of the Kyrgyz

The forefathers of the Kyrgyz lived on the upper reaches of the Yenisey River in present-day Siberia. The origin of the Kyrgyz is still a matter of some debate. Based on common burial customs, animist traditions and herding practices, it is believed that the Kyrgyz originated in Siberia. Kyrgyz is one of the oldest ethnic names in Asia. It was first recorded in the 2nd century B.C. in the "40 girls" legend of 40 original clan mothers.

The Kyrgyz are believed to have descended from nomadic tribes, the "Yenisey Kyrgyz," from the Yenisey River area in central Siberia. Their homeland is an Ireland-size chunk of land, covered by steppe and mountains, in the upper Yenisey River Basin near present-day Krasnoyarsk, They occupied this region between the 6th and 12th centuries, and are believed to have begun speaking a Turkic language around the 9th century.

The "Yenisey Kyrgyz” created an empire that stretched across Trans-Siberian and Central Asia from Kazakhstan to Lake Baikal from the 6th to the 13th century. They established ties with the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907) in China and were in the 8th century Orkhan inscription. In 840, the Kyrgyz defeated the Uighar tribes and occupied their lands in what is now northwestern Mongolia. The Kyrgyz n turn were driven off these lands by the Khitan the 10th century.

History of the Kyrgyz in China

During the Liao and Song dynasties (916-1279), the Kyrgyz were recorded as "Xiajias" or "Xiajiaz". The Liao government established an office in the Xiajias area. In the late 12th century when Genghis Khan rose, Xiajias was recorded in Han books of history as "Qirjis" or "Jilijis," still living in the Yenisey River valley. From the Yuan Dynasty (1206-1368) to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the Jilijis, though still mainly living by nomadic animal husbandry, had emigrated from the upper Yenisey to the Tianshan Mountains and become one of the most populous Turkic-speaking tribal groups. After the 15th century, though there were still tribal distinctions, the Jilijis tribes in the Tianshan Mountains had become a unified entity. [Source: |]

In the early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the Kyrgyz, who had remained in the upper Yenisey River reaches, emigrated to the Tianshan Mountains to live together with their kinfolk. Many then moved to the Hindukush and Karakorum Mountains. At this time, some Kyrgyz left their homeland and emigrated to Northeast China. In 1758 and 1759, the Sayak and Sarbagex tribes of Eastern Blut and the Edegena tribe of Western Blut, and 13 other tribes -- a total of 200,000 -- entered the Issyk Kul pastoral area and asked to be subjected to the Qing. |

Chinese View of Kyrgyz History

According to the Chinese government:“The Kyrgyz tribe was under the rule of the Turkic Khanate in the A.D. mid-sixth century. After the Tang Dynasty (618-907) defeated the Eastern Turkic Khanate, the Kyrgyz came into contact with the dynasty and in the 7th century the Kyrgyz land was officially included in China's territory.[Source: |]

“From the 7th to the 10th century, the Kyrgyz had very frequent communications with the Han Chinese. Their musical instruments -- the drum, sheng (a reed pipe), bili (a bamboo instrument with a reed mouthpiece) and panling (a group of bells attached to a tambourine) -- showed that the Kyrgyz had attained quite a high level of culture. According to ancient Yenisey inscriptions on stone tablets, after the Kyrgyz developed a class society, there was a sharp polarization and class antagonism. Garments, food and housing showed marked differences in wealth and there were already words for "property," "occupant," "owner" and "slave." |

The Kyrgyz played a major role with their courage, bravery and patriotism in the defense of modern China against foreign aggression. The Kyrgyz and Kazaks assisted the Qing government in its efforts to crush the rebellion by the nobility of Dzungaria and the Senior and Junior Khawaja. They resisted assaults by the rebellious Yukub Beg in 1864, and when the Qing troops came to southern Xinjiang to fight Yukub Beg's army, they gave them assistance. |

“Under the pretext of "border security," the Kuomintang regime in 1944 ordered the closing of many pasturelands, depriving the Kyrgyz herdsmen of their livelihood. As a result, the Puli Revolution broke out in what is now Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County and part of the Akto area, and formed a revolutionary government. This revolution, together with uprisings in Ili, Tacheng and Altay, shook the Kuomintang rule in Xinjiang. More than 7,000 people took part in the Puli Revolution, the majority being Kyrgyz, Tajiks and Uygurs. |

Chinese View of Kyrgyz Development

According to the Chinese government: “Before the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the Kyrgyz derived their main revenue from livestock breeding, which was entirely at the mercy of nature. About 15 per cent of the population engaged in farming, which was done in a very primitive way: a slash-and-burn method, without deep ploughing and fertilizer application. The handicraft industry was undeveloped and remained but a household undertaking. There were workshops making horse gear, carpets, felt cloth, fur hats and knitting wool. Cooking utensils, knives, tea, tobacco and needles had to be bought with animals or animal by-products. Hunting was another important sideline occupation. [Source: |]

“The long-standing feudal patriarchal system left a deep impact upon Kyrgyz economic life. Before 1949, 10 per cent of the population owned 70 per cent of the livestock. The masses of herdsmen owned very few or none of the domestic animals and had to work for the herd owners and farm landlords. Once a man was hired, his whole family had to graze domestic animals, milk cows, shear wool, weave and cook for the herd owner in return for only two or three sheep a year plus food and clothing. In the farming area, the landlord class plundered the poor peasants through labor hiring, land and water rent, and usury. Exploitation by religious leaders was also severe. The land owned by the Islamic clergy had to be tilled by peasants without pay and the taxes exacted by them accounted for 20 per cent of an average peasant's annual income. |

“The Kyrgyz tribal organization at that time was as follows: a major tribe had a number of sub-tribes, not necessarily herding in the same locality; each sub-tribe was composed of a number of "Ayinle," or clans; an "Ayinle" of five to ten families was a production unit as well as a traditional social organization; within the "Ayinle" there were customary relations of exploitation under the cover of "mutual clan assistance." The ties between tribes were very loose, and there were generally no relations of dependence. The tribal chiefs, mostly big herd owners, wielded a certain degree of political power. The rulers of the Chinese dynasties throughout history invariably tried to accelerate and worsen the contradictions among the tribes so that they could "divide and rule." “ |

Kyrgyz Language

The Kyrgyz language belongs to the Northwestern (Kipchak) division of the Turkic Branch of the an Altaic language family. It is closely related to Kazakh, Nogay, Tatar, Kipchak-Uzbek and Karakalpak and should not be confused with Yenisei Kyrgyz. Kyrgyz had no written form until the late 19th century. Before that time, “Turki,” a written form of Uzbek, was used. At the turn of the 20th century, after the Kyrgyz had become more Islamic, Kyrgyz was written using the Arabic alphabet. In 1924 the Arabic alphabet was modified to write Kyrgyz. In China, most Kyrgyz can speak Uyghur, Kazakh or Chinese. There are many borrowed words from the Chinese language. In the 1950s, a new alphabet was then devised, discarding the old Arabic script and adopting a Roman alphabet-based script but it was never widely embraced.

Mongolian, Kazakh, Manchu, Uigur, Turkish and other Altaic, Tungusic and Turkic languages are Altaic languages in the Ural-Altaic family of languages. Some linguists believe they are related. Other believe they share similarities because of the borrowing of words by traditionally nomadic peoples. Ural-Altaic languages include Finnish, Korean and Hungarian.

The languages of the Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Mongols and Uyghurs are so similar that they can easily communicate with each other and often eat and party together when they live near one another. These languages are difficult to learn and speak. Travel writer Tim Severin wrote they sound “like two cats coughing and spitting at each other until one finally throws up..” Some of the more guttural sounds sound like someone is having difficulty breathing.

In the early 13th century, under Genghis Khan, the Mongols created a vertical script based on the Uyghur script, which was also adopted by many Turkic-speaking peoples and is related to the alphabets of Western Asia. It looks like Arabic written at a slant. The source of the Uyghur alphabets was the alphabet of the Sogdians, a Persian people centered around Samarkand in the A.D. 6th century.

Kyrgyz Religion and Festivals

The Kyrgyz are a Muslim people yet shamanism remains alive. People often pray to the mountains, sun and rivers more often than they bow towards Mecca and finger talisman under their clothes as much as they visit mosques. Most shaman have traditionally been women. They still play an important role in funerals, memorial, and other ceremonies and rituals.

In the first half of the 18th century, most of the Kyrgyz in Xinjiang believed in Islam. Those in Emin (Dorbiljin) County in Xinjiang and Fuyu County in Heilongjiang, influenced by the Mongols, followed Tibetan Buddhism, while retaining some Shamanistic legacies: Shamanistic "gods" were invited on occasions of sacrificial ceremonies or illnesses and the Shamanistic Snake God was worshipped. [Source: |]

Most Kyrgyz are Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi school of law. They are regarded as only lukewarm Muslims. Islam has never been that important with the nomadic people and still isn't. You don’t see that many mosques nor hear the muezzin in Kyrgyz areas. This is due to their nomadic lifestyle, animist traditions, distance from the Muslim world, close contacts with Russians and Chinese and the suppression of Islam under Stalin and the Chinese Communists. Scholars have said the lack of strong Islamic sentiments is because of the Kazakh code of honor and law—the adat— which was most practical for the steppe than Islamic sharia law.

In the Kyrgyz calendar, similar to that of the Han people, the years are designated as years of the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, fish, snake, horse, sheep, fox, chicken, dog and pig. The appearance of the new moon marks the beginning of a month, 12 months form a year and 12 years is a cycle. At the beginning of the first month of the year, the Kyrgyz celebrate a festival similar to the Spring Festival. There are also Islamic festivals. On major festivals and summer nights, old and young, men and women, gather on the pasturelands for celebrations: singing, dancing, ballad-singing, story-telling and games which include competing to snatch up a headless sheep from horseback, wrestling, horse racing, wrestling on horseback, catching objects from racing horses, horseback shooting, tug-of-war and swinging. |

Kyrgyz Life in China

The Muslim Kyrgyz have traditionally been more settled than the Kazahks. There are skilled horsemen but they usually have lived in permanent settlements---where they raise sheep, horses, cattle and sometimes yaks and camels---for nine months of the year. The move to higher pastures for the summer. Their favorite drink is goat milk. The only crops they grow are potatoes, onions and cabbage. Other goods such as wheat flour, rice, tea, salt and sugar have traditionally been bought or traded for.

Nomadic Kyrgyz in China traditionally lived in yurts or square felt tens whereas the settled ones lived in mud brick houses. The men herded the animals, cut grass and hunted. Women, who traditionally dressed in flowery skirts and white head scarves, grazed the animals, milked and sheared them and did household chores.

Marriages have traditionally been arranged, often early in life. A man courts his bide with a roasted sheep. Before the wedding the couple are tied to post and are not set free until the groom’s family asks for “mercy” and offers gifts to the bride’s family. After a Muslim wedding the couple lives with the groom’s parents.

Kyrgyz Marriage and Family Customs

Marriages have traditionally been arranged by parents and extended family members .Some courting took place and the wishes of the potential bride and groom were often taken into consideration. A bride price was paid by the groom’s family and the marriage was sanctified in a betrothal ceremony, called a nikka, presided over by a mullah.

Couples were married young and girls were expected to remain virgins until they were married. Wealthy men sometimes had several wives. Generally Kyrgyz only married other Kyrgyz or Kazakhs. Kyrgyz that married Russians, non-Kyrgyz or non-Muslims were sometimes looked down upon so much they were forced to leave their home towns and villages. Marriages to the much hated Uzbeks, Tajiks and Uighurs were particularly frowned upon. Offspring from such unions were given low status positions in the clan.

In the old days, marriages were sometimes arranged before birth. This was called "marriage arrangement at pregnancy." Traditional courtship starts when the bridegroom calls on the bride's family with a roasted sheep. The relatives of the bride then tie the couple to posts in front of the tent. They will be released only after the father and brothers of the bridegroom ask for "mercy" and present gifts. The wedding is presided over by an imam who cuts a baked cake into two, dips the pieces in salt water and puts them into the mouths of the newly-weds as a wish for the couple to share weal and woe and be together for ever. The bridegroom then takes the bride and her betrothal gifts back to his home. [Source: |]

At a traditional wedding party guests feast on pilaf, roasted mutton and other foods. Guests dance and sing and listen to storytellers recite parts the of the epic poem the Manas. After a Muslim wedding the couple lives with the groom’s parents.

The Kyrgyz family is generally composed of three generations, with married sons living with their parents. There is distinct division of labor at home: the men herd horses and cattle, cut grass and wood and do other heavy household chores, while the women graze, milk and shear the sheep, deliver lambs, process animal by-products and do household chores. Before liberation, the male was predominant and decided all matters of inheritance and property distribution. When the son got married, he was entitled to a portion of the family property which was usually inherited by the youngest son. Women did not have the right to inherit. The property of a childless male was inherited by his close relatives. When there is a funeral, all relatives and friends attend, wearing black clothing and black kerchiefs. |

Kyrgyz Hat

Kyrgyz men in China have traditionally worn red, green, blue, purple or black cap made of corduroy; and on top of that cap they would wear another leather cap or pelt cap when needed. The most popular cap worn by Kyrgyz everywhere is the calpac, a traditional white felt hat with an upturned brim. It resembles a Robin Hood or leprechaun hat and often has designs on it. Many old Kyrgyz men wear it. The tebbetey is a fur-lined hat worn in the winter.

Kyrgyz men wear the calpac all year around. The top is ridge-shaped and the short cap brim is folded upwards. A stripe of black cloth is inlaid inside the cap brim; the black border is very conspicuous when the cap is turned inside out. On the both sides of the cap brim there is a nick that separates the brim into two parts. When the two parts are rolled up simultaneously, the brim offers good protection from snow and rain. If the front part is rolled down it can protect the face from the sun. If the two parts are rolled together, they offer a shield against wind and sand.

Kyrgyz identity is often expressed with a calpac. Kyrgyz cherish it and call it a "holy cap". When taken off, it is hung up or put on a quilt or pillow. People never casually throw it down, step on it or play with it—actions which are regarded as taboo or near-taboo breaches of etiquette. The calpac has a long history. There is even a sage associated with it. In ancient time, according to one legend, there was a wise, smart and brave Kyrgyz king, who found that various colored caps, horses and clothing affected his army. Before a major campaign, he ordered his ministers to prepare unified caps for his army and civilians in 40 days. In accordance with the king’s criteria the caps had to be bright like a star, beautiful as a flower, white as an iceberg and green as a summer mountain, plus repel rain, snow, wind and sand at the same time. After 39 days, 39 ministers were killed because they could not produce a hat that pleased the king. At last, the wise daughter of the 40th minister devised the calpac and the king was satisfied. And the cap was passed to now. [Source: Liu Jun, Museum of Nationalities, Central University for Nationalities, ~]

According to Islamic custom many Kyrgyz women wear headscarves but few cover their faces with veils. Unmarried ladies sometimes wear little red plush round caps with a colorful top. During special occasions they sometimes wear a big round cap decorated with pearls, tassels and feathers. Young married women prefer red or green headgear, while middle-aged women wear white. Unmarried girls wear their hair in many small plaits, reduced to two after marriage. The pigtails are decorated with silver chains, coins or keys interlinked with a chain of pearls.

Kyrgyz Culture

The Kyrgyz are renowned singers and dancers. The songs with rich content include lyrics, epics and folk songs. Kyrgyz paintings and carvings feature animal horn patterns for decoration on yurts, horse gear, gravestones and buildings. The Kyrgyz like bright red, white and blue colors. So their decorative art is always brightly colored and eye-pleasing, and full of freshness and vitality. [Source: |]

Kyrgyz folk songs and ballads to are richly lyrical, expressing joy, sorrow, injustice and loss. The song types range from traditional folk songs to lullabies to wedding songs. They even have short ditties that they sing to departing guests and to their animal flocks. Kyrgyz musicians use many kinds of unusual instruments. For example, the three-stringed lute-like instrument popular in Kyrgyz music, the komuz, is uniquely Kyrgyz in origin. Every Kizilsu Kyrgyz learns to play the komuz from early childhood.

Many poems, legends, proverbs and fables have been handed down among the Kyrgyz for centuries. The epic, "Manas," is virtually an encyclopedia for the study of the ancient Kyrgyz. It has 200,000 verses describing, through the deeds of several generations of the Manas family, the bravery and courage of the Kyrgyz in resisting plunder by the nobles of Dzungaria and their aspirations for freedom. It is also a mirror of the habits, customs and ideas of the Kyrgyz of the time. |

Manasi; the Great Kyrgyz Epic

The “Manasi” (The “Manas”) is heroic Kyrgyz epic with over 200,000 lines long. Regarded by the Kyrgyz as both its Bible and it Iliad, this narrative poem is not only a literary treasure, but also a encyclopedia to study the history and culture of the Kyrgyz. Traditionally, whenever Kyrgyz people had free time or at events weddings and festivals they got together—sometimes a small group, sometimes a crowd of hundreds, even thousands of people—they would recite of sing the “Manasi”. In China it is regarded as one of the three great long epics along the Tibetan epic, “King Gesar” and the Mongolian epic Jiangger. [Source: Liu Jun, Museum of Nationalities, Central University for Nationalities, ~]

The “Epic of Manas” is about a tribal leader named Manas and his adventures in Central Asia. Said to be over 1,000 years old and sometimes called the “Iliad of the steppes,” the story has been passed down over the generations orally by "Manas-tellers" and was not written down until the 1920s. According to the Guinness Book of Records, it is the world's longest poem. The storyteller Sayakbair Karalayev, who died in 1971, once told a version of the story that was 530,000 lines long—20 times the length of Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad combined and 2½ times longer than India’s Mahabharata—over three days and nights. Some versions are said to have over 1 million lines and take six months to perform. "Manas" is Kyrgyz for "God." There is a fable-like quality to some of the stories. Many Kyrgyz turn to the Manas for philosophical and moral guidance and regard the epic as both a historical document and a religious text. The origins of the stories are not clear and the age of the epic is questioned. The first written reference to it is in a 15th century Tajik chronicle. The Manas is part of the Turkic dastan, a genre of literature that has served as an educational medium by which the Kyrgyz and other Central Asians transmitted their history, values, customs and ethnic identity.

The ”Manasi” is the version of The Manas read in China. It has eight volumes and 200,000 lines. Each volume is named after the central character in it. They are: I) “Manasi”, II) Semaitaiyi, III) Saiyitieke, IV) Kainainimu, V) Saiyite, VI) Asilebaqia—Biekebaqia, 7) VII Sumubilaike and VIII) Qiketaiyi. The whole epic is named after the first character “Manasi”. The epic topic describes how eight generations of King “Manasi” descendants unified all the Kyrgyz tribes together to defend against invasions from other groups. With help from their friends and comrades, “Manasi” and his offspring punished traitors, outwitted demons, assisted the weak and the poor, and above all defended the Kyrgyz people. Similar to other epics, the “Manasi” is filled with scenes of wars against different enemies. The epic demonstrates the strong spirit of the Kyrgyz as they forged their identity and strove for for national independence. It also describes the life and society of the Kyrgyz people ancient times and in the Middle Ages. ~

Heroes in the “Manasi” possess superhuman powers and human sentiments. They are brave, strong and aggressive warriors but at the same time they can also be overly proud and peevish as well as modest and fatherly. They get angry over stupid, little things are not immune to making foolhardy mistakes but they can also be reasonable and amiable, earning the respect of their for their military successes and their warmth and humanity. Some have compared the Manasi heroes to wild horses galloping courageously but restlessly and untamed on the open steppe. There are many tragic heroes: sons killed by fathers, brothers killed by brothers, nieces killed by uncles, grandsons killed by grandfathers, wives killed by husbands, and warriors sacrificing their lives for other of warriors. Unlike the Tibetan “King Gesar” and the Mongolian “Jiangger”, which have happy endings, heroes of “Manasi” often meet unfortunates that make tragic impacts that extend far beyond them. ~

“Manasi” reciting is a folk art with high cultural value among the Kyrgyz that combines speaking, reciting and singing to express historic events and narrative thrills and spills. The plots and character interplay are often very complicated but the lines and fluid and harmonic, and can be easily sung. Scholars and ordinary Kyrgyz have used the “Manasi” to study history, geography, customs, religion, economics, family relations, and marriage, music, painting and language. Supu Mamayi is one of the best-known “Manasi” singing masters. ~

Image Sources:

Text Sources: 1) Encyclopedia of World Cultures: Russia and Eurasia/ China , edited by Paul Friedrich and Norma Diamond (C.K.Hall & Company, 1994); 2) Liu Jun, Museum of Nationalities, Central University for Nationalities, Science of China, China virtual museums, Computer Network Information Center of Chinese Academy of Sciences, ~; 3) Ethnic China *\; 4) \=/; 5), the Chinese government news site | New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Chinese government, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

Last updated June 2015

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