In the Bronze Age (2nd millennium BCE), the area that today
constitutes Kyrgyzstan was populated by tribes that fed on
cattle farming and agriculture. From the 1st century BCE to
the 4th century, Kyrgyzstan was part of the state of Kushán,
which disappeared with the invasion of Euphalite nomads. at
the end of the 4th century lay the territory of the Turkish
Kaganat (kingdom) ruled by the Tumín and Istemí brothers.
In the 7th century, Kyrgyzstan was occupied by the
Turgues (adalid Moje-Dajan), in the 8-10. century it was
subject to the karluks who in it 10-12. century was replaced
by karajanids. In the 12-14 century, the Turkish peoples of
the country were part of the Mongol Empire, within the Khan
of Chagatais ulús (province).
During the same period, the Kipchak Kyrgyz tribes who
lived in the area between the Irtuish and Yenisei rivers
emigrated to Tian-Shan, where they mingled with the Mongols
and the local Turkish tribes. In the 15-16. century the
Kyrgyz people formed and in Tian-Shan the khan Ajmet founded
the Kyrgyz khanate.
the Kyrgyz social organization was characterized by not
having princes or nobles as a leading class. The power was
instead unfolded by manaps (the elders) whose
leadership arose from their personal reputation. At the same
time, the tribes maintained a strong cohesion as they were
in constant war with neighboring people.
In the 16-18. century, the Kyrgyz were dominated by the
Oirat Yungars, but in the middle of the 18th century this
state was conquered by Chinese forces. Kyrgyzstan thus
became a protectorate within the Tsin Empire.
In the first years of the 19th century, Russia began to
take an interest in the region that had been conquered by
the Khan of Madalí from Kokand.
In 1862, Russian troops supported a rebellion among the
Kyrgyz against the Khanate of Kokand and captured Bishkek.
In 1863, Kyrgyz representatives from Tian-Shan submitted to
Russia in the city of Verni (today Alma-Ata). In 1864,
Northern Kyrgyzstan was admitted into the Russian Empire
under the Semirechensk region.
In 1867, Tsar Alexander II created the local government
of Turkestan. The Russian settlers began arriving in the
thousands, and the Kyrgyz had to find that their best lands
were seized and handed over to the immigrants engaged in
In 1875, a popular uprising took place against Khan
Jodoyar in Kokand. The Russian Empire was quick to take
advantage of the situation, annexed the Khanate of Kokand
and South Kyrgyzstan. The Ferganá region was created. It had
a Uzbek majority and was incorporated into the province of
By this time, Kyrgyzstan was divided into three regions:
Semirechensk, Sir-Dariá and Ferganá - all incorporated in
Turkestan with the center in Tashkent.
Tensions between the ethnic groups were traditionally
linked to land ownership and compulsory military service. In
1916, the tensions sparked an open revolt among the Kyrgyz
who was bloodied by the Tsar's government.
Following the October Revolution, the Soviet power was
established in December 1917 in the Bishkek district. The
new regime faced fierce resistance from guerrilla groups in
the rest of the country. In 1921-22, an agricultural and
water reform was implemented.
In 1924, the Kara-Kuirguiz Autonomous Region was
established as part of the Russian Federation. In 1925 it
was transformed into the Autonomous Region of Kyrgyzstan and
the following year it became an Autonomous Socialist Soviet
Republic. In 1936, Stalin made it an actual federal republic
within the Soviet Union.
Until the turn of the century, the Kyrgyz had been
nomads, and they were now forced to radically transform
their lives in a socialist direction, joining the new
agricultural cooperatives and the industries created by the
state: textiles, leather, tobacco, wood, metal and
In addition to changing the name of Bishkek to Frunze - a
famous Bolshevik and general of the Red Army - the Soviet
Union continued to recruit a good portion of its soldiers
among the Kyrgyz.
During the first five-year plans before World War II, the
Soviet Union built large plants in Kyrgyzstan to extract
Antimony, industrialized agricultural production and built
the first metal processing plants and blast furnaces.