Uyghurs, not just a people of persecuted

This article is also available in: Italiano

To better support the Uyghur cause it is necessary to know the history, decidedly more profound and interesting than that of the “eternal persecuted”. The Uyghurs managed, indeed, to create some of the most incredible empires in Asia and, in particular, the Silk Road.

Turkic blood

The history of the Uyghurs has ancient origins and is closely linked with that of the Mongols and, even more, of the Turks. The very name of this people would in fact be an ancient Turkish word on the meaning here, however, there are different interpretations. Like all Turkish peoples, however, they originate in the Altai Mountains, a mountainous column that stands on the border between modern Kazakhstan, China, Russia and Mongolia. On these heights the first confederation of nomadic peoples came to light, called Xiongnu which in a few years became the largest empire in all ancient history with 9 million square km (corresponding approximately to today’s China).


Once this empire collapsed in the first century AD, new confederations were born: the first of these will be called Tiele and the second, decidedly better known to us, will be that of the Göktürk. The latter will found the first Turkish empire in history, which will reign supreme for centuries on Central Asia, until it will be replaced by the Uyghurs themselves, who will found an Empire that will collapse only under the blows of Genghis Khan.

The Uyghurs masters of the world

The Uyghur Khanate was in fact the largest state for its time, reaching 7 million square kilometers (slightly less than Australia) and becoming increasingly central to the silk trade. Placed in front of the Taklamakan desert, the Khanate became the last step before finally entering China, gaining central importance for every traveler. With the destruction of the Empire, in the ninth century, the Uyghursdivided into two kingdoms: the Karakhanids and the Qochos.


The latter were predominantly Buddhist, while the former soon became Muslims and, within several centuries, brought this faith to be the dominant one among their people. With the arrival of Genghis Khan, however, both kingdoms fell, soon going to combine their history with that of the Mongol conquerors. However, this will never diminish their power over the region which will only decrease with the entry of the Dzungars, but we will talk about this more in depth tomorrow.

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