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The Tajik ethnic minority (3)

(People's Daily)

09:50, August 11, 2011

History

The origin of the Tajik ethnic group can be traced to tribes speaking eastern Iranian who had settled in the eastern part of the Pamirs more than twenty centuries ago. In the 11th century, the nomadic Turkic tribes called those people "Tajiks" who lived in Central Asia, spoke Iranian and believed in Islam. That is how "Tajik" came to be the name of the ethnic group inhabiting this area. So, the Tajik people who had lived in various areas of Xinjiang and those who had moved from the western Pamirs to settle in Taxkorgan at different times were ancestors of the present-day Tajik ethnic group in China.

The ancient tomb of Xiang Bao Bao, found through archaeological excavation in recent years in Taxkorgan, is a cultural relic ever discovered in the westernmost part of the country. Many burial objects found in this 3,000-year-old tomb and funeral rites they revealed show that the Tajik ethnic group has been a member of the big family of ethnic groups in China since ancient times.

In the late 18th century, Tsarist Russia took advantage of the turmoil in southern Xinjiang to occupy Ili and intensified its scheme to take control the Pamirs of China by repeatedly sending in "expeditions" to pave the way for armed expansion there. In 1895, Britain and Russia made a private deal to dismember the Pamirs and attempted to capture Puli. Together with the garrison troops, the Tajik people defended the border and fought for the territorial integrity of the country. At the same time, Tajik herdsmen volunteered to move to areas south of Puli, where they settled for land reclamation and animal husbandry while guarding the frontiers.

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