KASHGAR, an important city of Chinese Turkestan, in 39 24' 26" N. lat., 76 6' 47" E. long., 4043 ft. above sea-level. It consists of two towns, Kuhna Shahr or " old city," and Yangi Shahr or " new city," about five miles apart, and separated from one another by the Kyzyl Su, a tributary of the Tarim river. It is called Su-leh by the Chinese, which perhaps represents an original Solek or Sorak. This name seems to be older than Kashgar, which is said to mean " variegated houses." Situated at the junction of routes from the valley of the Oxus, from Khokand and Samarkand, Almati, Aksu, and Khotan, the last two leading from China and India, Kashgar has been noted from very early times as a political and commercial centre. Like all other cities of Central Asia, it has changed hands repeatedly, and was from 1864-1887 the seat of government of the Amir Yakub Beg, surnamed the Atalik Ghazi, who established and for a brief period ruled with remarkable success a Mahommedan state comprising the chief cities of the Tarim basin from Turfan round along the skirt of the mountains to Khotan. But the kingdom collapsed with his death and the Chinese retook the country in 1877 and have held it since.
Kuhna Shahr is a small fortified city on high ground overlooking the river Tuman. Its walls are lofty and supported by buttress bastions with loopholed turrets at intervals; the fortifications, however, are but of hard clay and are much out of repair. The city contains about 2500 houses. Beyond the bridge, a little way off, are the ruins of ancient Kashgar, which once covered a large extent of country on both sides of the Tuman, and the walls of which even now are 12 feet wide at the top and twice that in height. This city Aski Shahr (Old Town) as it is now called was destroyed in 1514 by Mirza Ababakar (Abubekr) on the approach of Sultan Said Khan's army. About two miles to the north beyond the river is the shrine of Hazrat Afak, the saint king of the country, who died and was buried here in 1693. It is a handsome mausoleum faced with blue and white glazed tiles, standing under the shade of some magnificent silver poplars. About it Yakub Beg erected a commodious college, mosque and monastery, the whole being surrounded by rich orchards, fruit gardens and vineyards. The Yangi Shahr of Kashgar is, as its name implies, modern, having been built in 1838. It is of oblong shape running north and south, and is entered by a single gateway. The walls are lofty and massive and topped by turrets, while on each side is a projecting bastion. The whole is surrounded by a deep and wide ditch, which can be filled from the river, at the risk, however, of bringing down the whole structure, for the walls are of mud, and stand upon a porous sandy soil. In the time of the Chinese, before Yakub Beg's sway, Yangi Shahr held a garrison of six thousand men, and was the residence of the amban or governor. Yakub erected his orda or palace on the site of the amban's residence, and two hundred ladies of his harem occupied a commodious enclosure hard by. The population of Kashgar has been recently estimated at 60,000 in the Kuhna Shahr and only 2000 in the Yangi Shahr.
With the overthrow of the Chinese rule in 1865 the manufacturing industries of Kashgar declined. Silk culture and carpet manufacture have flourished for ages at Khotan, and the products always find a ready sale at Kashgar. Other manufactures consist of a strong coarse cotton cloth called kham (which forms the dress of the common people, and for winter wear is padded with cotton and quilted), boots and shoes, saddlery, felts, furs and sheepskins made up into cloaks, and various articles of domestic use. A curious street sight in Kashgar is presented by the hawkers of meat pies, pastry and sweetmeats, which they trundle about on hand-barrows just as their counterparts do in Europe; while the knife-grinder's cart, and the vegetable seller with his tray or basket on his head, recall exactly similar itinerant traders further west.
The earliest authentic mention of Kashgar is during the second period of ascendancy of the Han dynasty, when the Chinese conquered the Hiungnu, Yutien (Khotan), Sulei (Kashgar), and a group of states in the Tarim basin almost up to the foot of the Tian Shan mountains. This happened in 76 B.C. Kashgar does not appear to have been known in the West at this time but Ptolemy speaks of Scythia beyond the Imaus. which is in a Kasia Regio, possibly exhibiting the name whence Kashgar and Kashgaria (often applied to the district) are formed. Next ensues a long epoch of obscurity. The country was converted to Buddhism and probably ruled by Indo-Scythian or Kushan kings. Hsuan Tswang passed through Kashgar (which he calls Ka-sha) on his return journey from India to China. The Buddhist religion, then beginning to decay in India, was working its way to a new growth in China, and contemporaneously the Nestorian Christians were establishing bishoprics at Herat, Merv and Samarkand, whence they subsequently proceeded to Kashgar, and finally to China itself. In the 8th century came the Arab invasion from the west, and we find Kashgar and Turkestan lending assistance to the reigning queen of Bokhara, to enable her to repel the enemy. But although the Mahommedan religion from the very commencement sustained checks, it nevertheless made its weight felt upon the independent states of Turkestan to the nortl and east, and thus acquired a steadily growing influence. It wa not, however, till the 10th century that Islam was established a Kashgar, under the Uighur kingdom (see TURKS). The Uighur appear to have been the descendants of the people called Tolas am to have been one of the many Turkish tribes who migrated westward from China. Boghra Khan, the most celebrated prince of this line was converted to Mahommedanism late in the 10th century and tht Uighur kingdom lasted until 1 120 but was distracted by complicatec dynastic struggles. The Uighurs employed an alphabet based upon the Syriac and borrowed from the Nestorian missionaries. They spoke a dialect of Turkish preserved in the Kudatku Bilik, a mora treatise composed in 1065. Their kingdom was destroyed by an invasion of the Kara-Kitais, another Turkish tribe pressing westwards from the Chinese frontier, who in their turn were swept away in 1219 by Jenghiz Khan. His invasion gave a decided check to the progress of the Mahommedan creed, but on his death, and during the rule of the Jagatai Khans, who became converts to that faith it began to reassert its ascendancy. Marco Polo visited the city which he calls Cascar, about 1275 and left some notes on it.
In 1389-1390 Timur ravaged Kashgar, Andijan and the intervening country. Kashgar passed through a troublous time, and in 1514, on the invasion of the Khan Sultan Said, was destroyed by Mirza Ababakar, who with the aid of ten thousand men built the new fort with massive defences higher up on the banks of the Tuman. The dynasty of the Jagatai Khans collapsed in 1572 by the dismemberment ol the cou ntry between rival representatives ; and soon after two powerful Khoja factions, the White and Black Mountaineers (Ak and Kara Taghluk), arose, whose dissensions and warfares, with the intervention of the Kalmucks of Dzungaria, fill up the history till 1759, when a Chinese army from Hi (Kulja) invaded the country, and, after perpetrating wholesale massacres, finally consolidated their authority by settling therein Chinese emigrants, together with a Manchu garrison. The Chinese had thoughts of pushing their conquests towards western Turkestan and Samarkand, the chiefs of which sent to ask assistance of the Afghan king Ahmed Shah. This monarch despatched an embassy to Peking to demand the restitution of the Mahommedan states of Central Asia, but the embassy was not well received, and Ahmed Shah was too much engaged with the Sikhs to attempt to enforce his demands by arms. The Chinese continued to hold Kashgar, with sundry interruptions from Mahommedan revolts one of the most serious occurring in 1827, when the territory was invaded and the city taken by Jahanghir Khoja; Chang-lung, however, the Chinese general of Hi, recovered possession of Kashgar and the other revolted cities in 1828. A revolt in 1829 under Mahommed AH Khan and Yusuf, brother of Jahanghir, was more successful, and resulted in the concession of several important trade privileges to the Mahommedans of the district of Alty Shahr (the six cities "), as it was then named. Until 1846 the country enjoyed peace under the just and liberal rule of Zahir-ud-din, the Chinese governor, but in that year a fresh Khoja revolt under Kath Tora led to his making himself master of the city, with circumstances of unbridled licence and oppression. His reign was, however, brief, for at the end of seventy-five days, on the approach of the Chinese, he fled back to Khokand amid the jeers of the inhabitants. The last of the Khoja revolts (1857) was of about equal duration with the previous one.and took place under Wali-Khan,a degraded debauchee, and the murderer of the lamented traveller Adolf Schlagintweit.
The great Tungani (Dungani) revolt, or insurrection of the Chinese Mahommedans, which broke out in 1862 in Kansuh, spread rapidly to Dzungaria and through the line of towns in the Tarim basin. The Tungani troops in Yarkand rose, and(loth of August 1863)massacred some seven thousand Chinese, while the inhabitants of Kashgar, rising in their turn against their masters, invoked the aid of Sadik Beg, a Kirghiz chief, who was reinforced by Buzurg Khan, the heir of Jahanghir, and Yakub Beg, his general, these being despatched at Sadik's request by the ruler of Khokand to raise what troops they could to aid his Mahommedan friends in Kashgar. Sadik Beg soon repented of having asked for a Khoja, and eventually marched against Kashgar, which by this time had succumbed to Buzurg Khan and Yakub Beg, but was defeated and driven back to Khokand. Buzurg Khan delivered himself up to indolence and debauchery, but Yakub Beg, with singular energy and perseverance, made himself master of Yangi Shahr, Yangi-Hissar, Yarkand and other towns, and eventually became sole master of the country, Buzurg Khan proving himself totally unfitted for the post of ruler. Kashgar and the other cities of the Tarim basin remained under Yakub Beg's rule until 1877, when the Chinese regained possession of their ancient dominion.
(C. E. D. B.;C. EL.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)