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  Home  »  Kyrgyzstan  »  Culture  »   Outstanding people

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Outstanding people

Kurmanjan Datka (1811-1907)

Kurmanjan Datka also known as the "The Tsaritsa of Alai" or "The Queen of the South", was a stateswoman in Kyrgyzstan, known for her initial resistance to the annexation of that region by Russia.

Kurmanjan was born into a nomadic family of the Mongush clan in the Alai Mountains. At the age of 18 she was supposed to be married to a man whom she did not see until her wedding day. When she met him, she did not like him and broke with tradition first fleeing into neighboring China and later deciding to stay with her father, Mambatbai. In 1832, the local feudal lord, Alimbek, who had taken the title, "Datka", and ruled all the Kyrgyz of the Alai, was attracted by the young, vivacious woman, and married her. An instrumental politician in the increasingly decrepit Kokand khanate, Alimbek was murdered in the course of a palace coup in 1862 and Kurmanjan was recognized by the khans of Bukhara and Kokand as ruler of the Alai and given the title of "Datka". In 1876 the Alai region was annexed by the Russian Empire. Recognizing the futility of resistance, Kurmanjan Datka persuaded her people to accept Russian overlordship.

During the subsequent continuing unrest and sporadic attempts by the local population to shake off Russian supremacy, gun-running and smuggling were profitable businesses and two of Kurmanjan's sons and two of her grandsons were charged with contraband trade and murdering customs officials. When her favorite son was sentenced to death, she refused the urging of some of her followers to effect a rescue, saying that she would not let her private hopes and ambitions be the cause of suffering for her people; she actually attended her son's public execution. The others were then exiled to Siberia and she essentially retired from public life.

In 1906 she was visited by General Mannerheim (later President of Finland) and was given Russian honors. Kurmanjan Datka lived to over 90 and was survived by two sons, two daughters, 31 grandsons, 57 great grandsons and six great-great-grandsons.

In 1995 a then newly founded women's committee was named after her. Now it is known as Women's Public Union Erayim.

Toktogul Satylganov (1864 - 1933)
Toktogul Satylganov was a talented poet, singer-improviser and virtuous komuz player of Kyrgyzstan. He was born in poor family living in Suusamyr district in our days known as Toktogul district of Djalal-Abad region and never learned to read and write. When he was 12 his parents had to send Toktogul ...

Yusuf Balasaghuni
Yusuf Balasaghuni, Yusuf "Khass Khajib" Balasaghuni was an 11th century Uyghur scribe from the city of Balasaghun, the capital of the Karakhanid Empire. He wrote the Kutadgu Bilig and most of what is known about him comes from his own writings in this work. Balasagun was located near present-day ...

Chinghiz Aitmatov (1928)
Chinghiz Aitmatov is famous Kyrgyz writer whose books are known and loved in many countries of the world. He was born 12 December 1928 in Kyrgyz village Sheker in the family of communist. But in 1937 Chizghiz's father Torekul became a victim of Stalin's repressions so future writer was raised by his ...

Amir Timur (1336-1405)
For a long time Central Asia has been the birthplace of the great conquerors of the world. The one who commanded both fear and respect in Asia and Europe in 14th century was Amir Timur, known in Europe as Tamerlaine. Tamerlaine is wrongly pronounced the original Persian name Timur-i-Leng, meaning "Timur ...

Manas is a legendary hero of the famous Kyrgyz epic story of the same name. Epos Manas is written in poetic form and as big as one million lines or more. This fact makes this epos to be recognized as the longest poem in the world. It is 20 times bigger then Odyssey and 5 times as famous Indian Mahabatkharta. ...

Zahiriddin Mukhamad babur (1483-1530)
Famous Uzbek poet, thinker, historian and statesman; founder of the dynasty and empire of Timurids. Babur was born in Andijan on 14th of February in 1483, being son of the Ferghana ruler and great grandson of Tamerlaine. In 1494 Babur became the ruler of Ferghana and in 1526 he founded the centralized ...

Nikolai Mikhailovich Przhevalskiy
Nikolai Mikhailovich Przhevalskiy
Nikolai Mikhailovich Przhevalskiy belonged to people who never stopped exploring. He has done a number of trips to unknown areas of Central Asia which had a great importance for both, Russian and western geografical science. His scientific works were granted with special awards by geografical societies ...

Mikhail Vasilyevich Frunze (1885 1925)
Mikhail Vasilyevich Frunze was a Bolshevik leader during and just prior to the Russian Revolution of 1917.Frunze was born in Bishkek, then a small Imperial Russian garrison town in the Kyrgyz part of Turkestan, the son of a Romanian peasant (originally from Bessarabia). At the Second Congress of the ...

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