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Yugur
Alternative names:
Yogïr/Sarïg Yogïr, Yogor/Šera Yogor, Yellow Uyghur
Total population
15,000 (est.)
Regions with significant populations
China: Gansu
Languages

Western Yugur, Eastern Yugur

Religion

Tibetan Buddhism, Shamanism

Related ethnic groups

Other Mongolic peoples

The Yugurs (simplified Chinese: 裕固族traditional Chinese: 裕固族pinyin: Yùgù Zú), or Yellow Uyghurs as they are traditionally known, are one of China's 56 officially recognized nationalities, consisting of 13,719 persons according to the 2000 census. The Yugur live primarily in Sunan Yugur Autonomous County in Gānsù Province.

About 4,600 of the Yugurs speak the Turkic Western Yugur language and about 2,800 the Mongolic Eastern Yugur language. The remaining Yugurs of the Autonomous County lost their respective Yugur language and speak Chinese. A very small number of the Yugur reportedly speak Tibetan. They use Chinese for intercommunication. Both Yugur languages are now unwritten, although vertical Uyghur script was in use in some Yugur communities till end of 18th century.

The Turkic speaking Yugurs are considered to be the descendants of a group of Uyghurs who fled from Mongolia southwards to Gānsù, after the collapse of the Uyghur Empire in 840 A.D., and soon established there a prosperous Ganzhou Kingdom (870-1036 A.D.) with capital near present Zhangye city on the foots of Nan Shan Mountains in the valley of the Ejin River (Black River). Population of this Kingdom, that was estimated at 300,000 in Song Dynasty chronicles, practised Manichaeism and Buddhism in numerous temples flourished throughout the country and had forcibly been incorporated into Tangut Kingdom, despite of fierce resistance, after bloody war of 1028-1036 A.D.( Mahmut Kashgari who lived at the time in Kashgar stated that "uyghur blood was pouring like a murmuring stream" during this war). The Mongolic speaking Yugurs are probably the descendants of one of the Mongolic speaking groups invading northern China during the Mongol conquests in the thirteenth century. The Yugurs were eventually incorporated in the Chinese Qing empire in 1696, during the reign of the second Manchu emperor Kangxi (1662-1723).

The nationality's current, official name, Yugur, derived from the Yugur's autonym: the Turkic speaking Yugur designate themselves as Yogïr or Sarïg Yogïr ((Yellow) Yugur), and the Mongolic speaking Yugur likewise use either Yogor or Šera Yogor ((Yellow) Yugur). Chinese historical documents have recorded these ethnonyms as Sālǐ Wèiwù'ěr or Xīlǎgǔ'ěr. During the Qing dynasty, the Yugur were also called 西喇古兒黃番(Xilaguer Huángbo (Western Lagur Yellow Bo). "Bo" is the classical Chinese term referring to Sino-Tibetian speaking ethnic groups. In order to distinguish both groups and their languages, Chinese linguists coined the terms Xībù Yùgù (Western Yugur) and Dōngbù Yùgù (Eastern Yugur), based on their geographical distribution.

The Turkic speaking Yugur mainly live in the western part of the County in Mínghuā District, in the Townships of Liánhuā and Mínghǎi, and in Dàhé District, in the centre of the County. The Mongolic speaking Yugur mainly live in the County's eastern part, in Huángchéng District, and in Dàhé and Kānglè Districts, in the centre of the County.

The traditional religion of the Yugur is Tibetan Buddhism, which used to be practised alongside shamanism.

The Yugur people are predominantly employed in animal husbandry.

External links

  • Original Western Yugur texts with English translation plus PDF grammar of Sarig Yugur [1]
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