Topics: Central Asia, Kazakhs, Kazakhstan Pages: 4 (1290 words) Published: January 20, 2014
Kazakhstan is a vast, sparsely populated area (more than twice the size of Texas) with huge deposits of oil, natural gas, gold, copper, uranium and many other minerals. The Kazakhs were the first of all the Central Asian Muslims to acquire a national, purely Kazakh consciousness in the middle of the nineteenth century. Thus, they have a strong national consciousness, which is a result of several factors: pride and a feeling of superiority over the sedentary groups on the part of the nomads; a long tradition of power going back to the Mongol empire; and the existence of an authentic, purely Kazakh culture with a brilliant literature and numerous and highly intellectual and sophisticated Kazakh elite. Kazakhs were mostly nomads until the Russian Revolution. They were subjected to a very brutal settlement program in the 1930s, although tribal organization survived and is still perceived by the population as a reality. The Kazakhs are currently rediscovering their national past and progressing toward a new sense of solidarity with other Central Asian Turks, especially the Uzbeks. They have no need to defend their cultural nationalism. Neither the Russians nor the Uzbeks has threatened Kazakh culture. Since 1970 the release of census data shows that despite the continued immigration of Europeans to Kazakhstan, the Kazakhs (because of their high fertility rate) are steadily regaining their position as the leading community in their republic. Kazakhstan is being wooed by oil companies from many nations, not least by the Americans. Culture

Islam in its Sunni form dominates the culture of the Kazakhs. As in Turkmenistan, however, Islam does not have such deep roots as it has with the settled population of other Central Asian republics. Also, alongside their Muslim beliefs, they retain some earlier beliefs—superstition, witchcraft and even vestiges of shamanism. Values

pride in their past
strong tribal affinities
nomadic traditions
love of...
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