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By James Millward

Eurasian Crossroads is the 1st entire historical past of Xinjiang, the colossal critical Eurasian area bordering India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Mongolia. Forming one-sixth of the People's Republic of China (PRC), Xinjiang stands on the crossroads among China, India, the Mediterranean, and Russia and has, because the Bronze Age, performed a pivotal position within the social, cultural, and political improvement of Asia and the realm. Xinjiang was the hub of the Silk highway and the conduit in which Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam entered China. It was once additionally the purpose at which the chinese language, Turkic, Tibetan, and Mongolian empires communicated and struggled with each other. Xinjiang's inhabitants includes Kazakhs, Kirghiz, and Uighurs, all Turkic Muslim peoples, in addition to Han chinese language, and competing chinese language and Turkic nationalist visions proceed to threaten the region's political and financial balance. in addition to separatist matters, Xinjiang's strength assets, strategic place, and fast improvement have received it overseas cognizance in contemporary decades.Drawing on basic assets in numerous Asian and eu languages, James Millward provides a radical learn of Xinjiang's heritage and other people from antiquity to the current and takes a balanced examine the placement of Turkic Muslims in the PRC at the present time. whereas delivering clean fabric and views for experts, this enticing survey of Xinjiang's wealthy environmental, cultural, and ethno-political background is usually written for tourists, scholars, and a person desirous to know about this very important connector among East and West.

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24 THE CLASSICAL PERIOD In the early twentieth century, after the fall of the Qing dynasty, the new Chinese republic changed many of the Turko-Mongolian place names on their maps of Xinjiang, and replaced them with old Chinese names who like to think of the earliest Taklamakan mummies as 'northern Europeans' date them from c. 3800 years ago—before most of Europe spoke Indo-European languages. 24 Schurr 2001. Schurr cites craniological research by Brian E. Hemphill. 25 The PRC switched most of the names back, but this attempt at onomastic imperialism reflects the abiding pull of the Han period (Western Han 206 BCE—8 CE, Eastern Han 26-220 CE) on China's imagination of Xinjiang.

The party was promptly captured by the Xiongnu, who held Zhang Qian prisoner at the chanyu's court north of the Gobi, but gave him a Xiongnu wife with whom he had a son. A decade later Zhang Qian escaped with his wife and some of his men and made his way west. By this time the Yuezhi had already decamped from the Yili and Chu valleys, so Zhang Qian journeyed on to Ferghana (Dayuan), Soghdiana (Kangju) and Bactria (Daxia), where he finally found the Yuezhi on the north bank of the Amu River. By then, of course, the Yuezhi had left the Xiongnu and dreams of vengeance far behind them.

32 31 Yu Taishan (1996: 49-51) argues that Zhang Qian crossed the Altai, followed the Irtysh River west, and skirted south of Lake Balkash to Ferghana. The main sources on Zhang Qian s journey are the 'Dayuan zhuan' of the Shiji and 'Xiyu zhuan' of the Hanshu. 32 Hulsewe and Loewe 1979: 49, transliterations changed to Pinyin. 22 ANCIENT ENCOUNTERS Both traditional and modern Chinese historiographic propaganda have played down the military character of Chinese penetration of Central Asia. In a curious hybrid of the two, the Nationalist Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek (Jiang Jieshi) described the above events as 'the Han Dynasty's direct contact with the "Western Region'".

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