Brief Introduction of Uygur Ethnic Group

The nationality on the gobi oasis—The Uygur nationality

The Uygur nationality is the main nationality in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in our country, and had a population of more than 7,214,400 (in 1990). Nanjiang, which is to the south of the Tianshan Mountain, is their main settlement region. “Uygur” is the name that they call themselves, and has the meanings of “union”, “alliance” and “providing help”. The Uygur nationality has a long history, its ancestors can be traced back to the “dingling” that lived a nomadic life in the wide regions from the Lake Baikal in the east to the Balkashi Lake in the west in the 3rd century B.C. Afterwards, it was ever recorded in history with the different translated Chinese names of Tiele, Yuanhe, Weihe, Huihe, Huihu, Uygu, Uygur, Weiwur, and so on. 

In the ancient times, the Uygur nationality was ever engaged in nomadic economy. After the middle period of the 9th century, they gradually transferred it into agricultural economy. During the long term, they have been engaged in oasis farm work and gardening planting, and concurrently in domestic animal raising, which is the main characteristics of the agricultural economy of the Uygur nationality. Concurrently, the Uygur nationality also has outstanding handicraft manufacturing technologies and the tradition of proficient in operating business.

The Uygur nationality has its own language and written words. The language belongs to Tujue language group, A’ertai language system. The written words used by them have a long history. In the ancient times, they ever used the Tujue words and Huihu words, etc. Since the end of the 10th century, they gradually transferred to use the words with Arabian letters as base. After unceasing improvement and supplement, this kind of words has become the current words used by all the Uygur people by now. In history, it ever played an important role in keeping the abundant cultural heritage of the Uygur nationality. At present, it is still making contribution to the economic and cultural development of the Uygur nationality and even the whole Xinjiang region. 

The Uygur nationality believes in Islam. Corban and Festival of Fast-breaking are their traditional religious festivals. At present, together with the Spring Festival, they have all become their traditional national festivals. 

The culture and art of the Uygur nationality has a long history and abundant contents. Their oral literature and written literature are both very developed; their music, dance and industrial art are more famous throughout China and the world with the unique style and charm. They are all the huge contributions to the cultural treasure house of our motherland.