Among the Mongol leaders, the strongest in the Central
Asian region was Timur and his descendants, who came to power in the mid- to late-1300s
and ruled until the 1500s. These people ruled the region with few challenges and
fully developed the Silk Trade Route as well as major cities along the path, most
of which are in modern day Uzbekistan.
In 1510 the Mongols fell from power over the
Kyrgyzs, giving them independence. However in the late 1600s the people
were taken over by the Kalmyks, a century later by the Manchus, and one century
later by the Uzbeks in the early 1800s.
Like many of its neighbors, Kyrgyzstan was taken over
by the Russians in 1876, a move that the Kyrgyz people violently
rejected. Due to no true power to fight the Russians, many people fled south to
what is today Tajikistan or Afghanistan.
The Kyrgyzs fought Russian rule until the fall of the Russian tsar in 1917. The
most violent of these rebellions took place in 1916 when the Russians demanded that
the Kyrgyzs could be drafted to fight in the Russian military; this caused more
fighting and many Kyrgyzs to flee to China.
Despite the fall of Russia, Kyrgyzstan
soon fell under the control of the newly formed Soviet Union and was named a Soviet
Socialist Republic in 1936. However, prior to this point the people and their culture
was all but destroyed by the Soviets, particularly under Josef Stalin's rule,
which began in 1929. However, the Kyrgyzs didn't undergo such vast changes as
many of their neighbors since the Kyrgyzs were partially settled and had little
farm land or natural resources to exploit. The worst changes came to the nomadic
and rural Kyrgyzs who were forced to settle and urbanize.