Yakuts (Саха, Sakha) are a Turkic peoples
[Yakut – an ethnic group in northeastern Siberia: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Yakuts] who mainly inhabit the Sakha Republic (Yakutia) in North East Asia.
The Yakut language belongs to the Siberian branch of the Turkic languages. Yakuts mainly live in the Republic of Sakha in the Russian Federation, with some extending to the Amur Oblast, Magadan, Sakhalin regions, and the Taymyr and Evenk Autonomous Districts.
The Yakuts are divided into two basic groups based on geography and economics. Yakuts in the north are historically semi-nomadic hunters, fishermen, while southern Yakuts engage in animal husbandry focusing on Yakutian horse and Yakutian cattle.
Origin and history
The ancestors of Yakuts were Kurykans
who migrated from Yenisey
river to Lake Baikal
and were subject to a certain Mongolian admixture prior to migration
[V.A. Stepanov "Origin of Sakha: Analysis of Y-chromosome Haplotypes" Molecular Biology, 2008, Volume 42, No 2, p. 226-237,2008] [V.A. Stepanov "Origin of Sakha: Analysis of Y-chromosome Haplotypes" – Migration map] [ Происхождение якутов ( Russian)]
in the 7th century. The Yakuts originally lived around Olkhon
and the region of Lake Baikal
. Beginning in the 13th century they migrated to the basins of the Middle Lena River
, the Aldan River
rivers under the pressure of the rising
The northern Yakuts were largely hunters, fishermen and reindeer
herders, while the southern Yakuts raised Yakutian cattle
and Yakutian horse
In the 1620s the Tsardom of Muscovy began to move into their territory and annexed or settled down on it, imposed a fur tax and managed to suppress several Yakut rebellions between 1634 and 1642. The tsarist brutality in collection of the pelt tax ( yasak) sparked a rebellion and aggression among the Yakuts and also Tungusic-speaking tribes along the River Lena River in 1642. The voivode Peter Golovin, leader of the tsarist forces, responded with a reign of terror: native settlements were torched and hundreds of people were killed. The Yakut population alone is estimated to have fallen by 70 percent between 1642 and 1682 because of the Grand Duchy of Muscovy expeditions.
In the 18th century the Russians reduced the pressure, gave Yakut chiefs some privileges, granted freedom for all habitats, gave them all their lands, sent Eastern Orthodox missions, and educated the Yakut people regarding agriculture. The discovery of gold and, later, the building of the Trans-Siberian Railway, brought ever-increasing numbers of Russians into the region. By the 1820s almost all the Yakuts had been converted to the Russian Orthodox church, although they retained, and still retain, a number of Shamanist practices. Yakut literature began to rise in the late 19th century. A national revival occurred in the early 20th century.
In 1922, the new Soviet government named the area the Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. The last conflict of the Russian Civil War, known as the Yakut Revolt, occurred here when Cornet Mikhail Korobeinikov, a White movement officer, led an uprising and a last stand against the Red Army.
In the late 1920s through the late 1930s, Yakut people were systematically persecuted, when Joseph Stalin
launched his collectivization campaign.
[Book of Peoples of the World: A Guide to Cultures, ed. by Davis, Harrison, Howe, National Geographic Books, ç2008, p.141]
It's possible that hunger and malnutrition during this period resulted in a decline in the Yakut total population from 240,500 in 1926 to 236,700 in 1959. By 1972, the population began to recover.
The majority of Yakut males belong to Haplogroup N3a (89%).
Currently, Yakuts form a large plurality of the total population within the vast Sakha Republic. According to the 2010 Russian census, there were a total of 466,492 Yakuts residing in the Sakha Republic during that year, or 49.9% of the total population of the Republic.
According to the 2010 census, some 87% of the Yakuts in the Sakha Republic are fluent in the Sakha language
, while 90% are fluent in Russian.
The Sakha/Yakut language belongs to the Northern branch of the Siberian group of Turkic languages. It is most closely related to the Dolgan language
. Slightly less closely related languages include Tuvan language
and Shor language
The cuisine of Sakha prominently features the traditional drink kumis
, dairy products of mare and reindeer milk, sliced frozen salted fish stroganina
), loaf meat dishes ( oyogos
, frozen fish, thick pancakes, and salamat
— a millet porridge with butter and horse fat. Kuerchekh
Куэрчэх or kierchekh
, a popular dessert, is made of mare
milk or sour cream with various Berry
is a traditional fish salad. This cuisine is only used in Sakha Republic
Conolly, Violet. "The Yakuts," Problems of Communism, vol. 16, no. 5 (Sept.-Oct. 1967), pp. 81–91.
Leontʼeva, Sargylana. "Comments on Ойуун Уол 'shaman fellow': a Yakut historical legend." In John M. Clifton and Deborah A. Clifton (eds.), Comments on discourse structures in ten Turkic languages pp. 287–291. St. Petersburg, Russia: SIL International, 2002.
Sakha Yakut Republic Regional Investment and Business Guide. (US Government Agencies Business Library) (3rd ed.) International Business Publications, 2001.