High Tartary

High Tartary

High Tartary

High Tartary

Excerpt

The name High Tartary is not to be looked for on modern maps. It is a survival from the geography of Asia before international boundaries were determined as they now stand. The name Tatar or Tartar has been used of all the barbarian hordes that in successive waves broke through the barriers of Central Asia to harry both the West and the remoter East. The whole empire of Jenghis Khan was Tartary. Different portions of it ruled by his descendants were likewise called Tartary. Manchuria has been called Eastern or Manchu Tartary; Mongolia has been called Tartary; the commanding heights of the Pamirs and T'ien Shan have been called High Tartary. The name Tatar or Tartar, above all other words, is a link between the geography and history of Central Asia.

The High Tartary through which my wife and I traveled in 1927 stretches from the Altai to the Pamirs. Within it lies the province of Hsin-chiang, including Zungaria, on the north, and Chinese Turkestan proper, on the south, of the T'ien Shan or Heavenly Mountains. In one region or another are to be found peoples as diverse as the Mongols, T'ung-kan, Qazaqs, Qirghiz, and Turki, and their Chinese rulers, besides such minor communities as the Dulani and such visitors as Indian and Afghan traders, and the Ladakhi caravan men who come in from the Five Great Passes of the Karakoram route.

"High Tartary," moreover, recalls the Middle Ages and the names of such courageous Western travelers as William of Rubruck, who penetrated into High Tartary at a time when the affairs of remotest Central Asia and its nomadic hordes were of grave moment to all Christendom. To my mind, the traveler can-

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