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Change in the Ethnography and Land Use of the Ili Valley and Region, Chinese Turkestan

Herold J. Wiens
Annals of the Association of American Geographers
Vol. 59, No. 4 (Dec., 1969), pp. 753-775
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2561837
Page Count: 23
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Change in the Ethnography and Land Use of the Ili Valley and Region, Chinese Turkestan
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Abstract

The dry Ili Valley lies on the Soviet borderlands of Chinese Central Asia, where irrigation is a requirement for agriculture. This valley is a classic example of a geographical region, providing a case study of change in landuse over time owing to the introduction of differing ethnic groups and political policies. These changes may be classified into six stages: 1) A nomad, pastoral stage from prehistoric times to 1755 when the Manchu armies defeated and dispersed the Dzungar Mongols; 2) the pastoral-military farm stage with the introduction and extension of agriculture through soldier farmers and soldier ranches, and the construction of fixed settlements and walled cities; 3) the stage of temporary agricultural setback and ethnic change during and following the Muslim rebellions of the 1860's when Manchu and Han Chinese inhabitants were decimated and Turkic Uighurs became the chief agriculturalists; 4) the stage of agricultural expansion and consolidation and increased Chinese settlement, with the organization of Sinkiang into a province having eastern-style Chinese civil administration; 5) the Republican period between 1911-1949 when Ili passed through a "warlord" era of turmoil and of Soviet intervention and influence; 6) the post-1949 Communist period, with largescale Chinese immigration, the application of East China models of collectivization and communization, the creation of large state farms carved out of nomad grasslands run by mechanized and motorized equipment, compulsory settlement in fixed dwellings of Kazakh and Mongol nomads, but with continuance of transhumance herding by selected commune members, and the expansion of urbanism and industry.

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