karategin khokand cattle
KARA.TEG IN, a country of Central Asia, now subject to Bokhara, consisting of a highland district between the Hisser and the Darwaz chains. It is bounded on the N. by the Russian province of Ferghana (Khokand), on the E. by Kashgar, on the S. by independent Darwaz, and on the W. by Hisser and other Bokharian provinces. The plateau is traversed by the Surkhab or Kyzyl Su, a right-hand tributary of the Oxus, which rises in the Alai mountains, and for the first 132 miles of its course "runs through gorges of extreme wildness." Below the hamlet of Khantia-hota (according to Abrunof), the valley widens considerably, and at Sar-i-pul, the only point where it is crossed by a bridge, the river has a depth of 7 feet. With the neighbouring lands Karategin has no communication except during summer, that is, from May to September. The winter climate is extremely severe even in the more populous districts ; time snow begins to fall in October, and it is May before it disappears. During the warmer months, however, the mountain sides are richly clothed with the foliage of maple, mountain ash, apple, pear, and walnut trees; the orchards furnish, not only apples and pears, but peaches, cherries, mulberries, and apricots ; and the farmers grow so much corn that the surplus is a regular article of export to the neighbouring states. Every householder has a portion of the soil which he can call his own ; but if he leave it fallow for more than three years in succession, he runs the risk of having it confiscated by the Government. Some proprietors possess as much as from 300 to 500 acres, and keep from ten to twelve yoke of work oxen and from six to twelve labourers. The necessity of storing fodder to last for five months tends to keep low the number of domestic cattle. Both cattle and horses are of a small and hardy breed. The wild animals - bears, wolves, foxes, jackals, lynxes, martens, otters, &c. - are of no small economic importance; but the hunters and trappers are obliged to sell their pelts to the Government at half the market price. Rough woollen cloth and mohair are woven by the natives during their long winter ; and they make excellent fire arms and other weapons. Trade is still carried on by barter, there being neither coinage nor fixed market-place in the country. Foreign wares - iron, cotton, silk, combs, mirrors, soap, &c. - are introduced by merchants from Kashgar and Hissar, who receive in exchange mainly cattle, hides, and skins. Gold, however, is found in various places, more particularly at Sarym Saly (according to Abratnof); and there are salt-pits in the mountains near Langar-sha. The chief town, Marra or Gharm, is a place of some eight hundred houses (Arandarenko says three hundred and forty) situated on a hill on the right bank of the Surkhab. With the exception of about five thousand tents of nomadizing Kirghiz, the inhabitants of Karategin are understood to be Galtchas - by some identified with, by others distinguished from the Tadjiks. They speak a Persian dialect and profess the Mohammedan faith. Schuyler, who met with some of them at Khokand, describes the Karateginese as swarthy, thickset, good-natured fellows, who, gathered in a circle, would after prayers and supper tell tale after tale and legend after legend till they dropped off to sleep. It is calculated that the settled population of Karategin may amount to about 382,000 souls, the number of households being 36,672, distributed among four hundred settlements.
Karategin has hardly been touched by European exploration (the first expedition was that of Oshanin in 1878) ; and of its history almost nothing is known. The native princes or shahs, who claimed to be descended from Alexander the Great, were till 1868 practically independent, and kept up a considerable degree of state. Their allegiance was indeed claimed in an ineffective was-by Khokand, but eventually 13okhara took advantage of intestine feuds to secure their real submission. Some geographers (Kiepert, for example) have been disposal to recognize in Karategin the Paradaceni of Alexander's historians, and Colonel Yule has conjecturally identified it with the llohnno (Carnm ?) of liven Tsang.
See AbralliOf ill Roy. Geogr. Soc., 1871 ; Arandarenko's paper in the llussiscifc Revue, epitomized in //as Ales/and, 1878 ; and letters from Oshanin in Globus, 1878. See also Colonel Yule's essay prefixed to Wood's Journey to the Source of the River aves, 1872.