A little behind, on a poor, small, lean Kirghiz mount with an enormous tail and mane and a bleeding mouth, rode a young officer in a blue French overcoat.
Although Turkestan and Central Asia were formerly known as Independent Tartary, it is not now usual to call the Sarts, Kirghiz and other inhabitants of those countries Tatars, nor is the name usually given to the Yakuts of Eastern Siberia.
It was known to the ancient Arab and Persian geographers as the Sea of Khwarizm or Kharezm, from the neighbouring district of the Chorasmians, and derives its present name from the Kirghiz designation of Aral-denghiz, or Sea of Islands.
The high valleys farther north, on the same western face of the Sailughem range, are but little known, their only visitors being Kirghiz shepherds.
The Ural, in its lower part, constitutes the frontier between European Russia and the Kirghiz steppe; it receives the Sakmara on the right and the Ilek on the left.
After a strenuous resistance to Russian conquest, and much suffering at a later period from Kirghiz and Kalmuck raids, they now live by agriculture, either in separate villages or along with Russians.
The language of the Kirghiz is Turki and their religion that of Mahomet.
Before the close of the century, however, the dynasty was extinct, and Bokhara was at once desolated by a Kirghiz invasion and distracted by a disputed succession.
The Kalmucks (138,580 in 1897) and Kirghiz (260,000) are semi-nomads.
The Kipchaks are only a Kirghiz clan.