Uighurs or Uygurs /we-gurs/: Turkic-speaking of Central Asia who live largely in northwest China. More than 7.7 million Uighurs live in China today, and some 300,000 in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. They are among the oldest Turkic-speaking peoples of Central Asia, first mentioned in Chinese records from the 3rd century AD. They established a kingdom in the 8th century, which was overrun in 840. A Uighur confederacy (745-1209), established around the Tian Mountains, was overthrown by the Mongols. This confederacy came to the aid of China’s Tang dynasty during the An Lushan Rebellion. The Uighurs of that time professed a Manichean faith.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

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