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Geography of Journal Authors

Stratum plus. 2014. No.5

Ya. V. Pylypchuk (Kiev, Ukraine)

How Many Kipchaks? (On the question of the reliability of the data provided by written sources on population of West-Eurasian steppes)




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Pages: 257-269


This article questions on the number of Kipchak and population of Dasht-i-Qipchaq. The subject of this study is population of Qipchaq steppe in 11th—13th centuries. The aim is to obtain a relatively reliable data on the population in different Qipchaq Khanates. To ensure more objectivity, comparative-historical method was used by which the author has compared the number of Qipchaqs with the number of earlier or later nomads. Much of the statistics of earlier eras about population of this region are inflated by the chroniclers and geographers and deliberately exaggerated figures were reported. Statistical data of the 19th century are not relevant, since the conditions of nomadic life have improved significantly compared to previous eras. The arithmetic mean of the population can’t be applied for characterizing population of West-Eurasian steppes, as the size of individual clans, tribes and tribal unions differed. All estimates of the size of nomadic tribes are hypothetical in nature and are very approximate. The greatest Khanate could have between 150 to 200 thousand people. Some tribes could have between 10 to 50 thousand. Population of Dasht-i-Qipchaq from the Danube to the Irtysh total led about 1 million people.


Keywords: West-Eurasian Steppe, Kipchaks, strength, population, mobilization capabilities, army, nomads, warriors


Information about author:

Yaroslav Pylypchuk
(Kiev, Ukraine). Candidate of Historical Sciences. “A. Yu. Krymskyi” Institute of Oriental Studies of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Grushevsky St., 4, Kiev, 01001, Ukraine
E-mail: [email protected]

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