|Subdivision of:||Russian Federation|
|Others:||Interturkic, Mandarin-Cathayan, Türkümän|
Location of Tocharstan in the Russian Federation
One of the nice things of IB is the survival of interesting nations that are extinct *here*. One of those are the Tocharians.
We don't even know what happened to the Tocharians *here*. It seems they simply vanished from history. Were they assimilated by the Uygurs and the Mongols, were they simply slaughtered, or were they perhaps abducted by aliens? Whatever happened, in Ill Bethisad some of them managed to escape Mongol domination, fled North, and settled somewhere between the Ob and the Irtysh. Currently, there are ca. 400,000 of them, enough for a small republic in the West Siberian Lowlands, Tocharstan, that is part of the Russian Federation. Its administrative centre is the city of Tara.
During the years of SNOR rule, the Tocharians had a hard time like anyone else in Russia who was not a member of the party, partly because their native religion (Buddhism) was suppressed in favour of Orthodoxy. They had to cope with a huge number of Russian immigrants, who got better jobs and were better paid for the same work. Their language must have suffered from that, too, but not to a dramatic extent.
What sort of people inhabit the Tocharstan? Well, given that the Tocharians must have looked rather European (and they spoke a language that came closest to Celtic), some of these characteristics must undoubtedly have survived. Many centuries of etnhic intermixing must have caused them to look more Asiatic than they did back then, though.
The language must have developed in 1,300 years, that's for sure. Old Tocharian consisted of two dialects (actually, languages): Tocharian A and B. Could those two have survived? Or would it be more probable that the Tocharians, as they moved North, developed some sort of intermediary language, that could later spawn new dialects? Furthermore, the language must have been influenced both by Russian, Turkic/Mongolian languages, and the local languages of the region they dwelt in.
Of course, they took their script (the Brahmi script) with them, but forgot it, and after centuries of illiteracy they developed a new written language based on Cyrillic.
Except for the Tocharian Republic, there is also a small Buddhist Tocharian enclave in Western China with strong ties with northern Buddhist India [Asoka?].
Interestingly, there is also a Tocharian minority in Alyaska. The Russians sent troublesome individuals to Alyaska: nihilists, anarchists, Molokans and other Spiritualists, Catholic Veneds, Jews and Russian converts to Judaism (Subbotniks), Lithuanian pagans, Georgian nationalists, etc. Makes for interesting riots :).
- 'He's Not One of Us': http://www.science-spirit.org/article_detail.php?article_id=281
- Caucasians in China: The Takla Makan Mummies Page 26: http://www.s8int.com/page26.html
- Everything You Wanted to Know about Tocharian: http://www.oxuscom.com/eyawtkat.htm
- Separation Anxiety: The Conservation of a 5th Century Buddhist Gandharan Manuscript: http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/waac/wn/wn22/wn22-1/wn22-105.html
- Tocharian alphabet: http://www.omniglot.com/writing/tocharian.htm
- Tarim mummies - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarim_mummies#Tocharians
- Tocharians - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tocharians#Historic_role (the picture!)
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