Forgotten Past

A look on ancient History, Language and Architecture


The Ancient Uighur (Uygur) Empire

Do. Dr. Haluk BERKMEN

  The present work is an investigation into the forgotten past. Its goal is to bring into light the ancient civilization that existed many thousand years ago and which is not mentioned in any history book.
  Where and when did that civilization exist? What language did it speak? How and why did it spread all around the world?  What proof and indications of its existence do we still have today?
  All these fascinating questions will be addressed from a global point of view here. The present work is based on three main topics: Cultural history, language and architecture.
  There is no clear evidence about the whereabouts of the original root culture. It has been accepted, in general, that Mesopotamia has been the cradle of civilization, where the first organized religion, the first scriptures and many other "firsts" started. It is more likely that people came to these regions from somewhere else and had already a developed language and a rudimentary writing system.
  Recent research on the culture of Mesopotamia and especially on the Sumer language gives strong evidence that the language of Sumer belonged to the Ural-Altaic language group of Asia. One cannot, anymore, claim that isolated languages evolved within isolated geographical pockets. Linguists worldwide are now more inclined to accept that Central-Asia has been the cradle of civilization for a very long span of time.

  It is therefore important to start from Asia and to investigate the proto-language spoken many thousand years ago. The result of the forthcoming investigation gives strong support to the theory that Central-Asiatic people lay the foundations of the present day world civilization. This theory is supported by linguistic and architectural evidences. These evidences will be elaborated with the help of many pictures, tables and graphs.

  The Ancient Uighur (Uygur) Empire
  The region defined as the central-Asiatic plateau includes a vast continent whose western borders include the whole of Europe, eastern borders include eastern Asia and Japan. The southern boundary of this vast region cut through what is now Northern Persia, India, Mesopotamia and present day North Vietnam. We now define this vast continent as Eurasia. And the language group of this region as Eurasiatic.

  The large Eurasiatic language family includes the Altaic, Uralic, Dravidian, Indo-European and even the Afro-Asiatic  languages.

  The ancient population of Eurasia speaking the proto-language was the people known as The Uygur (Uighur) whom we know are of Turkic ancestry.  The Uighur population formed chains of settlements across central Asia and Central Europe many thousand years ago. Although the historical records claim that the Uighur people are the offspring of the Huns and starts from 300 BCE, the exact beginning date of this culture is much more ancient and very much unclear. One should be very careful in naming ancient cultures. This is because a name is immediately linked to a certain time period and subjective feelings of possession trigger unending controversies. The approximate starting date of the Ancient Uighur Empire, or more correctly loose federation of independent tribes, could tentatively be located around 20,000 years BP.

 It was first James Churchwald (1852-1936), a British officer who served in India during the 1880ies who brought the Ancient Uighur Empire to the attention of the world. He claimed that a lost continent named Mu existed once upon a time. As the continent located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean disappeared under the sea due to some cataclysmic disaster, people of this culture migrated to distant locations of the world. Their largest and most important colonial empire was the Ancient Uygur Empire, the Empire of the Sun. Churchwald claims: Next to Mu herself, the Uighur Empire was the largest empire the world has ever known(1).

  Churchwald wrote several books on Mu (2), but as of today (2009) the sunken Mu continent has not been discovered. Nevertheless, the Ancient Uighur federation of tribes is a fact and can be demonstrated to have existed for a rather long period of time. This culture did not totally disappear from the face of the world, but has mutated and evolved into several different nations speaking several interrelated languages. Let us ponder on the main climatic changes which forced these tribes to move out of Central Asia and spread all over the world.

  Present day central-Asia is inhospitable and patched with vast deserts. It has been demonstrated that a major climatic change has occurred in these regions. A great flood swept up over eastern and northeastern Asia and destroyed several Uighur cities and settlements, drowning most of the inhabitants, and burying or destroying almost all architectural structures. The main reason of that flood was the melting of the glaciers, extending over almost all of northern regions of Asia and Europe.

  The flood brought some alkaline deposits that resulted in transforming the Gobi and Taklamakan of central Asia into a sandy, rocky, inhospitable desert. There have been extensive studies on the geological structure of Central Asia. In such a joint publication of Philip L. Kohl et. al. (3) it is said:

  A striking example of changes in Central Asian topography is provided by the `Takyr` formations of the Central Asians deserts.  Takyrs are alkaline soil formations, generally containing only algae and lichens, which are formed by the accumulation of dry alluvium in natural depressions. Physically they form smooth, bare, thin and hard parquet-like or cracked structures, which are the result of rapid drying of stilt suspensions and the cementing of surface layers by carbonate crusts of Calcium. They are distributed over large waterless tracts throughout Central Asia, providing convincing evidence of the retraction or shift in water courses.

  These words tell us that at a certain period of time Central Asia was a region containing many waterways, rivers and large lakes. The mentioned flood came not only from the melting of the northern glaciers, but also from the west as claimed by W. Ryan and W. Pitman (4).


  The above map was drawn by J. Churchwald in 1925. He clearly indicated the vast regions of Asia occupied by the Ancient Uighur Empire. The hypothetical Mu continent is shown on the lower-right side of the map. Although, not indicated on this map a vast internal lake or even sea- existed at the central-western region of Asia, extending from the Aral lake up to and including the Balkhash lake. Many cities were located at the edge of this huge internal sea, which gave the opportunity to learn and practice seafaring to the people living around this area.

  Present day Uighurs of interior Asia live for the most part in western China; in the Sinkiang (Sinjan) Uighur Autonomous Region. This people is said to be descended from the ancient Uighur nation that was sovereign from the 10th to the 12th century AD. But in fact their origin is totally forgotten. They have been known under many names throughout the ages, such as: Turani, Kashgari, Turki, Tangut, Tarkhut, Khitan-Liao, Jurchen, Xia (Hsia), Hui-Ho, Minyag, Topa, Hsiung-Nu, Tu-er-ke, Chang-Di, Tou-Kiou, Mi, Mu, Hu, and Hun. (5)

  It would be an error to consider these nations as being all different from each other. They all belonged to the same Turkic stock and all spoke approximately the same Altaic language, which developed from the proto-language. Note that the Turks were also known under the name Mu. Therefore, the lost Mu Empire claimed by James Churchwald was another name given to the imperial nomads of Asia. Some of the above names are different pronunciations or adaptations belonging to different neighboring nations. It is a well known fact that most of our present knowledge about the Central Asiatic ancient history comes from the Chinese chronicles. The foreign words were always adapted to suit the Chinese monosyllabic pronunciation. Therefore, the original pronunciations, in many cases, were twisted almost beyond recognition. In his book Luc Kwanten says:

  The Hsiung-nu was not the first organized state on the steppe, for it appears to have built upon a pre-existing, but unknown, tradition. Only archeological evidence attests to the historical existence of earlier steppe civilizations, but there were at least three such centers of civilization, and the evidence suggests a presence on the steppe several centuries before the Hsiung-nu.(5)

  Recognizing this situation we will adopt the name Uighur as a generic name for these genetically, culturally and linguistically connected people. The history of these people is the history of humanity, the history of the Forgotten Past.


(1)   Understanding Mu, Hans Stefan Santesson, Paperback Library Edition, 1970
   Lost Continen of Mu and The Childeren of Mu by James Churchwald.
   Central Asia, P. L. Kohl, ISBN: 2-86538-071-8, Page 26.
   Noahs Flood: New Scientific Discoveries about the Event That Changed History, by William Ryan and Walter Pitman, Simon & Schuster, 2000.
   Imperial Nomads, Luc Kwanten, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1979.

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