After the 19th century, the serfdom crisis in Tsarist Russia worsened, and serf owners intensified their plundering of land. Most of the Tatars’ land along the Volga and Kama was grabbed, and the inhabitants forced to flee. Some went south to Central Asia and then on to southern Xinjiang.
Major area of distribution: Xinjiang
There are about 5,100 Tatars in China, most of whom live in Yining, Tacheng and Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Their history in China dates from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), when the Tatar tribe was ruled by the nomadic Turkic Khanate in northern China. As this state fell into decline, the Tatars grew in strength, and their name was used to refer to several tribes in the north after the Tang Dynasty. Their homeland was later annexed by Mongols, and when the Mongols pushed west, many Central Asians and Europeans called them Tatars.
In the mid-13th century, Batu, the grandson of Genghis Khan, established the Golden Horde Khanate in Central Asia. It began to decline in the 15th century, and the Kashan Khanate began to rise on the middle reaches of the Volga River and in areas along the Kama River. The rulers of the Kashan Khanate, to boast their strength, began calling themselves Tatars, the sons of the Mongols.
Tatar gradually became the recognised name for the inhabitants of Kashan Khanate. Today’s Tatar ethnic group was formed through a mixture of the Baojiaer people, Kipchacks and Mongolians over a long period.