Glottocode: jung1241, ISO 639-2: xal

Oirat Mongolian

The Oirat (Oirad/Oyirad/Oyirod) Mongolian population of Xinjiang consists of the ethnic groups of Torguud, Khoshuud, Ööld (Elute) and Dörvöd. A large number of these are descendants of Oirat-Kalmyks who migrated from the Kalmyk Khanate steppes back to Dzungaria in 1771, while the Ööld (or: Dzungar) people represent the original population of Dzungar Khanate.

According to the Kalmyk scholar B. Todaeva (2001: 9), who conducted fieldwork in Xinjiang in 1956, the Oirat people call themselves the Oirad Mongols of Xinjiang [Šinǧangín Öörɪ́d Monɣýl].

Most of the Oirats live in Bayingolin Mongol, Bortala Mongol, Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefectures, as well as the cities of Ürümqi and Karamay. The main traditional occupations of the Mongols are animal husbandry and agriculture. Many of the Oirats work in government agencies or run their own businesses. According to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Bureau of Statistics’ data for 2006, the whole population of Mongolian origin in the region (Oirats, Chahar, Khalkha) reached a peak of 172,000 people. Based on various sources, Kalmyk scholar S. Khoyt claims that the total number of Oirat peoples in Xinjiang lay somewhere between 152,300 – 155,300 in 2005 (Khoyt: 153).

Settlements represented in our collection