Tuva (1990 est. pop. 366,000) is a constituent republic of Russian Federation, 170,500 km2 (65,830 sq mi), located in extreme S Siberia, bordering the Upper Altai Republic on W, Khakassia Republic, Krasnoyarsk Kray and Irkutsk Oblast on N, Buryat Republic on E and Mongolia on S. Kyzyl is the capital.


The area is a mountain basin, ca. 600 m (2,000 ft) high, encircled by the Sayan and Tannu-Ola ranges. The eastern part is forested and elevated, and the west is a drier lowland. The area includes the upper course of the Yenisei River. There are numerous glacial lakes.


Tuvans (or Tuvinians), a group of Turkic people, make up about two thirds of the population, and Russians (who live primarily in urban areas) the rest. Before the pogroms in 1930s, Tuvans were predominantly Buddhists. The traditional religion of Tuvans is animism, which is still widely practiced alongside Buddhism. The Tuvan language belongs to the Northern or Siberian branch of the Turkic language family.


Tuva, also known as Tannu Uriankhai, was controlled by the Mongols from the 13th to 18th centuries, then under Manchu rule from 1757 to 1911. During the 1911 revolution in China, tsarist Russia fomented a separatist movement among the Tuvans, whose territory became nominally independent before being made a Russian protectorate in 1914.

The chaos accompanying the Russian Revolution of 1917 allowed the Tuvans to again proclaim their independence; but in 1921 the Bolsheviks established a Tuvinian People's Republic, popularly called Tannu-Tuva. It was annexed by the USSR in 1944 as an autonomous region and became an autonomous republic in 1961. It was a signatory to the March 31, 1992, treaty that created the Russian Federation.


Tuvans are famous for their throat singing. See also: Ezengileer, Kargyraa, Sygyt, Xoomii.


In the 1920s and 1930s, postage stamps from Tuva were issued. Many philatelists, including famous physicist Richard Feynman, have been fascinated with the far-away and obscure land of Tuva because of these stamps.

Tuva was featured prominently in the award-winning documentary Genghis Blues.

See also: Subdivisions of Russia

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