Kuqa was known as Qiuci in the ancient times. In his book Buddhist Records of the Western World,the famous Tang Dynasty monk Xuan Zang referred to Qiuci as Quzhi.It is recorded in historical chronicles,as a big power in the Western Regions in ancient times,Qiuci had a long history of connections with the Central Plains kingdoms and had an important position in the political,military,economic and cultural life. During the Western Han Dynasty,Qiuci was one of the most influential kingdoms south of the Tianshan Mountain. With a majestic capital city,Qiuci was well-known for its fine steed,cattle,fine felt and perfume. Qiuci people was also very good at making metal knives,and brewing good wines. As an important commercial port on the transportation artery in ancient times,many wealthy merchants from the Central Plains and from the northern and western regions settled in Qiuci as early as during in the Han Dynasty. Most of the ethnic minority merchants came from the Daqin and Persia. In 60 B.C.,when the Han Dynasty established the Western Regions Frontier Command,Qiuci came under its jurisdiction. The King and his subordinates were all awarded printed ribbons by the imperial court of the Han Dynasty. After Ban Chao of the Eastern Han Dynasty pacified the Western Regions,the Western Region Frontier Command was set up in Qiuci. Han Dynasty sent army to protect the villages,built irrigation systems to water the land. Agriculture began to flourish. With deepened economic and cultural influence from the Central Plains Qiuci became a more and more developed economy. By the Wei and the Jin dynasties,Qiuci became a rice growing area and a textile center in the Western Regions. Cloths produced in Qiuci such as white rope fabric,flower-patterned fabric and brocade were exported to many other places.
Today,Uygur residents comprise the bulk of population in Kuqa. Others ethnic groups residing in Kuqa include the Hui,Kirgiz,Kazak,Mongolia and many others. As the mainstay population,the Uygurs are not only preserving their own ethnic identity and special characteristics,they are also absorbing and integrating experiences and wisdoms od of other ethnic groups.
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