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History of Aktobe



Founding and growth

The territory of modern-day Aktobe province has borne witness to the rise and fall of many Central Asian cultures and empires. The region has figured prominently in the history of the Kazakh "Little Horde" (Kaz. Кіші Жуз, Rus. Младший Жуз). The Kazakh war-leader Eset Batyr (Kaz. Есет Батыр) based his campaigns against the Dzungars from this area. His mausoleum is located 35 km. to the south of Aktobe city. Abulkhair Khan (1693–1748) was also based in this region.

In March 1869 a Russian military fort with a garrison of 300 was built at the confluence of the Kargala and Ilek Rivers, along the Orenburg - Kazalinsk caravan route. From this period Slavic settlers began to immigrate to the region in order to farm, and very soon neighborhoods had been built around the fort. In 1874 the fort was expanded in size, and streets were laid out to and from the fort's gate. In 1891 the settlement was labelled a district city, and officially named "Aktyubinsk": Актюбинск.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the settlement rapidly expanded in size. While the 1889 population was listed as 2600, the 1909 population had increased more than four times to 10716 official residents. The physical characteristics of the city had developed as well, and by the turn of the century the city could boast two churches, a seminary, a Tatar mosque, a "Russian - Kyrgyz" boys' school and girls' school, a clinic, a bank, a post office, a city park, a movie theater and two mills. The Trans-Aral Railway was extended through the city in 1901, and in the years before World War I industry and economy began to develop in the town, including the construction of an electric factory, a brick factory and an annual trade fair.

The city was affected by the Russian Revolution of 1905, and strikes and riots took place during the period 1905 - 1907. Bolshevik revolutionaries were very
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