A fort was erected here in the 16th century to prevent the incursions of the free Cossacks and runaway serfs who gathered on the lower Volga, as also the raids of the Kalmucks and Circassians.
The Kalmucks and Circassians of the Kuban attacked it repeatedly in the r 7th century, so that it had to be fortified by a strong earthen and palisaded wall, traces of which are still visible.
The Mongol race is represented in Russia by the Kalmucks, who inhabit the steppes of Astrakhan between the Volga, the Don and the Kuma.
Finally, the Kalmucks are Lamaite Buddhists.
The Kalmucks are a Buddhist and Mongolian people who originated in a confederacy of tribes dwelling in Dzungaria, migrated to Siberia, and settled on the Lower Volga.
The Kalmucks and other Mongolic tribes are Lamaists (20,300), and some of the Kurds profess the peculiar tenets of the Yezids.
The Mongols (less than 300,000) extend into West Siberia from the high plateau - nearly 20,000 Kalmucks living in the eastern Altai.
The Cossacks of West Siberia have the features and customs and many of the manners of life of the Kalmucks and Kirghiz.
It consists of Mongols - Eastern Mongols and Kalmucks in the west - various Turkish tribes, Chinese and Tunguses.
In this leisurely journey Pallas went by Kasan to the Caspian, spent some time among the Kalmucks, crossed the Urals to Tobolsk, visited the Altai mountains, traced the Irtish to Kolyvan, went on to Tomsk and the Yenisei, crossed Lake Baikal, and extended his journey to the frontiers of China.
Part of the Kalmucks are settled (chiefly in the hilly parts), the remainder being nomads.
The dynasty of the Jagatai Khans collapsed in 1572 by the dismemberment of the country between rival representatives; and soon after two powerful Khoja factions, the White and Black Mountaineers (Ak and Kara Taghluk), arose, whose dissensions and warfares, with the intervention of the Kalmucks of Dzungaria, fill up the history till 1759, when a Chinese army from Ili (Kulja) invaded the country, and, after perpetrating wholesale massacres, finally consolidated their authority by settling therein Chinese emigrants, together with a Manchu garrison.
The nomads are represented by about 18,000 Kalmucks, and the remainder by Kirghiz.
Schuyler estimated the population, which includes Taranchis, Dungans, Sarts, Chinese, Kalmucks and Russians, at 10,000 in 1873; it has since increased.
The Kalmucks (138,580 in 1897) and Kirghiz (260,000) are semi-nomads.
The Kalmucks and Kirghiz have their own local administrations, and so have the Astrakhan Cossacks (25,600).
They are Altaians in the west and Telenghites or Teleuts in the east, with a few Kalmucks and Tatars.
Although all are called Kalmucks by the Russians, they speak a Turkish language.
(2) The Astrakhan Tatars (about 10,000) are, with the Mongol Kalmucks, all that now remains of the once so powerful Astrakhan empire.
Their dress is that of their former rulers, the Kalmucks, and their language contains many Mongol words.
(11) The Altai Tatars, or "Altaians," comprise - (a) the Mountain Kalmucks (12,000), to whom this name has been given by mistake, and who have nothing in common with the Kalmucks except their dress and mode of life, while they speak a Turkish dialect, and (b) the Teleutes, or Telenghites (5800), a remainder of a formerly numerous and warlike nation who have migrated from the mountains to the lowlands, where they now lave along with Russian peasants.