Tuva is the homeland of ancient cultures, with its mountain and steppe areas having been inhabited since the early paleolithic era, 30-40 thousand years ago, with Tuva’s very first inhabitants being pithecanthropus. The following period, the neolithic, is known for the creation of bows and arrows, which brought hunting, which along with gathering was people’s main occupation – to a new level.
The bronze age is considered to be a relatively well-studied archeological period in Tuva, showing a change from hunter-gathering to mobile pastoralism and agriculture using irrigation canals. Tuva was a part of the Great Steppes of Eurasia, settled by multitudes of nomadic tribes, the most well-known of whom where the Scythians. Herodotus, the “Father of History,” traveling in Scythian Black Sea territory wrote in his book that Scythian tribes, which once had dwelt in central Asia, had pushed to the west by enemy tribes. Tuva in Scythian times was one of the main centers of social and cultural development for the tribes of the Eurasian steppes. This civilization left behind a great archaeological memorial – kurgan burials, which contained the legacy of the bearers of Scythian culture.
In the Hun-Sarmatian period, from the 2nd century BCE to the 5th century CE, new tribes entered the territory of Tuva, Hunnic tribes that differed considerably from the previous inhabitants. This led to major changes in the life and ethnic makeup of Tuva’s population. Following the Hun-Sarmatian period, the Old Turkic period (8-12th centuries CE) saw the rise of feudal states: the great Turkic, Uigur, and Kyrgyz khanates. This epoch was a time of development in culture, politics, diplomacy, intercultural relations, and writing. The ancient Turkic runic writing has been preserved into our times on standing stones and cliffs, in more than 100 places.
The population of Tuva from the 13th-18th centuries CE were subjects of the empires of Genghis Khan, the Altyn Khans, and Dzungaria, however from the 14th-16th centuries the Tuvan tribes were dependent on no one and were ruled by local princes. In 1757 the Dzungars were defeated in battle with the Manchurian dynasty of China and акщьfrom the following year until the beginning of the 20th century, the Qing (Manchurian) dynasty ruled in Tuva. The beginning of the 20th century brought about revolutions in China and Russia and nationalist movements in Tuva and Mongolia. These events brought about the downfall of the Qing dynasty and the establishment of protectorate by Russia over the “Uryankhai territory” in 1914. In 1921 the Tuvan People’s Republic (TPR) – the first independent state in the history of the Tuvan people, which existed until 1944. In the years of World War II the TPR contributed to the historic victory over the fascist invaders. Residents of the TPR helped in this struggle with all their power, both on the battlefront and behind the lines. In 1944 Tuva entered the USSR as the Tuvan Autonomous Oblast’, later becoming the Tuva ASSR. Today the Republic of Tuva is a subject of the Russian Federation, celebrating in 2014 one hundred years of union with Russia.