Xinjiang was previously known as "Xiyu" (西域), under the Han dynasty, which drove the Xiongnu empire out of the region in 60 BCE in an effort to secure the profitable Silk Road, but was renamed Xinjiang (新疆, meaning "new frontier") when the region was reconquered by the Manchu-led Qing dynasty in 1759.
Xinjiang is now a part of the People's Republic of China, having been so since its founding year of 1949.
from ancient times is well documented archaeologically: "It is well known that ancient Chinese rulers had a strong attachment to jade.
All of the jade items excavated from the tomb of Fuhao of the Shang dynasty by Zheng Zhenxiang, more than 750 pieces, were from Khotan in modern Xinjiang.
During the Qing rule, no sense of "regional identity" was held by ordinary Xinjiang people; rather, Xinjiang's distinct identity was given to the region by the Qing, since it had distinct geography, history and culture, while at the same time it was created by the Chinese, multicultural, settled by Han and Hui, and separated from Central Asia for over a century and a half.
In 2009, the remains of individuals found at the Xiaohe Tomb complex were analyzed for Y-DNA and mt DNA markers.
Various nomadic tribes, such as the Yuezhi, Saka, and Wusun were probably part of the migration of Indo-European speakers who were settled in eastern Central Asia (possibly as far as Gansu) at that time.
The Ordos culture in northern China east of the Yuezhi, is another example, yet skeletal remains from the Ordos culture found have been predominantly Mongoloid. 141-87 BC) wrestled the Western Regions of the Tarim Basin away from its previous overlords, the Xiongnu, it was inhabited by various peoples, including Indo-European Tocharians in Turfan and Kucha and Indo-Iranian Saka peoples centered around Kashgar and Khotan.
As early as the mid-first millennium BC the Yuezhi engaged in the jade trade, of which the major consumers were the rulers of agricultural China." (Liu (2001), pp. The nomadic tribes of the Yuezhi are documented in Chinese historical accounts, in particular the 2nd-1st century BC "Records of the Great Historian", or Shiji, by Sima Qian.
According to these accounts: "The Yuezhi originally lived in the area between the Qilian or Heavenly Mountains (Tian Shan) and Dunhuang, but after they were defeated by the Xiongnu they moved far away to the west, beyond Dayuan, where they attacked and conquered the people of Daxia and set up the court of their king on the northern bank of the Gui [= Oxus] River.