Hunza People


    The Original Hunza People.

    The story of Hunza is thought to have begun with Alexander III or Alexander the Great (July 356 BC to June 10, 323 BC), son of King Philip of Macedon (Ancient Macedonia west of Greece). Alexander was a brilliant warrior, more capable than his father. After his father's murder, Alexander set out toward the east to conquer neighboring kingdoms. He conquered Greece in short fashion and continued toward Persia where he eventually burned the capital and the national library in a great defeat of the Persians.

    Three generals in Alexander's army are said to have married Persian women. The generals betrayed Alexander by giving the Persians his plans. When Alexander heard of the betrayal he sought to take revenge, but the generals, wives, and a band of many soldiers fled. The valley of Hunza is thought to have been their valley of refuge because of its remote and secure location.

    It is likely that the Hunza valley was already sparsely inhabited when the Macedon generals arrived. Certainly these tough fighting warriors made quick work of slaughtering the ancient inhabitants of Hunza. Though this is purely speculation, it is highly probable. The desolate rocky valley could not have supported the Macedonians unless some farms had been slowly built by others over the preceding centuries.

    Hunza became an independent kingdom with a monarchy. The King used the title of Mir. The British disrupted the ruling organization of the Hunza people.

        "The Mir, or ruler, of Hunza believed his tiny kingdom to be the equal of China, and likened himself to Alexander the Great from whom he claimed descent. When the British turned up in the 1870s, he took them for petitioners seeking to make Queen Victoria his vassal. Not wishing to waste time arguing, the colonial officials had him deposed, replacing him with an amenable brother whom the Mir had carelessly neglected to murder on his way to the throne."
        A Kind of Kingdom in Paradise.

    Hunza Rajah and Tribesmen in 1981.The British reported a population of about 8,000 people who were in good health and lived long lives, although their ages could not be verified since the Hunza people had no written records. The people were relatively healthy, especially when compared to the citizens in England where obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease ravaged the British due of their high carbohydrate diet of grains, bread, sugar, honey, fruit and potatoes. The Hunza people were slender, healthy, and athletic compared to relatives of the British solders at home in England who were fat and sickly.

    The Hunza tribesmen are shown in the picture. Click the picture to see an enlargement.

    The Hunzakuts had lighter skin than the neighboring tribes and appeared to be of Caucasian origin. In 1950, John Clark reported seeing children with black, brown, and blond hair and an occasional redhead. They probably chose the Hunza River Valley because of its sheer isolation, but the men took wives from neighboring peoples. Hunza women were said to have been beautiful. This is highly probable since the Persian women taken as captives were likely the best looking. See page 69 in John Clark's book.

    The Hunza people were land poor since there was never enough space to provide plenty. Shortage was always present, and people lived in fear of the springtime starvation when food ran desperately low.

    Hunza had no soil as such. The glacial silt that formed the terraced gardens was simply ground rock. All of the animal manure was spread on the gardens to fertilize the crops and trees. The people defecated directly on the garden, and the soil was deficient in lime and phosphates, causing the trees and plants to suffer. The garden yield was considerably less than in the United States and elsewhere where good soil is available. The nitrate fertilizer from animal and human excrement was quickly flushed from the silt by the weekly flooding with glacial water.

    The Hunzakuts called this "the land of just enough." The truth is Hunza was always a land of never enough, and everything was in short supply including the usable land which was limited to five acres (20,000 sq. m) per family. Animals were limited because of the lack of grazing pastures in the lower valley. The goats, sheep, and Yaks were moved to the higher mountains in summer in search of the sparse vegetation. The herdsmen had an excess of milk while the people in the valley suffered a shortage. This is the reason summer visitors to Hunza see a people eating a low-fat, near-vegetarian diet. The winter diet was vastly different.