The Kalmyks originate from Central Asia. Their ancestors — the Oirats — belonged to the western branch of Mongolian peoples and represented a very powerful alliance of tribes which were formations of the early feudal state under which dominion the whole Mongolia was in the first half of XV сentury. Consequently interregional conflicts and a number of military bad lucks caused the reduction of Oirat Empire.
During their long way through South and Western Siberia to the lower Volga the “separated” Oirats were called the Kalmyks.
In the early XVII century the Kalmyks became part of the Russian state, having become powerful guards of its South borders and obtained vast territories for nomading in the interfluves of Yaik and Volga, in Don and Caspian sea. Kalmyk khanate was formed here.
The Kalmyk Khanate reached its peak of military and political power under Ayuka Khan (1669–1724). During his era, the Kalmyk Khanate fulfilled its responsibility to protect the southern borders of Russia and conducted many military expeditions against its Turkic-speaking neighbors. Successful military expeditions were also conducted in the Caucasus.
The Khanate experienced economic prosperity from free trade with Russian border towns, China, Tibet and with their Muslim neighbors. During this era, the Kalmyks also kept close contacts with their Oirat kinsmen in Dzungaria, as well as the Dalai Lama in Tibet.
Republic of Kalmykia consists of 13 administrative districts and 3 cities.
Population by 1.01.2003 — 291.8 thousand people, including urban population — 129.3 thousand people. Density of the population — 3.8 persons per sq. km.