Outer Northwest is a relatively vague and informal name referring to map of Northwest given to Russia by Qing Dynasty in treaties such as "Records of Exploration and Division of Northwest Boundary". It is commonly said that area of the outer northwest is 510,000 square kilometers, but this is actually an incorrect statement. Because "Records on Survey and Division of North-Western Frontier" not only ceded many territories in Xinjiang, but also ceded part of Outer Mongolia. As for how far Outer Mongolia was occupied, specific figures are still unclear. The Outer Northwest I'm talking about here refers to that part of Xinjiang that was ceded and occupied, and is now mostly in Kazakhstan.
In fact, there is a "Seven Rivers" name for outer northwest and northwest, because seven main rivers flow into Lake Balkhash here, of which Ili River is largest river. . The Seven Rivers Region is best region in western regions. Geographically, it is located east of Lake Balkhash and west of windward slope of Tien Shan Mountains. The high altitude of Tien Shan mountains can intercept humid airflow from western belt, making it region with highest rainfall in western regions. Precipitation in Ili River Valley can reach 500-700 mm, which is almost same as in Northern China. The annual flow of Yili River into Lake Balkhash reaches 22.8 billion cubic meters, which is half of the Yellow River. It can be seen that this is a land of treasures with rich aquatic plants.
The Cypriots were first inhabitants of Semirechye. After Xiongnu became stronger, they defeated Yuezhi in Hexi Corridor, so Yuezhi moved west to Qihe region, drove off Cypriots and occupied region. Later, Zhang Qian went to western regions for first time, and his goal was to unite with Yuezhi people to fight Xiongnu. When Zhang Qian arrived in Qihe, he discovered that Wusun people had expelled Yuezhi people and established a Wusun kingdom there. The Wusun State, with a population of 600,000, is most powerful country in western regions. Therefore, Zhang Qian decided to make an alliance with Wusun and went on his second mission to western regions. Emperor Wu of Han later married Liu Xijun to state of Wusun in order to form an alliance with Wusun. The reason for strength of Wusun Kingdom is inseparable from excellent climatic conditions in Qihe region.
In 60 B.C. The Protectorate of Western Regions was created to control countries of Western Regions, but it could not control Usuns. This year, Princess Jieyu and envoys from Han Dynasty staged a coup in Wusun but failed. In 53 BC civil strife broke out in Wusun state, and Han dynasty took opportunity to attack Wusun state. The Wusun state surrendered to Han dynasty and became a daughter state of Han dynasty. During Eastern Han Dynasty, Wusun state was still in a state of civil strife, and with onslaught of Xianbei, national power fell further. But Usun kingdom existed before reign of Southern and Northern dynasties. During Southern and Northern Dynasties, Rourans became stronger and defeated Wusuns, as a result of which Wusun people migrated to Congling region, where they assimilated with Saichzhong and Yuezhi peoples who had arrived here earlier and disappeared into history.
At end of Southern and Northern Dynasties, Turks rose and this place became ruling center of Western Turks. After founding of Tang Dynasty, it continued to expand into western regions. The north and south of Tien Shan mountains were successively included in territory of Tang Dynasty. The Tang Dynasty created three prefectures, Yi, Gao and Ting. in eastern part of Western Regions and four cities of Anxi in Tarim Basin. However, Qihe region is still controlled by Western Turks. In 657, Tang dynasty defeated Sabolo Khan of Western Turks in western regions and pushed sphere of influence to Qihe region. During this time, Wunushibi and Wuduolu tribes in Qihe region were forced to submit to Tang dynasty, and Tang dynasty awarded titles of Mengchi Duhufu and Kunling Duhufu, respectively. But in fact, two tribes are independent, and their leaders claim to be Khan of Legacy and Han Xingsi. In 662, during a civil war between two main khans, Tang dynasty took opportunity to attack and successively defeat two main powers. In 679, Tang Dynasty founded a new fortress at Suye (Tokemak), which became one of the four new cities of Anxi.
But power of Tang Dynasty in Qihe region was very short-lived. During reign of Wu Zetian, tribe of Western Turks grew stronger and founded Tukish Khanate. The khanate occupied Qihe territory for a long time and was strong for a while. Only in 758 Tukishi broke up due to civil strife. During late Tang Dynasty, Turkic tribe of Geluolu succeeded rule of Tukishi in Qihe region. In 840, Uyghur khanate in Mobei collapsed and a large number of its Uyghurs moved west, some of them migrated to Qihe region and merged with Ge Luolu, and founded Karakhan dynasty in 10th century. . In 1041, Karakhan dynasty was divided into two parts.
In 1125, vast Liao kingdom perished, and Khitan, led by Yelü Dashi, moved westward into western regions. In 1132 Yelü Dashi proclaimed himself emperor and founded kingdom of Xiliao. After annexation of Gaochang Uyghurs, Western Liao Kingdom began to encroach on Qihe area. In 1134, Eastern Karakhan became a daughter state of Silyao, after which Silyao changed capital of capital of Karakhan Balasagun to Khushi Ordu and became capital of Silao empire. This city is now called Burana City in Kyrgyzstokmak. The Western Liao empire dominated Central Asia for a time in western regions, making "Khitan" word for "China" in Russian.
The Mongol Empire arose in 13th century. In 1218, Mongolia destroyed Western Liao empire, after which Chagatai Khanate arose on territory of Western Liao empire. The capital of Chagatai Khanate is also located in Qihe region, called Ali Mali, located in Huocheng, Ili, Xinjiang. In 1345, Chagatai was divided, and its western regions became part of Eastern Chagatai Khanate, with capital still in Alimari. In 1455, Eastern Chagatai Khanate split again into Turfan Khanate in north and Yarkand Khanate in south. The shift in center of gravity of Turfan Khanate occupied Turfan.
At end of Ming Dynasty, Turfan Khanate collapsed, and Mosi Mongolia (Oirat) occupied its territory. At this time, a powerful state was formed in Central Asia - Kazakh Khanate. Oirat Mongolia and Kazakh Khanate repeatedly fought, as a result of which, from 1615 to 1652, Kazakhs won and occupied Tsikhe region. During Galdan period, Oirat Mongolia strengthened and founded Dzungar Khanate. Galdan defeated Kazakh Khanate, regained Tsikhe region and made Ili capital of Khanate . After death of Galdan, Tsevang Alabatan became Great Khan of Dzungar, who in 1699 defeated Kazakh Khanate, dividing Kazakh Khanate into three khanates: Dayuz, Middle Yuzi and Small Yuzi, all of which surrendered to Dzungars.
After death of Tsewang Allah Bhutan, Dzungar quickly fell into decay, and surrounding Russia and Qing Dynasty wanted to divide Dzungar. In 1748, Kazakh khanate Dayuzi attacked Dzhungar and again occupied Tashkent, Tsikhe and others. From 1752 to 1753, Kazakh army occupied Ili river basin and successfully occupied Ili. Russia seized opportunity to occupy Chechnya and other places. At a critical moment, Qing dynasty started a war and in 1755 captured Ili, in 1757 again went west and destroyed Dzungar Khanate, in 1759 destroyed remnants of Yarkand Khanate.
After Qing dynasty destroyed Dzungar, it entered into a war with Kazakh Khanate. Later, both sides signed a peace agreement, Kazakh Dayuzi expressed his surrender to Qing dynasty, and two countries drew a border line that is probably today border line between China and Kazakhstan. Later, during Qing Dynasty, Ili established a general's mansion that ruled over entire north and south of sky. Dayuzi effectively controlled other areas of Qihe outside of Ili.
After fall of Dzungar Khanate, Russia seized opportunity to annex its northern territories. Since then, Russia has been actively expanding in Kazakhstan. In 1781, Kazakhstan split again, Russian troops seized opportunity to enter, and Kokand in south also fortified, occupying two khanates of Bukhara and Khiva. In 1808, Kokand occupied Tashkent in Dayuzzi, and Dayuzzi basically collapsed. Kazakhs fled everywhere there, some fled to Zhongyuzi, some fled to Qing dynasty, and most fled to Russia. In 1822, Russia completely occupied Zhongyuzi, in 1847 Russia destroyed Daiyuzi and occupied Qihe region. In 1854, Russia founded city of Almaty in Semirechye, which later became capital of Kazakhstan and is still largest city in Kazakhstan.
In 1864, Russia and Qing Dynasty signed Records of Division of North-Western Frontier, which established western border between two countries. But Russia was not satisfied with this: in 1980s, he supported Kokand in attack on Xinjiang and took opportunity to occupy Ili. After Zuo Zongtang retook Xinjiang, Zeng Jize negotiated with Russia and finally signed "Treaty of Ili" and Qing dynasty was able to keep Ili. Today, Ili is only city in China in Qihe region.
According to above, we can conclude that Semirechye has been center of nomadic khanates of Central Asia since ancient times. Since Chinese Central Plains Dynasty is too far away, it is difficult to establish effective control here. During Qing Dynasty, Qihe area was nominally subordinate to Qing dynasty, but was actually gradually controlled by Russia, which ultimately made it impossible for China to control Qihe area.