The Second Long Journey

Mongolia to East Turkistan (2017- 1866 B.C)

According to many Karen history books, the Karens lived for 180 years in Mongolia and left the land in 2017 B.C. When the Karens arrived in Mongolia in the years 2197 B.C, Mongolia was still a land unknown to the world. There was no clear record of any renown empires established at that time. A large number of ethnicities have inhabited Mongolia since prehistoric times.  Most of them were nomads who from time to time, formed great confederation that rose to prominence. The Karens found that the land was good for pasture as well as cultivation. They chose the place called Augro Altaic or Ural Altaic in the northwest of Mongolia. The Karens didn’t show any interest to form alliance with them and set up city states. The peaceful nature of the Karen people made them to avoid building city states and fighting each other. At that time there were less population and large land, so the Karens found no trouble in finding a safe corner for themselves. The region the Karens decided to settle down were mostly high peaks and mountains with no easy path to reach out. The Karens had already acquired the skill to apply the difficulty of the terrain as their natural defense. In their first long journey there was no indication that they had trouble with the local population. Probably their leaders decided to chose a path which led then to cross risky deep forests and dangerous high mountains. Here, in Mongolia, the scenario changed. According to saw Aung Hla’s “The Karen History”, the Karens encountered with one local group who had a king as their leader. The local people demanded the Karen to pay homage to their king and were taxed 10 percent of their income annually. The Karen population grew bigger and expanded even to different parts of the region. Their wealth also increased and their life style developed.

As the years passed, the kings of the local tribes became worried by the growing number of Karen population in the region. They intended to make the Karen people weak and insecure by scattering many of them and enslaving the others. When the Karen people could not bear this kind of persecution any longer they decided to leave the land. They did not want to do battle with the local population. Therefore, in 2017 B.C, the mass exodus of the Karen people resumed. Probably, not all the Karen communities agreed to involve in this migration. A few communities who could manage themselves better and were assured of their safety remained. They were weary and tired of the previous risky journey and preferred to settle down. Perhaps, some of them mixed with other groups to become new races and some of them were totally absorbed. Keeping the Karen identity intact rested entirely on the fate of the emigrants. Looking east, the land was disputed among various belligerent ethnic groups. Looking north, there were quite a lot of low fertile land and green with pasture. Looking south, there was vast yellow desert called Gobi and beyond that white peaks of 5000 meters high mountain ranges. Going back the way they had crossed, the west, was impossible. The spirit of adventure and the heart to learn new things made the Karen people chose the most difficult path, the south west direction to find a safer and more secured place. The second long journey lasted four years and covered a total land distance of more than one thousand kilometers.