ILI RIVER (China, Kazakhstan)

River, rising in NW Xinjiang province in China and flowing W to Lake Balkhash in Kazakhstan. The fertile valley of the Ili was originally inhabited by Chinese. During the 19th century the Russians began to colonize the region, provoking frequent clashes with the Chinese. In 1871 Russians began infiltrating the entire Ili Valley, and by 1881, when the border was fixed between China and Russia, China retained only the eastern section of its original territory.


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