History

1600’s – The Oirats arrive in Russia from Dzhungaria in western Mongolia. They later became known as the Kalmyk people.

1700’s – Most Kalmyks migrated from Russia to the Manchu Empire in China. Many perished on the journey. Those who survived are ancestors of today’s Kalmyks in China’s Xinjiang province.

1940’s –World War 11 devastated the Kalmyk people. Stalin accused the Kalmyks of collaboration with the Nazis and deported them to Siberia and Kazakhstan, where at least half of them died. The Kalmyk Autonomous Republic was dissolved and Kalmyk lands dispersed.

At the end of World War 11, many Kalmyks became refugees and lived in Displaced Persons Camps in West Germany for more than 6 years, because no country wanted to allow a group of Kalmyks to emigrate. In 1951, they were declared eligible for immigration to the United States.

Between December 1951 and March 1952, 571 Kalmyks arrived in the United States.

During the 1950’s, Kalmyk communities were established in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Paterson and Howell (Freewood Acres), New Jersey; as well as Windsor, Maryland and communities in New Mexico. The Kalmyks in Howell, New Jersey established the first Tibeto-Mongolian Buddhist congregation and temple in the U.S.

1957-In the Soviet Union, Khrushchev allowed the Kalmyks to return home. Many reassembled on their ancestral lands and were able to reestablish the Republic of Kalmykia. It is currently a constituent republic of the Russian Federation. It is situated south of the Volga on the northwestern shores of the Caspian Sea.