The New International Encyclopædia/Baltistan

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BALTISTAN, bäl'tḗ-stän' (Pers. stan, district, region; of the Baltis), or Little Tibet. A province of Kashmir, a feudatory State of British India, situated in the Mustagh Chain on the Upper Indus (Map: India, C 1). Its area is about 13,000 square miles, and it is exceedingly mountainous, containing within its bounds some of the highest peaks of the Mustagh Chain. The capital, Iskardo, is situated at an elevation of nearly 8000 feet, and can be approached only by a pass over 18,000 feet above the sea. Baltistan was originally an independent principality, until conquered in 1835 and finally incorporated with Kashmir. The inhabitants of Baltistan, estimated at about 60,000, are of Mongolian origin and profess Mohammedanism. They speak a Tibetan dialect, and are otherwise akin to the peoples of that stock. They are doubtless a somewhat mixed race physically, an Aryan (Hindu) element having been added to the original Mongolian, with some strain of Dravidian blood. The Baltis are an interesting mountain people. Of recent literature may be mentioned Bellew, Kashmir and Kashgar (London, 1875); Biddulph, Tribes of the Hindu-Kush (London, 1881).