See his autobiography, ed. by N. Parsons (1972).
The Yakut or Sakha language belongs to the Northern branch of the Turkic family of languages. There are about 456,000 speakers (Russian census, 2002) mainly in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in the Russian Federation, with some extending to the Amur, Magadan, Sakhalin regions, and the Taymyr and Evenki Autonomous Districts. Out of all population in Yakutia 382,000 are Yakuts or about 39% of the population in Yakutia; their share lowered during Soviet rule due to forced immigration, and other relocation policies, but has slightly increased since. Given the large number of speakers, the Yakut language is considered to be somewhat less endangered than most other regional languages of the Russian Federation.
The Yakuts are divided into two basic groups based on geography and economics. Yakuts in the north are historically semi-nomadic hunters, fishermen, yak and reindeer breeders, while southern Yakuts engage in animal husbandry focusing on horses and cattle.
The northern Yakuts were largely hunters, fishermen and reindeer herders, while the southern Yakut raised cattle and horses. Both groups lived in yurts and led a semi-nomadic life moving from winter to summer camps each year.
In the 1620s Russians began to move into their territory, annexed Yakutia, imposed a fur tax, and managed to suppress several Yakut rebellions between 1634 and 1642. The discovery of gold and, later, the building of the Trans-Siberian Railway, brought ever-increasing numbers of Russians into the region. By the 1820s almost all the Yakuts had been converted to the Russian Orthodox church although they retained, and still retain, a number of shamanistic practices.
In 1919 the new Soviet government named the area the Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic.