Yakuts (Yakut language: Saha, Saxa) are a Turkic people associated with the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic. The Yakut or Sakha language belongs to the Northern branch of the Turkic family of languages. There are about 444,000 ethnic Yakuts (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. Their share of the population of Yakutia lowered during Soviet rule due to forced immigration, and other relocation policies, but has slightly increased since. The Yakuts are divided into two basic groups based on geography and economics. Yakuts in the north are historically semi-nomadic hunters, fishermen, reindeer breeders, while southern Yakuts engage in animal husbandry focusing on horses and cattle. Yakuts originally lived around Olkhon and the region of Lake Baikal.
Contributions by John Hill, Sakha Sire, and Mattisse.