The Hunza people, or Hunzakuts, descend from the principality of Hunza. They live alongside the Wakhi and the Shina. The Wakhi reside in the upper part of Hunza locally called Gojal. Wakhis also inhabit the bordering regions of China, Tajikstan and Afghanistan and also live in Gizar and Chitral district of Pakistan. The Shina-speaking people live in the southern part of Hunza. They have come from Chilas, Gilgit, and other Shina language -speaking areas of Pakistan.
The Hunzakuts and the region of Hunza has one of the highest literacy rates as compared to other similar districts in Pakistan. Hunza is a major tourist attraction in Pakistan, and many Pakistani as well as foreign tourists travel to the region to enjoy the picturesque landscape and stunning mountains of the area. The district has many modern amenities and is quite advanced by Asian standards. Local legend states that Hunza may have been associated with the lost kingdom of Shangri La. The people of Hunza are by some noted for their exceptionally long life expectancy, others describe this as a longevity narrative and cite a life expectancy of 53 years for men and 52 for women, although with a high standard deviation. DNA research groups the male ancestry of the Hunza with speakers of Pamir languages (Afghans) and the Sinte Romani (Gypsies).
The Tajiks of Xinjiang sometimes enslaved the Gilgiti and Kunjuti Hunza.
Many Gilgiti and Kunjuti Hunza were also enslaved in China After being freed, many slaves such as Gilgitis in Xinjiang cities like Tashkurgan, Yarkand, and Karghallik, stayed rather than return Hunza in Gilgit. Most of these slaves were women who married local slave and non slave men and had children with them. Sometimes the women were married to their masters, other slaves, or free men who were not their masters. There were ten slave men to slave women married couples, and 15 master slave women couples, with several other non master free men married to slave women. Both slave and free Turki and Chinese men fathered children with Hunza slave women. A freeman, Khas Muhammad, was married with 2 children to a woman slave named Daulat, aged 24. A Gilgiti slave woman aged 26, Makhmal, was married to a Chinese slave man, Allah Vardi and had 3 children with him.
The Hunza and Alexander the Great
Burusho legend maintains that they descend from the village of Baltir, which had been founded by a soldier left behind from the army of Alexander the Great—a legend common to much of Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. However, genetic evidence supports only a very small, 2% Greek genetic component and that also among the Pashtun ethnic group of Pakistan and Afghanistan, not the Burusho.
The Hunza and the Republic of Macedonia
In 2008 the Macedonian Institute for Strategic Researches "16.9" organized a visit by Hunza Prince Ghazanfar Ali Khan and Princess Rani Atiqa as descendants of the Alexandran army. The Hunza delegation was welcomed at the Skopje Airport by the country's prime minister Nikola Gruevski, the head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church Archbishop Stephen and the then-mayor of Skopje Trifun Kostovski. Academics dismiss the idea as pseudoscience and doubts exist that party leaders actually believe the claims either. Moreover DNA research group Hunza people and Sinte Romani (Gypsies) in the same group.
Influence in the Western world
Healthy living advocate J.I. Rodale wrote a book called The Healthy Hunzas' in 1955 that asserted that the Hunzas, noted for their longevity and many centenarians, were long-lived because of their consumption of healthy organic foods such as dried apricots and almonds, as well as them getting plenty of fresh air and exercise. He often mentioned them in his Prevention magazine as exemplary of the benefits of leading a healthy live style.