The northern Yakuts were largely hunters, fishermen and reindeer herders, while the southern Yakut raised cattle and horses.
In the 1620s Russia began to move into their territory and annexed it, imposed a fur tax, and managed to suppress several Yakut rebellions between 1634 and 1642.
In 1919 the new Soviet government named the area the Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. There was an uprising in Yakut, known as the Yakut Revolt, led by Cornet Mikhail Korobeinikov.
In the late 1920s through the late 1930s, Yakut people were systematically persecuted, when Joseph Stalin launched his collectivization campaign. The Soviet Union's Gulag system of involuntary labor increased the Yakuts' mortality and not until the late 1960s would the Yakut population recovered to pre-collectivization levels.[unreliable source]
Currently, Yakuts form a large plurality of the total population within the vast Sakha Republic. According to the 2010 Russian census, there were a total of 466,492 Yakuts who resided within the Sakha Republic during that year. This represented 49.9% of the total population of the republic. In addition, the Yakuts have a higher fertility rate than the Russians and the other Slavic peoples, while the median age of the Yakut population is much lower than the Russians. This basically ensures that the Yakut population would continue to grow during the foreseeable future.