Face Music - History: Horsemen – Nomads
      • History of the Horsemen

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P & C December 1998
- Face Music / Albi

- last update 03-2016

  • Manchu
    - 17th to 20th century after Christ
    Jurchen - 12th century after Christ
    Evenks, Evens
map sketch:

The Manchu originated from the Jurchens who had conquered the northeast of China in the 12th century after Christ. The name "Manchu" was officially introduced in 1635 AC by Huang-Taiji, a member of the Jianzhou-Jurchens. Nurhaci's son, Huang Taiji decided to keep the name "Manchu". Before the 17th century, their ancestors had still been a rather rural people living on hunting, fishing and – in part - cultivating land.

- Manchu alphabet

In the year 1616 AC, the Manchu leader, Nurhaci established the Late Jin Dynasty and the state Amaga Aisin Gurun or shortly Manju Gurun ("State of the Manchu"), in this way unifying the Manchu tribes. He also established the Manchu system of the Eight Banners, a military system. After Nurhaci's death, his son Hong Taiji (Taijchi = prince) changed the name to Qing Dynasty.
When Beijing was captured by Li Zicheng in 1644 AC, the Qing Empire invaded the area where the Han-Chinese were settling and made Beijing, following the city of Mukden (at the time of the litigant empires, this was a Chinese city), the new capital. For power-political reasons the first Manchurian emperors married princesses of Mongolian Grand Khans in order to show their legitimate heritage of the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty (Kubilai Khan 1279 until 1368).
In the Qing Dynasty, the most important posts of the empire were given to an Han-Chinese and a Manchurian member. In this era the Manchu tried to maintain their culture and language. In the long run, these attempts were not really fruitful as the Manchurian population more and more absorbed the Han-Chinese traditions, and, step by step, they even assumed their language. Already as early as in the 18th century AC, the Manchurian language was only seldomly spoken – even at the imperial court. The Manchurian script, however, was still used as literary language for official documents, in addition to the Chinese language, until the end of the dynasty. On the other side, however, also the Manchurian traditions and habits did influence the Han-Chinese culture in a remarkable way. A big part of the Chinese population, the so-called Han, has been Manchurianised since the 17th century in an opposing process. Many things that today are considered typical of the northern Chinese culture are indeed of Manchurian origin and hence the result of an inverted assimilation.
Although there has taken place primarily an assimilation of the Manchu into the Han culture, and although they have always seen themselves as "Chinese" (in the sense of members of the Chinese Empire), they were depicted by Chinese nationalists as "foreign" colonial power at the end of the Qing Dynasty. These picture, however, quickly ceased to exist as the new republican China after the revolution of 1911 AC integrated the Manchu into a new republican "national identity". The last Chinese emperor was also a member of the Qing Dynasty.
In 1931 the Japanese empire created a puppet state called Manchukuo in the northeast of China. Historians believe that this state had only been created in order to not only weaken China but also to decrease the enormous influence Russia had been excerting in this region since 1890. After the Second World War the territory was incorporated back into the Republic of China.
  • The Jurchen People (also Jurchens) are the ancestors of the Manchu (the name was adopted only in the 17th century after Chirst). Their language was also an old form of the Manchurian language. The script of the Jurchens was developed on the basis of the Khitan script. The Jurchens formed up in the 11th century (first note made in 1069 AC), in 1115-1125 AC they overthrew the Liao Dynasty of the Khitans also originating in Manchuria who ruled at that time in the north of China, and they finally established the Jin Dynasty.

    - Liao Dynasty - Western Xia

    - Liao Dynasty - Uyghurs & Karluks

  • Tungusic People: The term Manchurian-Tungusic peoples is a summarising denomination for all peoples with ancestors being, among others, of Manchurian-Tungusic origin. Also in Mongolia there lived groups such as the Tsaatan who may be traced back to the Manchurian-Tungusic speaking reindeer nomads. These "peoples" who were rather important in Eurasian and Chinese history, in general, were polyethnical and polyglott. The Jurchens were a confederation dominated by Manchurian-Tungusic influence prevailing the period from 1114 to 1232 AC in northern China. Their language was the literary and official language. Tungusic "equestrian peoples", in part also called Tatars (see map sketch: Yuan Dynasty) - but not identical with the Russian Tatars and the Mongolian tribe of the same name, remained a political factor in Manchuria throughout the entire Middle Ages.
    With the beginning of modern times, the Manchu experience a political rise up to the year 1911 AC in China, also presenting the Chinese emperor (Qing Dynasty).
  • Evenks – Evens, old denomination: Tungusic people; this is an indigenous people including numerous regional groups and clans. Evenk groups lived scatteredly across an area even larger than Europe. Apart from Evenks living in the majority of Siberian regions, there may be found representatives in Mongolia and in the People's Republic of China (Reindeer Evenks, Solons, Orquen people).
    Parts of the Evenks lived on reindeer breeding, hunting and fishing. In the 20th century the Evenks settled in Russia. Some of them were able to continue their traditions and customs on sovkhozes (state farms), and some groups such as the Horse Evenks and the Chinese Solons have lived on nomadic cattle breeding until now. Their traditional religion is greatly dominated by shamanism.

February - Juli 2009 – Albi - translated by Hermelinde Steiner - November 2009