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Chinese History - The Non-Chinese peoples and states of the northeast

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Northeastern peoples and states:


Bohai (Korean: Parhae) 渤海

This realm in modern Manchuria was founded by a people named Mohe, and during the first period of the Bohai empire the realm was also called Mohe 靺鞨, or Zhenguo 震國. Old Chinese historians identify the old inhabitants of Manchuria, the Sushen 肅慎 and Yilou 挹婁 or Wuji 勿吉, as ancestors of the Mohe. During the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo) 三國 period the Mohe freed themselves the sovereignity of the Fuyu kingdom 夫余 and sent presents and tributes to the Chinese dynasties. During the Sui Dynasty 隋 the seven tribes of the Wuji are said to have adopted the name Mohe, the largest and mightiest tribe being the Sumo-Mohe 粟末靺鞨. The Sumo submitted to the Sui Dynasty, while the other tribes of the Mohe became subjects of the Korean Koguryŏ kingdom (Chinese: Gaogouli 高句麗). In the next decades most tribes of the Mohe traveled back to the origin territory more north of the Liao River 遼河. In 698 a chieftain named Da Zuorong 大祚榮 who was enfeoffed by the Tang Dynasty 唐 as Prince of the Commandery Bohai 渤海郡王 founded the Zhen empire and was acknowledged by the Tang court as regional ruler installed by Tang. The first capital of the Bohai kingdom was located near Dunhua 敦化/Jilin, but soon shifted to Longquan 龍泉 (modern Ning'an 寧安/Heilongjiang). During the whole Tang period, the Bohai kingdom controlled the northeast within the Amur River until the sea.
Under the influence of the Tang empire, the administration system of the Bohai kingdom was shaped in a style similar to the Tang administration system with three departments (sansheng 三省) and six ministries (liubu 六部) in the central government, and with prefectures (fu 府 and zhou 州) and counties (xian 縣) as local administration structure. The military was organized in 16 guards (shiliuwei 十六衛). Likewise, the economy of the Bohai kingdom assimilated to the Chinese economical conditions and situations because the southern territories of Bohai were inhabited by numerous Chinese. The nomad Mohe people, once engaging in stockbreeding, started to cultivate field crops, in summer even wet rice, and planted mulberry trees. "International" trade was undertaken with the neighboring states and peoples, the Turks, Tang China, Korea, and Japan. Court nobles of Bohai like Pei Ting 裴頲 and Da Mouze 大某則 composed Chinese poems. the end of the 9th century on some northern tribes of the Mohe began to fight for independency the central government. In 926 the Bohai kingdom collpsed under the attacks of the neighboring Khitan realm 契丹.
The capitals of Bohai were five, following the pattern of the Tang that had a central capital with several secondary capitals:
capitalprefecturemodern place
Shangjing 上京 "Superior Capital"Longquan 龍泉Ning'an 寧安/Heilongjiang
Dongjing 東京 "Eastern Capital"Longyuan 龍源Hunchun 琿春/Jilin
Xijing 西京 "Western Capital"Yalu 鴨淥Ji'an 集安/Jilin
Nanjing 南京 "Southern Capital"Nanhai 南海Hamhŭng 咸興 ("Xianxing"; DPR Korea North)
Zhongjing 中京 "Central Capital"Xiande 顯德Dunhua 敦化/Jilin
The following box gives a list of the Bohai kings. Surprisingly the dynastic titles of their first rulers imitate the titles of the Zhou Dynasty kings:
Bohai Gaowang 渤海高王 (personal name Da Zuorong 大祚榮, 698-719), Bohai Wuwang 渤海武王 (Da Wuyi 大武藝, 719-737), Bohai Wenwang 渤海文王 (Da Qinmao 大欽茂, 737-793), The Deposed King (Bohai Feiwang 渤海廢王, Da Yuanyi 大元義, 793), Bohai Chengwang 渤海成王 (Da Huayu 渤海華璵, 793-794), Bohai Kangwang 渤海康王 (Da Yuanyu 大元瑜, 809-812), Bohai Xiwang 渤海僖王 (Da Yanyi 大言義, 812-818), Bohai Jianwang 渤海簡王 (Da Mingzhong 大明忠, 818), Bohai Xuanwang 渤海宣王 (Da Renxiu 大仁秀, 818-830), Da Yizhen 大彝震 (830-857), Da Qianhuang 大虔晃 (857-872), Da Xuanxi 大玄錫 (872-894), Da Weixie 大瑋瑎 (894-907), The Last King (Bohai Mowang 渤海末王, Da Yinzhuan 大諲譔, 907-926)

Fuyu (Korean: Puyŏ) 夫余 (扶余)

People settling in modern Manchuria, a tribe belonging to the Tungus ethnics (Altaic language family), appearing at the end of Warring States period (Zhanguo 戰國). the time of emperor Han Wudi 漢武帝 on the Fuyu rulers payed tributes to the Chinese court and were formally administered as the Chinese commandery Xuantu 玄莵. Until the end of Eastern Han (Donghan 東漢) the Fuyu rulers pursued the politics of submitting to the Chinese and withstanding the attacks of the Xianbei鮮卑tribes and the army of the Korean kingdom of Koguryŏ (Chinese: Gaogouli 高句麗). After the end of Han, Fuyo had good relationships with the Chinese potentates of the northeast, the Gongsun 公孫 clan. In 285, the Xianbei general Murong Hui 慕容廆 crushed the Fuyu kingdom, king Yilü 依慮 killed himself. His son Yiluo 依羅 was able to reestablish the power of Fuyu until 483 when the belligerent kingdom of Koguryŏ conquered Fuyu. The remnants of the Fuyu people settled in the area of the rivers Nenjiang 嫩江 and Songhua 松花 (Heilongjiang). The Fuyu kingdom had its own administration in units (jia 加) named after animals (horse-unit, dog-unit, etc.). The aristocracy employed many servants or slaves (xiahu 下戶). The Fuyu cultural relics show clear influences of China.

Mohe (Korean: Malgal) 靺鞨

The Mohe are a people roaming the area of modern Manchuria (Heilongjiang province) the 5th century CE until the 10th century. At the end of the 7th century they founded the kingdom of Bohai 渤海. Traditional Chinese historians identify the Mohe as the same people like the Sushen 肅慎, Yilou 挹婁, and Wuji 勿吉. During the Sui period 隋 the Wuji renamed themselves Mohe. Their most important tribes were the Sumo 粟末, Boduo 伯咄, Anchegu 安車骨, Funie 拂涅, Haoshi 號室, Heishui 黑水, and Baishan 白山, the Sumo being the southernmost tribe, the Heishui the northernmost; a chieftain was called damofumanduo 大莫弗瞞咄. Besides stockbreeding - especially pigs - they produced field crops like wheat and millet. They lived in houses with stamped floor. During the Tang Dynasty 唐 some Mohe chieftains presented their tribute to the Tang court and were installed as local governors with Chinese titles like regional inspector (cishi 刺使) or commander-in-chief (dudu 都督) for the Tang administration. While the Heishui chieftains acted as governors of the northeastern area command (Heishui dudufu 黑水都督府) during the first half of the 8th century, the southern Sumo tribe united with some nobles of the Korean Koguryŏ kingdom (Chinese: Gaogouli 高句麗) and founded the Bohai kingdom.

Shiwei 室韋

Also written 失韋, might be a tribe of the Xianbei 鮮卑, as pronunciation is similar, or of the Khitan (Chinese: Qidan 契丹). Not very much is known of this people that appeared at the end of the north-south division and roamed the area of the west of modern Heilongjiang province and north of the River Amur. Their economy was partially nomad, with cattle breeding as main source of income, and partially agricultural. Their chieftains were called moheduo 莫賀咄 or yumofumanduo 余莫弗瞞咄. They brought tributary presents to the Tang 唐 court and disappeared in the 10th century with the foundation of the Liao empire 遼. See also Bohai 渤海.

Sushen 肅慎

The Sushen were the first people inhabiting the area of modern Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces mentioned in Chinese records. They were active during the Western Zhou period (Xizhou 西周) and had relationships with the northern fiefdom Yan 燕. Chinese histories tell that they were later called Yilou 挹婁. Archeological relics in the northeastern area are attributed to the Xituanshan Culture 西團山文化 and show that the people of this culture was certainly the Tungus branch of the Altaic peoples.

Wuji 勿吉 > See Mohe

Xi 奚

Said to be a tribe of the Xiongnu 匈奴 or Xianbei 鮮卑 federation, roaming the area between modern Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang province. This nomad steppe people was subjugated by the Northern Wei (Beiwei 北魏) in 388. When the Northern Wei Dynasty disengaged, the Xi (or Kumoxi 庫莫奚; Turkish: Tatabi) divided into five divisions of which the tribe of chieftain (irkin, Chinese: yijin 俟斤) Ahui 阿會 was the mightiest. After a short period of submission to the Turks, the Xi presented their tributs to the new-founded Tang Dynasty 唐. Their territory was administered as protectorate (dudufu 都督府) Raole 饒樂, and their chieftain granted the surname Li 李 of the Tang emperors (a method also often used by the Han Dynasty 漢 of the family Liu 劉). The Xi were allowed to govern their own territory autonomously as long as they accepted their dependance of the Tang court. Xi rulers were even bestowed the title of Prince (wang 王) and were given Chinese princesses. The whole 8th century there was an intensive trade with social and cultural exchange with Tang China, but form the 9th century on the Xi tribes disengaged and divided into an eastern and a western branch. At the same time the Khitan (Chinese: Qidan 契丹) won strength and power and incorporated the rest of the Eastern Xi tribes (Liubu Xi 六部奚) into their empire of Liao 遼. Their mightiest chieftain was given the title of Prince and run his own subcourt (Xiwangfu 奚王府) at the Liao capital. For administration, many Chinese officials were employed, and Chinese peasants were robbed and resettled in the area of the Six Xi. Emperor Liao Shenzong dissolved the Xi subcourt but installed a secondary capital within the old Xi territory. The Xi people at that time partially followed the traditional nomad lifestyle, but also cultivated fields. With the conquest of the Jurchen (Chinese: Ruzhen 女真) and their foundation of the Jin Dynasty 金 the Xi belonged to this new empire. The Xi empire, founded by Xiao Gan 蕭幹 (Huilibao 回離保) only survived eight months. The Jurchen installed their own generals as governors of the Xi commandery (Jurchen-Chinese: meng'an mouke 猛安謀克), and their people merged with the Jurchen and the Chinese.

Yilou 挹婁 > See Mohe
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