Tartary (Latin : Tartaria) or Great Tartary (Latin: Tartaria Magna) was a historical region in Asia located between the Caspian Sea-Ural Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Tartary was a blanket term used by Europeans for the areas of Central Asia, North Asia, and East Asia unknown to European geography. It encompassed the vast region of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, the Volga-Urals, the Caucasus, Siberia, Inner Asia, Mongolia and Manchuria.
Knowledge of Manchuria, Siberia and Central Asia in Europe prior to the 18th century was limited. The entire area was known simply as "Tartary" and its inhabitants "Tartars".In the Early modern period, as understanding of the geography increased, Europeans began to subdivide Tartary into sections with prefixes denoting the name of the ruling power or the geographical location. Thus, Siberia was Great Tartary or Russian Tartary, the Crimean Khanate was Little Tartary, Manchuria was Chinese Tartary , and western Central Asia (prior to becoming Russian Central Asia) was known as Independent Tartary.
European opinions of the area were often negative, and reflected the legacy of the Mongol invasions that originated from this region. The term originated in the wake of the widespread devastation spread by the Mongol Empire. The adding of an extra "r" to "Tatar" was suggestive of Tartarus, a Hell-like realm in Greek mythology.In the 18th century, conceptions of Siberia or Tartary and its inhabitants as "barbarous" by Enlightenment-era writers tied into contemporary ideas of civilization, savagery and racism.
The usage of "Tartary" declined as the region became more known to European geographers; however, the term was still used long into the 19th century.Ethnographical data collected by Jesuit missionaries in China contributed to the replacement of "Chinese Tartary" with Manchuria in European geography by the early 18th century. The voyages of Egor Meyendorff and Alexander von Humboldt into this region gave rise to the term Central Asia in the early 19th century as well as supplementary terms such as Inner Asia, and Russian expansionism led to the term "Siberia" being coined for the Asian half of the Russian Empire.
By the 20th century, Tartary as a term for Siberia and Central Asia was obsolete. However, it lent the title to Peter Fleming's book News from Tartary , which detailed his travels in Central Asia.
In the novel Ada by Vladimir Nabokov, Tartary is the name of a large country on the fictional planet of Antiterra. Russia is Tartary's approximate geographic counterpart on Terra, Antiterra's twin world apparently identical to "our" Earth, but doubly fictional in the context of the novel.
"The Squire's Tale" from Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is set in the royal court of Tartary.
In Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels , the eponymous hero refers to his travels in Tartary on two occasions, and suggests that the then modern geographers of Europe were "in a great error, by supposing nothing but sea between Japan and California; for it was ever my opinion, that there must be a balance of earth to counterpoise the great continent of Tartary".
A main character, Calaf, in the opera Turandot by Giacomo Puccini is the Prince of Tartary.
L. Frank Baum's origin story of Santa Claus, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus , features mythical antagonists from Tartary who oppose Santa's compassionate gift giving practices. They are described as the Three-Eyed Giants of Tartary.
In Walter de la Mare's poem "If I were lord of Tartary", Tartary is a land full of happiness.
Priest Évariste Régis Huc wrote several books chronicling his journeys the region, collectively known as Remembrances of a Journey in Tartary, Tibet, and China during the Years 1844, 1845, and 1846.
Siberia is an extensive geographical region spanning much of Eurasia and Northern Asia. Siberia has been part of modern Russia since the 17th century.
Manchuria is an exonym for several large overlapping historical and geographic regions in Northeast Asia. Depending on the context, it may refer to
China proper, Inner China or the Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western writers on the Manchu Qing dynasty to express a distinction between the core and frontier regions of China. There is no fixed extent for China proper, as many administrative, cultural, and linguistic shifts have occurred in Chinese history. One definition refers to the original area of Chinese civilization, the Central Plain ; another to the "Eighteen Provinces" system of the Qing dynasty. There is no direct translation for "China proper" in the Chinese language due to differences in terminology used by the Qing to refer to the regions and the expression is controversial among scholars, particularly in China, due to national territorial claims.
The Tatars are a Turkic ethnic group living mainly in Tatarstan and the wider Volga-Ural region. They speak Tatar, a Kipchak Turkic language. The vast majority of Tatars today reside in post-Soviet countries, primarily in Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The vast majority of Tatars are Muslims.
Turkestan, also spelled Turkistan, refers to a historical region in Central Asia between Siberia to the north; Iran, Afghanistan, and Tibet to the south; the Caspian Sea to the west; and the Gobi Desert to the east.
Khan is a historic title of uncertain origin used in some medieval Central Asian societies to refer to a ruler or military leader. It first appears among the Göktürks as a variant of khagan and implied a subordinate ruler. In the Seljuk Empire, it was the highest noble title, ranking above malik (king) and emir. In the Mongol Empire it signified the ruler of a horde (ulus), while the ruler of all the Mongols was the khagan or great khan. The title subsequently declined in importance. In Safavid Persia it was the title of a provincial governor, and in Mughal India it was a high noble rank restricted to courtiers. After the downfall of the Mughals it was used promiscuously and became a surname. Khan and its female forms occur in many personal names, generally without any nobiliary of political relevance, although it remains a common part of noble names as well.
Khwarazm, or Chorasmia, is a large oasis region on the Amu Darya river delta in western Central Asia, bordered on the north by the (former) Aral Sea, on the east by the Kyzylkum desert, on the south by the Karakum desert, and on the west by the Ustyurt Plateau. It was the center of the Iranian Khwarazmian civilization, and a series of kingdoms such as the Khwarazmian dynasty and the Afrighid dynasty, whose capitals were Kath, Gurganj and – from the 16th century on – Khiva. Today Khwarazm belongs partly to Uzbekistan, partly to Kazakhstan and partly to Turkmenistan.
Oirats are the westernmost group of the Mongols whose ancestral home is in the Altai region of Xinjiang and Western Mongolia.
Inner Asia refers to regions within East Asia and North Asia that are today part of Western China, Mongolia and eastern Russia. It overlaps with some definitions of Central Asia, mostly the historical ones, but certain regions of Inner Asia are not considered a part of Central Asia by any of its definitions. Inner Asia may be considered as the "frontier" of China, and as bounded by East Asia, which consists of China, Japan, and Korea.
The history of Central Asia concerns the history of the various peoples that have inhabited Central Asia. The lifestyle of such people has been determined primarily by the area's climate and geography. The aridity of the region makes agriculture difficult and distance from the sea cut it off from much trade. Thus, few major cities developed in the region. Nomadic horse peoples of the steppe dominated the area for millennia.
The Volga Tatars are a Turkic ethnic group native to the Volga-Ural region of Russia. They are subdivided into various subgroups. Volga Tatars are Russia's second-largest ethnicity after the Russians. They compose 53% of the population of Tatarstan and 25% of the population of Bashkortostan.
A khaganate or khanate was a political entity ruled by a khan or khagan. This political entity is typical for people from the Eurasian Steppe and it can be equivalent to tribal chiefdom, principality, kingdom or empire.
The Eurasian Steppe, also called the Great Steppe or the steppes, is the vast steppe ecoregion of Eurasia in the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome. It stretches from Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova through Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Xinjiang, and Mongolia to Manchuria, with one major exclave, the Pannonian steppe or Puszta, located mostly in Hungary.
Nomadic empires, sometimes also called steppe empires, Central or Inner Asian empires, were the empires erected by the bow-wielding, horse-riding, nomadic people in the Eurasian steppe, from classical antiquity (Scythia) to the early modern era (Dzungars). They are the most prominent example of non-sedentary polities.
The Four Oirat, also known as the Alliance of the Four Oirat Tribes or the Oirat Confederation, was the confederation of the Oirat tribes which marked the rise of the Western Mongols in Mongolian history.
The division of the Mongol Empire began when Möngke Khan died in 1259 in the siege of Diaoyu castle with no declared successor, precipitating infighting between members of the Tolui family line for the title of khagan that escalated to the Toluid Civil War. This civil war, along with the Berke–Hulagu war and the subsequent Kaidu–Kublai war, greatly weakened the authority of the Great Khan over the entirety of the Mongol Empire, and the empire fractured into autonomous khanates, including the Golden Horde in the northwest, the Chagatai Khanate in the middle, the Ilkhanate in the southwest, and the Yuan dynasty in the east based in modern-day Beijing, although the Yuan emperors held the nominal title of khagan of the empire. The four khanates each pursued their own separate interests and objectives and fell at different times.
The Qing dynasty in Inner Asia was the expansion of the Qing dynasty's realm in Inner Asia in the 17th and the 18th century AD, including both Inner and Outer Mongolia, Manchuria, Tibet, Qinghai and Xinjiang. Wars were fought primarily against the Northern Yuan dynasty and the Dzungar Khanate (1687–1758). Even before the conquest of China proper, the Manchus had controlled Manchuria and Inner Mongolia, with the latter being previously controlled by the Mongols under Ligdan Khan. After suppressing the Revolt of the Three Feudatories and the conquest of Taiwan as well as ending the Sino-Russian border conflicts in the 1680s, the Dzungar–Qing War broken out. This eventually led to Qing conquests of Outer Mongolia, Tibet, Qinghai and Xinjiang. All of them became part of the Qing Empire and were garrisoned by Qing forces, but they were governed through several different types of administrative structure and also retained many of their existing institutions. Furthermore, they were not governed as regular provinces, but instead were supervised by the Lifan Yuan, a Qing government agency that oversaw the empire's frontier regions.
The Yuan dynasty in Inner Asia was the domination of the Yuan dynasty in Inner Asia in the 13th and the 14th centuries. The Genghisid rulers of the Yuan came from the Mongolian steppe, and the Mongols under Kublai Khan established the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368) based in Khanbaliq, a Chinese-style dynasty that incorporated many aspects of Mongolian and Inner Asian political and military institutions. Actual Yuan rule extended to Manchuria, Mongolia, the Tibetan Plateau and parts of Xinjiang. People from these Inner Asian regions other than the Mongols usually belonged to the Semu class. In addition, the Yuan emperors held nominal suzerainty over the three western Mongol khanates, but they were essentially autonomous and ruled separately due to the division of the Mongol Empire since the Toluid Civil War in the 1260s.
Manchuria under Qing rule was the rule of the Qing dynasty over Manchuria, including today's Northeast China and Outer Manchuria. The Qing dynasty itself was established by the Manchus, a Tungusic people coming from Manchuria, who later conquered the Ming dynasty and became the ruler of China. Thus, Manchuria enjoyed a somewhat special status during the Qing and was not governed as regular provinces until the late Qing dynasty.
This article summarizes the History of the eastern steppe:, the eastern third of the Eurasian Steppe, that is, the grasslands of Mongolia and northern China. It is a companion to History of the central steppe and History of the western steppe. Most of its recorded history deals with conflicts between the Chinese and the steppe nomads. Most of the sources are Chinese.