|History of Mongolia|
The Xianbei ( // ; Chinese :鮮卑; pinyin :Xiānbēi) were an ancient nomadic people that once resided in the eastern Eurasian steppes in what is today Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Northeastern China. They originated from the Donghu people who splintered into the Wuhuan and Xianbei when they were defeated by the Xiongnu at the end of the 3rd century BC. The Xianbei were largely subordinate to larger nomadic powers and the Han dynasty until they gained prominence in 87 AD by killing the Xiongnu chanyu Youliu. However unlike the Xiongnu, the Xianbei political structure lacked the organization to pose a concerted challenge to the Chinese for most of their time as a nomadic people.
After suffering several defeats by the end of the Three Kingdoms period, the Xianbei migrated south and settled in close proximity to Chinese society and submitted as vassals, being granted the titles of Dukes. As the Xianbei Murong, Tuoba and Duan tribes were one of the Five Barbarians who were vassals of the Han Chinese Western Jin and Eastern Jin dynasties, they took part in the Uprising of the Five Barbarians as allies of the Han Chinese Eastern Jin against the other four barbarians, the Xiongnu, Jie, Di and Qiang.
The Xianbei were at one point all defeated and conquered by the Di Former Qin empire before it fell apart at the Battle of Fei River at the hands of the Eastern Jin. The Xianbei later founded their own states and reunited northern China as the Northern Wei. These states opposed and promoted sinicization at one point or another but trended towards the latter and had merged with the general Chinese population by the Tang dynasty.The Northern Wei also arranged for Chinese elites to marry daughters of the Xianbei Tuoba royal family in the 480s. More than fifty percent of Tuoba Xianbei princesses of the Northern Wei were married to southern Han Chinese men from the imperial families and aristocrats from southern China of the Southern dynasties who defected and moved north to join the Northern Wei.
Paul Pelliot tentatively reconstructs the Later Han Chinese pronunciation of 鮮卑 as */serbi/, from *Särpi, after noting that Chinese scribes used 鮮 to transcribe Middle Persian sēr (lion) and 卑 to transcribe foreign syllable /pi/; for instance, Sanskrit गोपी gopī "milkmaid, cowherdess" became Middle Chinese 瞿卑 (ɡɨo-piᴇ) (> Mand. qúbēi).
*Särpi may be linked, on the one hand, to Mongolic root *ser ~*sir which means "crest, bristle, sticking out, projecting, etc." (cf. Khalkha сэрвэн serven), possibly referring to the Xianbei's horses (semantically analogous with the Turkic ethnonym Yabaqu < Yapağu 'matted hair or wool', later 'a matted-haired animal, i.e. a colt') :大兴安岭; traditional Chinese :大興安嶺; pinyin :Dà Xīng'ān Lǐng).Book of Later Han and Book of Wei stated that: before becoming an ethnonym, Xianbei had been a toponym, referring to the Great Xianbei mountains (大鮮卑山), which is now identified as the Greater Khingan range (simplified Chinese
Shimunek (2018) reconstructs *serbi for Xiānbēi and *širwi for 室韋 Shìwéi < MC *ɕiɪt̚-ɦʉi.This same root might be the origin of ethnonym Sibe.
When the Donghu "Eastern Barbarians" were defeated by Modu Chanyu around 208 BC, the Donghu splintered into the Xianbei and Wuhuan.According to the Book of the Later Han , "the language and culture of the Xianbei are the same as the Wuhuan".
The first significant contact the Xianbei had with the Han dynasty was in 41 and 45 when they joined the Wuhuan and Xiongnu in raiding Han territory.
In 49, the governor Ji Tong convinced the Xianbei chieftain Pianhe to turn on the Xiongnu with rewards for each Xiongnu head they collected.In 54, Yuchouben and Mantou of the Xianbei paid tribute to Emperor Guangwu of Han.
In 58, the Xianbei chieftain Pianhe attacked and killed Xinzhiben, a Wuhuan leader causing trouble in Yuyang Commandery.
In 85, the Xianbei secured an alliance with the Dingling and Southern Xiongnu.
In 87, the Xianbei attacked the Xiongnu chanyu Youliu and killed him. They flayed him and his followers and took the skins back as trophies.
After the downfall of the Xiongnu, the Xianbei established their confederation in Mongolia starting from AD 93.
In 109, the Wuhuan and Xianbei attacked Wuyuan Commandery and defeated local Han forces.The Southern Xiongnu chanyu Wanshishizhudi rebelled against the Han and attacked the Emissary Geng Chong but failed to oust him. Han forces under Geng Kui retaliated and defeated a force of 3,000 Xiongnu but could not take the Southern Xiongnu capital due to disease among the horses of their Xianbei allies.
The Xianbei under Qizhijian raided Han territory four times from 121 to 138. .In 145, the Xianbei raided Dai Commandery.
Around 155, the northern Xiongnu were "crushed and subjugated" by the Xianbei. Their chief, known by the Chinese as Tanshihuai, then advanced upon and defeated the Wusun of the Ili region by 166. Under Tanshihuai, the Xianbei extended their territory from the Ussuri to the Caspian Sea. He divided the Xianbei empire into three sections, each ruled by twenty clans. Tanshihuai then formed an alliance with the southern Xiongnu to attack Shaanxi and Gansu. Han dynasty successfully repulsed their attacks in 158, 177. The Xianbei might have also attacked Wa (Japan) with some success.
In 177 AD, Xia Yu, Tian Yan and the Tute Chanyu led a force of 30,000 against the Xianbei. They were defeated and returned with only a quarter of their original forces.A memorial made that year records that the Xianbei had taken all the lands previously held by the Xiongnu and their warriors numbered 100,000. Han deserters who sought refuge in their lands served as their advisers and refined metals as well as wrought iron came into their possession. Their weapons were sharper and their horses faster than those of the Xiongnu. Another memorial submitted in 185 states that the Xianbei were making raids on Han settlements nearly every year.
The loose Xianbei confederacy lacked the organization of the Xiongnu but was highly aggressive until the death of their khan Tanshihuai in 182.Tanshihuai's son Helian lacked his father's abilities and was killed in a raid on Beidi in 186. Helian's brother Kuitou succeeded him, but when Helian's son Qianman came of age, he challenged his uncle to succession, destroying the last vestiges of unity among the Xianbei. By 190, the Xianbei had split into three groups with Kuitou ruling in Inner Mongolia, Kebineng in northern Shanxi, and Suli and Mijia in northern Liaodong. In 205, Kuitou's brothers Budugen and Fuluohan succeeded him. After Cao Cao defeated the Wuhuan at the Battle of White Wolf Mountain in 207, Budugen and Fuluohan paid tribute to him. In 218, Fuluohan met with the Wuhuan chieftain Nengchendi to form an alliance, but Nengchendi double crossed him and called in another Xianbei khan, Kebineng, who killed Fuluohan. Budugen went to the court of Cao Wei in 224 to ask for assistance against Kebineng, but he eventually betrayed them and allied with Kebineng in 233. Kebineng killed Budugen soon afterwards.
Kebineng was from a minor Xianbei tribe. He rose to power west of Dai Commandery by taking in a number of Chinese refugees, who helped him drill his soldiers and make weapons. After the defeat of the Wuhuan in 207, he also sent tribute to Cao Cao, and even provided assistance against the rebel Tian Yin. In 218 he allied himself to the Wuhuan rebel Nengchendi but they were heavily defeated and forced back across the frontier by Cao Zhang. In 220 he acknowledged Cao Pi as emperor of Cao Wei. Eventually he turned on the Wei for frustrating his advances on another Xianbei khan, Sui. Kebineng conducted raids on Cao Wei before he was killed in 235, after which his confederacy disintegrated.
Many of the Xianbei tribes migrated south and settled on the borders of the Wei-Jin dynasties. In 258 Tuoba Liwei's people settled in Yanmen Commandery.The Yuwen tribe settled between the Luan River and Liucheng. The Murong and Duan tribes became vassals of the Sima clan. An offshoot of the Murong tribe moved west into northern Qinghai and mixed with the native Qiang people, becoming Tuyuhun.
The 3rd century saw both the fragmentation of the Xianbei in 235 and the branching out of the various Xianbei tribes. Around 308 or 330 AD, the Rouran tribe was founded by Mugulü, but formed by his son, Cheluhui.
The Xianbei tribes Tuoba, Murong and Duan submitted to the Western Jin dynasty as vassals, the Tuoba were made Dukes of Dai (Sixteen Kingdoms), the Murong were made Dukes of Liaodong, and the Duan were made Dukes of Liaoxi. The three Xianbei tribes fought on the Western Jin side against the other four barbarians in the Uprising of the Five Barbarians after a Xiongnu and Jie led slave revolt toppled Western Jin rule in northern China. Mass number of Chinese officers, soldiers and civilians fled south to join the Eastern Jin or north to join the Xianbei duchies which remained in direct communication with the Eastern Jin in southern China, receiving orders.
The Xianbei later establish six significant empires of their own such as the Former Yan (281–370), Western Yan (384–394), Later Yan (384–407), Southern Yan (398–410), Western Qin (385–430) and Southern Liang (397–414). The Xianbei were all conquered by the Di Former Qin empire in northern China before its defeat at the Battle of Fei River and subsequent collapse.
Most of them were unified by the Tuoba Xianbei, who established the Northern Wei (386–535), which was the first of the Northern Dynasties (386–581) founded by the Xianbei.
Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei established a policy of systematic sinicization that was continued by his successors. Xianbei traditions were largely abandoned. The royal family took the sinicization a step further by changing their family name to Yuan. Marriages to Chinese families were encouraged.
The Northern Wei started to arrange for Han Chinese elites to marry daughters of the Xianbei Tuoba royal family in the 480s.More than fifty percent of Tuoba Xianbei princesses of the Northern Wei were married to southern Han Chinese men from the imperial families and aristocrats from southern China of the Southern dynasties who defected and moved north to join the Northern Wei. Some Han Chinese exiled royalty fled from southern China and defected to the Xianbei. Several daughters of the Xianbei Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei were married to Han Chinese elites, the Liu Song royal Liu Hui (刘辉), married Princess Lanling (蘭陵公主) of the Northern Wei, Princess Huayang (華陽公主) to Sima Fei (司馬朏), a descendant of Jin dynasty (265–420) royalty, Princess Jinan (濟南公主) to Lu Daoqian (盧道虔), Princess Nanyang (南阳长公主) to Xiao Baoyin (萧宝夤), a member of Southern Qi royalty. Emperor Xiaozhuang of Northern Wei's sister the Shouyang Princess was wedded to The Liang dynasty ruler Emperor Wu of Liang's son Xiao Zong 蕭綜.
When the Eastern Jin dynasty ended Northern Wei received the Han Chinese Jin prince Sima Chuzhi (司馬楚之) as a refugee. A Northern Wei Princess married Sima Chuzhi, giving birth to Sima Jinlong (司馬金龍). Northern Liang Xiongnu King Juqu Mujian's daughter married Sima Jinlong.
In 534, the Northern Wei split into an Eastern Wei (534–550) and a Western Wei (535–556) after an uprising in the steppes of North China inhabited by Xianbei and other nomadic peoples.The former evolved into the Northern Qi (550-577), and the latter into the Northern Zhou (557-581), while the Southern Dynasties were pushed to the south of the Yangtze River. In 581, the Prime Minister of Northern Zhou, Yang Jian, founded the Sui dynasty (581–618). His son, the future Emperor Yang of Sui, absorbed the Chen dynasty (557–589), the last kingdom of the Southern Dynasties, thereby unifying much of China. After the Sui came to an end amidst peasant rebellions and renegade troops, his cousin, Li Yuan, founded the Tang dynasty (618–907). Sui and Tang dynasties were founded by Han generals who also served the Northern Wei dynasty. Through these political establishments, the Xianbei who entered China were largely merged with the Chinese, examples such as the wife of Emperor Gaozu of Tang, Duchess Dou and Emperor Taizong of Tang's wife, Empress Zhangsun, both have Xianbei ancestries, while those who remained behind in the northern grassland emerged as later powers to rule over China as Mongol Yuan dynasty and Manchu Qing dynasty.
In the West, the Xianbei kingdom of Tuyuhun remained independent until defeated by the Tibetan Empire in 670. After the fall of the kingdom, the Xianbei people underwent a massive diasporisation over a vast territory that stretched from the northwest into central and eastern parts of China. Murong Nuohebo led the Tuyuhun people to migrated eastward into central China and settled in modern Yinchuan, Ningxia.
Art of the Xianbei portrayed their nomadic lifestyle and consisted primarily of metalwork and figurines. The style and subjects of Xianbei art were influenced by a variety of influences, and ultimately, the Xianbei were known for emphasizing unique nomadic motifs in artistic advancements such as leaf headdresses, crouching and geometricized animals depictions, animal pendant necklaces, and metal openwork.
The leaf headdresses were very characteristic of Xianbei culture, and they are found especially in Murong Xianbei tombs. Their corresponding ornamental style also links the Xianbei to Bactria. These gold hat ornaments represented trees and antlers and, in Chinese, they are referred to as buyao ("step sway") since the thin metal leaves move when the wearer moves. Sun Guoping first uncovered this type of artifact, and defined three main styles: "Blossoming Tree" (huashu), which is mounted on the front of a cap near the forehead and has one or more branches with hanging leaves that are circle or droplet shaped, "Blossoming Top" (dinghua), which is worn on top of the head and resembles a tree or animal with many leaf pendants, and the rare "Blossoming Vine" (huaman), which consists of "gold strips interwoven with wires with leaves."Leaf headdresses were made with hammered gold and decorated by punching out designs and hanging the leaf pendants with wire. The exact origin, use, and wear of these headdresses is still being investigated and determined. However, headdresses similar to those later also existed and were worn by women in the courts.
Another key form of Xianbei art is animal iconography, which was implemented primarily in metalwork. The Xianbei stylistically portrayed crouching animals in geometricized, abstracted, repeated forms, and distinguished their culture and art by depicting animal predation and same-animal combat. Typically, sheep, deer, and horses were illustrated. The artifacts, usually plaques or pendants, were made from metal, and the backgrounds were decorated with openwork or mountainous landscapes, which harks back to the Xianbei nomadic lifestyle. With repeated animal imagery, an openwork background, and a rectangular frame, the included image of the three deer plaque is a paradigm of the Xianbei art style. Concave plaque backings imply that plaques were made using lost-wax casting, or raised designs were impressed on the back of hammered metal sheets.
The nomadic traditions of the Xianbei inspired them to portray horses in their artwork. The horse played a large role in the existence of the Xianbei as a nomadic people, and in one tomb, a horse skull lay atop Xianbei bells, buckles, ornaments, a saddle, and one gilded bronze stirrup.The Xianbei not only created art for their horses, but they also made art to depict horses. Another recurring motif was the winged horse. It has been suggested by archaeologist Su Bai that this symbol was a "heavenly beast in the shape of a horse" because of its prominence in Xianbei mythology. This symbol is thought to have guided an early Xianbei southern migration, and is a recurring image in many Xianbei art forms.
Xianbei figurines help to portray the people of the society by representing pastimes, depicting specialized clothing, and implying various beliefs. Most figurines have been recovered from Xianbei tombs, so they are primarily military and musical figures meant to serve the deceased in afterlife processions and guard the tomb. Furthermore, the figurine clothing specifies the according social statuses: higher-ranking Xianbei wore long-sleeved robes with a straight neck shirt underneath, while lower-ranking Xianbei wore trousers and belted tunics.
Xianbei Buddhist influences were derived from interactions with Han culture. The Han bureaucrats initially helped the Xianbei run their state, but eventually the Xianbei became Sinophiles and promoted Buddhism. The beginning of this conversion is evidenced by the Buddha imagery that emerges in Xianbei art. For instance, the included Buddha imprinted leaf headdress perfectly represents the Xianbei conversion and Buddhist synthesis since it combines both the traditional nomadic Xianbei leaf headdress with the new imagery of Buddha. This Xianbei religious conversion continued to develop in the Northern Wei dynasty, and ultimately led to the creation of the Yungang Grottoes.
It is widely theorized that the Xianbei spoke a language related to the Mongolic languages or Turkic languages. Claus Schönig writes:
The Xianbei derived from the context of the Donghu, who are likely to have contained the linguistic ancestors of the Mongols. Later branches and descendants of the Xianbei include the Tabghach and Khitan, who seem to have been linguistically Para-Mongolic. [...] Opinions differ widely as to what the linguistic impact of the Xianbei period was. Some scholars (like Clauson) have preferred to regard the Xianbei and Tabghach (Tuoba) as Turks, or even as Bulghar Turks, with the implication that the entire layer of early Turkic borrowings in Mongolic would have been received from the Xianbei, rather than from the Xiongnu. However, since the Mongolic (or Para-Mongolic) identity of the Xianbei is increasingly obvious in the light of recent progress in Khitan studies, it is more reasonable to assume (with Doerfer) that the flow of linguistic influence from Turkic (or Bulghar Turkic) into Mongolic was at least partly reversed during the Xianbei period, yielding the first identifiable layer of Mongolic (or Para-Mongolic) loanwords in Turkic.
It is also possible that the Xianbei spoke more than one language.
According to Sinologist Penglin Wang, some Xianbei had West Eurasian-featured traits such as blue eyes, blonde hair and white skin due to absorbing some Indo-European elements. The Xianbei were described as white on several occasions. The Book of Jin states that in the state of Cao Wei, Xianbei immigrants were known as the white tribe. The ruling Murong clan of Former Yan were referred to by their Former Qin adversaries as white slaves. According to Fan Wenlang et al. the Murong people were considered "white" by the Chinese due to the complexion of their skin color. In the Jin dynasty, Xianbei Murong women were sold off to many Han Chinese bureaucrat and aristocrats and they were also given to their servants and concubines. The mother of Emperor Ming of Jin, Lady Xun, was a lowly concubine possibly of Xianbei stock. During a confrontation between Emperor Ming and a rebel force in 324, his enemies were confused by his appearance, and thought he was a Xianbei due to his yellow beard.Emperor Ming's yelllowish hair could have been inherited from his mother, who was either Xianbei or Jie. During the Tang dynasty, the poet Zhang Ji described the Xianbei entering Luoyang as "yellow-headed". During the Song dynasty, the poet and painter Su Shi was inspired by a painting of a Xianbei riding a horse and wrote a poem describing an elderly Xianbei with reddish hair and blue eyes.
There was undoubtedly some range of variation within their population. Yellow hair in Chinese sources could have meant brown rather than blonde and described other people such as the Jie rather than the Xianbei. Historian Edward H. Schafer believes many of the Xianbei were blondes, but others such as Charles Holcombe think it is "likely that the bulk of the Xianbei were not visibly very different in appearance from the general population of northeastern Asia."Chinese anthropologist Zhu Hong and Zhang Quan-chao studied Xianbei crania from several sites of Inner Mongolia and noticed that anthropological features of studied Xianbei crania show that the racial type is closely related to the modern East-Asians, and some physical characteristics of those skulls are closer to modern Mongols, Manchu and Han Chinese.
A genetic study published in The FEBS Journal in October 2006 examined the mtDNA of sixteen Tuoba Xianbei buried at the Qilang Mountain Cemetery in Inner Mongolia, China. The fifteen samples of mtDNA extracted belonged to haplogroups D (7 samples), C (5 samples), B (2 samples) and A.These haplogroups are characteristic of Northeast Asians. Among modern populations they were found to be most closely related to the Oroqen people.
A genetic study published in the Russian Journal of Genetics in April 2014 examined the mtDNA of seventeen Tuoba Xianbei buried at the Shangdu Dongdajing cemetery in Inner Mongolia, China. The seventeen samples of mtDNA extracted belonged to haplogroups D4 (four samples), D5 (three samples), C (five samples), A (three samples), G and B.
A genetic study published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology in November 2007 examined of 17 individuals buried at a Murong Xianbei cemetery in Lamadong, Liaoning, China ca. 300 AD.They were determined to be carriers of the maternal haplogroups J1b1, D (three samples), F1a (three samples), M, B, B5b, C (three samples) and G2a. These haplogroups are common among East Asians and some Siberians. The maternal haplogroups of the Murong Xianbei were noticeably different from those of the Huns and Tuoba Xianbei.
A genetic study published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology in August 2018 noted that the paternal haplogroup C2b1a1b has been detected among the Xianbei and the Rouran, and was probably an important lineage among the Donghu people.
Most Xianbei clans adopted Chinese family names during Northern Wei Dynasty. In particular, many were sinicized under Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei.
The Northern Wei's Eight Noble Xianbei surnames 八大贵族 were the Buliugu 步六孤, Helai 賀賴, Dugu 獨孤, Helou 賀樓, Huniu 忽忸, Qiumu 丘穆, Gexi 紇奚, and Yuchi 尉遲.
The "Monguor" (Tu) people in modern China may have descended from the Xianbei who were led by Tuyuhun Khan to migrate westward and establish the Tuyuhun Kingdom (284–670) in the third century and Western Xia (1038–1227) through the thirteenth century.Today they are primarily distributed in Qinghai and Gansu Province, and speak a Mongolic language.
The Xibe or "Xibo" people also believe they are descendants of the Xianbei, with considerable controversies that have attributed their origins to the Jurchens, the Elunchun, and the Xianbei.
There are villages and counties in the southeastern Chinese provinces of Fujian and Guangdong, where the descendants of sinicized Xianbei joined in the northern Chinese migrations south; settling and absorbing themselves into the local populations. Included among these were kin of former rulers of northern regimes escaping persecution and capture.Many southern Chinese today can trace a part of their lineage to the Xianbei through safeguarded family genealogies known as zupu. Descendants of Tuoba and Murong still include esteemed Xianbei forebears in their ritual ancestor veneration worship. Other Xianbei descendants in southern China include those of the surname Li/Lee who trace their lineage to the Tang Dynasty's ruling House of Li. Tang era general Chen Zheng (Tang Dynasty) and his son Chen Yuanguang, who were sent south to Fujian, are believed in some circles to be descended from the noble Northern Wei clan - Houmochen, that changed their name to Chen during the Dynasty's sinicization reform policies. Yuanguang's mother was also believed to be from the Xianbei Tuwan clan. There are many Chen/Chan clans today in Fujian, Guangdong provinces and among the overseas Chinese diaspora that claim direct descendance from his lineage.
Xianbei descendants among the Korean population carry surnames such as Mo 모 Chinese : 慕 ; pinyin :mù; Wade–Giles :mu (shortened from Murong), Seok Sŏk Sek 석 Chinese : 石 ; pinyin :shí; Wade–Giles :shih (shortened from Wushilan 烏石蘭, Won Wŏn 원 Chinese : 元 ; pinyin :yuán; Wade–Giles :yüan (the adopted Chinese surname of the Tuoba), Dokgo 독고 Chinese : 獨孤 ; pinyin :Dúgū; Wade–Giles :Tuku (from Dugu).
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The Five Barbarians, or Wu Hu, is a Chinese historical exonym for ancient non-Chinese peoples who immigrated to northern China in the Eastern Han dynasty, and then overthrew the Western Jin dynasty and established their own kingdoms in the 4th–5th centuries. The peoples categorized as the Five Barbarians were the Xiongnu, Jie, Xianbei, Di, and Qiang. Of these five tribal ethnic groups, the Xiongnu and Xianbei were nomadic peoples from the northern steppes. The ethnic identity of the Xiongnu is uncertain, but the Xianbei appear to have been Mongolic. The Jie, another pastoral people, may have been a branch of the Xiongnu, who may have been Yeniseian. The Di and Qiang were from the highlands of western China. The Qiang were predominantly herdsmen and spoke Sino-Tibetan (Tibeto-Burman) languages, while the Di were farmers who may have spoken a Sino-Tibetan or Turkic language.
The Northern Wei, also known as the Tuoba Wei (拓跋魏), Later Wei (後魏), was a dynasty founded by the Tuoba (Tabgach) clan of the Xianbei, which ruled northern China from 386 to 534 AD, during the period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties. Described as "part of an era of political turbulence and intense social and cultural change", the Northern Wei Dynasty is particularly noted for unifying northern China in 439: this was also a period of introduced foreign ideas, such as Buddhism, which became firmly established. The Northern Wei were referred to as "Plaited Barbarians" by writers of the Southern dynasties, who considered themselves the true upholders of Chinese culture.
The Rouran Khaganate, also Juan-Juan Khaganate, was a tribal confederation and later state founded by a people of Proto-Mongolic Donghu origin. The Rouran supreme rulers are noted for being the first to use the title of "khagan", having borrowed this popular title from the Xianbei. The Rouran Khaganate lasted from the late 4th century until the middle 6th century, when they were defeated by a Göktürk rebellion which subsequently led to the rise of the Turks in world history.
The Monguor, the Tu people, the White Mongol or the Tsagaan Mongol, are one of the 56 officially recognized ethnic groups in China. The "Tu" ethnic category was created in the 1950s.
The Han Zhao, or Former Zhao, was a dynasty of Southern Xiongnu origin during Sixteen Kingdoms period of Chinese history coeval with the Sima clan's Jin dynasty. In Chinese historiography, it was given two conditional state titles, the Northern Han for the state proclaimed in 304 by Liu Yuan, and the Former Zhao for the state proclaimed in 319 by Liu Yao. The reference to them as separate states should be considered misleading, given that when Liu Yao changed the name of the state from "Han" to "Zhao" in 319, he treated the state as having been continuous from the time that Liu Yuan founded it in 304; instead, he de-established royal lineage from the Han dynasty and claimed ancestry directly from Yu the Great of the Xia dynasty.
The proto-Mongols emerged from an area that had been inhabited by humans and predecessor hominin species as far back as the Stone Age over 800,000 years ago. The people there went through the Bronze and Iron Ages, forming tribal alliances, peopling, and coming into conflict with early China.
Heqin, also known as marriage alliance, refers to the historical practice of Chinese emperors marrying princesses—usually members of minor branches of the ruling family—to rulers of neighboring states. It was often adopted as an appeasement strategy with an enemy state that was too powerful to defeat on the battlefield. The policy was not always effective. It implied an equal diplomatic status between the emperor and the ruler of the other state. As a result, it was controversial and had many critics.
The Yuwen is a Chinese compound surname originated from a pre-state clan of Xianbei ethnicity of Xiongnu origin during the era of Sixteen Kingdoms in China, until its destruction by Former Yan's prince Murong Huang in 345. Among the eastern Xianbei clans that ranged from the central part of the present day Liaoning province and eastward, Yuwen clan was the largest, and was awarded the position of the leader of eastern Xianbei (东部大人) by Chinese rulers. A descendant of the Yuwen tribe, Yuwen Tai, established the Northern Zhou Dynasty in the 6th century.
Yuanhe Xingzuan "The register of the great families from the Yuanhe reign (806-820)" vol. 6, the Yuwen part 2 records:
(宇文)本遼東南單于之後, 有普回因獵得玉璽, 以為天授. 鮮卑俗呼天子為宇文, 因號宇文氏.
(The Yuwen) originally were the descendants of the southern Shanyu. Someone within them called Puhui got a jade seal when he was hunting. This was regarded as a sign of imperial enthronement from heaven. According to Xianbei tradition, the son of the heaven was called the Yuwen. Thus (Puhui) called himself the Yuwen.
Zhangjiakou also known as Kalgan and several other names, is a prefecture-level city in northwestern Hebei province in Northern China, bordering Beijing to the southeast, Inner Mongolia to the north and west, and Shanxi to the southwest. By 2019, its population was 4,650,000 inhabitants on 36,861.56 square kilometres (14,232.33 sq mi), divided into 17 Counties and Districts. The built-up area made of Qiaoxi, Qiaodong, Chongli, Xuanhua, Xiahuayuan Districts largely being conurbated had 1,500,000 inhabitants in 2019 on 1,412.7 km2 (545.4 sq mi).
Murong (Chinese: 慕容; pinyin: Mùróng; Wade–Giles: Mu4-jung2; LHC: *mɑC-joŋ; EMC: *mɔh-juawŋ) or Muren refers to an ethnic Xianbei tribe who are a Mongolic people attested from the time of Tanshihuai (reigned 156-181). Different strands of evidence exist linking the Murong to the Mongols. The Former Yan (337-370), Western Yan (384-394), Later Yan (384-409) dynasties as well as Tuyuhun (285-670) were all founded by the Murong peoples.
Emperor Mingyuan of Northern Wei ( 魏明元帝), Chinese name Tuoba Si (拓拔嗣), Xianbei name Mumo (木末), was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei. He was the oldest son of the founding emperor Emperor Daowu. During his reign, Northern Wei's territory did not expand as much as it did under either his father's reign or the reign of his son Emperor Taiwu, but he helped the state stabilize over northern China, and started the tradition of meeting with important imperial officials to listen to their advice and make final decisions. He is generally regarded by historians to be an intelligent and rational ruler.
Emperor Taiwu of Northern Wei, personal name Tuoba Tao (拓拔燾), Xianbei name Büri(佛貍), was an emperor of Northern Wei. He was generally regarded as a capable ruler, and during his reign, Northern Wei roughly doubled in size and united all of northern China, thus ending the Sixteen Kingdoms period and, together with the southern dynasty Liu Song, started the Southern and Northern Dynasties period of ancient China history. He was a devout Taoist, under the influence of his prime minister Cui Hao, and in 444, at Cui Hao's suggestion and believing that Buddhists had supported the rebellion of Gai Wu (蓋吳), he ordered the abolition of Buddhism, at the penalty of death. This was the first of the Three Disasters of Wu for Chinese Buddhism. Late in his reign, his reign began to be cruel, and his people were also worn out by his incessant wars against Liu Song. In 452, he was assassinated by his eunuch Zong Ai, who put his son Tuoba Yu on the throne but then assassinated Tuoba Yu as well. The other officials overthrew Zong and put Emperor Taiwu's grandson Tuoba Jun on the throne as Emperor Wencheng.
Emperor Wencheng of Northern Wei ( 魏文成帝) (440–465), Chinese name Tuoba Jun (拓拔濬), Xianbei name Wulei (烏雷), was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei. He became emperor aged 12 in the aftermath of the eunuch Zong Ai's assassinations of his grandfather Emperor Taiwu and uncle Tuoba Yu, and he was generally described by historians as a ruler who sought foremost to allow his people to rest after his grandfather's expansionist policies and extensive campaigns, who also reformed the laws to become more lenient.
Donghu was a tribal confederation of nomadic people that was first recorded from the 7th century BCE and was destroyed by the Xiongnu in 150 BCE. They lived in northern Hebei, southeastern Inner Mongolia and the western part of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang along the Yan Mountains and Greater Khingan Range.
You Prefecture or Province, also known by its Chinese name Youzhou, was a prefecture (zhou) in northern China during its imperial era.
The Xianbei state or Xianbei confederation was a nomadic empire which existed in modern-day Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, northern Xinjiang, Northeast China, Gansu, Buryatia, Zabaykalsky Krai, Irkutsk Oblast, Tuva, Altai Republic and eastern Kazakhstan from 156 to 234. Like most ancient peoples known through Chinese historiography, the ethnic makeup of the Xianbei is unclear.
The Sixteen Kingdoms, less commonly the Sixteen States, was a chaotic period in Chinese history from 304 to 439 CE when the political order of northern China fractured into a series of short-lived dynastic states, most of which were founded by the "Five Barbarians," non-Chinese peoples who had settled in northern and western China during the preceding centuries and participated in the overthrow of the Western Jin dynasty in the early 4th century. The kingdoms founded by ethnic Xiongnu, Xianbei, Di, Jie, Qiang, as well as Chinese and other ethnicities, took on Chinese dynastic names, and fought against each other and the Eastern Jin dynasty, which succeeded the Western Jin and ruled southern China. The period ended with the unification of northern China in the early 5th century by the Northern Wei, a dynasty established by the Xianbei Tuoba clan, and the history of ancient China entered the Northern and Southern dynasties period.
The Tuoba also known as the Taugast or Tabgach, was a Xianbei clan in ancient China.
The military history of the Jin dynasty encompasses the period of Chinese military activity from 266 AD to 420 AD. The Jin dynasty is usually divided into the Western and Eastern Jin eras. Western Jin lasted from its usurpation of Cao Wei in 266 to 316 when the Uprising of the Five Barbarians split the empire and created a number of barbarian states in the north. The Jin court fled to Jiankang, starting the era of Eastern Jin, which ended in 420 when it was usurped by Liu Yu, who founded the Liu Song dynasty.
The military history of the Northern and Southern dynasties encompasses the period of Chinese military activity from 420 to 589. Officially starting with Liu Yu's usurpation of the Jin throne and creation of his Liu Song dynasty in 420, it ended in 589 with the Sui dynasty's conquest of Chen dynasty and reunification of China. The first of the Northern dynasties did not however begin in 420, but in 386 with the creation of Northern Wei. Thus there is some unofficial overlap with the era of the Sixteen Kingdoms.