Sunday, October 9, 2011

Early History

3. Xianbei confederation

The Xianbei state or Xianbei confederation existed in northern Manchuria and eastern Mongolia from 93 to 234 AD. They descended from the Donghu (literally: "Eastern Foreigners" or "Eastern 'Barbarians'") and spoke a Mongolic language.[3]
After the downfall of the Xiongnu, the Xianbei established domination in Mongolia starting from 93 AD. They consisted of Mongolic peoples and reached their height under the rule of Tanshihuai Khan (141-181). Tanshihuai was born in 141. According to the Hou Hanshu (the Book of the Later Han is one of the official Chinese historical works which was compiled by Fan Ye in the 5th century) his father Touluhou had been serving in the Southern Xiongnu army for three years. Returning from his military duties Touluhou was furious to discover that his wife had become pregnant and given birth to a son. He ordered the child put to death. His wife replied: “When I was walking through the open steppe a huge storm developed with much lightning and thunder. As I looked upward a piece of hail fell into my mouth, which I unknowingly swallowed. I soon found out I had gotten pregnant. After 10 months this son was born. This must be a child of wonder. It is better to wait and see what happens.” Touluhou did not heed her words, so Tanshihuai was brought up secretly in the ger (yurt) of relatives. When Tanshihuai was around 14 or 15 years old he had become brave and sturdy with talent and ability. Once people from another tribe robbed his maternal grandparent’s herds. Tanshihuai pursued them alone, fought the robbers and managed to retrieve all the lost herds. His fame spread rapidly among the Xianbei tribes and many came to respect and trust him. He then put some laws and regulations in force and decided between litigants. Nobody dared to violate those laws and regulations. Because of this, he was elected supreme leader of the Xianbei tribes at the age of 15 and established his ordo (palace) at Mount Darkhan. He defeated the Dingling (an ancient Siberian people. They originally lived on the bank of the Lena River in the area west of Lake Baikal) to the north (around Lake Baikal), Buyeo (an ancient Korean kingdom located from today's Manchuria to northern North Korea, from around the 2nd century BC to 494) to the east (north of Korea) and the Wusun (were a nomadic steppe people who originally lived in western Gansu in northwest China) to the west (Xinjiang-Shinjang  and Ili River in northwestern China). His empire stretched 7000 km and included all the lands of the former Xiongnu.
Tanshihuai died in 181 at the age of 40. The Xianbei state of Tanshihuai fragmented following the fall of Budugen (reigned 187-234), who was the younger brother of Kuitoi (reigned 185-187). Kuitou was the nephew of Tanshihuai's incapable son and successor Helian (reigned 181-185).
In 234 after the fall of the last Xianbei Khan Budugen (along with Kebineng) the Xianbei state began to split into a number of smaller independent domains. The 3rd century AD saw both the fragmentation of the Xianbei Empire in 235 and the branching out of the various Xianbei tribes later to establish significant empires of their own. The most prominent branches are the Murong, Tuoba, Khitan, Shiwei and Rouran.

4. Rouran Khaganate
Rouran, Mongolia name Jujan or Nirun, was the name of a confederation of nomadic tribes on the northern borders of Inner China from the late 4th century until the middle 6th century. The Rouran were a confederation led by Mongolic Xianbei people who remained in the Mongolian steppes after most Xianbei migrated south to Northern China and set up various kingdoms. They were first noted as having defeated the Tiele (a confederation of nine Turkic peoples  living to the north of China and in Central Asia, emerging after the disintegration of the Xiongnu confederacy. Chinese sources associate them with the earlier Dingling people.).
The Rouran controlled the area of Mongolia from the Manchurian border to Turpan (an oasis county-level city in Turpan Prefecture, in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China.)  and, perhaps, the east coast of Lake Balkhash, and from the Orkhon River to China Proper (also Inner China or Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western writers on the Qing Dynasty to express a distinction between the core and frontier regions of China.). Their ancestor Mugulu is said to have been originally a slave of the Tuoba tribes (a clan of the Xianbei people in the early centuries of the 1st millennium AD. They established the State of Dai from 310 to 376 AD, and the Northern Wei Dynasty from 386 to 536 AD. Distribution of Xianbei people ranged from present day Manchuria to Mongolia, and the Tuoba clan was one of the largest clans among western Xianbei clans, ranging from present day Shanxi province and westward and northwestward. Tuoba clan was awarded by Chinese rulers as the leader of western Xianbei clans), situated at the north banks of Yellow River Bend (the second-longest river in China (after the Yangtze) and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of 5,464 kilometers (3,395 mi).). Mugulu's descendant Yujiulü Shelun is said to be the first chieftain who was able to unify the Rouran tribes and to found the power of the Rouran by defeating the Tiele and Xianbei. Shelun was also the first of the steppe peoples to adopt the title of khagan) in 402, originally a title of Xianbei nobility. Yujiulü Shelun was khagan of the Rouran from 402 to 410. He came to power after his father Heduohan was defeated and killed by the Touba Northern Wei. In 508, the Tiele defeated the Rouran in battle. In 516, the Rouran defeated the Tiele.
After a marriage proposal to the Rouran was rebuffed, the Tujue joined with the Western Wei, successor state to the Northern Wei, and revolted against the Rouran. In 555, they beheaded 3,000 Rouran. Some scholars claim that the Rouran then fled west across the steppes and became the Avars, though many other scholars contest this claim. Little is known of the Rouran ruling elite, which the Book of Wei (a classic Chinese historical writing compiled by Wei Shou from 551 to 554,) cited as an offshoot of the Xianbei.

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