Manchuria (simplified Chinese: 满洲; traditional Chinese: 滿洲; pinyin: Mǎnzhōu) is a modern name given to a large geographic region in Northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria usually234 falls entirely within China, or is sometimes divided between China and Russia. The region is now usually referred to as Northeast China (simplified Chinese: 东北; traditional Chinese: 東北; pinyin: Dōngběi) in China although "Manchuria" is widely used outside of China to denote the geographical and historical region. This region is the traditional homeland of the Xianbei, Khitan, and Jurchen peoples, who built several states historically. (The Jurchen, later called the Manchus, are those after whom Manchuria is named.)
Manchuria can refer to any one of several regions of various size. These are, from smallest to largest:
- Northeast China (Dongbei): consisting of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning provinces.
- Inner Manchuria: the above, plus parts of modern Inner Mongolia (Hulunbuir, Hinggan, Tongliao, and Chifeng divisions);
- The above, plus Outer Manchuria (Russian Manchuria): the area from the Amur and Ussuri rivers to the Stanovoy Mountains and the Sea of Japan. In Russian administrative terms, Primorsky Krai, southern Khabarovsk Krai, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast and Amur Oblast. These were part of Manchu China according to the Treaty of Nerchinsk of 1689, but were ceded to Russia by the Treaty of Aigun (1858).
- The above, plus Sakhalin Island, which is generally included on Qing Dynasty maps as part of Outer Manchuria even though it is not explicitly mentioned in the Treaty of Nerchinsk. The island was also included in Manchuria on maps made by the Japanese Shogunate and Russian Empire. Despite maps and empires, the island was inhabited by Ainu people until Soviet Russia enforced an evacuation policy after 1945.
Three centuries and a half must now pass away before entering upon the next act of the Manchu drama. The Nü-chêns had been scotched, but not killed, by their Mongol conquerors, who, one hundred and thirty-four years later (1368), were themselves driven out of China, a pure native dynasty being re-established under the style of Ming, "Bright." During the ensuing two hundred years the Nü-chêns were scarcely heard of, the House of Ming being busily occupied in other directions. Their warlike spirit, however, found scope and nourishment in the expeditions organised against Japan and Tan-lo, or Quelpart, as named by the Dutch, a large island to the south of the Korean peninsula; while on the other hand the various tribes scattered over a portion of the territory known to Europeans as Manchuria, availed themselves of long immunity from attack by the Chinese to advance in civilization and prosperity. It may be noted here that "Manchuria" is unknown to the Chinese or to the Manchus themselves as a geographical expression. The present extensive home of the Manchus is usually spoken of as the Three Eastern Provinces, namely, (1) Shêngking, or Liao-tung, or Kuan-tung, (2) Kirin, and (3) Heilungchiang or Tsitsihar. — Herbert A. Giles, China and the Manchus, 19125
"Manchuria" is a translation of the Japanese word Manshū, which dates from the 19th century. The name Manju (Manzhou) was invented and given to the Jurchen people by Hong Taiji in 1635 as a new name for their ethnic group; however, the name "Manchuria" was never used by the Manchus or the Qing dynasty itself to refer to their homeland. According to the Japanese scholar Junko Miyawaki-Okada, the Japanese geographer Takahashi Kageyasu was the first to use the term 满洲 (Manshū) as a place name in 1809 in the Nippon Henkai Ryakuzu, and it was from that work that Westerners adopted the name.67 According to Mark C. Elliott, Katsuragawa Hoshū's 1794 work, the "Hokusa bunryaku", was where 满洲 (Manshū) first appeared as a place name was in two maps included in the work, "Ashia zenzu" and "Chikyū hankyū sōzu" which were also created by Katsuragawa.8 满洲 (Manshū) then began to appear as a place names in more maps created by Japanese like Kondi Jūzō, Takahashi Kageyasu, Baba Sadayoshi and Yamada Ren, and these maps were brought to Europe by the Dutch Philipp von Siebold.9 According to Nakami Tatsuo, Philip Franz von Siebold was the one who brought the usage of the term Manchuria to Europeans after borrowing it from the Japanese, who were the first to use it in a geographic manner in the eighteenth century although neither the Manchu nor Chinese languages had a term in their own language equivalent to "Manchuria" as a geographic place name.10 According to Bill Sewell, it was Europeans who first started using the name Manchuria to refer to the location and it is "not a genuine geographic term".11 The historian Gavan McCormack agreed with Robert H. G. Lee's statement that "The term Manchuria or Man-chou is a modern creation used mainly by westerners and Japanese", with McCormack writing that the term Manchuria is imperialistic in nature and has no "precise meaning" since the Japanese deliberately promoted the use of "Manchuria" as a geographic name to promote its separation from China at the time they were setting up their puppet state of Manchukuo.12 The Japanese had their own motive for deliberately spreading the usage of the term Manchuria.13 The historian Norman Smith wrote that "The term 'Manchuria' is controversial".14 Professor Mariko Asano Tamanoi said that she "should use the term in quotation marks" when referring to Manchuria.15 In his 2012 dissertation on the Jurchen people to obtain a Doctor of Philosophy degree in History from the University of Washington, Professor Chad D. Garcia noted that usage of the term "Manchuria" is out of favor in "current scholarly practice" and that he had ceased using the term, instead using "the northeast" or referring to specific geographical features.16
In the 18th-century Europe, the region later known as "Manchuria" was most commonly referred to as "[Chinese] Tartary". However, the term Manchuria (Mantchourie, in French) started appearing by the end of the century; French missionaries used it as early as 1800.17 The French-based geographers Conrad Malte-Brun and Edme Mentelle promoted the use of the term Manchuria (Mantchourie, in French), along with "Mongolia", "Kalmykia", etc., as more precise terms than Tartary, in their world geography work published in 1804.18
During the Qing dynasty, the area of Manchuria was known as the "three eastern provinces" (san dong sheng) 三東省 since 1683 when Jilin and Heilongjiang were separated even though it was not until 1907 that they were turned into actual provinces.19 The area of Manchuria was then converted into three provinces by the late Qing government in 1907. Since then, the phrase "Three Northeast Provinces" (traditional Chinese: 東北三省; simplified Chinese: 东北三省; pinyin: Dōngběi Sānshěng) was officially used by the Qing government in China to refer to this region, and the post of Viceroy of Three Northeast Provinces was established to take charge of these provinces. After the 1911 revolution, which resulted in the collapse of the Manchu-established Qing Dynasty, the name of the region where the Manchus originated was known as "the Northeast" in official documents in the newly founded Republic of China, in addition to the "Three Northeast Provinces".
In current Chinese parlance, an inhabitant of "the Northeast", or Northeast China, is a "Northeasterner" (Dōngběi rén). "The Northeast" is a term that expresses the entire region, encompassing its history, culture, traditions, dialects, cuisines and so forth, as well as the "Three East Provinces" or "Three Northeast Provinces". In China, the term Manchuria (traditional Chinese: 滿洲; simplified Chinese: 满洲; pinyin: Mǎnzhōu) is rarely used today, and the term is often negatively associated with the Japanese imperial legacy in the puppet state of Manchukuo (traditional Chinese: 滿洲國; simplified Chinese: 满洲国; pinyin: Mǎnzhōuguó).2021
Manchuria has historically also been referred to as Guandong (traditional Chinese: 關東; simplified Chinese: 关东; pinyin: Guāndōng), which literally means "east of the pass", a reference to Shanhai Pass in Qinhuangdao in today's Hebei province, at the eastern end of the Great Wall of China. This usage is seen in the expression Chuǎng Guāndōng (literally "Rushing into Guandong") referring to the mass migration of Han Chinese to Manchuria in the 19th and 20th centuries. An alternate name, Guanwai (關外; 关外; Guānwài; "outside of the pass"), was also used for the region. The name Guandong later came to be used more narrowly for the area of the Kwantung Leased Territory on the Liaodong Peninsula.
Manchuria consists mainly of the northern side of the funnel-shaped North China Craton, a large area of tilled and overlaid Precambrian rocks spanning 100 million hectares. The North China Craton was an independent continent before the Triassic period and is known to have been the northernmost piece of land in the world during the Carboniferous. The Khingan Mountains in the west are a Jurassic23 mountain range formed by the collision of the North China Craton with the Siberian Craton, which marked the final stage of the formation of the supercontinent Pangaea.
No part of Manchuria was glaciated during the Quaternary, but the surface geology of most of the lower-lying and more fertile parts of Manchuria consists of very deep layers of loess, which have been formed by wind-borne movement of dust and till particles formed in glaciated parts of the Himalayas, Kunlun Shan and Tien Shan, as well as the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts.24 Soils are mostly fertile Mollisols and Fluvents except in the more mountainous parts where they are poorly developed Orthents, as well as in the extreme north where permafrost occurs and Orthels dominate.25
The climate of Manchuria has extreme seasonal contrasts, ranging from humid, almost tropical heat in the summer to windy, dry, Arctic cold in the winter. This pattern occurs because the position of Manchuria on the boundary between the great Eurasian continental landmass and the huge Pacific Ocean causes complete monsoonal wind reversal.
In the summer, when the land heats faster than the ocean, low pressure forms over Asia and warm, moist south to southeasterly winds bring heavy, thundery rain, yielding annual rainfall ranging from 400 mm (16 in.), or less in the west, to over 1150 mm (45 in.) in the Changbai Mountains.26 Temperatures in the summer are very warm to hot, with July average maxima ranging from 31 °C (88 °F) in the south to 24 °C (75 °F) in the extreme north.27 Except in the far north near the Amur River, high humidity causes major discomfort at this time of year.
In the winter, however, the vast Siberian High causes very cold, north to northwesterly winds that bring temperatures as low as −5 °C (23 °F) in the extreme south and −30 °C (−22 °F) in the north28 where the zone of discontinuous permafrost reaches northern Heilongjiang. However, because the winds from Siberia are exceedingly dry, snow falls only on a few days every winter, and it is never heavy. This explains why corresponding latitudes of North America were fully glaciated during glacial periods of the Quaternary while Manchuria, though even colder, always remained too dry to form glaciers29 – a state of affairs enhanced by stronger westerly winds from the surface of the ice sheet in Europe.
Manchuria was the homeland of several ethnic groups, including the Manchu, Ulchs and Hezhen. Various ethnic groups and their respective kingdoms, including the Sushen, Donghu, Xianbei, Wuhuan, Mohe, Khitan and Jurchens have risen to power in Manchuria. At various times in this time period, Han Dynasty, Cao Wei Dynasty, Western Jin Dynasty, Tang Dynasty and some other minor kingdoms of China established control in parts of Manchuria and in some cases tributary relations with peoples in the area.30 Various kingdoms of Korea such as Gojoseon, Buyeo, Goguryeo and Balhae were also established in parts of this area. Finnish linguist Juha Janhunen believes that it was likely that a "Tungusic-speaking elite" ruled Goguryeo and Balhae, describing them as "protohistorical Manchurian states" with part of their population Tungusic, and that the area of southern Manchuria was the origin of Tungusic peoples and was inhabited continuously by them since ancient times. Janhunen rejected opposing theories of Goguryeo and Balhae's ethnic composition.31 With the Song Dynasty to the south, the Khitan people of Inner Mongolia created the Liao Empire in the region, which went on to control adjacent parts of Northern China as well. The Khitan Empire was the first state to control all of Manchuria.3233
In the early 12th century the Tungusic Jurchen people, who were Liao's tributaries, overthrew the Liao and formed the Jin Dynasty (1115–1234), which went on to control parts of Northern China and Mongolia after a series of successful military campaigns. During the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368),34 Manchuria was administered under the Liaoyang province. In 1375, Nahacu, a Mongol official of the Northern Yuan in Liaoyang province invaded Liaodong, but later surrendered to the Ming Dynasty in 1387. In order to protect the northern border areas, the Ming decided to "pacify" the Jurchens in order to deal with its problems with Yuan remnants along its northern border. The Ming solidified control over Manchuria under the Yongle Emperor (1402–1424), establishing the Nurgan Regional Military Commission. Starting in the 1580s, a Jianzhou Jurchen chieftain, Nurhaci (1558–1626), started to unify Jurchen tribes of the region. Over the next several decades, the Jurchen took control of most of Manchuria. In 1616, Nurhaci founded the Later Jin Dynasty.
Chinese cultural and religious influence such as Chinese New Year, the "Chinese god", motifs such as the dragon, spirals, and scrolls, agriculture, husbandry, methods of heating, and material goods such as iron cooking pots, silk, and cotton spread among the Amur natives including the Udeghes, Ulchis, and Nanais.35
In 1644, after the Ming Dynasty's capital of Beijing was sacked by the peasant rebels, the Jurchens (now called Manchus) allied with Ming general Wu Sangui and seized control of Beijing, overthrowing the short-lived Shun Dynasty and establishing Qing Dynasty rule (1644–1912) over all of China. The Willow Palisade was a system of ditches and embankments built by the Qing Dynasty during the later 17th century to restrict the movement of Han civilians into Jilin and Heilongjiang.36 Only bannermen, including Chinese bannermen, were allowed to settle in Jilin and Heilongjiang.
After conquering the Ming, the Qing identified their state as "China" (中國, Zhongguo; "Middle Kingdom"), and referred to it as "Dulimbai Gurun" in Manchu.373839 The Qing equated the lands of the Qing state (including Manchuria and present-day Xinjiang, Mongolia, Tibet and other areas) as "China" in both the Chinese and Manchu languages, defining China as a multi-ethnic state, rejecting the idea that China only meant Han areas, proclaiming that both Han and non-Han peoples were part of "China", and using "China" to refer to the Qing in official documents, international treaties, and foreign affairs. The term "Chinese language" (Dulimbai gurun i bithe) referred to Chinese, Manchu, and Mongol languages, and the term "Chinese people" (中國人 Zhongguo ren; Manchu: Dulimbai gurun i niyalma) referred to all Han, Manchus, and Mongol subjects of the Qing. The lands in Manchuria were explicitly stated by the Qing to belong to "China" (Zhongguo, Dulimbai gurun) in Qing edicts and in the Treaty of Nerchinsk.40
Han Chinese farmers were resettled from north China by the Qing to the area along the Liao River in order to restore the land to cultivation.41 Wasteland was reclaimed by Han Chinese squatters in addition to other Han who rented land from Manchu landlords.42 Despite officially prohibiting Han Chinese settlement on Manchu and Mongol lands, by the 18th century the Qing decided to settle Han refugees from northern China who were suffering from famine, floods, and drought into Manchuria and Inner Mongolia, so that Han Chinese farmed 500,000 hectares in Manchuria and tens of thousands of hectares in Inner Mongolia by the 1780s.43 Qianlong allowed Han Chinese peasants suffering from drought to move into Manchuria despite his having issued edicts in favor of banning them from 1740–1776.44 Chinese tenant farmers rented or even claimed title to land from the "imperial estates" and Manchu Bannerlands in the area.45 Besides moving into the Liao area in southern Manchuria, the path linking Jinzhou, Fengtian, Tieling, Changchun, Hulun, and Ningguta was settled by Han Chinese during Qianlong Emperor's rule, and Han Chinese were the majority in urban areas of Manchuria by 1800.46 To increase the Imperial Treasury's revenue, the Qing sold formerly Manchu-only lands along the Sungari to Han Chinese at the beginning of the Daoguang Emperor's reign, and Han Chinese filled up most of Manchuria's towns by the 1840s, according to Abbe Huc.47
The Russian conquest of Siberia was accompanied by massacres due to indigenous resistance to colonization by the Russian Cossacks, who savagely crushed the natives. At the hands of people like Vasilii Poyarkov in 1645 and Yerofei Khabarov in 1650 some peoples like the Daur were slaughtered by the Russians to the extent that it is now considered to have been genocide.48 The Daurs initially deserted their villages since they heard about the cruelty of the Russians the first time Khabarov came.49 The second time he came, the Daurs decided to do battle against the Russians instead but were slaughtered by Russian guns.50 The indigenous peoples of the Amur region were attacked by Russians who came to be known as "red-beards".51 The Russian Cossacks were named luocha (羅剎), after Demons found in Buddhist mythology, by the Amur natives because of their cruelty towards the Amur tribes people, who were subjects of the Qing.52 The Russian proselytization of Orthodox Christianity to the indigenous peoples along the Amur River was viewed as a threat by the Qing.53
In 1858, a weakening Qing Empire was forced to cede Manchuria north of the Amur to Russia under the Treaty of Aigun. In 1860, at the Treaty of Peking, the Russians managed to obtain a further large slice of Manchuria, east of the Ussuri River. As a result, Manchuria was divided into a Russian half known as "Outer Manchuria", and a remaining Chinese half known as "Inner Manchuria". In modern literature, "Manchuria" usually refers to Inner (Chinese) Manchuria.citation needed As a result of the Treaties of Aigun and Peking, China lost access to the Sea of Japan.
Inner Manchuria also came under strong Russian influence with the building of the Chinese Eastern Railway through Harbin to Vladivostok. In the Chuang Guandong movement, many Han farmers, mostly from the Shandong peninsula moved there. By 1921, Harbin, northern Manchuria's largest city, had a population of 300,000, including 100,000 Russians.54 Japan replaced Russian influence in the southern half of Inner Manchuria as a result of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904–1905. Most of the southern branch of the Chinese Eastern Railway was transferred from Russia to Japan, and became the South Manchurian Railway. Japanese influence extended into Outer Manchuria in the wake of the Russian Revolution of 1917, but Outer Manchuria had reverted to Soviet control by 1925. Manchuria was an important region for its rich mineral and coal reserves, and its soil is perfect for soy and barley production. For pre–World War II Japan, Manchuria was an essential source of raw materials. Without occupying Manchuria, the Japanese probably could not have carried out their plan for conquest over Southeast Asia or taken the risk to attack Pearl Harbor and the British Empire in 1941.55
It was reported that among Banner people, both Manchu and Chinese (Hanjun) in Aihun, Heilongjiang in the 1920s, would seldom marry with Han civilians, but they (Manchu and Chinese Bannermen) would mostly intermarry with each other.56 Owen Lattimore reported that during his January 1930 visit to Manchuria, he studied a community in Jilin (Kirin), where both Manchu and Chinese bannermen were settled at a town called Wulakai, and eventually the Chinese Bannermen there could not be differentiated from Manchus since they were effectively Manchufied. The Han civilian population was in the process of absorbing and mixing with them when Lattimore wrote his article.57
Around the time of World War I, Zhang Zuolin established himself as a powerful warlord with influence over most of Manchuria. During his rule, the Manchurian economy grew tremendously, backed by immigration of Chinese from other parts of China. The Japanese assassinated him on June 2, 1928, in what is known as the Huanggutun Incident.58 Following the Mukden Incident in 1931 and the subsequent Japanese invasion of Manchuria, the Japanese declared Inner Manchuria an "independent state", and appointed the deposed Qing emperor Puyi as puppet emperor of Manchukuo. Under Japanese control Manchuria was one of the most brutally run regions in the world, with a systematic campaign of terror and intimidation against the local Russian and Chinese populations including arrests, organised riots and other forms of subjugation.59 Manchukuo was used as a base to invade the rest of China.
After the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan in 1945, the Soviet Union invaded from Soviet Outer Manchuria as part of its declaration of war against Japan. Soon afterwards, the Chinese communists and nationalists started fighting for control over Manchuria. The communists won in the Liaoshen Campaign and took complete control over Manchuria. With the encouragement of the Soviet Union, Manchuria was then used as a staging ground during the Chinese Civil War for the Communist Party of China, which emerged victorious in 1949. Ambiguities in the treaties that ceded Outer Manchuria to Russia led to dispute over the political status of several islands. This led to armed conflict in 1969, called the Sino-Soviet border conflict. In 2004, Russia agreed to transfer Yinlong Island and one half of Heixiazi Island to the PRC, ending an enduring border dispute.
- E.g. Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, Volumes 11-12, 1867, p. 162
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- McCormack 1977, p. 4.
- Pʻan 1938, p. 8.
- Smith 2012, p. 219.
- Tamanoi 2000, p. 249.
- Garcia 2012, p. 15.
- "Mantchourie" appearing among the name of Jesuit missionary districts in China, with 10,000 Christians, in: Annales de l'Oeuvre de la Sainte Enfance 18, 1800, p. 161
- «Les provinces tributaires du nord ou la Mantchourie, la Mongolie, la Kalmouquie, le Sifan, la Petit Bucharie, et autres pays vulgairement compris sous la fausse dénomination de TARTARIE», in: Mentelle, Edme; Brun, Malte (1804), Géographie mathématique, physique & politique de toutes les parties du monde 12, H. Tardieu, p. 144
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- Pozzi & Janhunen & Weiers 2006, p. 109
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- Patricia Ann Berger – Empire of emptiness: Buddhist art and political authority in Qing China, p.25
- Forsyth 1994, p. 214.
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- Hauer 2007, p. 117.
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- Reardon-Anderson 2000, p. 504.
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