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Bai Yue


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I looked at the Han boundary map in the current issue of National Geographic magazine.

Apparently they have done some research by correctly delineating the Han Empire boundary at it peak (Wu ti reign).

The northern boundary covered up till the present-day border between Mongolia Republic and PRC. Yin Shan in Inner Mongolia was within Han border and the whole section of present day Great Wall was way inside Han territory.

The western boundary was as west as the Fergana Valley which belongs to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan today.

The eastern boundary was as east as present day Seoul.

The southern boundary outreached as far as the Red Ruver Valley.

But on the southeastern side, there was a region marked with big white hole (indicating that it was not under Han rule) which encompassed today's Fujian and Jiangxi and was named Bai Yue.

Was the map correct about Bai Yue?

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the bai (one hundred) yue included several districts (kingdoms) of which the 4 most important were nan yue, min yue, western and eastern ou. i haven't seen a map of these areas, but my understanding is that they included parts of modern day fujian, zhejiang, guangxi, guangdong and the hong river plain, etc.

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at han wudi's time its already very different.

yue is not a country by itself, but a geographical term. anyone ever wonder why the term 'yue' is used? it means 'beyond'. beyond what? beyond the administrative boundaries of the zhou people.

in the admin records of zhou, the country is divided into 9 layers, like boxes within boxes(ancient chinese believed the land is flat and square). the core part, the smallest box that is, is the capital, or '王畿', then followed by a bigger box, 侯, then 甸, 男... all the way to 蛮, 夷, 镇, 蕃, 9 layers in total. each area represents a certain distance from the capital. the last line 蕃 is within the borders of present republic of mongolia(but not all of it). 'yue' is the area 'beyond' the distance of 9 layers, so its called yue. the different yues are not a single tribe. all the different yues are of different origins, and are different from present vietnamese.

during han dynasty the chinese had conquered much lands so the traditional southern yue becomes part of the empire. but the eastern side might not be. there are still dongyue during early years of han dynasty. i dont know how ur map is like so i cannot comment much.

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Concerning Vietnam, the Bai Yue 白粤 (Bách Việt) period correspond for most part to a legendary period.

What is certain is the annexion of the kingdom of 瓯雒 (Ou1 Luo4 / Âu Lạc nowadays Northern Vietnam) by 赵佗 Zhao4 Tuo2 founder of Nan2 Yue4 (南越) in 207 BC. This kingdom was conquered by Han Wudi in 111 BC.

The Min1 Yue4 and Dong1 Yue4 were also conquered within a few years later .

So under Han Wudi, all the regions corresponding to the Bai Yue have been annexed. I don't know why the National Geographic magazine map is unclear about these facts.

According to the Vietnamese traditions, the Vietnamese people was among the tribes which formed the hundred Yue, the name 瓯雒 Ou1 Luo4 was itself formed by Ou1 Yue - Luo4 Yue.

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I think Hmongs are claiming Southern China as their ancestral land, too.

To express a fact is not to claim the "ancestral" lands. The fact that the Celts came from Russia or Ukraine does not mean that Welsh or Scots are claiming their ancestral lands.

The Thaï-Lao peoples (in THailand, Laos) and tribes , Vietnam came from Yunnan recently (12th or 13th century): that's a fact. Does that imply they're claiming their ancestral lands?

A fact is in human history, migrations have always occured, and still occur.

I know now our common ancestors came from Africa some 30000 years ago :roll: ...

Did Vietnam historians relate the ancient Vietnam to the Yue kingdom that was set up in the Lower Yangtze Delta (current Jiangsu) during the Spring and Autumn period?

I think this question is still a hot debate even among Chinese historians. The fact is that after the destruction of the Yue 越 kingdom' date=' the descendants of 勾践 Gou1 Jian4 fled to the South, towards the regions occupied by the 粤 tribes, and founded kingdoms there. I think the fusion between 粤/越 came from there.

An interesting link on that subjet:


For the Vietnamese, the GouJian's kingdom of 越 has always been considered a Chinese kingdom, although GouJian's story is quite popular in Vietnam.

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[The Thaï-Lao peoples (in THailand, Laos) and tribes , Vietnam came from Yunnan recently

It should be read (typing mistake):

The Thaï-Lao peoples (in THailand, Laos) and Tay tribes in Vietnam came from Yunnan recently

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To express a fact is not to claim the "ancestral" lands. The fact that the Celts came from Russia or Ukraine does not mean that Welsh or Scots are claiming their ancestral lands.

The Thaï-Lao peoples (in THailand, Laos) and tribes , Vietnam came from Yunnan recently (12th or 13th century): that's a fact. Does that imply they're claiming their ancestral lands?

A fact is in human history, migrations have always occured, and still occur.

I know now our common ancestors came from Africa some 30000 years ago ...

My Hmong friends said 战国时的楚国 and all south to it were Hmong territories, and 蚩尤 from 黄帝's period was their ancestor. They could be facts, but I remain to be convinced.

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Actually it is reasonable to assume that most of the ethnic groups in SE Asia used to live in China a long time ago. But due to the "crowding out" effect, some of them were assimilated while some of them were gradually being pushed towards SE Asia where they currently inhabit now.

Some resilient ethnic groups, like the Vietnamese, became stumbling block of further southward push by Chinese population.

But if the southward push is compared with the northern push, the former process has been more peaceful, gradual and subtle.

Even in mid-Qing period, there were still tribal groups in provinces like Yunnan and Guangxi. The Court had to adopt policy like promoting tribal chieftain as local officials.

By the way, there are also dozens of minority groups in Vietnam nowadays. These groups, like Hmong, reside in the northern and western hilly region of the country.

In China, Vietnamese is counted as one of the minority groups which official name is "jing" (Jing as in Beijing).

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since the nan yue thread has been closed, the bai yue which is a broader subject seems to have replaced it and we are talking about vietnam here now...i thought i would add some more info. regarding vietnam.

i don't know if any 'vietnamese' scholars still advocate any origin of the vietnamese to be within the borders of modern day china. if they do, then they are smoking opium - living in a past that never existed. the archaelogical evidence shows that the hong and ma river plains had a long progression of 2 cultures side by side from the 3rd millenium B.C. up to around the 7th century B.C. when they united to become what we call the Dong-Son culture.

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I've written that the periods before the Chinese conquest (around 200 BC) belong to the legendary period.

If you ask any Vietnamese, he would say that he or she is a descendant of a dragon and a fairy (con rồng cháu tiên) who gave birth to 100 eggs, the Bách Việt. One of these eggs was Hùng Vương, the founder of Văn Lang.

Every year, even in nowadays Vietnam, the memory of the First king Hùng Vương is solemnly celebrated.

Even if it is a legend an a myth, it is the founding myth of Vietnam, like those of other countries, and the Hùng Vương era is used nowadays by Vietnamese historians to design the period before the Han conquest.

Aarcheological research done by Vietnamese historians concern naturally what is geographically present day Vietnam, and concern the people who lived there at the moment. What is found in a region (Phùng Nguyên, Đông Sơn, Óc Eo) gives the name to the period.

But before the chinese conquest, there was no written record (except a few inscriptions still undeciphered ) of historical events. So we don't even know how they called themselves.

What is certain is that the term Bai Yue is a chinese word which designated all the non-chinese tribes beyond the (Zhou's) borders. It was a more polite word (The Zhou knew the rites...) than (Xiao)Nan Man I've seen recently.

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what is the date of viet su luoc (which records the earliest historical events in a vietnamese source)? it records the founding of the hung kings (van lang)...in other words the beginning of dong-son or lac-viet. its fairly consersative in its dating of events in comparison to some vietnamese texts which had imagined these events to have taken place in the 3rd millenium B.C. (i.e. a socio-political agenda to place the founding of vietnam before the neolithic beginnings of chinese history) - and in hindsight is quite close in dating the rise of the hung kings (from tradition) tied to dates of the (chinese) zhou king, chuang, (reign dates, circa 696-682 B.C.) to the archaeological evidence of the rise of the dong-son culture during the 7th century B.C.

edit: i guess i am pinning down some dates on it now...never mind. hehe.

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The earliest Vietnamese History book was finished in 1272: Đại Việt Sử Ký 大越史紀 by Lê Văn Hưu 黎文休 and it didn't mention the legendary period.

The Hùng Vương era was added in later History books (books before the 20th century )and only contained legends and oral traditions about that prehistoric preriod.

The (Đại) Việt Sử Lược (大)越史略 was written (unknown author) under the same dynasty (Trần 陳 1225-1400). Whether it was earlier than the above-mentioned Đại Việt Sử Ký is still unclear.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Of course, there are many theories about the origins of Vietnamese people: from the North, the East, the South, the Sea, or from nowhere but the land itself?

The last theory may be both more nationalistic and diplomatically-safe 8) , but the lest realistic, because human history is a history of migrations and what goes with it.

For those who are interested, there is a big Web portal with a Chinese interface to numerous sources (Vietnamese, Chinese,American,etc...) related to Vietnam (history, language, litterature, arts, etc...):


containing many interesting documents in Vietnamese, Chinese/Sino-Vietnamese, and English.

(Sometimes, you must have the right font files to view the Vietnamese words correctly)

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