Jump to content
Chinese-forums.com
Learn Chinese in China

Mongols who returned to China after 500 years


Ian_Lee

Recommended Posts

I read Taiwanese writer Bak Yang's book which mentioned about a Mongol tribe who returned to China after 500 years dwelling on foreign soil.

They belonged to one group of the Mongols that inhabit in Xinjiang nowadays.

Their ancestors were soldiers that followed Genghis Khan whom conquered Russia in the 1200s. Un 1230s, the Golden Horde was established with its base in the Volga River Basin.

But after 500 years, the Golden Horde had long shattered and the rise of Muscovy and Ottoman Empire turned the remaining Mongols sufferers instead of conquerors.

So by the middle of 18th century, these residual Mongols in the Volga found the life intolerable and petitioned Emperor Qian Long for permission to let them settle back in China.

Qian Long granted their request and these Mongols started the long journey.

Along the way, they were harassed by Cossacks and Tatars and their population reduced by half when they finally came home.

In 1770, they arrived in present day Xinjiang and settled there.

Unfortunately there had been no travel journal. I think the exodus should be more overwhelming than the Long March.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.

Do you mean the Kalmyks? There are still lots of them in the lower Volga region, and they have an Autonomous Region near the Volga delta. My lexicon says that they only migrated there in the 17th century, and a great part returned from where they had come from in the late 18th century.

These two articles basically say the same:

http://www.encyclopedia4u.com/o/oyirad.html

http://www.encyclopedia4u.com/k/kalmykia.html

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yan:

Thanks for your information. The Mongols that had returned to China might be the Kalmyks (in Russian term) your articles refer to.

But actually there is slight difference in the two articles about the duration that these Mongols had settled in Europe.

The first article:

A nomad horde that had previously ventured as far as the North Caucasus, namely the Kalmuks, broke up in the 1700s. Some, including the Turgut branch, returned to Jungaria and Kazakhstan and was accomodated by Qianlong Emperor.

The second article:

The Kalmyk people originated in Asia —they reached Europe when Genghis Khan created his Mongol empire. When the empire broke up and many people returned to Asia, a few Kalmyks remained. Kalmykia was formed as an independent nation at the beginning of the 15th century.

Some who settled in Kalmykia returned to Jungaria (now Kyrgyzstan and Xinjiang province in China) due to Russian and German expansion in the mid-17th century.

It looks like indeed that those Mongols who returned to China in 1770 might be the original warriors that accompanied Genghis Khan to Europe in 1200s per second article.

Link to post
Share on other sites
It looks like indeed that those Mongols who returned to China in 1770 might be the original warriors that accompanied Genghis Khan to Europe in 1200s per second article.

Are you ridiculous? if the mongols that returned to china in the 1770s are the original warriors that accompanied Genghis khan, they must be over 570 years old.......................

by the way...the mongols did not settle in europe...maybe they did at the very beginning, but after genghis khan died, the european expansion fell.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I posted the question on a Mongolia-related forum (www.mongolei.de -> forum), and the answer was that

1. The Golden Horde only formed an upper class in the areas they ruled, and got assimilated quite quickly. They vanished at the end of the 14th century, crushed between the Russians and Timur or Tamerlan.

2. After the Timuride empire fell, the Oirat Mongols began to fill the power vacuum in Central Asia, and by the 16th/17th century their empire reached from Outer Mongolia to western Kazakhstan and the lower Volga.

3. The Kalmyk are a part of the Turgut tribe of the Oirat Mongols. The Turgut helped the Dalai Lama in 1637 to establish his position in Tibet and had to flee westward after Qing troops occupied Tibet in 1718. They moved westward until the lower Volga region (quite a long way, if it is true), but were not very successful at establishing themselves there.

4. After their attempts to establish themselves on the Volga had failed, most Turguts tried to return to the East in 1771, and reached the Manchu empire eight months later completely stranded. The Qianlong emperor decided to have them provided with the most basic needs and settled in the Ili river area as a counterweight against the other Mongol tribes.

The Turguts who remained at the Volga became known as Kalmyk = those who stayed behind.

I will check it at the library tomorrow.

Link to post
Share on other sites

After reading in Rene Grousset's The Empire of the Steppes (New Brunswick 1970) I have to add some points :

1. The Golden Horde was indeed crucially weakened by the Russians and Tamerlan, but survived until the first half of the 15th century, when it split into three smaller Khanates: one around Kazan, one around Astrakhan (i.e. where the Kalmyks live today!), and one on the Crimea peninsula. But: in all of these Khanates, Mongols only formed a small elite, had converted to Islam and the states were completely 'turcizized', so these Khanates maybe were only as Mongolian as India under the Moghuls. The first two khanates were destroyed by Russia in the mid of the 16th century, while the Khanate on the Crimea confederated with Turkey and survived until the 18th century.

2. Would have to look it up in a historical atlas

3. The first Turguts migrated westward at the beginning of the 17th century because of the resurgence of Khalkha Mongols. They fought their way through several turcic khanates, looted cities on the way and finally settled in the regions north-west of the Caspian sea. Another wave of immigration to the lower Volga region took place after 1718 when the Turguts were expelled from Tibet.

They seem to have been Russian confederates against the (turcic) Muslim Khanates in the region most of the time between the early 1600s and 1771, but sometimes also attacked and looted Russian towns.

4. The remigration to the east might also have been caused by russian meddling in the Turgut's internal affairs.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yan:

Thanks for posting question in the German Language Mongolia website. Vielen Danke!

Did they ever discuss why the Khalka Mongols in (Outer) Mongolia sought independence but why the Chahar and Oirat Mongols didn't follow suit? Did they ever talk about those Mongols in Buryat Republic?

Actually I felt a little bit perplexed. Take Israel for example. After it became independent, many Jews from everywhere in the world went there even though their ancestors had left for centuries.

But apparently it is not the case with Mongolia.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Did they ever discuss why the Khalka Mongols in (Outer) Mongolia sought independence but why the Chahar and Oirat Mongols didn't follow suit?
Yes, I found a discussion thread started on April 20th, 2002 The most important points are that Inner Mongolia had become a de - facto province of China by the end of the 19th century, there was a massive Han - chinese immigration at the end of the 19th/ beginning of the 20th century, and Mongols had already become a minority in Inner Mongolia. The nobles of Inner Mongolia were against the communist and pro-soviet course the north took, and there were no real attempts to try to become independent, save for the activities of Teh Wang who collaborated with the Japanese and as far as I know also put up a puppet regime called Mengguguo.

I have read elsewhere that the Mongolian Revolutinary Peoples Army occupied parts of Inner Mongolia at the end of WW2 (The Mongolian Army had been part of the Soviet Manchurian offensive, on the right wing of the Soviet forces, heading towards Kalgan and then Beijing), and only left in 1947 after Stalin had really strongly urged them to do so. But I have yet to find a serious book to back this up.

The history of Outer Mongolia's independence is a bit complicated, one could say that Outer Mongolia switched from Manchu/Chinese domination to Russia and later the Soviet domination rather than becoming really independent. Many writers say that they only won independence in 1990. But the alliance with Russia saved them from losing their ethnic identity like many Mongols in Inner Mongolia have, it made it possible to preserve their nomadic lifestyle etc. Without it, the chances of ever becoming independent would have been much worse.

Of course, under such circumstances there would have been no point in asking Russia to give up Buryatia. On the contrary, Mongolia was very close to become another Socialist Soviet Republic at times (see the example of Tannu - Tuwa), but they somehow managed to avert this.

Actually I felt a little bit perplexed. Take Israel for example. After it became independent, many Jews from everywhere in the world went there even though their ancestors had left for centuries.

But apparently it is not the case with Mongolia.

Mongols have a long tradition of group egoism, fighting against each other etc. Maybe that could be an explanation. Or take look at Korea, Ireland and most former soviet republics. Maybe Mongolia just has more in common with them than with Israel.
Vielen Dank[!]
Gern geschehen :).
Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess the primary reason why Inner Mongolia didn't seek independence as Outer Mongolia did at the end of Qing Dynasty was due to the closer relationship those Mongol princes maintained with the Qing Court.

Inner Mongolia like Chahar had been subdued much earlier than Khalka in Outer Mongolia. In fact, they were drafted into the 8-Banner Army before the Manchus broke thru the Great Wall in 1644.

Through inner-marriage with Manchus, those Inner Mongolian princes were indeed parts of the establishment.

During Taiping revolt, one of the famous Qing General was a Mongol.

But here comes the problem.

When Qing collapsed in 1912, all the Inner Mongolian princes resided in Beijing, enjoying their decaying luxurious life by borrowing heavily from the financial institutions in Datong, Shanxi by using their land as collateral. The latter in turn leased them to Han immigrants for tilling.

So when the revolution came in 1912, the Mongols south of the Gobi were greatly outnumbered, had no leader and no land, and wasn't able to collaborate with those Mongols north of the Gobi.

Actually the same sinicization happened in Outer Mongolia but at a later and slower pace. The Han immigrants didn't arrive until early 1900s, concentrated in the area north of Urga (Ulan Bataar) and were all ousted in 1912.

Those financial institutions in Datong suffered a default of millions of taels by those princes in Outer Mongolia after independence.

A hard war was actually fought between the Chinese garrison and Mongols in 1912 at Uliastai with the former totally eliminated.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ian Lee: That is what I wanted to say :)

But it ignores the role russia took in the Outer Mongolia's struggle for independence. Also, under Yuan Shikai Chinese returned to Outer Mongolia in 1919, only to be driven out again by the 'mad baron' :? http://www.geocities.com/integral_tradition/ungern.html, who was then driven out by the red russians and the Mongol partisans under Sukhbataar.

Why had Hulunbuir which geographically belonged to Outer Mongolia become a part of Inner Mongolia instead?
As far as I know the difference between Inner and Outer Mongolia is that the banners of Inner Mongolia had become part of the Manchu empire in the 1630s.

Hulunbuir is very close to Manchuria, so I would suspect that the Hulunbuir Mongols were among the first Mongols to be incorporated into the Manchu state. But I'm just guessing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yan:

I dug up this from the internet and it seems that Hulunbuir's history during that period was more complicated than we think:

http://www.buckyogi.com/footnotes/natb.htm

Barga- also Hulunbuir. Barga is a region in northwestern Manchuria slightly larger than Illinois. It was a major goal of Russian expansionism during the early twentieth century, due to its abundant natural resources. While the area was under Chinese jurisdiction, many Russians emigrated to the area, and by the Chinese Revolution of 1911 outnumbered the Chinese, although not the native Mongols. As Chinese central authority collapsed, the Bargut Mongols (with a great deal of Russian "assistance") declared their independence, announcing their intention to join Mongolia. When Manchu troops were dispatched to Barga, they found that the Mongols had large stockpiles of Russian materiel, and Russian troops had entered the territory to train and assist the Bargut fighters. The Chinese were steadily pushed out of the province, and in March of 1912 Barga formally seceded. At this point, the Russians generously offered to step in as mediators. The weak Chinese Republic agreed to Russian conditions, and Barga was made an autonomous province, while the Russians gained a great deal of influence. At several times, Chinese troops entered Barga to test the Mongol defenses, and Russian troops intervened rapidly. Barga's autonomy was revoked in 1920, as Russian power in the east collapsed.

_______________________________

The year 1920 coincided with the time of 9-country intervention in Soviet Far East. It looked like that it was MarShal Chang Tso Lin who recovered the Hulunbuir from the Soviet influence.

By the way, when General Sui marched onto Urga in 1919, Yuan Shih Kai had died for some years.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm, I didn't know that. Of course it makes some sense with regard to the russian role in nearby Manchuria. But it is very interesting that they didn't gain independence, but the Khalkha did. Maybe the japanese influence got stronger than the russian one by 1920? I know that the communists in outer Mongolia always used the struggle against japanese influence as a pretext for purges. And I think the Barga Mongols took part in the 1939 Khalkh Gol war on the Japanese side, while the Khalkh mongols fought with the soviets (actually, the Japanese used territorial disputes between Khalkh and Bargut Mongols as a pretext for their campaign).

Of course the 'mad baron' gave the soviets a very strong reason to intervene in Outer Mongolia in 1921, which somehow lacked in Hulunbuir. And then they might just have sticked to the status quo.

By the way, when General Sui marched onto Urga in 1919, Yuan Shih Kai had died for some years.
:oops:
Link to post
Share on other sites

The Nomonhon battle of 1939 was not merely a test battle. Some historians consider it as the pivotal battle of WWII.

It was disguised as a border skirmish between MPR and Manchukuo. But actually it was a large scale clash between the Soviet Red Army and Kwantung.

Before this battle, there was always the argument of "North Advance" and "South Advance" within Japan's Army Department. But after this decisive battle, the Japanese military made up its mind to adopt the "South Advance" policy and attacked Pearl Harbor.

Worst of all, when Hilter conducted the "Barbarossa Operation" against USSR, Japan was too scared off to simultaneously attack Stalin even after repeated urge by Hilter.

The battle of Nomonhon was superficially related to where should the boundary lie between MPR and Manchukuo -- on the right bank or left bank of the Hulun River. But actually it was a step-up deliberate provocation by Kwantung Army to test Soviet strength.

Why did Kwantung Army want to test the Red Army?

It was because Stalin just purged extensively most of his top generals in the Red Army in 1938. However, General Zhukov was at Nomonhon during the provocation. A whole battlion of Kwantung Army was attacked from behind by the T-45 tanks.

Thousands of Japanese soldiers were held as POWs in Mongolia.

Nobody knew their fates since Kwantung Army never admitted their failure. Only until after WWII when new Japanese POWs got there did they realize that some Japanese had been incarcerated there for 6 years.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Nomonhon battle"

If I remember correctly, 村上春樹 has written about it after he visited the battlefield. He said that it was as if the battle had taken place just the day before because of all the tanks and weapons that had been left there. It seemed that he actually took some pictures there, IIRC.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Khalkhyn Gol or Normonhan battle was really about more than just a border dispute. The Japanese wouldn't have sent 80.000 soldiers for some thousand square kilometers of useless grassland. And the soviets wouldn't have sent their several ten thousand soldiers, tanks and planes and even build a railway link from the transsiberian to Bayantumen, or Choibalsan as it is called today.

Another thesis I have heard about the origins of the battle is that the Guandong army felt somehow neglected, that the officers were dissatisfied with the fact that the army was only equipped with bad and obsolete material etc. They thought a succesful provocation, like those others in Mukden or at the Marco Pole bridge that had worked so well before, might strengthen their prestige and quiet the 'strike south' faction. That would also fit into the japanese claims about the Guandong army acting on its own.

On the other hand I have read that the 'strike south' faction might knowingly have let the Guandong army run into the soviet (and Mongol) trap, in order to get rid of the 'strike north' faction. That would explain why Tokio didn't interfere with the campaign of the Guandong army.

Some people claim that Normonhan was the worst defeat the Japanese army ever suffered, the casualties might have been as high as 60000. It was also one of the first examples of combined arms tactics employed by the soviets.

It is not very surprising that the Japanese didn't dare to mess with the soviets again after this experience. Even less surprising that they didn't come to Hitler's help, since Nazi Germany had signed the non-aggression pact with Russia right in the midst of Japans battle against the soviets!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Skylee:

I think that the debris of the tanks and weapons are still there on the Mongolian side and even on the Chinese side after 65 years.

I have posed the question on lonelyplanet and some posters replied that they had visited the site by renting jeep in Manzhouli.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 11 months later...
I dug up this from the internet and it seems that Hulunbuir's history during that period was more complicated than we think:

http://www.buckyogi.com/footnotes/natb.htm

Barga- also Hulunbuir. Barga is a region in northwestern Manchuria slightly larger than Illinois. It was a major goal of Russian expansionism during the early twentieth century, due to its abundant natural resources. While the area was under Chinese jurisdiction, many Russians emigrated to the area, and by the Chinese Revolution of 1911 outnumbered the Chinese, although not the native Mongols. As Chinese central authority collapsed, the Bargut Mongols (with a great deal of Russian "assistance") declared their independence, announcing their intention to join Mongolia. When Manchu troops were dispatched to Barga, they found that the Mongols had large stockpiles of Russian materiel, and Russian troops had entered the territory to train and assist the Bargut fighters. The Chinese were steadily pushed out of the province, and in March of 1912 Barga formally seceded. At this point, the Russians generously offered to step in as mediators. The weak Chinese Republic agreed to Russian conditions, and Barga was made an autonomous province, while the Russians gained a great deal of influence. At several times, Chinese troops entered Barga to test the Mongol defenses, and Russian troops intervened rapidly. Barga's autonomy was revoked in 1920, as Russian power in the east collapsed.

_______________________________

The year 1920 coincided with the time of 9-country intervention in Soviet Far East. It looked like that it was MarShal Chang Tso Lin who recovered the Hulunbuir from the Soviet influence.

Another reason might be the treaty of Portsmouth and subsequent treaties after the Russo-Japanese War of 1905. Russia's zone of influence would be limited to Outer Mongolia, while Japan's zone of influence would consist of Korea, China's northeastern provinces, and Inner Mongolia.

Russian-backed Outer Mongolian troops operating in what Japan considered her zone of influence might lead to another confrontation with Japan, something Russia sought to avoid at all cost after the disaster of 1905. Outer Mongolia had sent troops into Inner Mongolia in 1912, but they were called back on Russian demand (they weren't particularly successful either).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...