History of Primorski Kraj in the Middle Ages

Publié le par Tiger LEE

VLADIVOSTOK and the FAR EAST PROVINCE The extreme southeast corner of Siberia, where it curves past the Amur River and down to the Golden Horn and the edge of Korea.

Previous to Russian annexation, this region was in the hands of Manchuria and local tribal peoples, for the most part.

The Mohe (靺鞨, Korean: Malgal, 말갈), were a Tungusic tribe in ancient Manchuria. They were sometimes considered the ancestors of modern-day Manchus. According to some records, they originally dwelt near the Liao River and later migrated southward. According to Chinese records, they were governed by the Fuyu (Korean: Buyeo) kingdom, but broke free during the Chinese Three Kingdoms period. They subsequently became an autonomous state. They were involved in the early history of the Three Kingdoms period of Korea. The records of Baekje and Silla during the 1st century and 2nd century AD include numerous battles against the Mohe.

The Mohe were divided into various tribes, the most powerful of which was the Sumo Mohe. The Sumo Mohe were eventually conquered by Goguryeo, and the other Mohe tribes by Sui Dynasty China. Many Mohe moved back toward their northern homeland in this period.

The Mohe also participated in the later kingdom of Bohai or Balhae, 698-926. The founder of Bohai, Da Zuorong (大祚榮), was a former Goguryeo general of Sumo Mohe stock. After the fall of Bohai, few historical traces of the Mohe can be found. They might have risen again later with another name, the Jurchens.

Bohai (Chinese) or Balhae (Korean) was a kingdom in northeast Asia from AD 698 to 926, occupying parts of Manchuria, northern Korea, and Russian Far East. Bohai was founded by Da Zuorong of the Sumo Mohe tribe and integrated several Mohe tribes and Goguryeo remnants. It was conquered by the Khitan in 926.

In the confusion of the Khitan rebellion against Tang in 696, Sumo Mohe tribe, led by Qiqi Zhongxiang and Qisi Piyu, escaped eastward to their homeland. The two leaders died but Da Zuorong, the son of Qiqi Zhongxiang, established the State of Zhen (震 or 振). Da Zuorong established his capital at Dongmu Mountain in the south of today's Jilin province. Since it gained power under protection of the northern nomadic empire of Gokturk, Tang gave Da Zuorong the title of "Prefecture King of Bohai" in 713. Bohai had been a Chinese prefecture, but since then referred to the kingdom. The title was upgraded to "State King of Bohai" in 762.

The second king Da Wuyi (Wuwang), who felt encircled by Tang, Silla and Black Water Mohe along the Amur River, attacked Tang and his navy briefly occupied a port on the Shandong Peninsula in 732. Later, a compromise was forged between Tang and Bohai, which resumed tributary mission to Tang. He also sent a mission to Japan in 728 to threaten Silla from the rear. Bohai kept diplomatic and commercial contacts with Japan until the end of the kingdom. Because of its proximity to many powerful states, Bohai became a buffer zone for the region.

The third king Da Jinmao (Wen Wang) expanded its territory into the Amur valley in the north and the Liaodong Peninsula in the west. He also established the permanent capital near Lake Jingpo in the south of today's Heilongjiang province around 755.

After destroying Bohai in 926, the Khitan established the puppet Dongdan Kingdom, which was soon followed by the annexation by Liao in 936. Bohai aristocrats were moved to Liaoyang but small fragments of the state remained semi-independent. Some Bohai people fled southward to Goryeo, including a son of the last king. Some descendants of the royal family live in Korea, changing their family name to Tae (太). The Jurchen Jin Dynasty favored the Bohai people as well as the Khitans. The fourth, fifth and seventh emperors were mothered by Bohai concubines. The 13th century census of Northern China by the Mongols distinguished Bohai from other ethnic groups such as Goryeo (Korean), Khitan and Jurchen. This suggests that the Bohai people still preserved their identity.

Dongdan Kingdom(A.D.926~936) is the puppet kingdom established by the Khitan to rule the realm of the Bohai Kingdom in Eastern Manchuria.

After conquering the Bohai Kingdom in 926, the Khitan crown prince Yelü Bei ascended the throne of Dongdan at the old Bohai capital of Huhan in Eastern Manchuria, today's Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang Province. However, political tension soon evolved between Yelü Bai and his younger brother Yelü Duguang, who take the imperial throne of Khitan afer their father Yelü Abaoji died en route to his homeland from the successful campaign. The new emperor ordered his elder brother to move his capital from Huhan in Eastern Manchuria to Liaoyang in Western Manchuria. Bei obeyed the imperial order but soon fled to North China to avoid possible assassination in 930. Bei's son was elevated to the new king of Dongdan, but the kingdom was annexed by the Khitan Empire in 936.

To inherit Bohai's friendly relations with Japan, Dangdan sent a diplomatic mission over the Sea of Japan in 929. But the Japanese court in Kyoto rejected the mission from Dongdan.

The Khitan, in Chinese Qidan (契丹 Pinyin: Qìdān), were an ethnic group which dominated much of Manchuria and was classified in Chinese history as one of the Tungus ethnic groups (東胡族 dōng hú zú). They established the Liao dynasty in 907, which was then conquered in 1125 by the Jin dynasty of the Jurchen. There is no clear evidence of any descendant ethnic groups of the Khitan in modern-day Northeast China. Although a number of the nobility of the Liao dynasty escaped the area westwards towards Turkestan, establishing the short-lived Kara-Khitan or Western Liao dynasty, they were in turn absorbed by the local Turkish and Iranic populations and left no influence of themselves. As the Khitan language is still almost completely illegible, it is difficult to create a detailed history of their movements.

Ancestors of the Khitan were the Yuwen clan of the Xianbei, an ethnic group situated in the area covered by the modern Liaoning and Jilin provinces. After their regime was conquered by the Murong clan, the remnants scattered in the modern-day Inner Mongolia and mixed there with the original Mongolic population. They had been identified as a distinct ethnic group since paying tribute to the Northern Wei Dynasty in mid 6th century.

The Khitan were known as خطا in Arabic (Khata) and are mentioned by Muslim chroniclers as they initially fought with Muslims and later converted to Islam.

It is interesting to notice that this name was the origin for the Russian word for China, namely Kitai, as well as an ancient form in Portuguese, Catai.

The Liao Dynasty (T: 遼朝 S: 辽朝 pinyin: Liáo Cháo), 907-1125, sometimes also known as the Kingdom or Empire of the Khitan, was founded by the Yelü (耶律 Yēlǜ) family of the Khitan tribes in the final years of the Tang Dynasty, although Yelü Abaoji did not declare an era name until 916. Originally known as the Empire of the Khitan, Emperor Yelü Ruan officially adopted the name Great Liao or Liao Dynasty in 947.

The name of the empire was Khitan between 907 (at its founding) and 947 (938?), and again between 983 and 1066.

It was anniliated by the Jin Dynasty in 1125. However, remnants led by Yelü Dashi (耶律大石 pinyin: Yēlǜ Dàshí, Wade-Giles: Yeh-lü Ta-Shih) established Xi (Western) Liao Dynasty 1125-1220, also known as Kara-Khitan Khanate, which survived until the arrival of Genghis Khan's Mongolian cavalry.

The Jin Dynasty (金 pinyin: Jīn 1115-1234; Anchu in Jurchen), also known as the Jurchen dynasty, was founded by the Wanyan (完顏 Wányán) clan of the Jurchen, the ancestors of the Manchus who established the Qing Dynasty some 500 years later. The name is sometimes written as Jinn to differentiate it from an earlier Jin Dynasty of China whose name is spelled identically in the Roman alphabet. 

Founded in 1115 in northern Manchuria, it successively annihilated in 1125 the Liao Dynasty which had held sway over Manchuria and the northern frontier of China for several centuries. On January 9, 1127 Jin forces sacked Kaifeng, capital of the Northern Song Dynasty, capturing both Emperor Qinzong, and his father, Emperor Huizong, who had abdicated in panic in the face of Jin forces. Following the fall of Kaifeng, Song forces under the leadership of the succeeding Southern Song Dynasty continued to fight for over a decade with Jin forces, eventually signing a peace treaty in 1141, and ceding all of North China to the Jin in 1142 in return for peace.

After taking over North China, the Jin Dynasty became increasingly Sinicized, moving its capital from Huining Fu in northern Manchuria (south of present-day Harbin) to Zhongdu (now Beijing). Starting from the early 13th century the Jin Dynasty began to feel the pressure of Mongols from the north. In 1214 the Jin Dynasty moved its capital to Kaifeng (the old Song capital) to evade the Mongols; but under the forces of the Mongol Empire led by Ögedei Khan, third son of Genghis Khan, as well as their allies in the Southern Song Dynasty, the dynasty crumbled in 1234

Primorye in the 13th-17th centuries

Discovery and development of Zabaykalye and Priamurye in 17th - First Half of the 19th century

Discovery of Zabaykalye and Priamurye by Russians in the 17th century

Economic development of the region. Amursky question

Russian Far East in the first half of the 19th century

In 1616, Manchus under the leadership of Nurhaci established the Later Jin Dynasty, taking its name from this dynasty. Later Jin was renamed the Qing Dynasty in 1636, and went on to conquer China proper and become the last dynasty of Imperial China.

According to archaeological data, the first inhabitants of Primorsky Krai were the Palaeasiatic and Tungus ancestors. They probably appeared in this area 50-60 thousand years ago in the Paleolithic period. The descendants of the Tungus-speaking tribes are still inhabiting Primorye and Priamurye. These are the Nanaians, the Udeges, and the Evenks. In 698 AD, the State of Bohai appeared in the territory, and existed as long as 936 AD, and originated the ancestry of the above-mentioned peoples. Bohai was an early feudal medieval state of Eastern Asia, which developed its industry, agriculture, animal husbandry, and had its own cultural traditions and art. People of Bohai maintained political, economic and cultural contacts with China, Korea, and Japan. From 1115 to 1234 the southern area of the modern Russian Far East was occupied by a more powerful state - The Jurchen Empire (Anchungurun) or, otherwise called The Golden Empire, a name given by its neighbours. The Jurchen were the descendants of the Bohai people. Nomadic stock raising and common agriculture formed their economic basis. They also developed a metallurgical industry, shipbuilding, and the manufacture of luxury articles. The Golden Empire conducted independent foreign and domestic policies. As well as the Bohai people, the Jurchen estalished close contacts with Japan, China, and Korea. Having conquered China, the Jurchengs dominated the territory for a long time. The Golden Empire crumbled as a result of the Gengis Khan invasion. The Mongolians destroyed all cities, ports, and the fleet of the Jurchengs. They killed, or turned into slaves most of the country's population. The survivors hid themselves from the Mongolians in the forests, river valleys, and the remote reas of the Amur and Zabaykalye, the Okhotsky coast and parts of Sakhalin island.

As time went on, the people forgot the trades developed by the Bohai people and the Jurchen. They got used to collecting the taiga gifts, fishing and hunting wild animals.

For many centuries these rich lands, unique in the structure of flora and fauna, had not been cultivated. In the beginning of the 17th century, when the Russians first appeared in this land, the forefathers of today's small ethnic groups of the Far East were a primitive society. It should be noted that the Mongolians, the invaders of the Golden Empire, did not settle in Primorye, but left for China and the Central Asian steppes.

According to the Nerchinsk Treaty of 1689 between Russia and China, lands south of the Stanovoy Mountains, including Primorye, were Chinese territory. However, with the weakening of the Qing Empire in the second half of the 19th century, Russia began its expansion into the area. In 1858 the towns of Khabarovsk and Blagoveshchensk were founded. Also in 1858, Russia and China concluded the Aigun Treaty, and in 1860 - the Beijing Treaty, which moved the Russian-Chinese border south to the Amur and Ussuri rivers. This granted Russia possession of Primorye. In the period from 1859 to 1882 ninety five settlements had been established in Primorye, including Vladivostok, Ussuriysk, Razdolnoye, Vladimiro-Aleksandrovskoye, Shkotovo, Pokrovka, Tury Rog, and Kamen-Rybolov. The major occupations of the population were the agricultural, hunting and fishing trades, involving more than two-thirds of the territory's inhabitants. At the end of the 19th century, the coal-mining industry started developing. The territory also exported sea-kale, antlers of young Siberian stag, timber, crabs, dried fish, and trepangs. Thus, it took Primorye about half a century to enter into the all-Russian economic and cultural process, and to establish close contacts with the countries of the Asian Pacific region. This was accomplished through the efforts of the territory's population, and the Russian and foreign capital inflow to the area.

From 1922, after the Civil War in Primorye ended, economic, scientific, and cultural development of the territory followed the plans of the Bolsheviks who had won in Russia. During the first 10 years of Soviet Power, the cultural sphere struggled against the "bourgeois ideology". As a result music, theater, fine arts, and literature in Primorye had to begin almost at the beginning, on the ruins of the pre-Revolutionary culture. The priority in economy was set on the primary industries - mining and fishing in particular. Railroad and sea transport was also being developed at the time, accompanied with the intensive ports construction works. By the early 1990s the once small enterprises had developed into large companies. These are Far Eastern Shipping Company (FESCO or DVMP), Dalmoreprodukt, Vladivostok base of Trawling and Refrigerating Fleet (VBTRF), Active Marine Fisheries Base of Nakhodka, Vostok Mining Company, Progress Arsenyev Aircraft Works, etc. The Fishing and Marine Transport Fleet of Primorye had worked in all regions of the world's oceans. Numerous enterprises of the Military Industrial Complex were established in Primorye. In the 1970s Primorye witnessed an intensive development of science. Today Vladivostok boasts such worldwide known scientific-research institutions as Biology and Soil Institute, The Pacific Institute of Biorganic Chemistry, Institute of Marine Biology, The Pacific Institute of Geography, The Pacific Oceanological Institute, a total of more than 10 Institutes of Far Eastern Division of Russian Academy of Sciences (DVO RAN). Vladivostok is also the home of the DVO RAN presidium.


  • BOKHAI A state in the Far East Province, established by 712 by the Sumo-Mohe, a powerful Tungus tribal union, .
  • Da Tso-zhun........................................698-719
  • Da Ui..............................................719-737
  • Da Tsinmao.........................................737-793
  • ?
  • Da Zhen'-sui.......................................818-830
  • ??
  • The state was destroyed by Khitan beetween 924-926. But the small fragment of state was still independent until 980.
    Rulers of this state held the title "Kae-du".
  • To the Eastern Khitan...........................c. 925-c. 1210
  • To Mongolia....................................c. 1210-c. 1400
  • Some to Manchus, otherwise only local tribes...c. 1375-c. 1650
  • Mostly to China................................c. 1644-1860
  • Publié dans Introduction

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