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Where did Ancient Mongols and nomads come from?


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Between 12,000-7,000 years ago in the steppes of Central Asia, a number of nomad tribes including the Mongols, Turkic, and Manj-Tungus started to emerge. According to Mongolian history, the tribes had similar cultural and biological backgrounds. Later on, these ancient Mongols branched into the Sianbi, Mujun and Toba tribes and then into the Joajan, Uygur and Khitan tribes.

In Ancient Chinese history, Mongols used to be called 'Di'. Di's lived in Inner Mongolia called Southern Di, and Outer Mongolia (north of Gobi Desert) called Northern Di. In Chinese, Northern Di was called "Bei-Di".

Later, Mongolian historians named Northern Mongolians "Bedi" or "Bede".

Hun Empire (3rd c BC to 215 AD)

Around 3rd c BC, Chinese historians began referring to "Bei-di" as "Hanijni", "Hyanju" or "Gui" which related to Hun or Hu words.

The first nomad tribe to form a state was the Huns. The Huns ruled Central Asia between 3rd c bc to 215 AD.

Compared to the simple lifestyle led by the nomads, the Ancient Chinese were far more civilized and "modern". To the Ancient Chinese, nomads were uncivilized and were regarded as savages. In fact, many Ancient Chinese folktales characterize "Gui" as witches or evil spirits.

Huns were also historically remembered in Chinese history and folktales as Xion+gnuor "Rootless Slaves".

The Ancient Huns were nomads with little wealth and limited personal belongings. They possessed little more than the clothes on their backs, and whatever food they could find. On the other hand, the Ancient Chinese settlers possessed a variety of riches including wheat, fine clothing, and many luxury items that the Huns simply could not make themselves. This division of wealth was so great, that it started a war between the two groups - the "have's" and the "have not's". This is how the Huns earned their infamous name - Xion+gnu or "Rootless Slaves".

The Ancient Mongol - The Hun Empire?

Historians and Archeologists have found a total of 50 sites out of approximately 3,000 remaining in Mongolia that belonged to the Huns. The largest settlements on record are:

-Hudgiin Tolgoi and Hanyi River in Ar-HangaiProvince,

-Mnt Noyon in TuvProvince,

-Borbulga and Duurgiin Nars in HenteiProvince

-Tahilga Zavsar in HovdProvince.

According to archeological finds, the population of the Huns tribe totaled 1.2 million. The Huns lived in portable yurts or "Ger", which are circular structures supported by wooden frames and covered in felt. A typical Ger consists of a roof, a sky window, and round wooden walls covered in felt. They used carriages or "morin tereg" to transport their Ger as they moved from one location to another.

The Huns used horses as their primary means of transportation. They also had riding equipment that was quite advanced for that period, including a horse saddle with steps.

ancient mongols hun stone pic

Hun Horse Carriage Stone Art from Yench, Hovd Province

The Ancient Huns were nomads who raised horses, cows, sheep, goats, and camels for survival. Since they moved along with their herds, they had very few cities and settlers to call their own. They did, however, have a capital called Har-Horuim.

The Ancient Huns worshiped the spirit world and believed in natural forces. They believed that everything on earth has a spirit including stones, mountains, water, animals, wind, air and fire.

The Huns wrote letters to one another and also created their own stamps as a form of communication.

There are documents that exist in Chinese history that give evidence of this. In one such letter, King Lindi from East Han (168-190 year) wrote that he so enjoys in the Hun's songs, dances, drums, tongue music, clothes, and food.

hunnu musical instrument

Hun Tongue Musical Instrument from Altanbulag, Tov Province

The Ancient Hun Empire was the reason the Great Wall of China was built?

The Ancient Huns were constantly at war with different tribes, including the Chinese. Around 7th c BC, the Hun army became very powerful due to the number of weapons they possessed. Mongols made weapons out of iron, an abundant natural resource. This gave them greater fighting power to overtake other tribes.

During 5th c BC, Northern China built several walls along its border to keep the Huns out. In 221 BC, the first Emperor of China - Qin Shi Huang - ordered that an additional 5,000 km wall be built at once.

After that, Emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered 100,000 solders to attack the southern part of The Hun Empire. He took control of what is now called Inner Mongolia. He then built another wall, (known as the Great Wall of China) between the northern part of Inner Mongolia along the Gobi Desert. He sent criminals and prisoners from mainland China to protect the wall and Chinese border from attacks by the Huns.

Today, the Great Wall of China remains the one of the greatest creations by mankind from ancient times.

State of Sianbi, Mujun, Toba and Jujan

The word 'sianbi' came from the Chinese word Syan +bi, meaning 'small uncivilized'

Around 1st c AD, the Huns lost their power to the Sianbi, Mujun and Toba tribes. Ironically, they were all once part of the same tribe - the Hun Empire.

In Ancient Chinese historical documents, the Sianbise are described as "long necked, slim wasted, red dressed, chubby armed and legged people."

The ujun, Toba and Yamunu were all related to Sianbise. The first Mongolian wordHaan, 'King' actually came from the Sianbi era.

Between the years 121-132, the Haan of East Sianbi state - Tsichjigjn - waged several battles against Northern China. However, his battles were never successful and he died shortly afterward.

Tanishihyai was born in 141 to one of East Sianbi's Generals. In 156, Tanishihyai became the Haan of Sianbi after successfully defeating his people from outside attacks. The Sianbi State consisted of several big tribes.

Between 155-173 Sianbi Haan Tanishihyai concurred all Hun States along with part of northern China.

181 Tanishihyai Haan died and soon after the Sianbi State divided into Sianbi, Yxuan,Mujun, Yubjun, Tyghu and Onin.

The Mujun Empire

Around 3rd AD one of Sianbi's king-Mohoba took his people to North East border of China and settled there; and the Mujun tribe from the region slowly become his follower. Soon the Mujun state was born.

In 281 Mohoba's grandson Mujun Shequi went and become follower for Northern Chinese.

In 294 Mujun Shequi's youngest son Mujun Hoi concurred the North East Dajichen China and resettled its capital in Jantsin what is current Chinese capital-Beijing.

Then Mujun Hoi never called himself Emperor of Jantsin. Instead he called himself The Great Shaniju of Sianbi.

Mujun Hoi gathered many Chinese scholars and used their knowledge successfully to run his state's affair. In 333 Mujun Hyan become a Shaniju. Later in 337 he then officially pronounced himself as the Emperor of Jin.

In 341-342 Mujun Hyan found a city named Lunt and moved its capital from Jantsin (Beijing) to Lunt.

In 348 the Emperor Jin died. Then someone named Mujun Tszjun from his army become the next Emperor of Yan.

350 Mujun Tszjun moved the capital from Lunt back to Jantsin-Beijing.

Meanwhile in mid of 3rd AD Federation of Toba tribes started to form. In 261 The Toba Haan-Livei established its capital city Chinton at North East of Bugat city of what is current Inner Mongolia.

The Federation of Toba become a State in 313 and by 386 they become so powerful to wage war against Yan.

Toba Empire

Ancient Chinese also called Toba as Yan Wei

By 397 Toba become a Emperor of Jin. During Toba Wei domination a life of ordinary Mongols and Chinese become harder and harder. He laid heavy levies, people were over worked, forced to serve in army, mongols were prohibited to speak in their language and wear their clothes among Chinese.

By 581 Chinese came along and took over the throne. The Toba was no longer the ruling Empire.

Joajan State (402-552)

The ....... the king of Toba Wei (220-270) captured a slave boy with hair grown all the way till his eyebrows and called him Mygylin. He grew up and become soldier.

In 304-316 during Haan Mydyi of Wei, Mygylin became a wanted man, since he did not enlist himself on-time. So he fled the state to GobiDesert and formed his tribe called Shyni.

After his death, his son Tszjulyhyei became a famous warrior and people nicknamed him as Joyjan. That is how the beginning of the 4th century Jyjan people formed.

Joajans were in constant quarrel with Toba Wei. in 402 Toba Wei lost its control to Joajan.

The wars between Toba Wei and other tribes continued for centuries. In 555 the fall of Joajan came within. The successors were Turkic Tribes.

joajan stone pics

Joajan Army drawing from Erdeneburen, Hovd Province

The TurkicState (552-745)

In 546 Buman Haan of Turkic waged battle against Joajan. Buman Haan died in 552 and his son Kolo took over the throne and continued his battle. He too died. Then Kolo's brother Kirin took over the throne and with his uncle Istemi together they soon concurred the Joajan and all Central Asia. They occupied land from Korea Pennisula to Lake Biakal area.

In 572 the Kirin Haan died and his son Tobo become king. Since then Turkic Empire gradually lost its power.

Between 744-747 Peilo of Uygur waged a war against Turkic and took over the throne. Then he self proclaimed himself as a king of Uygur the successor of Turkic.

ancient mongolia turkic stone head

Kul-Turkic Stone Head from Hashaat, Arhangai Province

State of Uygur (745-911)

In 747 Mojunchur aka. Bayanchur a son of Peilo became the King of Uygur state.Between 747-759 Uygur reached its peak. By 840 Uygur was no longer in chargeand soon Ensei Kirkis took over their state.

However,in the beginning of 10th AD Kirkis left the land of Mongols.

Hyatan aka. Khitan Period (911 to 12th c.)

In 917 Ambagan the king of Kitan came into power and became the Mongol Haan.

In 936 Kitan attacked Northern China and captured 16 cities along the area and established the Great Lja Empire.

kitan building

Kitan Settlers Remaining in Tsagaan-Ovoo, Dornod Province




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