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The most reliable source for the name of China will be that of 'Cathay', a word to have derived from Kitai, namely the Khitans of Mongolia who had expelled Kirghiz Turks from Mongolia in A.D. 924 and founded the Liao Dynasty (AD 916-1124) in northern China/Manchuria. Khitans, after being defeated by the Jurchens, went to set up Qarakhitai or Western Liao in Turkistan/Central Asia. Karakhitai ended when Kuchlug was killed by Genghis Khan in A.D. 1217. For Westerners, China is Cathay, and that's best illustatated in the saying "every fifty years, a cycle in Cathay'.
The word 'china' or 'China' deserves another look as to its origin. The name of China has nothing to do with chinaware. As to the chinaware, that will point to the inventions from Song/Ming Dynasties, not the ancient pottery. The chinas of Song/Ming Dynasties are famous for their blue and white patterns and the hardness of the product as a result of high temperature manufacturing process. Some scholars pointed out that the Huns used to call Han Chinese by 'Qin Ren', i.e., Qin people. Some records in Chinese Turkistan did point to the continued usage of 'Qin Ren' well after Qin's demise. While I read about citation of a similar name in Sanskrit, i.e., Cina or Cin, some scholar had speculated that the name 'Chin' could be a mutation of 'Jing' the alias for the Chu State in Southern China during the Zhou Dynasty. This may sound a bit extrapolated. However, it is believable in light of the fact that Han emissary Zhang Qian mentioned he saw in the Oxus and Fengana Valley the silk and clothing produced in Sichuan Province which merchants said were shipped over from India. Han Emperor Wudi once launched 4 search teams through the mountains of Southwest China looking for a path to India. Recent excavations showed that Indian's Buddhism had spread to southern China during the Warring States time period. Buddhist states had been spreading across Southeast Asia before Chinese poked their nose in this area. China's history records showed that the people living in southern Vietnam and Cambodia two thousand years carried curly hair, a feature much to do with Dravidians of India. In between the name of Qin and Cathay, there was another name for China, i.e., Tabgac or Tuoba, that was inscribed on some stone monument by the Turks during Tang Dynasty.
The Last Confucian of China, Mr Liang Suming, claimed that he was a Mongolian in descent. When Mr Liang Souming published an article "An Exploration Into Yuan Dynasty" in 1918 and hence was appointed lecturer of philosophy in Peking University, people would not know that Liang, a youth of 25 from Guiling, today’s Guangxi Province in Southern China, would be a Mongolian in heritage. The Mongols held on to their stronghold in today's Guangxi-Yunnan areas much longer after they lost China. Recent DNA tests conducted against the remains of the Khitan tombs, however, pointed to the possibility that those Mongolians in today's Yunnan-Guangxi areas were more Khitan than Mongolian, and in fact those people had historically claimed that they were the descendants of Khitans who were dispatched to southern China by the Mongols in the 14th century. (The DNA tests, interestingly, also linked the Dawo'er or Dagur people in today's Manchuria as the closest kin of the ancient Khitans.)
The New History Of Tang Dynasty mentioned that the Khitans were descendants of the Kebi'neng Xianbei. (Alternatively, The Old History Of Five Dynasties said that the Khitans were an alternative race of the Huns.) In the section Sixteen Nations, we mentioned that the Yuwen Xianbei, after fleeing to the north of Song-mo (pine desert in the Jehol mountains, i.e., today's sandy river basin along the Laha-he River or the origin of the Western Liao River), later split into two tribal groups of Kuzhen-xi and the Khitans. In February 344, Murong Huang defeated Yuwen Gui at Changli, driving the Yuwen Xianbei remnants to north of the desert. So to say that the Tanshikui Xianbei engendered the Yuwen clan, and the Yuwen clan, after a defeat, fled to the north where they were to become the ancestors of the Khitans. Historian Lv Simian had a thorough dissertation on the Xianbei or Tungunsic people, including the tracing of the Khitans and Kuzhen-xi [i.e., Xi] people. The New History Of Tang Dynasty said that by the time of Tuoba's Northern Wei Dynasty (AD 386-534), the ancestors of the Khitans adopted the name 'Khitan' for themselves. The Khitans lived around the Liao River in today's Manchuria. To the east of the Khitans will be Koguryo, to the west the Xi Nomads, to the north Mohe (Malgal) and Shiwei Tribes, and to the south Yingzhou Prefecture of Tuoba Wei Dynasty.
The Dong-hu Barbarians: Xianbei-Wuhuan
Donghu had existed in northern border all the time. Ancient records pointed to three names, Beirong, Shanrong and Wuzhong, for the same group of people, i.e., the Donghu. The Xianbei-Wuhuan, who were said to be of the Tungus stock, were driven to Xianbei and Wuhuan Mountains after they accused the first Hunnic king Modu (Modok) of patricide. In early Han Dynasty, Hunnic Chanyu Modok defeated the Donghu, and Donghu fled to Xianbei-shan and Wuhuan-shan Mountains in the east. (An alternative school of thought stated that the Xianbei people were comprised of the Chinese coolie who fled from Qin Emperor Shihuangdi's order to build the Great Wall at the northern borders. The logic behind this assertion was probably erroneous, which was to claim that the Xianbei, who cut their hair, must be those hair-cut Chinese convicts who fled the coolie labor building the Great Wall.) The Xianbei were later relocated to today's Liaoning Province by Han Emperor Wudi for sake of segregation from the Huns. Hence, they were called the Donghu or Eastern Hu nomads, inheriting an old tribal name that long existed in the Zhou times.
The Xianbei and Wuhuan people, who were called Dong-hu (east of the Huns) for their position to the Huns, were said to have fled to Manchuria after being defeated by the Huns. After the defeat, the Xianbei were subordinate to the Huns. While the Xianbei was located relatively to the north, the Wuhuan people, whom Xu Hou Han Shu alternatively claimed to have derived from a chieftan's last name "wu" and first name "huang", dwelled next to the Chinese. In 45, Ji Tong, "tai shou" for Liaodong, defeated the Xianbei. In A.D. 48, the new Hunnic Empire, which revived as a result of Wang Mang's usurpation of Western Han Dynasty, dissolved due to internal fights. In Chinese records, two groups of the Huns would be known again: the Southern Huns under Huhanye's grandson and the Northern Huns. In 85 and 88, the Xianbei attacked the Huns. Around A.D. 89, General Dou Xian, under the order of his empress sister, led a huge army comprising of mercenaries such as the Xianbei from today's Beijing area and the Southern Hunnic allies, departed Shuofang-jun to attack the Northern Huns, and had a decisive battle against the Northern Huns at the Jiluoshan Mountain. In A.D. 91, General Dou Xian mounted another deadly campaign against the Northern Huns. Geng Kui defeated and expelled chanyu of the Northern Huns. The Northern Huns hence began a migration that would lead to the chain reaction to the West. The remnant Northern Huns selected a brother of chanyu, rightside Guli king Yu-chu-jian, as the new leader. In 92, Wang Fu and Ren Shang attacked and defeated Yu-chu-jian. In 94, the Northern Huns rebelled and made a Southern Hun chieftan, Feng-hou, as the Northern Hun chanyu. Eastern Han Dynasty army, together with the Xianbei and Wuhuan, with a total army of 40,000, attacked Feng-hou, chasing him out of the Southern Hun territory. In 107, Feng-hou moved to control Chinese Turkestan by taking advantage of the Chinese abandoning the governer-office in the western territories. The Xianbei, who expanded to the Western Corridor area in the wake of the Hunnic decline, defeated Feng-hou in 118 and took over the Hun remnants.
After the Hunnic decline in late first century AD, the Xianbei moved back towards the west. The Xianbei mixed up with the Huns. The Hunnic Xia Dynasty, established by Helian Bobo, was said to be of a mingle nature, called 'Tie Fu'. The Tie Fu Huns were born of Xianbei mother and Hunnic Father. There appeared a Xianbei chieftan called Tanshikui (reign A.D. 156-181) who established a Xianbei alliance by absorbing dozens of thousands of Huns. The Tanshikui alliance disintegrated after the death of Tanshikui. Another chieftan called Kebi'neng emerged. By the time of Three Kingdoms Period (AD 220-280), the Wuhuan nomads had taken control of today's Hebei Province and Peking areas. Warlord Yuan Shao campaigned against the Wuhuans and controlled three prefectures of Wuhuan nomads. After Ts'ao Ts'ao defeated Yuan Shao, Yuan's two sons (Yuan Shang and Yuan Xi) fled to seek asylum with the Wuhuans. Ts'ao Ts'ao campaigned against the Wuhuan via a surprise strategy (by marching 800 li distance without detection), killed chieftan Datu (with same last character as Hunnic Chanyu Motu or Modok), and took over the control of southern Manchuria. Xianbei rose in the aftermath of Wuhuan decline, and Kebi'neng Xianbei grew in strength.
The demise of Han Dynasty saw the Xianbei and Wuhuan taking over the old territories from the Huns in the northern borders as well as invading into the Korea Peninsula. Chen Shou commented that Ke'bineng Xianbei had at one time covered the territoties from the Liao River of Manchuria in the east to Yunzhong/Wuyuan in the west. The Xianbei had prospered after Cao Cao conquered their kinsmen, i.e., the Wuhuan. Wuhuan was absorbed by both Cao Cao and Xianbei, and its name disappeared thereafter, only to re-emerge in the 10th century war with the Khitans.
In autumn A.D. 152, Tanshikui began to intrude into the Eastern Han territories. Tanshikui declined the intermarriage proposal. At the time of Han Emperor Lingdi, in A.D. 177, a Chinese expedition force of 30,000, commanded by Xia Yu ("ju wuhuan xiaowei"), Tian Yan and Zang Min ("xiongnu zhong-langjiang"), was routed by Tanshikui's three tribal groups. The lost battle was waged against the advice of Cai Yong [whose daughter Cai Wenji was later looted by the Southern Huns during the turmoil years of the Red Turbans], with a dissertation to the effect that the border disturbance was a skin disease in comparison with the internal troubles of China which were the rotten wounds on the back of the human body -- a similar comment to Chiang Kai-shek's judgment on the Japanese invasion and the communist rebellion in the 20th century China. Cai Jiong, stating that the Xianbei, having developed into a 100,000 strong army in the aftermath of the Huns' demise and escape to the faraway land, was not an enemy who could be defeated easily. In the winter, the Xianbei attacked Liao-xi. In A.D. 178, the Xianbei attacked Jiuquan on the Western Corridor. Later historian Fan Ye further pointed out how the Xianbei chieftans Tanshikui and Tadun ravaged the northern belt during Han Emperor Lingdi and Xiandi's reigns. The Tanshikui alliance disintegrated after the death of Tanshikui. (The later Khitans were said to be descendants of the Tanshikui Xianbei.)
Another Xianbei chieftan called Kebi'neng emerged. Wang Xiong, a general under Ts'ao Ts'ao, broke this new Xianbei alliance by sending an assasin (Han Long) to have Kebi'neng killed. Warlord Yuan Shao campaigned against the Wuhuan and controlled three prefectures of Wuhuan nomads. After Ts'ao Ts'ao defeated Yuan Shao, Yuan's two sons, Yuan Shang and Yuan Xi, fled to seek refuge with the Wuhuans. Ts'ao Ts'ao campaigned against the Wuhuan, killed a chieftan called Tadun or Tadu (with same last character as Hunnic Chanyu Motu or Modok), and took over the control of southern Manchuria.
Han Prime Minister Cao Cao's Campaign against the Wuhuan
Several Wuhuan chieftans, including Qiuliju (Liaoxi Wuhuan Da Ren, with 5000 households), Nanlou (Shanggu Wuhuan Da Ren, with 9000 households), Supuyan (Liaodong Wuhuan Da Ren, with thousands of households) and Wuyan (You-beiping Wuhuan Da Ren, with 800 households), were controlled by a Han Chinese rebel governor called Zhang Chun from the Zhongshan [i.e., today's Dingxian of Hebei] Prefecture. Han Emperor Lingdi (r. 168-189) assigned Liu Yu as governor-general of Youzhou (Beijing). Liu Yu hired some nomads to have Zhang Chun killed. After the death of Chieftan Louban, an adopted son called Tadun took over the chieftan post. Tadun assisted Yuan Shao in the wars on rival Gongsun Zan. At one time during the Three Kingdoms time period, Yuan Shao had pacified three Wuhuan prefectures and heavily recruited them as mercenary cavalry troops. Yuan Shao privately conferred the title of 'Chanyu' on the Wuhuan chieftans in the name of the Han court. When the son of Wuhuan Chieftan Qiuliju grew up, he would compete with Tadun for power. A Chinese by the name of Yan Rou (who enjoyed trust among the Wuhuan-Xianbei for his spending childhood years in the barbarian land) killed the Chinese colonel (xiaowei) in charge of Wuhuan and ursurped the post. Yuan Shao retained Yan Rou as the 'Wuhuan Colonel'. In A.D. 200, Cao Cao defeated Yuan Shao at the Battle of Guandu. In 202, Cao Cao further defeated Yuan Shao's two sons, Yuan Tan and Yuan Shang. The two Yuan brothers took over 100,000 people of Jizhou and Youzhou to Liao-xi for shelter with the Wuhuan. In 204, the Wei army defeated and killed Yuan Tan. Wei took over the Shandong coastline from Gongsun Du's garrison army. In 207, at the advice of cousellor Guo Jia, Cao Cao launched a punitive campaign against the Wuhuan. Exiting the Lulongsai Pass and trekking deep into the mountains, Cao Cao's army penetrated to Liucheng (today's Chaoyang), i.e., Wuhuan's home base in today's southern Manchuria, and at the Battle of Bailangshan (white wolf mountain), defeated Wuhuan chieftan Tadun who offered asylum to two sons of Yuan Shao. Wei General Zhang Liao killed Tadun in a surprise charge downhill. (Cao Cao won over Yan Rou when he campained against the Wuhuan in A.D. 206.) Wuhuan chieftans were all decaptitated by the Gongsun family when they fled to Liaodong (east Liaoning Province) for asylum. Yuan Shang fled to Pingzhou (Liaoyang) for asylum with Gongsun Kang. Over 10,000 Wuhuan households under Yan Rou relocated to China under the order of Cao Cao. The Wuhuan people would then serve Cao Cao as the mercenary cavalry.
Yan Zhi & Wang Xiong Pacifying the Xianbei
Two Xianbei tribal groups came into play, the Lesser Xianbei under Ke'bineng (in Dai-jun and Shanggu area) and the Greater Xianbei under Budugeng (in Yunzhong and Yanmen area) and his brother Fuluohan. Ke'bineng heavily employed Chinese defectors and utilized the Chinese weaponry and language. Ke'bineng had at one time assisted Cao Cao in cracking down on Tian Ying's Rebellion, but he also rebelled against Cao Cao and the Cao Wei Dynasty rule several times. Cao Cao once sent Marquis Yanling to defeat Ke'bineng and cause him flee outside of Chinese border. In A.D. 219, Ke'bineng sent an emissary, with tributes of horses, to last Han Emperor Xiandi who was under Cao Cao's protection. After the usurpation of Han Dynasty, Cao Wei Emperor Wendi conferred Ke'bineng the title of King of Fuyi (attached loyalty). Beginning from A.D. 221, several times, Ke'bineng repatriated the Cao Wei Chinese groups back to the Chinese territories.
Ke'bineng rebelled against the Cao Wei Chinese again because Tian Yu interferred in Ke'bineng wars with both the Eastern Xianbei under Suli and with a Xianbei Chieftan under Budugeng. Ke'bineng complained about this to General Xianyu Fu, mentioning the fact that his brother was killed by Budugeng. Ke'bineng said he was recommended for the ruler's post by Yan Rou; he was grateful to the Chinese; and he did not want to rebel against the Chinese simply because Tian Yu was giving him troubles. Ke'bineng boasted of over 100,000 cavalry.
A Wuhuan chieftan at Dai Prefecture, by the name of Nengchendi, surrendered to Budugeng but also asked for protection from Ke'bineng. When the two Xianbei chieftans converged upon the Dai prefecture land for controlling the Wuhuan tribe, Ke'bineng killed Fuluohan and took over the Xianbei people led by Fuluohan's son, Xie-guini. Hence, two Xianbei tribes warred with each other. Cao Wei Emperor Wendi (Cao Pi) conferred Tian Yu the post of 'Wuhuan Colonel' with extra authority over the Xianbei people. Tian Yu set his office at Changping (near Beijing). Ke'bineng defeated all Xianbei tribes including the Wuhuan, extending the territory from Yunzhong & Wuyuan [north of today's Shanxi border] all the way to Manchuria. Ke'bineng defeated two Chinese generals, Tian Yu and Bi Gui. The other chieftan, Budugeng, who was of the Tanshikui line, relocated to Taiyuan and Yanmen with his over 10,000 households. Budugeng further sent a messenger to his niece Xie-guini and caused Xie-guini defect from Ke'bineng. By A.D. 224, Budugeng sought vassalage with Cao Wei Emepror Wendi.
In A.D. 228, Tian Yu's emissary (Xia She) to Xianbei was killed by Yuzhujian, Ke'bineng's son-in-law. Hence, Tian Yu dispatched Pudou (Western Xianbei Chieftan ) and Xie-guini to attacking Ke'bineng in retaliation. When Ke'bineng encircled Tian Yu with 30,000 cavalry at Macheng (Mayi, where Han Emperor Liu Bang was encircled by the Huns over 400 years ago), Governor-General of Shanggu [near today's Kalgan area], Yan Zhi (Yan Rou's brother), went to see Ke'bineng at the emperor's order and persuaded Ke'bineng into striking a ceasefire. Later, the new governor-general of Youzhou, Wang Xiong, who was likened to Western Han Dynasty general Han Xin and Eastern Han Dynasty General Wu Han, was conferred the post of Wuhuan Captain. Ke'bineng, several times, expressed loyalty to Wang Xiong. In A.D. 231, Ke'bineng, together with Dingling [i.e., the future Tiele tribe] chieftans, came to Youzhou to submit horses to Wang Xiong as tributes.
In A.D. 233, Ke'bineng won back Budugeng by means of an inter-marriage. Budugeng ordered Xie-guini to go back and serve under Ke'bineng, pillaging the Chinese prefecture of Bingzhou [i.e., today's eastern Shanxi]. General Qin Lang counter-attacked, and Xie-guini surrendered and was conferred the title of King of Guiyi (i.e., returning loyalty) and assigned the land of Bingzhou. [There was serious dispute about the facts in the statement about Qing Lang's feats.] Later, Budugeng was killed by Ke'bineng. Ke'bineng ordered his son go to Loufan to fight the wars against General Su Shang and Dong Bi (both under Governor ["ci shi"] Bi Gui of Bingzhou) and killed the two.
Cao Wei Dynasty's Campaign against the Gongsun Family in Manchuria
During the Qinglong Era, about 235 A.D., Cao Wei Emperor Mingdi (Cao Rui) took the advice of Wang Xiong ["ci shi" for Youzhou], who had Ke'bineng assassinated by some swordsman called Haan Long. The brother of Ke'bineng was selected as the new chieftan. With Ke'bineng killed, the Xianbei alliance kind of collapsed, and the Cao Wei Chinese court extended control into the whole territory of today's Inner Mongolia and Southern Manchuria. Among the Eastern Xianbei, there would exist chieftans like Suli, Mijia and Jueji in Liaoxi (western Liaoning Prov), Youbeiping (northwest of Beijing) and Yuyang. Jueji's son was conferred the title of King Qinhan (befriending Han), and Suli's brother, Chengluegui, succeeded the King title, too.
In A.D. 236, Sushen-shi, who had not submitted tributes to China since early Zhou Dynasty, came to Wei China on a pilgrimage. After pacifying Wuhuan-Xianbei as well as the Sushen-shi people at the Japan Sea, Wei China, in A.D. 237 and 238, launched a third campaign against the Gongsun Family and wrestled control of southern Manchuria and northern-central Korea.
As we are to further elaborate below, Cao Wei Dynasty, to clear the threat from the north in order to concentrate on fighting against the Shu-Han and Sun-Wu dynasties to the north, made further long-distance excursions into Manchuria to defeat the Gongsun Family after routing the Wuhuan. By exterminating the Gongsun Family who ruled southern Manchuria and northern and central Koreas for almost half a century and deporting 40,000 households of Sinitic Chinese or over 300,000 people back to North China from Manchuria in A.D. 238, Sima Yi effectually yielded the area to the Tungunsic people, i.e., the Xianbei and Fuyu (including Koguryo & Paekche). Among the Xianbei who were to take the place of the Wuhuan to dominate the area would be the clans of Duan, Murong and Yuwen.
The Duan, Murong and Yuwen Clans, and the Tuoba Xianbei
The later Xianbei of the 4-5th centuries could be classified into three groups: the Eastern Xianbei, the Western Xianbei, and Tuoba Xianbei. Before that, the Xianbei could be divided into Greater Xianbei under Budugeng, Lesser Xianbei under Kebineng, and Manchurian Xianbei. The Eastern Xianbei, with major tribes of Murong, Yuwen, & Duan, established many short-lived successive states in North China and along the northeatern Chinese frontier, i.e., various Yan Statelets. Among Western Xianbei, Qifu clan would set up Western Qin (AD 385-431), and Tufa clan would set up Southern Liang (AD 397-414). Some of the Xianbei mixed up with the Huns. The Hunnic Xia Dynasty (AD 407-431), established by Helian Bobo, was said to be of a mingle nature, called 'Tie Fu'. The Tie Fu Huns were born of Xianbei mother and Hunnic Father. Ultimately, the Tuoba (T'o-pa in Wade-Giles) Xianbei, who migrated to modern China's Shanxi Province from Upper Khingan Ridge, united northern China.
The Successors Of Xianbei-Wuhuan-Tuoba
After the Xianbei-Wuhuan-Tuoba disappeared into China's melting pot during the 16 Nations (AD 304-420), the newcomers from the northern hemisphere, together with the remaining Tunguzic peoples, would be occupying the eastern part of Mongolia and today's Manchuria. In A.D. 443, the barbarians who took over Tuoba's old territories, upper Heilongjiang River and northern Xing'an Ridge, came to see Tuoba Wei Emperor (Tuoba Tao) and told him that they found Tuoba ancestor's stone house, called 'Ga Xian Dong'. Tuoba Tao sent a minister called Li Chang to the stone house which was carved out of a natural cavern. In 1980s, this cavern was discovered as well as the inscriptions left by Li Chang.
The peoples who dwelled in old Xianbei-Wuhuan-Tuoba territories would be the later Shiwei Tribes (ancestors of Mengwu Shiwei or Genghis Mongols), the Khitans, the Xi nomads, and the Malgal people etc.
The Khitans (Qi Dan or Qidan) first appeared on the stage. Cai Dongfan mentioned that the Khitans had claimed descent from the ancient Chinese lord called Shennong-shi (see pre-history). Because they occupied the old territories of Donghu, they were called descendants of the Donghu. The New History Of Tang Dynasty mentioned that the Khitans were the descendants of the Kebi'neng Xianbei, a sub-group of Eastern Hu. Ouyang Xiu of Song Dynasty, in his book The New History Of Tang Dynasty, said that the Khitans were an alternatve race of the Eastern Hu nomads. (Alternatively, The Old History Of Five Dynasties said that the Khitans were an alternative race of the Huns.) The New History Of Tang Dynasty said that by the time of Tuoba's Northern Wei Dynasty (AD 386-534), the ancestors of the Khitans adopted the name 'Khitan' for themselves. According to Li Xihou, author of 'Biography of Yeh-lü A-pao-chi', the Khitan tribal name was known in the 4th century. A Khitan chieftan paid tribute to Tuoba Wei Emperor Tuoba Hong (r. A.D. 466-470), but the Khitan emissary was on the lower end of the list of guests. The Khitans lived around the Liao River in today's Manchuria. To the east of the Khitans will be Koguryo, to the west the Xi people (an alternative race of the Huns; however, records stated that the Xi and Khitan were of the same family), to the north Huji or Mohe (Malgal) and Shiwei Tribes, and to the south Yingzhou Prefecture of Tuoba Wei. Ancient Chinese records speculated that the Xi (or Kuzhen-xi) and the Khitan could be of same family. Shiwei statelets would be where we are to trace the Mongols for their origin. Huji (Malgal) would be where the Jurchens came from.
New History Of Tang Dynasty said Khitans possessed eight tribes and they were subject to the Turks. The Eastern Turks assigned Khan Tuli in charge of Khitan and Huji tribes. The Khitan chieftan was conferred the title of 'Sijin' by the Turks. Around A.D. 620s, the Khitan chieftan came to see Tang's first Emperor, Tang Gaozu, together with a Huji chieftan. Khitans rebelled against the Turks and fled to Tang for asylum. In A.D. 628, Turks pleaded with Tang Emperor Taizong to have Khitans relocate back to Turk control, but Tang Taizong declined this request.
The Xi people, according to New History Of Tang Dynasty, were derived from the Tadu or Tadun Wuhuan (one branch of early Eastern Hu nomads). --The conflict in Chinese history here is that the alternative records stated that the Yuwen Xianbei, after fleeing to the north of Song-mo (pine desert in the Jehol mountains, i.e., today's sandy river basin along the Laha-he River or the origin of the Western Liao River), later split into two tribal groups of Kuzhen-xi and the Khitans; and that the Kuzhen-xi people were the same as the Xi people. To reconcile this, this webmaster had to say that the Tadun Wuhan were first absorbed by the Xianbei, and then the Xianbei were to lead to the Yuwen clan and to the Kuzhen-xi subclan.
Yuan Shao successfully took over three Wuhuan prefectures, and Wuhuan acted as mercenaries for Yuan. Wuhuan were then defeated by Ts'ao Ts'ao during the early Three Kingdoms time period. Alternatively, the Xi people were said to be a different race of the Huns, while the name 'Hun' was a categorical designation. By the time of Tuoba Wei Dynasty, Xi renamed themselves Kuzhen-xi, and they borderd the Turks in the west and the Khitans in the northeast. By the time of Sui Dynasty, they changed their name back to Xi. A chieftan called Suzhi followed Tang Emperor Taizong in the Korean campaigns and was conferred the post of Governor-General of Raole. Raole was in charge of six prefectures. At one time, Xi followed the Khitans in rebelling against Tang Dynasty, and Xi sent some captured Tang general to the Muchuo's Orchon Turks for execution. During the second year of Kaiyuan Era of Xuanzong, A.D. 714, Tang Emperor Xuanzong sent Princess Gu'an to the Xi chieftan as a bride and conferred Xi chieftan the title of King of Raole. Xi chieftan came to Tang capital the second year for the marriage. More Tang princesses would be married to Xi chieftans. By the 4th year of Zhenyuan Era, A.D. 788(?), Xi joined Shiwei in attacking Zhengwu Governor office. Xi also joined Huihe and Shiwei in attacking Chinese Turkistan. In the first year of Dazhong Era, A.D. 847, Tang General Zhang Zhongwu defeated the Xi and burnt 200,000 tents. When Khitans strengthened, Xi submitted to the Khitan's rule. Badly treated by Khitans, Xi fled to Tang Dynasty and was assigned to Guizhou Prefecture. Xi split into Eastern Xi and Western Xi.
The Shiwei people were said to be alternative race of the Khitans, according to New History Of Tang Dynasty. They could be related to the ancient 'Dingling' people. (Dingling was said to be derived from the ancient Chidi people, and early Gaoche people were said to have relation to Dingling as well.) The Shiwei people shared the same language as Huji people. They dwelled in upper Heilongjiang River. The location was to the east of the Turks, the west of Wuji [Huji], and the north of the Khitans. There were over 20 Shiwei tribes on record, including Mengwu Shiwei, ancestors of Genghis Khan Mongols. Among over twenty Shiwei tribes would be another interesting name called 'Huangdou Shiwei', i.e., yellow head Shiwei. New History of Five Dynasties, citing the account of a Chinese (Hu Jiao) taken prisoner of war by Khitans, mentioned that there were a statelet called Yujuelu with 'Maodou' (hairy head) people to the northwest of Shiwei and to the north of the Kirghiz people. Also to the northeast of Shiwei would be another group of 'Maoshou' or hairy head people. Shiwei first came to Tang Dynasty during the 5th year of Tang Emperor Taizong's reign, A.D. 631. Shiwei came to Tang court over a dozen times. By the 4th year of Zhenyuan Era, A.D. 788(?), Xi joined Shiwei in attacking Zhengwu Governor office.
Blackwater Mohe (Malgal) dwelled in the old land of Sushen, aka Yilou. This is the place where ancient Sushen statelet existed during Zhou times. Here, the name Sushen would be used for ancient Koreans during Zhou Dynasty time period, Yilou during early Han Dynasty time period, Huji during Tuoba's Northern Wei Dynasty, Mohe (Malgal) during Sui Dynasty, Bohai (Parhae) during Tang Dynasty, and Ruzhen (Nuzhen) during Song Dynasty. Mohe was renamed to the old name of Wujie (Huji) during Tuoba Wei Dynasty. They were connected with Koguryo in the south, around today's Changbaishan Mountains as well as with Shiwei in the north. During the second year of Tang Emperor Taizong, A.D. 628, the Huji land was made into Yanzhou Prefecture. The Huji tribes joined Koguryo in resisting Tang Dynasty. During the tenth year of Kaiyuan Era, A.D. 722, Tang Emperor Xuanzhong set up Heisui-fu or Blackwater Governor office in the Huji land. Sumuo, one of the Huji tribes, sought protection with Koguryo, and after Koguryo's demise in the hands of Tang, became independent and established the State of Po'hai (Bohai or Parhae). Po'hai continued for a dozen generations till it was destroyed by the Khitans. When later Jurchens defeated the Khitans, the Jurchens sent an emissary to Bohai, saying that Jurchens (Nuzhi) and Bohai were of same family. Note Bohai was recorded to have possessed a written language, music, government and rituals. Among the Altaic speaking people, the Tungusic branch appeared to have a strong inclination for the culture and civilization of China. The early Tuoba people had set up a good example for later Bohai, Khitans, Jurchens, and Manchus, namely, the example that a nomadic entity could be ruling China as a Chinese emperor.
The Khitans During Tang Dynasty
New History Of Tang Dynasty said Khitans possessed eight tribes and they were subject to the Turks. The Khitan chieftan's clan name would be 'Dahe-shi'. The Turks assigned Khan Tuli the post in charge of Khitan and Malgal Tribes, and the Khitan chieftan was conferred the title of 'Sijin' (governor or satrap) by the Turks. Khitan tribes would converge whenever called upon for war, but they went their separate ways for hunting. Khitans frequently warred with Xi nomads. Should they be defeated, they would flee back to the Xianbei-shan Mountain as their ancestors did. They shared similar customs as the Turks. When family members died, the bodies would be placed on the top of the trees.
Around A.D. 620s, Khitan chieftan (Sun Aocao) paid pilgrimage to Tang's first Emperor, Gaozu, together with a Malgal chieftan (Tudiji). Two years later, Khitans sent over horses and leathers.
In A.D. 627, Tang Emperor Taizong got enthroned after staging "Xuan Wu Men Coup D'etat" during which he killed two brothers and forced Emperor Gaozu into abdication. This year, Tiele Tribes, including Xueyantuo, Huihe and Bayegu, rebelled against the Turks. Khan Xieli accused Khan Tuli of failing to quell the Tiele rebellion. Being attacked by Khan Xieli, Khan Tuli requested for help with Tang Emperor Taizong in A.D. 628.
Taking advantage of Tiele rebellions against Turks, in A.D. 628, Khitan chieftan Dahe Mohui defected to Tang from the Turks. Turks pleaded with Tang Emperor Taizong to have Khitans relocate back to the Turkic control in exchange for surrendering a Chinese rebel called Liang Shidu, but Taizong declined it. The next year, Xueyantuo proclaimed themselves as a khan and sought alliance with Tang. When Dahe Mohui came to Tang court in A.D. 629, Taizong bestowed drums, flags, umbrellas and other ritual instruments which the Khitans later treated as the token of power during their tribal power struggles. In A.D. 630, Tang ordered General Li Jing on a full campaign against Turkic Khan Xieli and captured Khan Xieli. The Khitans, together with Xi nomads, followed Taizong in the Korean campaigns in A.D. 644. Emperor Taizong, on route of return from campaign against Korguryo, would call on Khitan chieftan Kuge and other elderly people for a meeting at Yingzhou, west of Liao River. Emperor Taizong conferred the title of 'leftside wuwei (martial defender) general' onto Kuge.
Another Khitan chieftan, Luqizhu, submitted to Tang and was made 'ci shi' (governor) of Quju and his land was made the prefecture of Xuanzhou, nominally under supersision of Yingzhou 'dudu-fu' office. When Kuge led his people to Tang, a new 'dudu-fu' office, Songmuo, was set up, and Kuge was conferred the post of Songmuo 'dudu' (governor-general) in charge of ten prefectures in the area. Kuge was given royal family name of Li by Tang Emperor Taizong. Among the ten prefectures would be those converted from the original eight Khitan tribes; eight Khitan chieftans were conferred the post of nine 'ci shi'. Luqizhu was retained as 'ci shi' of Xuanzhou prefecture.
Khitans first rebelled against Tang in A.D. 656-661 and again in A.D. 696. At the times of Tang Empress Wuhou, with the death of Li Kuge, Khitans, in collusion with Xi nomads, began to rebell against Tang. Li Kuge had two grandsons: Li Kumuoli and Li Jingzhong. In A.D. 696, Li Jinzhong, together with Sun Wanrong (grandson of chieftan Sun Aocao), killed Tang 'dudu' (governor-general) Zhao Wenhui for being insulted. Li Jingzhong declared himself 'Wushang Khan' (khan with nobody above him), employed 'ci shi' Sun Wanrong as forerunner general, and attacked Tang's Chongzhou prefecture by claiming an army of 100,000. Empress Wuhou dispatched King of Liang (Wu Sansi) and 28 generals against the Khitans, but Tang was defeated by Khitans at Xi-xiashi. Khitans failed to take over Pingzhou prefecture. Wuhou then dispatched King of Jian'an (Wu Youyi) against Khitans. Sun Wanrong fled after Khitans failed to take over Tanzhou prefecture where Tang deputy zong guan Zhang Jiujie and hundreds of willing-to-be-martyer soldiers had defended the city. Li Jinzhong died shortly afterward. Turkic Khan Muochuo helped Tang in attacking the rear of the Khitans. Sun Wanrong re-assembled his forces and dispatched his generals (Luo Wuzheng and He A'xiao) against Jizhou prefecture, killed 'ci shi' Lu Baoji and abducted over thousand Chinese. Empress Wuhou dispatched 'shang shu' Wang Xiaojie and 170,000 army against Khitans, but Tang was defeated at Dong-xiashi and Wang Xiaojie was killed. Sun Wanrong then slaughtered Youzhou prefecture. King of Jian'an failed to defeat Sun. Wuhou then ordered that King of Henei-jin (Wu Yizong), 'yu shi' Lou Shide and 'You-wuwei-wei General Shazha Zhongyi led an army of 200,000 against the Khitans. Yang Xuanji, 'zong guan (omnibus magistrate) of Shenbian-dao rallied Xi nomadic army and attacked the Khitans from the rear. Tang army killed He A'xiao and captured Luo Wuzheng and Li Kaigu. When Sun Wanrong re-assembled his army to fight Xi, Xi nomads encircled Sun and defeated Khitans. Sun fled to east of Lu-he river, and he was killed by his servant during rest. Zhang Jiujie relayed Sun'a head to the rest of Khitans, and Khitans hence collapsed. In A.D. 697, Wuhou gladly changed the era to the first year of Shengong (devine feats) and declared an amnesty across the nation. Hence, the Khitans fled to the Turks for protection.
In A.D. 700, two Tang nomadic generals, Li Kaigu and Luo Wuzheng, who were previously caught by Tang, defeated the Khitans again. In A.D. 714, Shihuo (Li Jinzhong's uncle) and xielifa Yi-jian-chuo, leading their clan, defected from Turkic Khan Muchuo to Tang. Tang Emperor Xuanzong bestowed 'iron certificate' (a document which would exempt the holder of the death penalty). Two years later, Shihuo came to Tang with Xi chieftan Li Dapu. Songmuo-fu Prefecture was re-established, and Shihuo was conferred the post of du du, king of Songmuo-jun and leftside jinwu-wei grand general. Heads of eight Khitan tribes were conferred posts as ci si. A Tang royal family princess, Princess Yongle (daughter of the grandson of King Dongping-wang), was sent to Khitan chieftan as a bribe. Turks would complain to Tang numerous times, saying that both Xi and Khitan had received Tang princesses but the Turks did not get this privilege. In 717 AD, Shihuo died, and a brother, called Suogu, inherited everything. The next year, Suogu and Prince Yongle came to Tang court. A Khitan general, called Ke-tu-yu, rebelled against Suogu. Suguo fled to Yingzhou prefecture and was given 500 soldiers by Tang du du Xu Qindan. Suguo then called on Xi chieftan Li Dapu to attack Ke-tu-yu, but both were killed by Ke-tu-yu. Xu Qindan, being afraid of Ke-tu-yu, relocated to Yuguan Pass. Ke-tu-yu then selected Suopu's brother (Yueyu) as Khitan king and requested pardon with Tang court. Tang conferred the king title onto Yueyu and pardoned Ke-tu-yu. When Yueyu came to Tang, he was given Princess Yanjun as a bride. When Yueyu died, a brother called Tuyusi was enthroned. Tuyusu, having rifts with Ke-tu-yu, fled to Tang with Prince Yanjun; Tuyusi was conferred the title of King of Liaoyang-jun. Ke-tu-yu then selected Li Jinzhong's brother (Shaogu) as the king. Tang sent over Princess Songhua to Shaogu, and Shaogu sent over his son as a hostage at Tang court. Ke-tu-yu came to Tang court for a second time and was mis-treated by Tang prime minister. Three years alter, Ke-tu-yu killed Shaogu, selected Qulie as new Khitan king, and compelled the Xi nomads into vassalage with the Turks. Princess Donghua fled to Pinglu. Tang court ordered a huge campaign against the Khitans and defeated Ke-tu-yu. Xi nomads surrendered to Tang. The next year, Ke-tu-yu attacked the border areas. Tang zhang shi of Youzhou, Xue Chuyue, led over 10,000 cavalry and Xi nomads against Ke-tu-yu. Ke-tu-yu had Turks backing him, and Xi nomads changed loyalty. Two Tang generals were killed, and two were defeated, with a casualty of over 10,000 deaths. Tang made Zhang Shougui as the new zhang shi of Youzhou. Zhang Shougui secretly contacted a Khitan general (Li Guozhe) to have him lay siege of Ke-tu-yu. In A.D. 734, Li Guozhe killed Ke-tu-yu and Qulie. Tang conferred the title of King of Beiping-jun and du du of Songmuo onto Li Guozhe. In A.D. 735, Ke-tu-yu remnants slaughtered Li Guozhe and his family, with one Li son fleeing to An'dong. Khitans, under the leadership of Yali (Zuli, Nieli or Nili, the ancestor of Yelü Ahbaoji), selected, Zuli, as Khan Zuwu. Per Li Xihou, Khan Zuwu was a Yaonian-shi clan and he replaced Dahe-shi clan as Khitan leader. (Speculation about Dahe-shi clan would consider Shaogu as its last heir.)
In A.D. 737, Zhang Shougui defeated Khitans again. In A.D. 745, Khitan chieftan (Li Huaixiu) surrendered to Tang and was conferred du du of Songmuo and King of Chongshun-wang; Li Huaixiu was given Tang Prince Jingle as a bride. In the same year, Li Huaixiu killed Prince Jingle and fled home. An Lushan, jie du shi (governor-general) of Fanyang, defeated Li Huaixiu. (Per Li Xihou, Li Huaixiu could be the same person as Khan Zuwu.) A new chieftan, Li Kailuo, was made into King of Gongren and du du of Songmuo.
The Khitans would continue its developments in power, and by mid-750s, they defeated the Tang army led by An Lushan. An Lushan earlier had led an army in hundreds of thousands and tried to quell Khitan rebellion with a Xi nomad guide. An Lushan proposed to Tang Emperor Xuanzong in campaigning against Khitans; An Lushan assembled an army of over 100,000 from Youzhou, Yunzhong, Pinglu and Hedong; An Lushan, using Xi nomads as guide, had a fight with Khitans on the south bank of Huang-shui River; and An Lushan was defeated, with a casualty of thousand deaths. An Lushan would be engaged in zigzag war with Khitans till his rebellion in A.D. 755.
Tang nomadic general An Lushan's rebellion (An-Shi rebellion) broke out in Oct of A.D. 755. This will bring about Tang's decline. Before and after this time period, Khitans had paid visits to Tang court dozens of times. Always on a yearly basis, the Khitan chieftans came to Tang, and they stayged in special guesthouses in the number of hundreds. Khitans later submitted to Huihe (Uygurs). Tang did not confer them any more titles because of their submission to Huihe. It would be in A.D. 842 that Khitan chieftan Quxu came to submit to Tang again after the Uygurs were destroyed by the Kirghiz. Tang Emperor Wuzong dispatched several columns of army against Huihe by taking advantage of Kirghiz attacks. A Huihe chirftan, Wenmeisi, surrendered to Tang. Governor-general of Youzhou, Zhang Zhongwu, would replace Khitan's Uygur seal with a Tang seal. In A.D. 860s, Khitan king Xi-er-zhi sent emissary to Tang. After Xi-er-zhi would be Qinde. Beginning from A.D. 885, with the decline of Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), Khitans began to conquer Dada [Dadan], Xi nomads and Shiwei statelets in late A.D. 880s. They began to raid into northern China again. Governor-general Liu Rengong counter-attacked the Khitans by going beyond Zhaixing-ling Ridge and burnt the grass to starve their herds. Khitans lost a lot of horses and requested for ceasefire. Khitans broke the peace treaty and invaded China with over ten thousand cavalry. Later, Liu Shouguang of Pingzhou prefecture defeated them again by capturing their generals during a peace banquet, and peace ensued for 10 years. Khitan King Qinde, in his late years, gradually lost his control over eight Khitan tribes. Per History of Tang Dynasty, Dahe-shi clan hence lost control of the power over Khitan tribes. Yelü Ahbaoji was selected because the other Yaonian-shi chieftans failed to do the job. Yelü Ahbaoji was conferred the post of yilijin of the Dielie tribe by Yaonian Khan Hengdejin in A.D. 901.
Later, in early years of Posterior Liang, around A.D. 907, he, using the trick of his Huihe wife (Shulü), cheated the tribal leaders into a party and killed them all. Hence, Yelü Ahbaoji, a Yaonian-shi clan member, controlled all Khitan tribes.
Yelü Ahbaoji (Yeh-lu A-pao-chi A.D. 872-926) took in a lot of Youzhou and Zhuozhou Chinese who fled from warlord Liu Shouguang's tyranny. Yelü Ahbaoji expanded his territories by sacking the Chinese border cities and abducting the civilians. The eight Khitan tribes used to have a system of rotating rule for selecting their chieftans every three years. Yelü Ahbaoji took over the reign for 9 years without rotating the seat after hearing of the Chinese saying that the kings did not rotate. Under the pressure of the other tribal heads, Yelü Ahbaoji moved southward where he set up an independent city called 'Han Cheng', namely, the Chinese city, near the bank of the Luan-he River in today's Jehol. Yelü Ahbaoji had the Chinese cultivate the lands and mine the ores.
To the north of 'Han Cheng' (the Chinese city), along the West Liao River and Xi-lamulun River, in the valley and sandy area [i.e., the ancient Song-mo or Pine Desert area), the Khitans by the early 11th century were to build nine Chinese-style prefecture-level settlements numbering 350,000 households, including Qingzhou (to the north of Linxi and west of Balin-zuoqi), Huaizhou (west of Balin-zuoqi, Tang Dynasty's Guicheng-zhou), Shang-jing (the upper capital city) [in today's Balin-zuoqi), Zuzhou (ancestral prefecture, between Huaizhou and Shangjing), Raozhou (south of Balin-youqi, Tang Dynasty's Raohua-zhou and Songmo-fu [pine desert prefecture]), Yikunzhou (southwest of Raozhou), Songshanzhou (pine hill prefecture, south of Shangjing and wast of Balin-youqi) between Wuer-jimulun River and Xi-lamulun River, Yongzhou (southeast of Songshanzhou, called Tong-nabo, i.e., tents in the winter times) at the intersection of Xi-lamulun River and Laha-he River, Longhuazhou (southeast of Yongzhou) northeast of today's Naiman-qi, and Longshengzhou (southwest of Naiman-qi) etc. Longhuazhou would be where the Khitan ancestor, Khan Qishou, dwelled, and was called by Long-ting, i.e., the dragon's court house. Xi-lamuhe was known as the ancient Huang-shui (yellow water) or Raole-shui, and merged with Laha-he River to become the source of the West Liao-he River. The ancient Song-mo or Pine Desert area is known as Ke-er-qin today. Northern Song emissary Song Shou, when traveling between the Liao Zhongjing (the middle capital city) and Shangjing, described the geography of crossing the desert, passing Baima-dian (white horse lake) and crossing the Tu-he (Laha-he) River.
The Khitans were said to have been pressured into moving into northern China where they established the Khitan Dynasty in A.D. 907. The Naimans, who first allied with the Kirghiz who defeated the Huihe (Uygurs) in A.D. 840, grew in strength and drove the Kirghiz to the River Yenesei and rooted the Keraits from their homeland on the Irtysch in the Altai and drove the Keraits towards Manchuria, hence indirectly causing the Khitans to move to northern China where they established the Khitan Dynasty in A.D. 907.
The Khitans under Yelü Ahbaoji obtained a Chinese minister called Han Yanwei and quickly conquered in A.D. 926 tribes like the Dangxiang (Tanguts) in the west, and the Tungusic P'o-hai in the east and north Korea. (The Khitans conquered the Xi nomad and She Wei in the north earlier.) The Khitans became a much larger northern power. The Khitans ruled eastern Mongolia, most of Manchuria, and much of northern China by A.D. 925. The Khitans renamed their dynsty to Liao Dynasty in A.D. 947 in the attempt of ruling northern China. When the weather got hot and the Chinese rebelled against them, Yelü Deguang retreated to the north and died on route to home at a place called the Fox-killing Ridge (shahu-ling). They renamed it back to Khitan in A.D. 983, and finally back to Liao Dynasty in A.D. 1066. The dynasty lasts through 907-1125.
The Khitans & the Five Dynasties
The Khitans were said to have been pressured into moving into northern China where they established the Khitan Dynasty in A.D. 907. The Naimans, who first allied with the Kirghiz who defeated the Uigurs in A.D. 840, grew in strength and drove the Kirghiz to the River Yenesei and rooted the Keraits from their homeland on the Irtysch in the Altai and drove them towards Manchuria, hence indirectly causing the Khitans to move to northern China where they established the Khitan Dynasty in A.D. 907 and renamed it to Liao Dynasty in A.D. 938 (or A.D. 947 according to alternative claim). The Khitans ruled eastern Mongolia, most of Manchuria, and much of northern China by A.D. 925.
The demise of Tang Dynasty brought the so-called Five Dynasties (AD 907-960) in northern China and 10 Kingdoms (AD 902-979), with the nine kingdoms in southern China and Northern Han (AD 951-979) in today's Shaanxi. As recorded in history, the three dynasties in between Posterior Liang and Posterior Zhou were of alien nature, founded by generals who belonged to a group of nomads called Shatuo (Sha'to, a Turkic tribe). While Posterior Liang (AD 907-923) was set up by Zhu Wen (who first betrayed rebel leader Huang Chao and then usurped Tang Dynasty), the leader of later Posterior Tang (AD 923-936), Posterior Jinn (AD 936-946) and Posterior Han all came from nomadic Shatuo (Sha'to). This time period marks the penetration and influence of the Khitans on northern China.
Posterior Tang leader had once gone into exile in another nomadic group of people called Dada [Dadan] (to be mixed up with Tartar later) till he was recalled by Tang emperor for quelling the Huang Chao Rebellion. When Zhu Wen usurped Tang, General Li Keyong and his son Li Chunxu set up the so-called Posterior Tang. Around A.D. 907, the Khitans invaded northern Chinese post of Yunzhong. To combat Posterior Liang, Li Keyong would strike an agreement with the Khitans (a branch of earlier Xianbei nomads) against Posterior Liang. But the Khitans, under Yelü Ahbaoji (Yeh-lu A-pao-chi A.D. 872-926) and his Uygur wife, would collude with Posterior Liang. Yelü Ahbaoji had earlier led a 300 thousand army to an alliance meeting with Li Keyong and swore to be brothers. Yelü Ahbaoji gave a few thousand horses to Li Keyong. But, Yelü Ahbaoji would change mind soon, and he sought suzerainty with Zhu Wen for sake of title conferring as well as marriage with Zhu Wen's daughter. Li Xihou commented that Yelü Ahbaoji intended to be conferred kingship by a Chinese emperor for sake of solidifying his rule over eight tribes at home. Posterior Liang exchanged emissaries with Yelü Ahbaoji few times, and had Yelü Ahbaoji dispatch 300 Khitan cavalry to Posterior Liang as a show of submission. Li Keyong, hearing of the Khitan betrayal, got ill and passed away, leaving three arrows with his son (Li Chunxu, Posterior Tang Emperor Zhuangzong) as oathes to destroy Posterior Liang and the Khitans. However, Yelü Ahbaoji failed to go to Posterior Liang capital for the conferral, and Khitans altogether sent 4 missions to Posterior Liang.
The Khitans under Yelü Ahbaoji obtained a Chinese minister called Han Yanwei and quickly conquered, in A.D. 926, tribes like Dangxiang (Tanguts) in the west, and the Tungusic P'o-hai in the east and north Korea. (Khitans conquered Xi nomad and She Wei in the north earlier.) Khitan became a much larger northern power. The Khitans ruled eastern Mongolia, most of Manchuria, and northern China by A.D. 925.
After Li Chunxu overthrew Posterior Liang in A.D. 921, Tangut's Li Renfu expressed loyalty to Posterior Tang. In A.D. 933, Tangut's Li Yichao assumed the post of his father Li Renfu. Posterior Tang Emperor Mingzong [Li Siyuan or Li Dan, reign 926-933] had campaigned against Li Yichao for his refusal to relocate to Yanzhou. After laying siege of Xiazhou in vain for over hundred days, Posterior Tang Emperor Mingzong withdrew the siege and re-confirmed Li Yichao's post. After Li Yichao's death in A.D. 936, brother Li Yiyin assumed the Tangut post.
Posterior Jinn (AD 936-946), led by a Posterior Tang general called Shi Jingtang, also a Shatuo (Sha'to) nomad, in order to fight Posterior Tang, would secede 16 zhou (a unit larger than prefecture but smaller than province) to the Khitans, including today's Beijing city which was never recovered from the nomads till Ming Dynasty (AD 1368-1644) overthrown the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty. Yelü Ahbaoji's son, Yelü Deguang, would assist Posterior Jinn in destroying Posterior Tang and hence take over 16 northern Chinese prefectures as a ransom. With the help of Khitans, Posterior Jinn took over Luoyang and destroyed Posterior Tang. After Shi Jingtang, i.e., Tang Emperor Mingzong's son-in-law, colluded with Khitans in overthrowing Posterior Tang and establishing Posterior Jinn, Tangut's Li Yiyin continued to receive the old conferrals. Posterior Jinn further caught Tangut rebels in A.D. 943 on behalf of Li Yiyin.
However, rifts between Khitans and Posterior Jinn ensued, and Khitans destroyed Posterior Jinn. When Posterior Jinn Emperor Chudi refused to acknowledge vassalage to Khitans, Yelü Deguang attacked Posterior Jinn. When Khitans attacked Posterior Jinn in A.D. 944, Tangut's Li Yiyin led a combined force of 40,000 Tibetans, Qiangs and Han Chinese in attacking the west of Khitans by crossing the Yellow River at Linzhou. Yelü Deguang destroyed Posteriro Jinn in A.D. 946. Khitans renamed their dynsty to Liao Dynasty in A.D. 947 in the attempt of ruling northern China.
Khitan chieftain, Yelü Deguang, tried to establish himself as emperor of northern China and declared Liao Dynasty while he was occupying the capital of Posterior Jinn in A.D. 947. (Khitan Liao's dynasty lasted A.D. 916-1125, but the name of Liao was to do with A.D. 947 when Posterior Jinn was destroyed. Liao was meant for a dynasty in China, while Khitan was for their original northern dynastic title.) When weather got hot and Chinese under Posteriro Han Dynasty's Liu Zhiyuan rebelled against them, Yelü Deguang retreated to the north and died on route home at a place called Fox-killing Ridge. Liu Zhiyuan of Shatuo origin established Posteriro Han Dynasty. Posteriro Han Dynasty continued the pacification policy as to the Tanguts, and further seceded Jingzhou (Mizhi county of Shenxi) to Tangut's Li Yiyin in A.D. 949 and conferred the title of "zhong shu ling" (minister for central secretariat).
At this time, Southern Tang (AD 937-975) in Nanking, south of the Yantze River, had contacted Khitans expressing a desire to go to the ex-Tang capital of Chang'an to maintain the imperial tombs. When weather got hot and Chinese under Liu Zhiyuan rebelled against them, Yelü Deguang retreated to the north and died on route home at a place called Fox-killing Ridge. A Posterior Jinn general of Shatuo tribe origin, Liu Zhiyuan, would be responsible for rallying an army and pressured Khitans into retreat, and hence Liu founded the Posterior Han Dynasty (AD 947-950), citing the same family name as Han Empire's founder.
Yelü Deguang's nephew (Wuyue Yelü Ruan), would succeed the Khitan post in A.D. 947. Five years later, in A.D. 951, he was assasinated. Posteriro Han Dynasty continued the pacification policy as to the Tanguts, and further seceded Jingzhou (Mizhi county of Shenxi) to Li Yiyin in A.D. 949 and conferred the title of "zhong shu ling" (minister for central secretariat).
Guo Wei, a general of Posterior Han Dynasty responsible for defeating Posterior Jinn, rebelled after his family were slaughtered in the capital; Guo later staged a change of dynasty by having his soldiers propose that he be the emperor of Posterior Zhou (AD 951-960), while the uncle of Posterior Han emperor declared Northern Han (AD 951-979) in today's Shaanxi and allied with Khitans. Yelü Deguang's son, Wulu (Yelü Jing), would now succeed in A.D. 951. Note that the Yelü family had adopted Chinese first names here, and they had sinicized by adopting Chinese language, rituals and governmental structure.
After Guo Wei, i.e., "liu shou" (governing magistrate) for Yedu (Yecheng of Shanxi), killed Posteriro Han Dynasty Emperor Yindi (r 948-950), Guo Wei upgraded Tangut's Li Yiyin to the title of King Longxi-jun-wang in A.D. 951. Yelu Deguang's son, Wulu (Yelu Jing), would now succeed in A.D. 951. Note that the Yelu family had adopted Chinese first names here, and they had sinicized by adopting Chinese language, rituals and governmental structure. The Khitans changed their dynastic names back and forth between Liao and Khitan, several times. First called Khitan in A.D. 907, they did not have chronicle year till A.D. 916. They renamed it to Liao in A.D. 947, renamed it to Khitan in A.D. 983, and renamed it back to Liao in A.D. 1066.
Guo Wei, i.e., Posteriro Zhou Dynasty Emperor Taizu (r 951-954), conferred the title of King Xiping-wang onto Li Yiyin in A.D. 954. Li Yiyin did not severe relations with Northern Han Dynasty till A.D. 957. Guo Wei's Posterior Zhou will pass on to his foster son, Cai Rong, to be eventually replaced by his general called Zhao Kuangying who founded the Northern Song Dynasty (AD 960-1127). In A.D. 960, Zhao Kuangyin initiated Chenqiao Coup, took over the reign from Posteriro Zhou and established Song Dynasty as Emperor Taizu (r 960-976). Tangut's Li Yiyin promptly dispatched emissary to Song court for expressing loyalty, and changed his name to Li Yixing for avoiding the conflict with the last character of the given name of Zhao Kuangyin's father. Li Yiyin surrendered 300 stallions to Song court in A.D. 962 and received jade-belt as imperial bestowal in return. When Li Yiyin died in A.D. 967, Song Emperor Taizu ordered a mourning for three days and conferred Li Yiyin the title of King Xia-wang posthumously. Tangut's Li Guangrui assumed his father's post.
The Khitan, Western Xia and Song China, during the remainder of 11th century and the early years of the twelfth century, were frequently at war with each other till the Jurchens came along. The Jurchens, ancestors of the later Manchu, would defeat the Khitans in a seven-year war (AD 1115-1122) by means of an alliance with Northern Song.
The Khitans & Song Dynasty
Khitan Emperor Muzong (Yelü Jing r 951-969) was assasinated in A.D. 969. Wuyue's son, Yelü Xian, would be enthroned as Khitan Emperor Jingzong (r 969-982). Yelü Xian would appoint Xiao Shouxing as 'shangshu-ling' and take over Xiao's daughter as his empress. Empress Yanyan (or Yeye), after the death of Yelü Xian, would assume Khitan regency as so-called Xiao-niangniang or Xiaotaihou. Empress Xiaotaihou changed the dynastic name back to Khitan. i.e., Da Qi Dan or the Great Khitan. Yelü Rongxu was enthroned in A.D. 982 and continued till A.D. 1031, but Xiaotaihou held the antual power. Xiaotaihou appointed a Chinese, Han Derang (son of Han Kuangsi or Han Guosi) as so-called 'shumi-shi' in charge of secretariat, Yelü Boguzhe in charge of areas west of Beijing, Yelü Xiuge in charge of areas south of Beijing, and accepted the surrender of a Song Chinese general (Li Jiqian). When Song Dynasty's second emperor, Song Taizong (r 976-997), tried to attack Beijing (after quelling the remnant Posterior Han), Khitans dealt Song Chinese a thorough defeat. Xiaotaihou later took in Han Derang as her lover and conferred onto him the post of prime minister and the title of King Jin; Xiaotaihou gave Han Derang the Khitan name of Yelü Rongyun. When Xiaotaihou and Han Derang passed away, Yelü Rongxu ordered that Han Derang be buried next to the tomb of Xiaotaihou. Yelü Rongxu campaigned against Koryo for the killing of Koryo king by a minister.
The Khitans sent emissary to congratulate Song Emperor Renzong's enthronement. The second year, Khitans propogated the news that they would go for hunting at Youzhou. A Song minister by the name of Zhang Zhibai advised against amassing troops for guarding possible Khitan invasion, and Khitans failed to find any excuse to invade Song. Khitans quelled the rebellion in Liaodong areas. In A.D. 1031, Khitan Emperor Shengzong (Yelü Rongxu) passed away, and son Yelü Zongzhen was enthroned as Emperor Xingzong (r 1031-1055). Yelü Rongxu gave two wills to Yelü Zongzhen, i.e., i) treat Khitan empress as his own mother; ii) befriend Song as long as Song keep peace. Yelü Zongzhen sent emissary to Song to notify of his father's death, and Song sent zhong cheng (central prime minister) Kong Daofu to express condolences. In A.D. 1032, Yelü Zongzhen's birth mother took advantage of Yelü Zongzhen's hunting and ordered that Yelü Rongxu's dowager empress to commit suicide. Yelü Zongzhen's birth mother later tried to instigate an ursurpation to have a junior son replace Yelü Zongzhen. Yelü Zongzhen relocated his mother out of the capital and officially took over regency.
Northern China was inevitably mingled with nomads from Manchuria and Mongolia. The city of Beijing would remain in the hands of the Khitans (AD 907-1125), and then passed into the Jurchens (AD 1115-1234) after a short interim under Song administartion, Mongol Yuan (AD 1279-1368) till Ming Dynasty overthrew the Mongolian yoke in A.D. 1368. For hundreds of years, the Song Dynasty, built on top of Northern Zhou (AD 951-960) of the Cai(1) family, would be engaged in the games of 'three kingdom' kind of warfares. Northern Song (AD 960-1127) would face off with the Western Xia (AD 1032-1227) and Khitan Liao in a triangle, and then played the card of allying with the Jurchens in destroying the Khitan Liao. With Northern Song defeated by the Jurchens thereafter, Southern Song (AD 1127-1279) would be engaged in another triangle game, with the other players being Western Xia and the Jurchen Jin. Southern Song would then play the card of allying with the Mongolians in destroying Jurchen Jin, and it even sent tens of thousands of carts of grain to the Mongol army in the besieging of the last Jurchen stronghold. Soon after than, the Southern Song generals broke the agreement with the Mongols and they shortly took over the so-called three old capitals of Kaifeng, Luoyang and Chang'an. But they could not hold on to any of the three because what they had occupied had been empty cities after years of warfare between the Jurchens and Mongols. Similar to the times of the Western Jin (AD 265-316) and Eastern Jin (AD 317-420), the northern Chinese would have fled to the south during these conflicts. While Eastern Jin re-established their capital in Nanking, the Southern Song, driven away from Nanking by the Jurchens, chose today's Hangzhou as the new capital. Hangzhou, however, had been the capital of Warring Kingdoms in Zhou times.
The Khitans, the Uygurs, the Jurchens & the Tanguts
The Khitans' relationship with the Uygurs and Tanguts would play some role here. The Jurchen overran the Khitan territories in A.D. 1114. One Khitan prince, sensing the onslaught of the Jurchens, already went to the west to establish his Western Liao Dynasty. The Jurchens, ancestors of the later Manchu, would defeat the Kitans in a seven-year war (AD 1115-1122) by means of an alliance with Northern Song Chinese. In A.D. 1122, Khitan Emperor fled to Yinshan Mountains, Inner Mongolia. Tangut General, Li Liangfu, leading an army of 30000, came to the aid of the Khitans. Tanguts would not swear allegiance to the Jurchens till A.D. 1124.
There is a citation that an Uyghur prince went to kitan places but he could not communicate with Khitans. Hence the Khitans began to develop 'small script'. This saying is now disputed since the finding would be that the Khitans first developed the so-called 'big script' (sinicized language), and then the small-character scripts with Uygur influence. The Khitans, after taking over Mongolia from Kirghiz, had retained a lot of Uygurs who were left behind. Many records show the exchange between the two groups.
The Khitan Mode Of 'Relocational Palaces'
The Khitans shared the same mode of 'relocational palaces' as the Yuezhi. Chinese Turkistan possessed dozens of statelets, and they were the agri people in comparison with the roaming marauders on the steppe. The Yuezhi were said to be practicing the mode of 'relocational palaces', the same way as the Iranian or Persian rulers. That means, the Yuezhi ruler would spent one summer in a certain palace of a certain city and then relocate to a palace in a different city. The later Khitans had so-called 'Xi-lou' (i.e., Zuzhou, an ancient Khitan hunting ground, southwest of Balin-zuoqi) and 'Dong-lou' (Jiangsheng-zhou, or today's Kulun-qi Banner), i.e., the west storey palace and east storey palace, and they moved to different places in different seasons. Both Chinese Turkistan and Manchuria DIFFER from Mongolia in that the nomads of Mongolia and Altai had no cities and they roamed the plains in search of grass and water. The Khitans, who dwelled in the sandy Song-mo (Pine Desert) area, had undertaken limited cultivation. This is the fundamental distinction.
TO BE CONTINUED !!!!!
written by Ah Xiang
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