River (Even: Тамур, Tamur; Russian: река́
Аму́р, IPA: [ɐˈmur]) or Heilong Jiang (Chinese: 黑龙江;
pinyin: Hēilóng Jiāng, "Black Dragon River"; Manchu:
ᡤᡳᠶᠠᠩ; Möllendorff: sahaliyan ula/helung
giyang; Abkai: sahaliyan ula/helung giyang, "Black Water") is the
world's tenth longest river, forming the border between the Russian
Far East and Northeastern
China (Inner Manchuria). The largest fish
species in the Amur is the kaluga, attaining a length as great as 5.6
metres (18 ft). The Amur
River is the only river in the world
in which subtropical Asian fish such as snakehead, coexist with Arctic
Siberian fish, such as pike. The river is home to a variety of other
large predatory fish such as Taimen, Amur Catfish, and yellowcheek.
3 History and context
5 Bridges and tunnels
6 Amur Bridge Project
7 See also
9 External links
Historically, it was common to refer to a river simply as "water". The
word for "water" is similar in a number of Asiatic languages: mul
(물) in Korean, muren (mörön) in Mongolian, and mizu (みず) in
Japanese. The name "Amur" may have evolved from a root word for water,
coupled with a size modifier for "Big Water".
The Chinese name for the river, Heilong Jiang, means Black Dragon
River in Chinese, and its Mongolian name, Khar mörön (Cyrillic:
Хар мөрөн), means Black River.
Khabarovsk Bridge across the Amur used to be the longest in Imperial
Russia and Eurasia.
"Black Dragon River"
Alternative Chinese name
(Khar Mörön) "black river" or Амар Мөрөн (Amar Mörön)
The river rises in the hills in the western part of Northeast
the confluence of its two major affluents, the
Shilka River and the
Ergune (or Argun) River, at an elevation of 303 metres
(994 ft). It flows east forming the border between
Russia, and slowly makes a great arc to the southeast for about 400
kilometres (250 mi), receiving many tributaries and passing many
small towns. At Huma, it is joined by a major tributary, the Huma
River. Afterwards it continues to flow south until between the cities
Blagoveschensk (Russia) and
Heihe (China), it widens significantly
as it is joined by the Zeya River, one of its most important
The Amur arcs to the east and turns southeast again at the confluence
with the Bureya River, then does not receive another significant
tributary for nearly 250 kilometres (160 mi) before its
confluence with its largest tributary, the Songhua River, at
Tongjiang. At the confluence with the Songhua the river turns
northeast, now flowing towards Khabarovsk, where it joins the Ussuri
River and ceases to define the Russia–
China border. Now the river
spreads out dramatically into a braided character, flowing
north-northeast through a wide valley in eastern Russia, passing
Amursk and Komsomolsk-on-Amur. The valley narrows after about 200
kilometres (120 mi) and the river again flows north onto plains
at the confluence with the Amgun River. Shortly after, the Amur turns
sharply east and into an estuary at Nikolayevsk-on-Amur, about 20
kilometres (12 mi) downstream of which it flows into the Strait
History and context
In many historical references these two geopolitical entities are
Outer Manchuria (Russian Manchuria) and Inner Manchuria,
respectively. The Chinese province of
Heilongjiang on the south bank
of the river is named after it, as is the Russian
Amur Oblast on the
north bank. The name Black
River (sahaliyan ula) was used by the
Manchu people and their
Qing Empire of China, who regarded this
river as sacred.
River is an important symbol of, and geopolitical factor in,
Chinese–Russian relations. The Amur was especially important in the
period following the Sino–Soviet political split in the
For many centuries the Amur Valley was populated by the Tungusic
(Evenki, Solon, Ducher, Jurchen, Nanai, Ulch) and Mongol (Daur)
people, and, near its mouth, by the Nivkhs. For many of them, fishing
in the Amur and its tributaries was the main source of their
livelihood. Until the 17th century, these people were not known to the
Europeans, and little known to the Han Chinese, who sometimes
collectively described them as the Wild Jurchens. The term Yupi Dazi
("Fish-skin Tatars") was used for the Nanais and related groups as
well, owing to their traditional clothes made of fish skins.
A remnant of Yishiha's monuments at Tyr, as seen c. 1860
The Mongols, ruling the region as the Yuan dynasty, established a
tenuous military presence on the lower Amur in the 13–14th
centuries; ruins of a Yuan-era temple have been excavated near the
village of Tyr.
During the Yongle and Xuande eras (early 15th century), the Ming
dynasty reached the Amur as well in their drive to establish control
over the lands adjacent to the Ming Empire to the northeast, which
were later to become known as Manchuria. Expeditions headed by the
Yishiha reached Tyr several times between 1411 and the early
1430s, re-building (twice) the Yongning Temple and obtaining at least
the nominal allegiance of the lower Amur's tribes to the Ming
government. Some sources report also a Chinese presence during
the same period on the middle Amur – a fort existed at Aigun
for about 20 years during the Yongle era on the left (northwestern)
shore of the Amur downstream from the mouth of the Zeya River. This
Aigun was located on the opposite bank to the later Aigun
that was relocated during the Qing Dynasty. In any event, the Ming
presence on the Amur was as short-lived as it was tenuous; soon after
the end of the Yongle era, the Ming dynasty's frontiers retreated to
southern Manchuria.
Goldi village along the Amur River, north of Khabarovsk, 1895
Goldi men with dog sled on Amur
Chinese cultural and religious influence such as Chinese New Year, the
"Chinese god", Chinese motifs like the dragon, spirals, scrolls, and
material goods like agriculture, husbandry, heating, iron cooking
pots, silk, and cotton spread among the Amur natives like the Udeghes,
Ulchis, and Nanais.
Cossack expeditions led by
Vassili Poyarkov and Yerofey
Khabarov explored the Amur and its tributaries in 1643–44 and
1649–51, respectively. The Cossacks established the fort of Albazin
on the upper Amur, at the site of the former capital of the Solons.
River (under its Manchu name, Saghalien Oula) and its tributaries
on a 1734 map by Jean Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville, based upon maps
of Jesuits in China.
Albazin is shown as Jaxa, the old (Ming) site of
Aigun as Aihom and the later, Qing Aigun, as Saghalien Oula.
At the time, the Manchus were busy with conquering the region; but a
few decades later, during the Kangxi era, they turned their attention
to their north-Manchurian backyard.
Aigun was reestablished near the
supposed Ming site in about 1683–84, and a military expeditions was
sent upstream to dislodge the Russians, whose
deprived the Manchu rulers from the tribute of sable pelts that the
Solons and Daurs of the area would supply otherwise.
during a short military campaign in 1685. The hostilities were
concluded in 1689 by the Treaty of Nerchinsk, which left the entire
Amur valley, from the convergence of the Shilka and the Ergune
downstream, in Chinese hands.
Fedor Soimonov was sent to map the then little explored area of the
Amur in 1757. He mapped the Shilka, which was partly in Chinese
territory, but was turned back when he reached its confluence with the
Argun. The Russian proselytization of Orthodox Christianity to the
indigenous peoples along the Amur
River was viewed as a threat by the
The Amur region remained a relative backwater of the
Qing Empire for
the next century and a half, with
Aigun being practically the only
major town on the river. Russians re-appeared on the river in the
mid-19th century, forcing the Manchus to yield all lands north of the
river to the
Russian Empire by the Treaty of
Aigun (1858). Lands east
Ussury and the lower Amur were acquired by
Russia as well, by
Convention of Peking
Convention of Peking (1860).
The acquisition of the lands on the Amur and the
Ussury was followed
by the migration of Russian settlers to the region and the
construction of such cities as
Blagoveshchensk and, later, Khabarovsk.
Numerous river steamers, built in England, plied the Amur by the late
19th century. Tsar Nicolas II, then Tsarovitch, visited Vladivostok
and then cruised up the river. Mining dredges were imported from
America to work the placer gold of the river. Barge and river traffic
was greatly hindered by the Civil War of 1918–22. The Soviet Reds
had the Amur Flotilla which patrolled the river on sequestered
riverboats. In the 1930s and during the War the Japanese had their own
flotilla on the river. In 1945 the Soviets again put their own
flotilla on the river. The ex-German Yangtse gunboats Vaterland and
Otter, on Chinese Nationalist Navy service, patrolled the Amur in the
On the Amur in Khabarovsk
Flowing across northeast
Asia for over 4,444 kilometres
(2,761 mi) (including its two attributaries), from the mountains
China to the
Sea of Okhotsk
Sea of Okhotsk (near
Nikolayevsk-na-Amure), it drains a remarkable watershed that includes
diverse landscapes of desert, steppe, tundra, and taiga, eventually
emptying into the Pacific Ocean through the Strait of Tartary, where
the mouth of the river faces the northern end of the island of
The Amur has always been closely associated with the island of
Sakhalin at its mouth, and most names for the island, even in the
languages of the indigenous peoples of the region, are derived from
the name of the river: "Sakhalin" derives from a Tungusic dialectal
form cognate with Manchu sahaliyan ("black", as in sahaliyan ula,
"Black River"), while Ainu and Japanese "Karaputo" or "Karafuto" is
derived from the Ainu name of the Amur or its mouth. Anton Chekhov
vividly described the Amur
River in writings about his journey to
Sakhalin Island in 1890.
The average annual discharge varies from 6,000 cubic metres per second
(210,000 cu ft/s) (1980) to 12,000 cubic metres per second
(420,000 cu ft/s) (1957), leading to an average 9,819 cubic
metres per second (346,800 cu ft/s) or 310 cubic kilometres
(74 cu mi) per year. The maximum runoff measured occurred in
Oct 1951 with 30,700 cubic metres per second
(1,080,000 cu ft/s) whereas the minimum discharge was
recorded in March 1946 with a mere 514 cubic metres per second
(18,200 cu ft/s).
Bridges and tunnels
The first permanent bridge across the Amur, the
elevation 2,590 metres (8,500 ft), was completed in 1916,
allowing the trains on the
Transsiberian Railway to cross the river
year-round without using ferries or rail tracks on top of the river
ice. In 1941 a railway tunnel was added as well.
Later, a combined road and rail bridge over the Amur at
Komsomolsk-on-Amur (1975; 1400 m) and the road and rail Khabarovsk
Bridge (1999; 3890 m) were constructed.
Ice drift on the Amur
Amur Bridge Project
Main article: Amur Bridge Project
Amur Bridge Project was proposed in 2007 by Valery Solomonovich
Gurevich, the vice-chairman of the
Jewish Autonomous Oblast
Jewish Autonomous Oblast in Russia.
The railway bridge over the Amur
River will connect Tongjiang with
Nizhneleninskoye, a village in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast.
The Chinese portion of the bridge was finished in July 2016. In
December 2016, work began on the Russian portion of the bridge. The
bridge is expected to open in October 2019.
Amuri, Tampere, a
Tampere district named after battles at[citation
needed] river Amur during the Russo-Japanese war
Amur cork tree
Geography of China
Geography of Russia
Sino-Soviet border conflict
Jilin chemical plant explosions 2005
Home of the Kaluga (Acipenseriformes)
List of longest undammed rivers
Sixty-Four Villages East of the Heilong Jiang
Amur Military Flotilla
^ a b c Muranov, Aleksandr Pavlovich; Greer, Charles E.; Owen, Lewis.
Encyclopædia Britannica (online ed.).
^ Liaoning province's archive, Manchu Veritable Record Upper
Vol《满洲实录上函/manju-i yargiyan kooli dergi dobton》
^ C. Michael Hogan. 2012. Amur River. Encyclopedia of Earth. Archived
November 30, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Topic ed. Peter Saundry
^ Scheffel, Richard L.; Wernet, Susan J., eds. (1980). Natural Wonders
of the World. United States of America: Reader's Digest Association,
Inc. p. 43. ISBN 0-89577-087-3.
^ Source elevation derived from Google Earth
^ Головачев В. Ц. (V. Ts. Golovachev), «Тырские
стелы и храм „Юн Нин“ в свете
XIV—XV вв.» Archived 2009-02-23 at the Wayback Machine. (The Tyr
Stelae and the Yongning Temple viewed in the context of Sino-Jurchen
relations of the 14-15th centuries) Этно-Журнал, 2008-11-14.
^ L. Carrington Godrich, Chaoying Fang (editors), "Dictionary of Ming
Biography, 1368–1644". Volume I (A-L). Columbia University Press,
1976. ISBN 0-231-03801-1
^ Shih-Shan Henry Tsai, "Perpetual Happiness: The Ming Emperor
Yongle". Published by University of Washington Press, 2002.
ISBN 0-295-98124-5 Partial text on Google Books. pp. 158-159.
^ Du Halde, Jean-Baptiste (1735). Description géographique,
historique, chronologique, politique et physique de l'empire de la
Chine et de la Tartarie chinoise. Volume IV. Paris: P.G. Lemercier.
pp. 15–16. Numerous later editions are available as well,
including one on Google Books. Du Halde refers to the Yongle-era fort,
the predecessor of Aigun, as Aykom. There seem to be few, if any,
mentions of this project in other available literature.
^ Forsyth 1994, p. 214.
^ Du Halde (1735), pp. 15-16
^ Foust, Muscovite and Mandarin p. 245-250
^ Kim 2012/2013, p. 169.
^ "Amur at Komsomolsk". UNESCO. Archived from the original on
2012-08-12. Retrieved 2008-08-14.
^ Proposed bridge to boost bilateral trade,
China Daily, June 19,
^ Andrew Higgins (July 16, 2016). "An Unfinished Bridge, and
Russia and China". The New York Times. Retrieved
July 17, 2016.
China launch construction of bridge across Amur river".
Russia Today. December 25, 2016.
Bisher, Jamie (2006). White Terror:
Cossack Warlords of the
Trans-Siberian. Routledge. ISBN 1135765952. Retrieved 24 April
Bisher, Jamie (2006). White Terror:
Cossack Warlords of the
Trans-Siberian. Routledge. ISBN 1135765960. Retrieved 24 April
Forsyth, James (1994). A History of the Peoples of Siberia: Russia's
North Asian Colony 1581-1990 (illustrated, reprint, revised ed.).
Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521477719. Retrieved 24 April
KANG, HYEOKHWEON. Shiau, Jeffrey, ed. "Big Heads and Buddhist Demons:
The Korean Military Revolution and Northern Expeditions of 1654 and
1658" (PDF). Emory Endeavors in World History (2013 ed.). 4:
Transnational Encounters in Asia: 1–22. Archived from the original
(PDF) on March 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
Kim 金, Loretta E. 由美 (2012–2013). "Saints for Shamans?
Culture, Religion and Borderland Politics in Amuria from the
Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries". Central Asiatic Journal.
Harrassowitz Verlag. 56: 169–202.
Stephan, John J. (1996). The Russian Far East: A History (illustrated,
reprint ed.). Stanford University Press. ISBN 0804727015.
Retrieved 24 April 2014.
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