conquest dynasty
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A conquest dynasty () in the
history of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty that ruled in the middle and ...

history of China
refers to a
Chinese dynasty Dynasties in Chinese history, or Chinese dynasties, were hereditary monarchical regimes that ruled over China during much of its history. From the inauguration of dynastic rule by Yu the Great in circa 2070 BC to the abdication of the Puyi, ...
established by non-
Han Han may refer to: Ethnic groups * Han Chinese The Han Chinese,
. Huayuqiao.org. Retrieved on ...
ethnicities that ruled parts or all of
China proper China proper, Inner China or the Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western writers on the Manchu people, Manchu-led Qing dynasty to express a distinction between the core and frontier regions of China. There is no fixed extent for China pr ...

China proper
, the traditional heartland of the Han people. While it is common for historians to characterize a Chinese dynasty as being of a certain ethnic origin, there were numerous
Chinese monarchs The Chinese sovereign is the ruler of a particular period in ancient China, and later imperial China. Several titles and naming schemes have been used throughout history. Sovereign titles Emperor The characters ''Huang'' (皇 huáng "august (rule ...
who had mixed heritage. For example, the Emperor Xiaoming of the
Xianbei The Xianbei (; ) were a Proto-Mongolic Proto-Mongolic is the hypothetical ancestor language of the modern Mongolic languages. It is very close to the Middle Mongol language, the language spoken at the time of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire ...
-led
Northern Wei dynasty The Northern Wei (), also known as the Tuoba Wei (拓跋魏), Later Wei (後魏), was a founded by the (Tabgach) clan of the , which ruled from 386 to 534 AD (' until 535), during the period of the . Described as "part of an era of pol ...
was of mixed Xianbei and Han heritage; he obtained his Han ancestry from his mother, the Empress Ling. Similarly, the
Kangxi Emperor The Kangxi Emperor (Xuanye; 4 May 1654– 20 December 1722) was the third Emperor of the Qing dynasty, and the second Qing emperor to rule over China proper China proper, Inner China or the Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western ...

Kangxi Emperor
of the
Manchu The Manchu (; ) are an officially recognized ethnic minority in China and the people from whom Manchuria Manchuria is an exonym and endonym, exonym for a historical and geographic region of Russia and China in Northeast Asia (mostly in N ...
-led
Qing dynasty The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last Dynasties in Chinese history, dynasty in the History of China#Imperial China, imperial history of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China proper from 1644 to 1912, w ...
was of mixed Manchu and Han descent; he acquired his Han ancestry from his mother, the
Empress Xiaokangzhang Empress Xiaokangzhang (1640 – 20 March 1663), of the Manchu people, Manchu Eight Banners, Bordered Yellow Banner Tunggiya clan, was a posthumous name bestowed to the consort of Shunzhi Emperor, Fulin, the Shunzhi Emperor, and mother of Kangxi ...
. Therefore, the "non-Han" nature of many conquest dynasties should not be considered as absolute.


Concept

The term "conquest dynasty" was coined by the German-American
sinologist Sinology or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's ...
Karl August Wittfogel Karl August Wittfogel (; 6 September 1896 – 25 May 1988) was a German-American playwright, historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is ...
in his 1949 revisionist history of the
Liao dynasty The Liao dynasty (; Khitan: ''Mos Jælud''; ), also known as the Khitan Empire (Khitan: ''Mos diau-d kitai huldʒi gur''), officially the Great Liao (), was an imperial dynasty of China that existed between 916 and 1125, ruled by the Yelü ...
(916–1125). He argued that the Liao, as well as the Jin (1115–1234), Yuan (1271–1368), and
Qing The Qing dynasty, officially the Great Qing (), was the last imperial dynasty A dynasty (, ) is a sequence of rulers from the same family,''Oxford English Dictionary'', "dynasty, ''n.''" Oxford University Press Oxford Univers ...
(1636–1912) dynasties of China were not really "Chinese", and that the ruling families did not fully assimilate into the dominant Han culture. The "conquest dynasty" concept was warmly received by mostly Japanese scholars such as Otagi Matsuo, who preferred to view these dynasties in the context of a "history of Asia" rather than a "history of China". Alternative views to the concept of "conquest dynasty" from American sinologists include
Owen Lattimore Owen Lattimore (July 29, 1900 – May 31, 1989) was an American author, educator, and influential scholar of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependenci ...

Owen Lattimore
's idea of the
steppe File:Steppe of western Kazakhstan in the early spring.jpg, Steppe in Kazakhstan In physical geography, a steppe () is an ecoregion characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes. Steppe biomes may ...
as a "reservoir",
Wolfram EberhardWolfram Eberhard (March 17, 1909 – August 15, 1989) was a professor Emeritus of Sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and culture that surrounds everyda ...
's concept of a "superstratification" of Chinese society with nomadic peoples, and Mary C. Wright's thesis of sinicization. Among historians, the idea of the Liao and Jin as being "foreign" or regarded as "conquest dynasties" is generally much more controversial than the same characterization of the Yuan and Qing.


Scope of China (''Zhongguo'')

In the English language, "''Zhongguo ren''" (; "People of China") is frequently confused and conflated with "''Han ren''" (; "Han Chinese, Han people"). Dynasties of ethnic Han origin only used "''Zhongguo''" (; "Middle Kingdom") to explicitly refer to Han areas of their empire.Zhao 2006
p. 4.
The Ming dynasty used ''Zhongguo'' to refer to only Han areas of the empire, excluding areas populated by ethnic minorities under Ming rule from the definition. The
Xianbei The Xianbei (; ) were a Proto-Mongolic Proto-Mongolic is the hypothetical ancestor language of the modern Mongolic languages. It is very close to the Middle Mongol language, the language spoken at the time of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire ...
-led Northern Wei referred to itself as "''Zhongguo''" and claimed yogurt as a food of ''Zhongguo''. Similarly, the Jurchen people, Jurchen-led Jin dynasty (1115–1234), Jin dynasty referred to itself as "''Zhongguo''". In 1271, Kublai Khan proclaimed the Yuan dynasty with the official name "Great Yuan" () and claimed succession from former Chinese dynasties from the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors up to the Tang dynasty. List of emperors of the Qing dynasty, Qing emperors referred to all subjects of the Qing dynasty regardless of their Ethnic groups in Chinese history, ethnicity as "Chinese" (), and used the term "''Zhongguo''" as a synonym for the entire Qing Empire while using "''neidi''" (; "inner regions") to refer only to the core area (or
China proper China proper, Inner China or the Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western writers on the Manchu people, Manchu-led Qing dynasty to express a distinction between the core and frontier regions of China. There is no fixed extent for China pr ...

China proper
) of the empire. The Qing Empire was viewed as a single multi-ethnic entity. The Qing emperors governed frontier non-Han areas in a separate administrative system under the Lifan Yuan. Nonetheless, it was the Qing emperors who expanded the definition of ''Zhongguo'' and made it "flexible" by using that term to refer to the entire empire. ''Zhongguo'' was also used by the Qing Empire as an endonym in diplomatic correspondence. However, some Han subjects criticized their usage of the term and used ''Zhongguo'' only to refer to the seventeen provinces of China and three provinces of the east (Manchuria), excluding other frontier areas. Han literati who remained loyal to the Ming dynasty held to defining the old Ming borders as "China" and used the term "foreigner" to describe ethnic minorities under Qing rule, such as the Mongols, as part of their Anti-Qing sentiment, anti-Qing ideology. As the territorial borders of the Qing Empire were fixed through a series of treaties with neighboring foreign powers, it was able to inculcate in the Qing subjects a sense that China included areas such as Mongolia under Qing rule, Mongolia and Tibet under Qing rule, Tibet due to educational reforms. Specifically, the educational reform made it clear where the borders of the Qing Empire were, even if Han subjects did not understand how the Chinese identity included Mongols and Tibetan people, Tibetans or understand what the connotations of being "Chinese" were. In an attempt to portray different ethnicities as part of one family ruled by the Qing dynasty, the phrase "''Zhongwai yijia''" (; "interior and exterior as one family") was used to convey the idea of the "unification" of different ethnic groups. After conquering China proper, the Manchus identified their state as "China" (; ; "Middle Kingdom"), and referred to it as "''Dulimbai Gurun''" in the Manchu language (''Dulimbai'' means "central" or "middle", while ''gurun'' means "nation" or "state"). The emperors labelled the lands of the Qing Empire (including present-day Manchuria under Qing rule, Northeast China, Xinjiang under Qing rule, Xinjiang, Mongolia, Tibet, and other areas) as "China" in both the Chinese and Manchu languages. This effectively defined China as a multi-ethnic state, thereby rejecting the idea that "China" only meant Han-populated areas. The Qing emperors proclaimed that both Han and non-Han ethnic groups were part of "China". They also used both "China" and "Qing" to refer to their state in official documents, international treaties (the Qing Empire was known internationally as "China" or the "Chinese Empire"), and foreign affairs. The "Chinese language" (''Dulimbai gurun i bithe'') included Chinese language, Chinese, Manchu, Mongolian language, Mongol, and Classical Tibetan, Tibetan languages, while the "Chinese people" (; ; Manchu: ''Dulimbai gurun i niyalma'') referred to all subjects of the Qing Empire. In the 1689 Treaty of Nerchinsk, the term "China" (''Dulimbai Gurun''; ''Zhongguo'') was used to refer to the Qing territories in Manchuria in both the Manchu and Chinese language versions of the treaty. Additionally, the term "the wise Emperor of China" was also used in the Manchu version of the treaty. The Qianlong Emperor rejected the earlier idea that only the Han people could be subjects of China and only Han lands could be considered as part of China. Instead, he redefined China as being multi-ethnic, saying in 1755 that "there exists a view of China (''Zhongxia''; ), according to which non-Han peoples cannot become China's subjects and their lands cannot be integrated into the territory of China. This does not represent our dynasty's understanding of China, but is instead a view of the earlier Han dynasty, Han, Tang, Song dynasty, Song, and Ming dynasties." The Qianlong Emperor rejected the views of ethnic Han officials who claimed that Xinjiang was not part of China and that he should not annex it, putting forth the argument that China was multi-ethnic and did not just refer to Han areas. When the Dzungar–Qing Wars, Qing conquered Dzungaria, they proclaimed that the new land which formerly belonged to the Oirats, Oirat-led Dzungar Khanate was now absorbed into China (''Dulimbai Gurun'') in a Manchu language memorial. The Yongzheng Emperor spoke out against the claim by anti-Qing rebels that the Qing dynasty were only the rulers of the Manchus and not of China, saying "The seditious rebels claim that we are the rulers of Manchus and only later penetrated central China to become its rulers. Their prejudices concerning the division of their and our country have caused many vitriolic falsehoods. What these rebels have not understood is the fact that it is for the Manchus the same as the birthplace is for the people of the Zhongyuan, Central Plain. Emperor Shun, Shun belonged to the Dongyi, Eastern Yi, and King Wen of Zhou, King Wen to the Xirong, Western Yi. Does this fact diminish their virtues?" () According to Russian scholars S.V. Dmitriev and S.L. Kuzmin, despite the usage of the term "China", these empires were known officially by their respective dynastic name. Non-Han peoples considered themselves as subjects of the Yuan and Qing empires, and did not necessarily equate them to "China". This resulted from different ways of the Yuan and Qing legitimization for different peoples in these empires. Qing emperors were referred to as "Bogda Khan" by their Mongol subjects. According to Dmitriev and Kuzmin, the Liao dynasty, Liao, Jin, Yuan and Qing were multi-national empires led by non-Chinese peoples, to whom the conquered China or its part was joined. The modern territorial claims of both the China, People's Republic of China based in Beijing and the Taiwan, Republic of China based in Taipei are derived from the territories held by the Qing dynasty at the time of its demise. The nationalistic concept of the ''Zhonghua minzu'' (Chinese nation) also traces its roots to the multiethnic and multicultural nature of the Qing Empire.


Criticism

Certain traits assigned by past scholars to "conquest dynasties" to distinguish them from "native" dynasties may not have been so distinguishing. An example is the "royal hunt," which, according to David M. Robinson, "originated in China in a complex legacy of venerable Zhongyuan, Central Plain polities of high antiquity."Roger des Forges
(Review)
''Journal of Chinese Studies'' No. 60 – (January 2015) pp. 302-303.


List of Non-Han dynasties

This list includes only the major dynasties of China ruled by non-Han ethnicities, there were many other such dynastic regimes that ruled an area historically or currently associated with "China" not shown in this list. And not all non-Han regimes are seen as conquest dynasties, many of them are actually considered as "infiltration dynasties".


See also

* Yuan dynasty in Inner Asia * Qing dynasty in Inner Asia * Ethnic groups in Chinese history * New Qing History * Tatar yoke * Dynastic cycle * Dynasties in Chinese history * Sinicization * De-Sinicization * Sinocentrism * Chinese historiography * Mandate of Heaven * ''Zhonghua minzu'' * Hua–Yi distinction * Civilization state


References


Citations


Sources

* * * * {{refend History of China Dynasties in Chinese history Historiography of China Liao dynasty Jin dynasty (1115–1234) Yuan dynasty Qing dynasty