Mongolia History

Mongolia History

According to WATCHTUTORIALS, Mongolia, in climatic and soil conditions quite different from the present ones, was certainly inhabited by man, at least partially, in very ancient times, but the Paleolithic traces have not been found so far. The researches of the Roy Chapman Andrews mission were mainly of a paleontological order. The Japanese Torii Ryūzō has collected a fairly rich Neolithic documentation in western Mongolia, but insufficient for the elaboration of any theory. The Mongolia of the Paleo-Asian era still remains almost completely unknown to us. In the centuries immediately preceding the Common Era, it seems good that the “Altaic” populations have succeeded one another, wholesale, from west to east in the same geographical order today, namely Turks, Mongols and Tungus,

Those nomads who, around 900 or 800 BC, are probably Turks. C., already harassing northern China and are then designated with the name of Hien-yün and Hun-yü, ancient transcriptions of the name that starting from the second century. to. C. will be written Hiung-nu, and which is identical to that of Unni. Long before the time when these nomads appear in the texts, the domestication of the horse was introduced from SO Siberia. through Mongolia, it had reached China, and the Chinese name of the horse, but, it is likely akin to the name morin, with which this animal is called in Mongolian: it is a loan, although very ancient. The Chinese, however, faithful to the primitive use, yoked the horse, and did not ride it. The nomads, on the other hand, had developed a cavalry; under more recent influences, which seem for the most part Iranian, they had adopted light equipment and armament, which allowed them fruitful raids among the sedentary Chinese. Partial sections of walls, beginning of the future Great Wall of the end of the century. III a. C., opposed them only an insufficient barrier. A little before 300 BC. C., the prince most exposed to nomadic incursions, King Ling of Chao, resolved to oppose mounted militias to mounted militias, and abandoning the sagging robe, shoes, short sword of the ancient Chinese, replaced them with trousers,

We know nothing about the political organization of the nomads of Mongolia at the time when China called them Hien-yün or Hun-yü. But in 201 a. C. an energetic leader organizes them into a confederation, that of the Hiung-nu, whose power extends from the borders of Manchuria to the T’ien-shan in Chinese Turkestān. For two and a half centuries, the struggle against the Hiung-nu is one of the great tasks of the Chinese emperors; on the other hand, the Hiung-nu with their campaigns provoke migrations, like the one that in the middle of the century. II a. C. led the Ta-Yüeh-chih from the SO. of Kansu since in the Oxo region. In 44 d. C., the Hiung-nu empire divides into Hiung-nu of the North and Hiung-nu of the South; Chinese history knows Hiung-nu from the North until 132, those from the South, theoretically, until 303, but since 195 the ruler of the Hiung-nu of the South had settled at P’ing-yang in Shan-si. Other branches of his family soon established local dynasties in northern China. It was the beginning of those dynasties of nomadic origin which were to reign on several occasions over all or part of Chinese soil; today it is almost certain that even a dynasty apparently so national as that of the T’ang had its origins in Mongolia, and still retained, in its first reigns, customs that were never Chinese. The history of the Hiung-nu of the North, from 132 until the moment when, having left the Chinese orbit, they reappear in the north of Russian Turkestān and finally set off towards Europe, is unknown to us.

It is likely that the Hiung-nu were Turks, although the words of their language transcribed in Chinese texts remain almost all unexplained: the same titles of the sovereign (shan) and of the queen (yenchih) do not so far lend themselves to any restitution. On the other hand, we have no monuments expressly attributable to the Hiung-nu. The case also led to the discovery in 1915 of a series of tombs, excavated by Kozlov in 1924-25 and in which the Mongolian Scientific Committee subsequently continued some research. They are found in Noin-ūla in N. of Ulān-Bātor (= Urga). In these mounds a large number of products of nomadic art have been collected such as felts with sewn ornaments or bronze plaques, but also Chinese silk, lacquers and jades, decorated with Iranian inspiration, and finally fabrics in which the Greek influence is thus it is clear that they must have been imported from the shores of the Black Sea. Now two Chinese inscriptions allow us to bring the tombs back to the earliest years of the Common Era; for the date and the situation, it is therefore very likely that these are the tombs of Hiung-nu chiefs. On the other hand, there are great similarities in subjects and style between the objects found in Noin-ūla and the splendid gold jewelry of “Siberian” origin that entered the treasury of Peter the Great around 1700 and is now preserved in the Hermitage. The Hiung-nu certainly did not create the animalistic art of the steppes, but they adopted it, and it is to their forays and their settlements in northern China that the thousands of belt buckles, applications, and dependent harnesses are attributed. from this art, sometimes mongrelized, sometimes even locally adapted and transformed, collected for twenty years in northern China, especially in the region of the great bend of the Yellow River.

No less surprising is the discovery made in 1929 at Pazyryk in eastern Altai, by Rudenko and Borovka, of ten horses preserved in the ice with the gala harness they wore at the time of the sacrifice. Here we have the leather and wood prototypes of animalistic art in bronze, prototypes whose existence had long been supposed, but which the perishable nature of the material had not so far preserved. The objects of Pazyryk are probably one or two centuries older than those of Noin-ūla, but we do not know to which people to refer them. The Chinese texts do not let us know, for a high antiquity, what was in the high Asia to the west of the Hiung-nu; at the most we can say that there were Ting-ling there, who perhaps were Turks, then, starting around 200, we find the name of the Kien-kun, that is, the Kyrgyz.

However, the essential thing for us is that the findings of Noinūla give us evidence of the existence, at the beginning of our era, of a movement of exchanges that went from the shores of the Black Sea to northern China, while we would be they were also too inclined not to consider that the only “silk road” which, from Kan-su, through Chinese Turkestān, Bactrian and Persia, led to Tire and Sidon. Likewise, it is this northern road of the steppes which explains the discovery in the tombs of Crimea, of the beginning of our era, of else in Chinese-style jade.

After the dismemberment of the Hiung-nu confederation, the first nomadic empire of Mongolia was that of the Juan-juan or Avari (407-553), these probably Mongols (see Mongols). Their name, in the form Apar, is found in Turkish inscriptions of the century. VIII, but no longer applies to the Avars of Mongolia, now fallen; these Apar are a people who migrated to the West, and are named alongside the Byzantine East. While the Juan-juan reigned in Mongolia, the Turkish T’o-pa, or strictly speaking Mongol (in any case not Tungus), had founded the Wei dynasty in northern China (385-556), which became Chinese rather quickly, and to which Chinese Buddhist art owes its finest monuments. Other probably Mongolian nomads, the T’u-yü-hun, had created at the beginning of the century. IV, in the SO. of Kan-su and in the region of Kökö-nōr, a kingdom that lasted until 663.

The Juan-juan were destroyed in 556 by the T’u-küe (Türküt, Mongolian plural of Türk), with whom the name of “Turks” makes its appearance in history. At first the blacksmith slaves of the Juan-juan, the T’u-küe, after their revolt, assimilated the culture and administrative organization of their ancient masters, and, at the same time, hard warriors, overflowed from Mongolia: at the top of ten years, they had extended their power not only over the whole of Mongolia, but also over part of Chinese Turkestān, on Ili, on Russian Turkestān, on the north of Afghānistān, and exchanged embassies with the emperor of Byzantium, with the Sassanid ruler of Persia, with the emperor of China.

The T’u-küe had their capital at Qosho-Tsaidam, in the Orkhon region, where large funerary inscriptions have been found. Their ruler bore the title of qaghan, inherited from the Avars; then came the title of jabghu (or yabgu), which, in unknown ways, dates back to what the indigenous leaders of the Ta-hia brought to Bactria around our era. In the second half of the century. VI, the T’u-küe played a part of some importance in northern China, giving their support now to one hour to the other of the rival dynasties. But the Chinese unity, completely rebuilt starting from 589 with the Sui, then with the T’ang (618-905), no longer allowed the T’u-küe to continue that double game. They themselves, moreover, soon split into various branches, and each prince tried to enlarge his territory with arms at the expense of his brothers or his cousins. Almost since the founding of the T’u-küe empire, a younger brother of the qaghan, Ishtämi (the Shih-tien-mi of the Chinese), had ruled the western “ten tribes”. In 581, the break was made between the eastern (or northern) T’u-küe of the Qosho-Tsaidam qaghan and the western T’u-küe of the SW dominant yabghu (and later qaghan). of Mongolia, the west of Chinese Turkestān and the north of Afghānistān. In 744, the T’u-küe empire was overthrown by other Turks, and on its ruins rose, since 745, that of the “Nine Oghuz” (Toghuz-Oghuz), better known under the name of Uighurs.

The T’u-küe proper had therefore only lasted two centuries; but to them is due the displacement which made the Turkish hordes advance as far as southern Russia, and later on to Hungary itself. On the other hand, the foundation, in the sec. X, of the Turkish empire of Mahmūd the ghaznevide in Afghānistān, that of the empire of the Seljuk Turks in Persia and then in Asia Minor, and finally the advance of the Turks who took possession of Constantinople in 1453.

We owe to the T’u-küe the oldest known documents of the Turkish language, represented by Turkish inscriptions improperly called “runic”, and written in an alphabet coming, at a date and in still unknown conditions, from the ancient Sogdian alphabet. Deciphered by the Dane V. Thomsen, these funerary inscriptions recount, in an at times epic style, the career of valiant princes, and sing the glory of the Turkish people. The main of these inscriptions is that of Kül-teghin, who died in 731, and whose monument was finished in 733. Six Chinese painters had been specially sent from China to decorate the mausoleum. There were also stone statues.

The history of these statues is one aspect of a much larger archaeological problem, that of the statues that the Russians call “old stone” (kamennyje baby), although they are often masculine statues. They are found by the thousands from the plains of southern Russia to the frontiers of China; in Chinese Turkestān, there are some south of Urumči. In many cases, the man or woman holds a cup against the belly; particular that, in the sec. XIII, had struck William of Rubruck. Although some of these statues are many centuries prior to the T’u-küe, and others, on the other hand, are later, the texts and facts confirm that they too have raised them. But they also erected rows of large stones, corresponding, according to Chinese sources, to the number of enemies the deceased had killed. It is apparently due to a combination of the statues and rows of stones that we find, in the tombs of the first emperors T’ang, T’ai-tsung and Kao-tsung,

Of the Basmil Turks, in 744, they pursued to death the last qaghan of the T’u-küe, but it was the Uighurs who assumed power, since 745, in the Orkhon region; their capital was where present-day Qara-balghasun is; like the T’u-küe, they intervened in Chinese Turkestān and China. Despite a certain Buddhist influence, the T’u-küe had remained wholesale shamanists, and the same was at first for the Uighurs. But in 762 the Uighur qaghan, who had been induced to intervene in China, met a high Manichean dignitary in Lo-yang, the eastern capital, whose doctrine attracted him: the qaghan led the religious to his country and shortly after proclaimed Manichaeism. state religion of the Uighurs. The Uighurs fell in 840-41. We must not follow here, since we are no longer dealing with Mongolia, the reconstitution of Uyghur power in Chinese Turkestān in the Tūrfān region, nor the fortune that Nestorian Christianity enjoyed, alongside Manichaeism, in the second Uyghur kingdom. Likewise, the so-called “Uyghur” script, derived from the neo-Gdian, and the Uyghur literature are not mentioned as a function of a history of Mongolia, since at the time of the Uyghur empire of Mongolia, we only find monuments in “runic” writing, and in the same dialect as the T’u-küe proper.

The history of Mongolia in the centuries following the fall of the Uyghur empire of Qara-balghasun is almost unknown to us, except on the eastern borders where the Qïtay or Liao empire was created (see Mongolian). Rare texts mention, in the first half of the century. XII, of tribes such as the Ongghirat (or Qongghirat), Giagirat, Märkit, etc., which will have a large part later in the history of Genghiz-Khān, but are still only names. However, while Manichaeism was maintained only among the Uighurs of Turfan (and in certain regions of China), Nestorian Christianity had made progress in Mongolia, among the Kerait in the Orkhon region, among the Önggüt or “white Tatars” in the vicinity of the Great Wall, and, to a lesser extent, near the Naiman and Märkit. A famous letter of 1009, from the archbishop of Merw, recalls the conversion of the “Kerait Turks” to Nestorianism. It is not certain that the name of the Kerait was not added to the text by Barhebreo, influenced by the state of things he knew in his time, that is, at the end of the century. XIII; but the fact remains that the nomads of Mongolia had to become Christians at the beginning of the century. XI. In the century XII, the grandfather and father of Ong-Khān, the ruler of the Kerait, were called Markuz (Marco) and Qurgiaquz (Ciriaco); however, we do not know of any Nestorian cemetery in Mongolia similar to those of Ili, where almost all the names are Syriac and Turkish.

The Qïtay, very eastern Mongols, were replaced in northern China in 1125 by the Jučen (properly Giurčit) or Kin, who were Tungus, more or less direct ancestors of the Manchus. Then appeared the “Mongols” properly called in the strict sense, first with a first “Mongol” kingdom of the second quarter of the century. XII, then with the empire of Genghiz-Khān (see Mongolians). And the Mongol invasions in Eastern Europe, which were on the verge of ruining Christianity, led Westerners to come into contact with the Mongols, and to go to Mongolia themselves (see above: Missions and Exploration).

The further events of Mongolia are shown in the general framework of the Mongolian voice, where one can follow the establishment of the Mongol hegemony over China, and the centuries-old reaction of this, which, through the long struggles of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, led to the affirmation of the Chinese (ie Manchu) sovereignty over all of Mongolia. This sovereignty, more or less effective, was to last until the beginning of the century. XX, when, with the Chinese revolution, Mongolia also enters the last phase of its history, characterized by the clear political split between Outer and Inner Mongolia.

Inner Mongolia, increasingly Chineseized, and partly Muslim, remained in principle in the orbit of China. Since 1914, it has formed the three “special districts” of Jehol (Jehol capital), Chahar (Kalgan capital) and Sui-yüan (Kui-hua-t’ing capital), which in 1928 became provinces proper. The province of Jehol, however, was conquered by the Japanese at the beginning of 1933, and by them annexed to the empire of Manchuria.

The situation in Outer Mongolia is quite different. Taking advantage of the revolution broke out in China, the principles Mongols drove the Chinese authorities to Urga (the December 1911) and proclaimed the independence of Mongolia under the authority of Khutuqtu (Living Buddha). On November 3, 1912, Outer Mongolia signed a treaty with the Russians in Urga which placed Mongol “autonomy” under Russian protection. China protested in vain. In 1919, Hsü Shucheng forced the Mongols to recognize Chinese authority for some time. Then came the adventure of Baron Ungern-Sternberg, who, with Cossacks from Transbaykal, established a “white” Russian government in Urga (1921), but was soon killed by the Bolshevik troops. The Russian-Mongol treaty of November 5, 1921 consecrates Russian influence. The last “living Buddha” died in 1924, and the Mongol Soviet republic was proclaimed. The constitution is voted by the first great diet (Khuruldan or Khurultai) in November 1924.

Mongolia History