The Baiyue, Hundred Yue or Yue were various indigenous non-Chinese peoples who inhabited the region stretching along the coastal area from Shandong to southeast China and as far west as the Sichuan Basin between the first millennium BC and the first millennium AD.[1] Meacham (1996:93) notes that, during the Zhou and Han dynasties, the Yue lived in a vast territory from Jiangsu to Yunnan,[2] while Barlow (1997:2) indicates that the Luoyue occupied the southwest Guangxi and northern Vietnam.[3] The Han shu (漢書) describes the lands of Yue as stretching from the regions of Kuaiji (會稽) to Jiaozhi (交趾).[4] In the Warring States period, the word "Yue" referred to the State of Yue in Zhejiang. The later kingdoms of Minyue in Fujian and Nanyue in Guangdong were both considered Yue states.

The Yue tribes were gradually displaced or assimilated into Chinese culture as the Han empire expanded into what is now Southern China and Northern Vietnam during the first half of the first millennium AD. Many modern southern Chinese dialects bear traces of substrate languages originally spoken by the ancient Yue. Variations of the name are still used for the name of modern Vietnam, in Zhejiang-related names including Yue opera, the Yue Chinese language, and in the abbreviation for Guangdong.

Yue statue
Statue of a man, from the state of Yue
Chinese name
Vietnamese name
VietnameseBách Việt
Zhuang name


The modern term "Yue" (Chinese: or ; pinyin: Yuè; Cantonese Yale: Yuht; Wade–Giles: Yüeh4; Vietnamese: Việt; Zhuang: Vot; Early Middle Chinese: Wuat) comes from Old Chinese *ɢʷat (William H. Baxter and Laurent Sagart 2014).[5] It was first written using the pictograph "戉" for an axe (a homophone), in oracle bone and bronze inscriptions of the late Shang dynasty (c. 1200 BC), and later as "越".[6] At that time it referred to a people or chieftain to the northwest of the Shang.[2] In the early 8th century BC, a tribe on the middle Yangtze were called the Yángyuè, a term later used for peoples further south.[2] Between the 7th and 4th centuries BC "Yue" referred to the State of Yue in the lower Yangtze basin and its people.[2][6]

The term "Hundred Yue" first appears in the book Lüshi Chunqiu compiled around 239 BC.[7] It was used as a collective term for many non-Chinese populations of south and southwest China and northern Vietnam.[2]

Ancient texts mention a number of Yue states or groups. Most of these names survived into early imperial times:

Ancient Yue states or groups
Chinese Mandarin Cantonese (Jyutping) Zhuang Vietnamese Literal English trans.:
於越/于越 Yūyuè jyu1 jyut6 Ư Việt Yue
揚越 Yángyuè joeng4 jyut6 Dương Việt Yang Yue
閩越 Mǐnyuè man5 jyut6 Mân Việt Min Yue
夜郎 Yèláng je6 long4 Dạ Lang Night Lang[a]
南越 Nányuè naam4 jyut6 Namzyied Nam Việt Southern Yue
山越 Shānyuè saan1 jyut6 Sơn Việt Mountain Yue
雒越 Luòyuè lok6 jyut6 Lạc Việt Bird Yue
甌越 Ōuyuè au1 jyut6 Âu Việt Jar Yue
  1. ^ Old Chinese: ZS *raːŋ; BS *C.rˤaŋ; compare the second component of Văn Lang

Peoples of the lower Yangtze

Sword of Goujian, Hubei Provincial Museum, 2015-04-06 09
Sword of Goujian, labelled as belonging to a king of Yue

In the 5th millennium BC, the lower Yangtze area was already a major population centre, occupied by the Hemudu (Austronesian) and Majiabang cultures, who were among the earliest cultivators of rice paddy fields in the fecund delta areas.[8]

By the 3rd millennium BC, the successor Liangzhu culture shows some influence from the Longshan-era cultures due to trade and commerce.[9] However, Y-chromosome DNA from Liangzhu culture sites shows a high frequency of haplogroup O-M119, which is also common among modern Taiwanese aborigines and speakers of Kra–Dai languages (formerly called Tai–Kadai) in southwest China. Wucheng culture sites had a quite different profile, featuring haplogroups O-M95 and O-M122, which are found in several modern populations in east and southeast Asia, especially in Austroasiatic speakers.[10]

From the 9th century BC, two northern Yue tribes, the Gou-Wu and Yu-Yue, were increasingly influenced by their Chinese neighbours to their north. These two states were based in the areas of what is now southern Jiangsu and northern Zhejiang, respectively. Traditional accounts attribute the cultural change to Taibo, a Zhou prince who had self-exiled to the south.

The marshy lands of the south gave Gou-Wu and Yu-Yue unique characteristics. According to Robert Marks (2017:142), the Yue lived in what is now Fujian province gained their livelihood mostly from fishing, hunting, and practiced some kind of swidden rice farming.[11] Prior to Han Chinese migration from the north, the Yue tribes cultivated wet rice, practiced fishing and slash and burn agriculture, domesticated water buffalo, built stilt houses, tattooed their faces and dominated the coastal regions from shores all the way to the fertile valleys in the interior mountains.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18] Water transport was paramount in the south, so the two states became advanced in shipbuilding and developed maritime warfare technology mapping trade routes to Eastern coasts of China and Southeast Asia.[19][20] They were also known for their fine swords.

In the Spring and Autumn period, the two states, now called Wu and Yue, were becoming increasingly involved in Chinese politics.

In 512 BC, Wu launched a large expedition against the large state of Chu, based in the Middle Yangtze River. A similar campaign in 506 succeeded in sacking the Chu capital Ying. Also in that year, war broke out between Wu and Yue and continued with breaks for the next three decades. In 473 BC, Goujian finally conquered Wu and was acknowledged by the northern states of Qi and Jin. In 333 BC, Yue was in turn conquered by Chu.[21] After the fall of Yue, the ruling family moved south to what is now Fujian and established the Minyue kingdom.

What set the Yue apart from other Sinitic states of the time was their possession of a navy.[22] Yue culture was also distinct from the Chinese in its practice of naming boats and swords.[23] A Chinese text described the Yue as a people who used boats as their carriages and oars as their horses.[24]

The Yayoi people, the ancient people of Wa, in Japan are genetically and archeologically linked to the early people of the Yangtze-river and share several cultural aspects with them.[25]

Sinification and displacement

Qin empire 210 BCE
Qin empire and Yue peoples, 210 BC

After the unification of China by Qin Shi Huang, the former Wu and Yue states were absorbed into the nascent Qin empire. The Qin armies also advanced south along the Xiang River to modern Guangdong and set up commanderies along the main communication routes. Motivated by the region's vast land and valuable exotic products, Emperor Qin Shi Huang is said to send a half of million troops divided into five armies to conquer the lands of the Yue.[26][27][28] The Yue defeated the first attack by Qin troops and killed the Qin commander.[27] A passage from Huai nan tzu of Liu An quoted by Keith Taylor (1991:18) describing the Qin defeat as follows:[29]

The Yue fled into the depths of the mountains and forests, and it was not possible to fight them. The soldiers were kept in the garrisons to watch over abandoned territories. This went on for a long time, and the soldiers went weary. Then the Yue went out and attacked; the Chi'n (Qin) soldiers suffered a great defeat. Subsequently, convicts were sent to hold the garrisons against the Yue.

Afterwards, Qin Shi Huang sent reinforcements to defend against the Yue. By 214 BC, the regions of modern Guangdong, Guangxi and northern Vietnam were subjugated and reorganized into three prefectures within the Qin empire.[30] Qin Shi Huang imposed sinification by sending a large number of Chinese military agricultural colonists to what are now eastern Guangxi and western Guangdong.[31]

In 208 BC, the Qin Chinese renegade general Zhao Tuo defeated the kingdom of Ou Luo and captured its capital.[27] Towards the end of the Qin dynasty, many peasant rebellions led Zhao Tuo to claim independence from the imperial government and declared himself the emperor of Nanyue in 207 BC. Zhao led the peasants to rise up against the much despised Qinshi Emperor.[32] Zhao established his capital at Panyu (modern Guangzhou) and partitioned his empire into seven provinces.[27] Unlike Emperor Qin Shi Huang, Zhao respected Yue customs, rallied their local rulers, and forced local chiefs to be controlled by central government administrators, but let them continue their old policies and local political traditions.[32] Under Zhao's rule, he encouraged Han Chinese settlers to intermarry with the indigenous Yue tribes through instituting a policy of “Harmonizing and Gathering" while creating a syncretic culture that was a blend of Han and Yue cultures.[30][27]

Following annexation of Nanyue, the Han dynasty set up two outposts which functioned as frontier garrisons.[33] The Han court also established nine commanderies in the former territory of Nanyue and the whole area was made part of the Han dynasty proper.[34] Nanyue was seen as attractive to the Han rulers as they desired to secure the area's maritime trade routes and gain access to luxury goods from the south such as pearls, incense, elephant tusks, rhinoceros horns, tortoise shells, coral, parrots, kingfishers, peacocks, and other rare luxuries to satisfy the demands of the Han aristocracy.[35][36][37] Other considerations such as frontier security, revenue from a relatively large agricultural population, and access to tropical commodities all contributed to the Han dynasty's determination to regain control of this region.[38]

Sinification of Nanyue was brought about by a combination of Han imperial military power, regular settlement and an influx of Han Chinese refugees, officers and garrisons, merchants, scholars, bureaucrats, fugitives, and prisoners of war.[39] Northern and central China was a theater of imperial dynastic conflict and huge episodes of dynastic conflict sent waves of Han Chinese refugees into the south. Throughout the Qin-Han period, large waves of Han Chinese immigrants from the northern and central plains slowly penetrated southern China.[40][41] The difficulty of logistics and the malarial climate in the south made Han migration and eventual sinification of the Yue a slow process.[42][43] Describing the contrast in immunity towards malaria between the indigenous Yue and the Chinese immigrants, Robert B. Marks (2017:145-146) writes:[44]

The Yue population in southern China, especially those who lived in the lower reaches of the river valleys, may have had knowledge of the curative value of the "qinghao" plant, and possibly could also have acquired a certain level of immunity to malaria before Han Chinese even appeared on the scene. But for those without acquired immunity—such as Han Chinese migrants from north China—the disease would have been deadly.

After rebellions by Luo (Lac) peoples in 39–43 C.E., direct rule and greater efforts at sinification were imposed by the Han, the territories of the Luo (Lac) states were annexed and ruled directly, along with other former Yue territories to the north, as provinces of the Han empire.[45] Division among the Yue leaders were exploited by the Han dynasty with the Han military winning battles against the southern kingdoms and commandaries that were of geographic and strategic value to them. Han foreign policy also took advantage of the political turmoil among rival Yue leaders and enticed them with bribes and lured prospects for submitting to the Han Empire as a subordinate vassal.[46]

Han Expansion
Map showing directions of Han attacks on the Yue home region to the south and the Xiongnu territories to the north in 2nd century BC

Motivation of Han dynasty to expand to the southern parts of the present-day China was driven, in part, from a desire to capture the region's exotic and rare goods, the abundance of untapped natural resources as well as securing international maritime trade routes.[47] Continuing internal migration of the Chinese during the Han dynasty eventually brought all the non-Chinese Yue coastal peoples scattered from Fujian to the Red River delta under Chinese political control and cultural influence.[48] As the number of Han Chinese migrants intensified following the annexation of Nanyue, the Yue people were gradually absorbed and driven out into poorer land on the hills and into the mountains.[49][50][51][52][53] Chinese military garrisons showed little patience with the Yue tribes who refused to submit to Han Chinese imperial power and resisted the influx of Han Chinese immigrants, driving them out to the coastal extremities and the highland areas where they became marginal scavengers and outcasts.[54] Han dynasty rulers saw the opportunity offered by the Chinese family agricultural settlements and used it as a tool for colonizing newly conquered regions and transforming those environments.[55]

Traditional Chinese view about the world has it that China was located at the center of the universe, superior to other nations and peoples, and that whose who lived in the peripheral territories were less culturally advanced for their perceived lack of civilization, and thus peripheral peoples were considered as "barbarians".[56] During the Han dynasty, it was advocated that Confucianism be used to re-educate and reform non-Han people as they were believed to be able to be culturally absorbed laihua, "come and be transformed", or hanhua, "become Han".[57] Some administrators of Han sought to "Confucianize" non-Han people of the south under their authority through the additional establishment of Confucianist institutes and schools dedicated towards teaching the texts, philosophies and morality of the north, but at the same time they attacked and put down the traditional spiritual leaders of the southern community who were described as "wu", magicians or shamans.[58]

Large numbers of Yue aborigines were eventually absorbed and assimilated into Chinese population while the remnants of the ancient Yue continue to live in the modern provinces of Zhejiang and Guangdong.[59][60][61][14][62][63][64] Speakers of the Austroasiatic and Kra–Dai languages—in modern China such as the Wa people, Benren, Pakanic, Mangic, Gin people, Zhuang, Nung, Tay, Bouyei, Dai, Sui, Kam, Hlai, Mulam, Anan, Ong Be, Thai, Lao, and Shan—retain their ethnic identities.[14][65][66]


Knowledge of Yue speech is limited to fragmentary references and possible loanwords in other languages, principally Chinese. The longest is the Song of the Yue Boatman, a short song transcribed phonetically in Chinese characters in 528 BC and included, with a Chinese version, in the Garden of Stories compiled by Liu Xiang five centuries later.[67]

There is some disagreement about the languages they spoke, with candidates drawn from the non-Sinitic language families still represented in areas of southern China, pre-Kra–Dai, pre-Hmong–Mien and Austroasiatic;[68] as Chinese, Kra–Dai, Hmong–Mien and the Vietic branch of Austroasiatic have similar tone systems, syllable structure, grammatical features and lack of inflection, but these features are believed to have spread by means of diffusion across the Mainland Southeast Asia linguistic area, rather than indicating common descent.[69]

  • Scholars in China often assume that the Yue spoke an early form of Kra–Dai. The linguist Wei Qingwen gave a rendering of the "Song of the Yue boatman" in Standard Zhuang. Zhengzhang Shangfang proposed an interpretation of the song in written Thai (dating from the late 13th century) as the closest available approximation to the original language, but his interpretation remains controversial.[67][70]
  • Chamberlain (1998) posits that the Austroasiatic predecessor of modern Vietnamese language originated in modern-day Bolikhamsai Province and Khammouane Province in Laos as well as parts of Nghệ An Province and Quảng Bình Province in Vietnam, rather than in the region north of the Red River delta.[71] However, Ferlus (2009) showed that the inventions of pestle, oar and a pan to cook sticky rice, which is the main characteristic of the Đông Sơn culture, correspond to the creation of new lexicons for these inventions in Northern Vietic (Việt–Mường) and Central Vietic (Cuoi-Toum).[72] The new vocabularies of these inventions were proven to be derivatives from original verbs rather than borrowed lexical items. The current distribution of Northern Vietic also correspond to the area of Đông Sơn culture. Thus, Ferlus concludes that the Northern Vietic (Viet-Muong) speakers are the "most direct heirs" of the Dongsonians, who have resided in Southern part of Red river delta and North Central Vietnam since the 1st millennium BC.[72]

Wolfgang Behr (2002) points out that some scattered non-Sinitic words found in the two ancient Chinese fictional texts, Mu tianzi zhuan 穆天子傳 (4th c. B.C.) and Yuejue shu 越絕書 (1st c. A.D.), can be compared to lexical items in Kra–Dai languages.[73] For examples, Chinese transcribed the words for:

  • "Good" (善) with 伊 OC *bq(l)ij; comparable to proto-Tai *ʔdɛiA1 and Proto-Kam-Sui *ʔdaai1 "good";
  • "Way" (道) with 缓 OC *awan; comparable to proto-Tai *xronA1, proto-Kam-Sui *khwən "road, way", Proto-Hlai *kuun; confer proto-Austronesian *Zalan (Thurgood 1994:353).

Behr (2009) also notes that the Chǔ dialect was influenced by three substrata, predominantly Kra-Dai, but also possibly Austroasiatic and Hmong-Mien.[74]

Besides a limited number of lexical items left in Chinese historical texts, remnants of language(s) spoken by the ancient Yue can be found in non-Han substrata in Southern Chinese dialects, e.g. Wu, Min, Hakka, Yue, etc. Robert Bauer (1987) identifies twenty seven lexical items in Yue, Hakka and Min varieties, which share Kra–Dai roots.[75] Robert Bauer (1996) points out twenty nine possible cognates between Cantonese spoken in Guangzhou and Kra–Dai, of which seven cognates are confirmed to originate from Kra–Dai sources.[76] Li Hui (2001) identifies 126 Kra–Dai cognates in Maqiao Wu dialect spoken in the suburbs of Shanghai out of more than a thousand lexical items surveyed.[77] According to the author, these cognates are likely traces of 'old Yue language' (古越語).[78]

Jerry Norman and Mei Tsu-Lin presented evidence that at least some Yue spoke an Austroasiatic language:[6][79][80]

  • A well-known loanword into Sino-Tibetan[81] is k-la for tiger (Hanzi: 虎; Old Chinese (ZS): *qʰlaːʔ > Mandarin pinyin: , Sino-Vietnamese hổ) from Proto-Austroasiatic *kalaʔ (compare Vietic *k-haːlʔ > kʰaːlʔ > Vietnamese khái & Muong khảl).
  • The early Chinese name for the Yangtze (Chinese: ; pinyin: jiāng; EMC: kœ:ŋ; OC: *kroŋ; Cantonese: "kong") was later extended to a general word for "river" in south China. Norman and Mei suggest that the word is cognate with Vietnamese sông (from *krong) and Mon kruŋ "river".
  • They also provide evidence of an Austroasiatic substrate in the vocabulary of Min Chinese.[6][82]
  • Ye (2014) identified a few Austroasiatic loanwords in Ancient Chu dialect.[83]

Norman & Mei's hypothesis is widely quoted, but has recently been criticized by Laurent Sagart who suggests that Yue language, together with proto-austronesian languages, was descended from the language or languages of the Tánshíshān‑Xītóu culture complex (modern day Fujian province of China); he also argues that the Vietic cradle must be located farther south in current north Vietnam.[84]

  • According to the Shuowen Jiezi (100 AD), "In Nanyue, the word for dog is (Chinese: 撓獀; pinyin: náosōu; EMC: nuw-ʂuw)", possibly related to other Austroasiatic terms. Sōu is "hunt" in modern Chinese. However, in Shuowen Jiezi, the word for dog is also recorded as 獶獀 with its most probable pronunciation around 100 CE must have been *ou-sou, which resembles proto-Austronesian *asu, *u‑asu 'dog' than it resembles the palatal‑initialed Austroasiatic monosyllable Vietnamese chó, Old Mon clüw, etc.[70]
  • Norman & Mei also compares Min verb "to know, to recognize" (Proto-Min *pat; whence Fuzhou /paiʔ˨˦/ & Amoy /pat̚˧˨/) to Vietnamese biết, also meaning "to know, to recognize". However, Sagart contends that the Min & Vietnamese sense "to know, to recognize" is semantically extended from well-attested Chinese verb "to distinguish, discriminate, differentiate" ((Mandarin: bié; MC: /bˠiɛt̚/; OC: *bred);[85] thus Sagart considers Vietnamese biết as a loanword from Chinese.


The fall of the Han dynasty and the succeeding period of division sped up the process of sinicization. Periods of instability and war in northern and central China, such as the Northern and Southern dynasties and during the Song dynasty sent waves of Han Chinese into the south.[86] Waves of migration and subsequent intermarriage and cross-cultural dialogue has resulted to a mixture of Han Chinese and extant non-Han Chinese continental indigenous peoples in the south.[87][88] Large incoming waves of Han Chinese immigrants from Northern and Central China poured into the south over the centuries through various succeeding Chinese dynasties has resulted in large-scale intermixing between the Han Chinese and Yue with much of the indigenous Yue tribes assimilating into Chinese civilization or ended up being driven out into the hills and mountains.[89][90][49][91] Successive waves of migration in different localities during various times in Chinese history over the past two thousand years have given rise to different dialect groups seen in Southern China today.[92] Modern Lingnan culture contains both Nanyue and Han Chinese elements: the modern Cantonese language closely resembles Middle Chinese (the prestige language of the Tang Dynasty), but has retained some features of the long-extinct Nanyue language. Some distinctive features of the vocabulary, phonology, and syntax of southern varieties of Chinese are attributed to substrate languages that were spoken by the Yue.[93][94]

By the Tang dynasty (618–907), the term "Yue" had largely become a regional designation rather than a cultural one, as in the Wuyue state during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in what is now Zhejiang province.

In ancient China, the characters and (both yuè in pinyin) were used interchangeably, but they are differentiated in modern Chinese:

  • The character "越" refers to the original territory of the state of Yue, which was based in what is now northern Zhejiang, especially the areas around Shaoxing and Ningbo. It is also used to write Vietnam, a word adapted from Nányuè (Vietnamese: Nam Việt), (literal English translation as Southern Yue).
  • The character "粵" is associated with the southern province of Guangdong. Both the regional dialects of Yue Chinese and the standard form, popularly called "Cantonese", are spoken in Guangdong, Guangxi, Hong Kong, Macau and in many Cantonese communities around the world.


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External links

100 Peaks of Taiwan

The Baiyue is a list of 100 mountain peaks in Taiwan. They were chosen by a group of prominent Taiwanese hikers from among the peaks known at the time to be over 3,000m in height. The selection criteria included uniqueness, danger, height, beauty and prominence; preference was also given to peaks already named and those with triangulation points. As such, "Top" does not refer strictly to the top peaks by elevation, but rather those high peaks most worth hiking. The list was intended to promote enthusiasm for high-altitude hiking in Taiwan. In the resulting list of one hundred peaks, 69 peaks were in the Central Mountain Range, the largest of Taiwan's five principal mountain ranges, while 19 were in the Xueshan Range, and 12 were in the Yushan Range. The Alishan Range and Coastal Mountain Range, being entirely below 3,000m, have no peaks in the list of Baiyue.

Bone collecting

Bone collecting (Cantonese Jyutping: Zap1 gwat1; Traditional Chinese: 執骨, literally "to collect the bones") is a burial ritual practiced in certain parts of East Asia. Peoples known to adopt some forms of this custom include Cantonese, Hoklo, Taiwanese, Ryukyuan, and Zhuang. Most of these groups are related to Baiyue, and indeed ancient Han Chinese had literature that documented such customs being practiced by various Baiyue tribes.

Cantonese folktales

Cantonese folktales are folktales associated with the Cantonese people, the dominant Han Chinese subgroup in the Southern Chinese twin provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi. This body of folktales have been influenced both by the culture of Han Chinese and that of Nanyue, the original Baiyue inhabitants of the region before sinicization occurred.

Lady Xian

Lady Xian (or Hsien, Chinese: 冼夫人; Jyutping: Xian3 fu1 ren1; Vietnamese: Tiển phu nhân; 512-602), also known as Lady of Qiao Guo (or Ch'iao Kuo; Chinese: 譙國夫人), was a noblewoman of the Li people (黎) Chinese: 黎人 born to the chieftain of the Xian tribe in Southern China, in what is now Guangdong during the Sui dynasty. She has been deified as the "Saintly Mother of Lingnan" (Chinese: 岭南圣母). She died during a tour of Hainan. Former Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai called her "the First Heroine of China", and President Jiang Zemin praised her as "the role model that the later generations should learn forever".

Mao Weitao

Mao Weitao (born 8 August 1962) is a Chinese Yue opera actress-singer who usually portrays Sheng roles (i.e. male characters). A founding member of the acclaimed Zhejiang Xiaobaihua Yue Opera Troupe who also served as its president from 1999 to 2018, Mao Weitao is a household name among Yue opera listeners. For non-opera listeners, she is best known for her portrayal of Dongfang Bubai in the 2001 TV series Laughing in the Wind.

Mao Weitao is one of only 4 people who have won the Plum Blossom Grand Prize, given to those who continue to be active and innovative in theatre or opera after winning the Plum Blossom Prize twice. She is also the vice-chairperson of China Theatre Association. She was a member of the 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th National People's Congress.

For years Mao Weitao has taken steps to "modernize" Yue opera. She has recently secured investment from billionaires Jack Ma and Song Weiping to realize some of her more ambitious plans regarding Yue opera.


Minyue (Chinese: 閩越王國) was an ancient kingdom in what is now Fujian province in southern China. It was a contemporary of the Han dynasty, and was later annexed by the Han empire as the dynasty expanded southward. Its inhabitants were groups of indigenous non-Chinese tribes called the Baiyue. The kingdom survived roughly from 334–110 BC.

Names of Vietnam

Việt Nam (listen) is a variation of Nam Việt (Southern Việt), a name that can be traced back to the Triệu dynasty (Nanyue Kingdom of Chinese in 2nd century BC). The word "Việt" originated as a shortened form of Bách Việt, a word used to refer to a people who lived in what is now southern China in ancient times. The word "Việt Nam", with the syllables in the modern order, first appears in the 16th century in a poem by Nguyễn Bỉnh Khiêm. "Annam", which originated as a Chinese name in the seventh century, was the common name of the country during the colonial period. Nationalist writer Phan Bội Châu revived the name "Vietnam" in the early 20th century. When rival communist and anti-communist governments were set up in 1945, both immediately adopted this as the country's official name. In English, the two syllables are usually combined into one word, "Vietnam." However, "Viet Nam" was once common usage and is still used by the United Nations and by the Vietnamese government.

Throughout history, there were many names used to refer to Vietnam. Besides official names, there are names that are used unofficially to refer to territory of Vietnam. Vietnam was called Văn Lang during the Hùng Vương Dynasty, Âu Lạc when An Dương was king, Nam Việt during the Triệu Dynasty, Van Xuan during the Anterior Lý Dynasty, Đại Cồ Việt during the Đinh dynasty and Early Lê dynasty. Starting in 1054, Vietnam was called Đại Việt (Great Viet). During the Hồ dynasty, Vietnam was called Đại Ngu.

Nine Songs of the Moving Heavens

Nine Songs of the Moving Heavens (Chinese: 天行九歌; pinyin: tiān xíng jiǔ gē), is a CG Chinese animated TV series that was released on March 10, 2016, directed by Robin Shen. It can also be translated as Nine Songs of the Sky. This is the prequel to The Legend of Qin, which takes place before the time of the Qin Dynasty. Although the two animations have intersections of characters and their timelines, Nine Songs of the Moving Heavens is an independent story.

Prehistoric Hong Kong

Prehistoric Hong Kong is the period between the arrival of the first humans in Hong Kong and the start of recorded Chinese history first appeared during the Han dynasty. The history of the southern region (which may possibly include Hong Kong) is reckoned to have been first recorded in 214 BC with Qin Shi Huang conquering the Baiyue and creating the Jiaozhou province.The prehistorical period can be divided into Stone Age and Bronze Age. Archaeology evidence suggests the earliest human settlement was in the Wong Tei Tung area dating back to 38,000 BC.


Punti (Chinese: 本地; Jyutping: bun2 dei6, literally local(s)) is a Cantonese endonym referring to the native Cantonese people of Guangdong and Guangxi. "Punti" designates the Cantonese-speaking locals in contrast to the other Yue Chinese people such as the Taishanese; Hoklo people from Fujian who spoke the Hokkien dialects; the Hakka immigrants who arrived in Guangdong and Guangxi during the Qing dynasty; and ethnic minorities such as the Zhuang people of Guangxi, and the boat-dwelling Tanka people who are both descendants of the Baiyue - although the Tanka have largely assimilated into Han Chinese culture.In Hong Kong, "Punti" as an ethnic group refers in a strict sense to the Cantonese-speaking indigenous inhabitants of Hong Kong who had settled in Hong Kong before the New Territories of Hong Kong were leased to the British Empire in 1898. Prominently represented by the "Weitou people" (圍頭人) – the Hau (侯), Tang (鄧), Pang (彭), Liu (廖), and Man (文) – these indigenous Punti inhabitants were afforded additional privileges in land ownership enshrined in the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory and the Basic Law of Hong Kong.

When used to designate a language, "Punti" is equivalent to the Standard Cantonese mainly used in Guangzhou (formerly Canton), Hong Kong and Macau. Punti became a commonly used word in Hong Kong law courts and other authorities such as the police; when a defendant chooses to use Punti in the court, he/she elects to use Cantonese as the language of trial instead of English. Despite the reference of "Punti" in this context means nothing more than "Cantonese Chinese" as a spoken language and the Hong Kong variation of the language, there are political and practical reasons of not using direct reference to the word "Cantonese Chinese".Modern use of the demonym "Punti" is promoted by the Hong Kong Museum of History, which maintains an extensive collection of Punti artefacts.

Qin campaign against the Yue tribes

As trade was an important source of wealth for the Yue tribes of coastal China, south of the Yangtze River attracted the attention of Emperor Qin Shi Huang to undertake a series of military campaigns to conquer it. Lured by its temperate climate, fertile fields, maritime trade routes, and relative security from the warring factions from the west and northwest, the wealth and access to luxury tropical products from Southeast Asia motivated the First Emperor to send an army to conquer the Yue kingdoms. The emperor craved for the resources of the Baiyue and dispatched military expeditions against the region between 221 and 214 BC. It would take Emperor Qin Shi Huang five successive military excursions before finally defeating the Yue in 214 BC.


The Shanyue (山越) were an ancient conglomeration of upland Yue hill tribes living in what is today the mountainous regions of Southern China and Northern Vietnam during the Han dynasty. Since the Southern part of China was not yet controlled by the Han Empire (the Han court only claimed ownership of the lands, but lacked the power to control them in reality), the Shanyue people would perform regular rebellions against Han citizens to gather living essentials. The tribe became powerful during the Eastern Han and the period of the end of the Eastern Han, the Shanyue were absorbed into Han Empire after the Sun family established a strong local government on Jiangdong.

The Kingdom of Wu, founded by Sun Quan, launched numerous campaigns against the Shanyue, but to no avail because the tribesmen of Shanyue had lived in the hills for generations and knew the area well, and would go into hiding once they lost in a battle. However, one of the Wu generals, Ling Tong, attempted a different approach to deal with the Shanyue tribe, he proposed that Sun Quan should attempt to win the hearts of the Shanyue peoples and assimilate them instead of purely using military force to hamper them. Ling reasoned that if they could impress the Shanyue with Wu's dignity and potential rewards, the tribesmen would succumb to their government without bloodshed. After he was granted the authority to request material from counties when required, Ling Tong led a unit with decorative weapons and armors to go deep into the hills. When the Shanyue discovered Wu troops, they were impressed by Ling Tong’s unit; then Ling Tong came out and told them if they would join the Wu forces, handsome rewards would be offered. Tens of thousands of the Shanyue came out from their caves and joined Ling. Ling selected 10,000 strong men to form a unit, and returned. Because of Ling Tong’s success, Zhuge Ke, another Wu general, would adopt his strategy in AD 234, Ke proposed to Sun Quan that the Shanyue of Danyang could be subdued, and he just needed full powers to implement his plan. Zhuge's requests were granted, and upon Zhuge's arrival, he requested the four neighboring commanderies to seal their borders and not combat the Shanyue; then, when the rice became ready for harvest, he had the rice harvested quickly and then gathered up, away from the pillaging Shanyue. The Shanyue were thus starved into submission (the Shanyue gathered food by plundering the Han people instead of planting themselves), and as soon as they submitted, Zhuge Ke treated them with kindness. The operation was run for 3 to 4 years, and virtually all Shanyue within Dangyang surrendered to Wu.

Shěn (state)

The State of Shěn (simplified Chinese: 沈国; traditional Chinese: 沈國; pinyin: Shěn Guó) was one of the various Chinese states during the Zhou dynasty and the Spring and Autumn period located in modern-day Henan. Its founder is unknown, although a possible founder is one of the sons of King Wen of Zhou.

Southward expansion of the Han dynasty

The Southward expansion of the Han dynasty were a series of Chinese military campaigns and expeditions in what is now modern Southern China and Northern Vietnam. Military expansion to the south began under the previous Qin dynasty and continued during the Han era. Campaigns were dispatched to conquer the Yue tribes, leading to the annexation of Minyue by the Han in 135 BC and 111 BC, Nanyue in 111 BC, and Dian in 109 BC.

Han Chinese culture took root into the newly conquered territories and the Baiyue and Dian tribes were eventually assimilated or displaced by the Han Empire. Evidence of Han dynasty influences are apparent in artifacts excavated in the Baiyue tombs of modern southern China. This sphere of influence eventually extended to various ancient Southeast Asian kingdoms, where contact led to the spread of Han Chinese culture, trade and political diplomacy. The increased demand for Chinese silk also led to the establishment of the Silk Road connecting Europe, the Near East, and China.

Wajin (ancient people)

Wajin (倭人) is

in the narrow sense, the old name of the ethnic group or inhabitants who lived in the Japanese archipelago named by the people of China

In the wider sense, an ethnic group that was mainly active at sea between Mainland China, the Korean Peninsula and the Japanese archipelago.In general, some of the latter became established on the Japanese archipelago and became the Yayoi people. The word "Wajin" is used as the former.

A description in "Classic of Regions Beyond the Seas: North (海内北経)" mentions "Classic of Mountains and Seas(山海経)", established from China's Warring States period to the Han period, that Wa people belonged to Yan. This is thought to have occurred from the 6th century BC to the 4th century BC.

The first secure appearance of Wajin is in "Treatise on Geography" (地理誌) of the Book of Han (漢書). After that, in "Wei Zhai Wan Tin Den" (魏志倭人伝) (written in 280AD-297AD), their lifestyle, habits and the way of society are described and by cultural commonality such as lifestyle, customs and languages, they are distinguished themselves from "Kanjin (韓人)" and "Dongye (濊人)" people.

Descriptions about Wajin can be found in the Old Book of Tang(945 AD) and the New Book of Tang (1060 AD)


Yangyue (Chinese: 揚越; pinyin: yángyuè) is a tribe of the Yue people, one of the ancient peoples in the South China. In the Chinese historical books, the description about Yangyue earliest appeared in the Warring States period. The credible explanation is that, it is a tribe of the ancient Yue people who originally lived in Yang Province (Yang Zhou), one of the ancient Nine Provinces (Jiu Zhou), so the tribe was called as “Yangyue”, it means Yue people from Yang Province.

During the Warring States period, after the Yue Kingdom was destroyed, Yangyue and Baiyue were gradually getting more and more famous. In each period, the referent may not necessarily be the same object. The modern Zhejiang province is the core area of the ancient Yang Province, the provinces of Fujian and Guangdong, the south of Jiangsu and Anhui, and the east of Jiangxi are included in its territory. Afterwards, the tribe of Yue people spread to the adjacent regions, modern Jiangxi, the east and north of Hunan and the east of Hubei, who the Yue people lived in were also known as Yangyue.

Yangyue's residences were dominated by mountains, hills, basins and river valleys. They were distributed in the Yangtze River basin, including the river valleys of Han, Xiang, Zi, Yuan, Li and Gan, basins of Dongting Lake and Poyang Lake. Yangyue people made their living from agricultural production, they had settled their lives and mainly grew rice.

Yuhang District

Yuhang is a suburban district of Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, People's Republic of China. Its 2013 population was estimated at 1.17 million. Its inhabitants speak both Mandarin and a variety of Hangzhounese, a Wu dialect.

The district contains the remains of Neolithic settlements from the Liangzhu period.

Prior to the expansion of modern Hangzhou, Yuhang formed a separate city. It is the earliest settlement recorded in the area of present-day Hangzhou. Chinese scholars traditionally interpreted its name as a mistake for "Yu's Ferry" (禹航; Yǔháng), after the legendary account of Yu the Great's gathering of his lords at Mount Kuaiji around 2000 BC. This is now thought to be a folk etymology and Yuhang (Old Chinese: *La-gang) is almost certainly an ancient transliteration of an old Baiyue name.Yuhang was part of Kuaiji Commandery prior to the growth of Hangzhou following the 7th-century construction of the Sui's Grand Canal. It was then administered from Hangzhou.

Yuhang is the largest district of Hangzhou.The administration center of Yuhang District is Linping, which is a subcenter of Hangzhou located in the northeast side of downtown area. It connects with the downtown via Metro Line 1. The famous tourist attractions here include Liangzhu Culture Museum, Jingshan Tea and Buddhist Monastery, Tangxi Ancient Town, The Grand Canal, Chaoshan Scenic Area, Tianducheng Resorts and Xixi National Wetland Park.

Zhao Tuo

Zhao Tuo or Triệu Đà (Chinese: 趙佗; pinyin: Zhào Tuó; Vietnamese: Triệu Đà), was a Qin dynasty Chinese general who participated in the conquest of the Baiyue peoples of Guangdong, Guangxi and Northern Vietnam. After the fall of the Qin, he established the independent kingdom of Nanyue (Nam Viet) with its capital in Panyu (now Guangzhou) in 214 BC. Some traditional Vietnamese history scholars considered him an emperor of Vietnam and the founder of the Triệu dynasty, although official modern historians regard him as a foreign invader.

Âu Việt

The Âu Việt or Ouyue (Chinese: 甌越) were an ancient conglomeration of Baiyue tribes living in what is today the mountainous regions of northernmost Vietnam, western Guangdong, and northern Guangxi, China, since at least the third century BCE. In the legends of the Tay people, the western part of Âu Việt's land became the Nam Cương Kingdom, whose capital was located in what is today the Cao Bằng Province of Northeast Vietnam. In eastern China, the Ouyue established the Dong'ou or Eastern Ou kingdom. The Western Ou (西甌; pinyin: Xī Ōu; Tây meaning "western") were also Baiyue tribes, with similar ceramics, short hair, tattoos and with the custom of teeth blackening.The Âu Việt traded with the Lạc Việt, the inhabitants of the state of Văn Lang, located in the lowland plains to Âu Việt's south, in what is today the Red River Delta of northern Vietnam, until 258 BC or 257 BC, when Thục Phán, the leader of an alliance of Âu Việt tribes, invaded Văn Lang and defeated the last Hùng king. He named the new nation "Âu Lạc", proclaiming himself "An Dương Vương" ("King An Dương").The Qin dynasty conquered the state of Chu, unifying China. Qin abolished the noble status of the royal descendants of the state of Yue. After some years, Qin Shi Huang sent an army of 500,000 to conquer the West Ou, began a three-year guerrilla war and killed their leader.Before the Han dynasty, the East and West Ou regained independence. The Eastern Ou was attacked by the Minyue Kingdom, and Emperor Wu of Han allowed them to move to between the Yangtze and the Huai River. The Western Ou paid tribute to Nanyue until it was conquered by the Han. Descendants of these kings later lost their royal status. Ou (區), Ou (歐) and Ouyang (歐陽) remain as family names.

Standard Mandarin
Hanyu PinyinBǎiyuè
Romanizationpah yuih
Yue: Cantonese
Yale RomanizationBaak yuht
JyutpingBaak3 jyut6
Canton RomanizationBag3 yüd6
Southern Min
Hokkien POJPah-oa̍t
Eastern Min
Fuzhou BUCBáh-uŏk
Pu-Xian Min
Hinghwa BUCBeh-e̤̍h
Northern Min
Jian'ou RomanizedBă-ṳ̆e
Historical Non-Chinese peoples in China

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