Ethnic groups in Chinese history refer to various or presumed ethnicities of significance to the history of China, gathered through the study of Classical Chinese literature, Chinese and non-Chinese literary sources and inscriptions, historical linguistics, and archaeological research.
Among the difficulties in the study of ethnic groups in China are the relatively long periods of time involved, together with the large volume of literary and historical records which have accompanied the history of China. Classical Chinese ethnography (like much premodern ethnography) was often sketchy, leaving it unclear as to whether Chinese-depicted names referred to a true ethnic group or a possibly multiethnic political entity. Even then, ethnonyms were sometimes assigned by geographic location or surrounding features, rather than by any features of the people themselves, and often carried little distinction of who the Han Chinese authors considered Chinese and non-Chinese for differences such as lifestyle, language, or governance. Many of the ethnonyms were historically used in such a way as to invite comparison with the word barbarian.
The Chinese exonyms of various ethnic groups encountered in Chinese history can be rendered into English either by transliteration or translation; for instance, Dí 狄 is transliterated as Di (or Ti) or translated as "Northern Barbarians". In some cases authors prefer to transliterate specific exonyms as proper nouns, and in other cases to translate generic ones as English "barbarian" (for instance, "Four Barbarians"). The American sinologist Marc S. Abramson explains why "barbarian" is the appropriate translation for general terms like fan 番 and hu 胡, but not specific ones like fancai 番菜 "foreign-style food".
Translations such as "foreigner" and "alien", though possessing an air of scholarly neutrality, are inappropriate as a general translation because they primarily connote geographic and political considerations, implying that individuals and groups so designated were external to the Tang Empire and ineligible to become subjects of the empire. This was frequently not the case with many uses of fan and related terms — common among them were hu (often used in the Tang to denote Central Asians) and four ethnonyms of great antiquity that, by the Tang, were mostly used generically with implicit geographic considerations: yi (east), man (south), rong (west), and di (north) — that largely connoted cultural and ethnic otherness but did not exclude the designated persons or groups from membership in the empire. Although the term barbarian has undergone many transformations from its Greek origins to its current English usage, not all of which are relevant to the Tang (such as its use in medieval Europe to denote religious difference, marking non-Christians of various ethnic, geographic, and political affiliations), its consistent association with inferiority, lack of civilization, and externality in the broadest sense often make it the most appropriate choice, including some cases when it is placed in the mouths of non-Han referring to themselves or others. However, its pejorative connotations make it inappropriate as a general translation. Thus, I have chosen not to translate these terms when they designate particular groups, individuals, or phenomena and do not refer to a specific ethnic group, language, geographic place, or cultural complex.
The following table summarizes the various ethnic groups and/or other social groups of known historical significance to the history of China (any non clear-cut connection is denoted by a question mark):
|Pinyin Romanization||Names in Chinese characters and pronunciation||Approximate residence according to Chinese texts||Time of appearance in the history of China||Equivalence(s) of non-Chinese names||Time of appearance outside China||Possible descendant(s)|
|Miao||苗 (Miáo)||Name applied to peoples in various areas stretching from provinces (Hebei, Shanxi) north of the Yellow River to Yunnan province||As early as 25th century BC to present||Hmong, Hmu, Xong, A Hmao||N/A||Hmong|
|Yuezhi||月氏 (Yuèzhī)||Tarim basin||c. 6th century BC to 162 BC, then driven out by Xiongnu.||Kushans, Tocharians||Mid-2nd century BC in Central Asia||No known descendants, but possibly absorbed into the Uyghurs, who now show a large plurality of Indo-European DNA.|
|Guanzhong and Yellow River basins in Northern China||From earliest history or prehistorical (name comes from the Han Dynasty)||Yanhuang, Zhonghua, Zhongguo, Huaxia, Hua, Xia, Han, Han Chinese, Chinese||Han Dynasty||Modern Han Chinese|
|Yelang||夜郎(Yèláng)||Guizhou||3rd century BC to 1st century BC||Zangke||N/A||Yi|
|Wuhuan||烏桓 (Wūhuán)||Western portions of Manchuria (Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning provinces) and Inner Mongolia||4th century BC to late 3rd century BC, assimilated into Hans||No known equivalence||N/A||No known descendants (possibly Mongols).|
|Xianbei||鮮卑 (Xiānbēi)||Manchuria (Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning provinces), Mongolia, and Inner Mongolia. Moved into areas north of the Yellow River and founded a dynasty there.||c. 4th century BC to mid-6th century, some Xianbeis assimilated into Hans||N/A||N/A||Mongols (some Chinese people today have the Xianbei surnames such as Yuwen, Yuchi, Zhangsun, Tuoba, Murong and Huyan)|
|Qiang||羌 (Qiāng)||Gansu, Qinghai, western portion of Sichuan, eastern portion of Xinjiang, and northeastern portion of Tibet||Mentioned in oracle bone inscriptions of the Shang Dynasty, c. 14th century BC to c. 1050 BC.
c. 4th century BC to late 5th century, assimilated into Hans
|No known equivalence||N/A||Modern Qiang, Tangut, Old Tibetan, Nakhi, Jingpho, and Lahu|
|Di||氐 (Dī)||Areas of neighboring borders of Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan, and Shaanxi||c. 8th century BC to mid-6th century, assimilated into Hans||No known equivalence||N/A||As minorities in Sichuan|
|Jie||羯 (Jié)||Shanxi province||Late 2nd century to mid-4th century, assimilated into Hans||No known equivalence||N/A||No known descendants|
|Baiyue||百越 (Bǎiyuè)||Present-day Guangdong, Guangxi, Zhejiang, Fujian, and Northern Vietnam||1st century BC to 1st century AD, assimilated into Hans||No known equivalence||Early 6th Century BC to 3rd century AD||Part of Southern Han Chinese in Guangdong and Guangxi, Zhuang, Dai, Tai, Bouyei, Aisui, Kam, Hlai, Mulam, and Anan|
|Dian||滇國 (diānguó)||Dian Lake, Yunnan||4th century BC to 1st century BC, assimilated into Hans||No known equivalence||N/A||No known descendants.|
|Qiuci||龜茲 (Qiūcí)||Tarim Basin, Xinjiang||2nd century BC to 10th century AD, first encountered during the reign of Emperor Wu of Han; assimilated by Uyghurs and others||Tocharians||Date unknown, although they were part of the Bronze Age Indo-European migrations (see Tarim mummies)||During antiquity, Indo-European peoples inhabited the oasis city-state of Kucha (as well as Turfan) in the Tarim Basin region of Xinjiang. They fell under the Imperial Chinese orbit of control during the Han and Tang dynasties (see Protectorate of the Western Regions, Tang campaign against the oasis states, and Protectorate General to Pacify the West), but were eventually conquered by the Uyghur Khaganate and then assimilated by the Uyghurs during the Kingdom of Qocho (856-1335 AD).|
|Dingling||丁零 (Dīnglíng), 高車 (Gāochē), 疏勒 (Shūlè)||Banks of Lake Baikal and on the borders of present-day Mongolia and Russia, migrated to modern-day Shanxi and Xinjiang||1st century BC to late 5th century||Gaoche, Chile||1st century BC||Tiele|
|Rouran||柔然 (Róurán), 蠕蠕 (Rúrú), 茹茹 (Rúrú)||Present-day Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, northern portions of Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, and eastern portion of Xinjiang||Early 3rd century to early 6th century||Nirun/Mongols (possibly others falling under the label as well)||Late 6th century to early 9th century||Mongols|
|Tujue||突厥 (Tūjué)||Present-day Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, northern portions of Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Xinjiang, and eastern portion of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan||Late 5th century to mid-10th century||Göktürks||Mid-6th century to early 9th century||The Western Turks partly migrated to Transoxiana, Persia, and Anatolia, while the eastern Turks assimilated mainly to the Uyghurs in Xinjiang; nowadays, mostly Turkmen and Uyghur in Central Asia, and, to a lesser degree, the Turkish-speaking population of modern-day Turkey (and other Turkic peoples) share that ancestry.|
|Huihu||回紇 (Huíhé)||Present-day Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, northern portions of Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia||Early 7th century to mid-10th century||Uyghurs||Early 9th century to present||Uyghurs and Yugurs|
|Tibetans||吐蕃 (Tǔbō, also pronounced as Tǔfān)||Present-day Tibet, Qinghai, western areas of Sichuan and Yunnan, parts of Gansu, Southern border of Xinjiang||Mid-6th century to present||N/A||Early 6th century to present, a 2016 study reveals the date of divergence between Tibetans and Han Chinese was estimated to have taken place around 15,000 to 9,000 years ago.||Modern Tibetans|
|Khitans||契丹 (Qìdān)||Present-day Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, Manchuria, Liaoning, northern border of Shanxi and Hebei, and later in Xinjiang and eastern border of Kazakhstan||c. 4th century to 12th century||Khitan||4th century to 12th century||Daur and some Baarins
There exist descendants of war-scattered Qidan soldiers sent to Yunnan and Guangxi province during the Yuan Dynasty in Baoshan, Yunnan.
|Xi or Kumo Xi||庫莫奚 (Kùmòxī)||More or less the same residence of the Khitans, since regarded as two ethnic groups with one unique ancestry||Pre-4th century to mid-12th century||No known equivalence||N/A||No known descendants (possibly Mongols)|
|Shiwei||室韋 (Shìwéi)||Present-day Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, western Manchuria and southern Siberia||Late 6th century to late 10th century||No known equivalence||N/A||Conquered by Khitans, splinter groups and remnants re-emerged as Mongols and Tungusic peoples|
|Menggu||蒙古 (Ménggǔ)||Present-day Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, western Manchuria, southern Siberia, and eastern and central Xinjiang before Genghis Khan||Since late c. 8th century||Mongols||Late 12th century to present||Mongols
There remain descendants of Mongol soldiers sent to Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guangxi provinces during the Yuan Dynasty.
|Dangxiang||党項 (Dǎngxiàng)||Ningxia, Gansu, northern portions of Shanxi, southwestern portion of Mongolia, Southeastern portion of Xinjiang||c. Mid-8th century to early 13th century, some Dangxiang assimilated into Hans||Tanguts||N/A||Part of the Hui community (Dungan), Ersu, part of Amdo Tibetans, part of Han Chinese in Mizhi, Shaanxi.)|
|Sai||塞 (Sāi)||Widespread throughout Central Asia||2nd century BC to 1st century BC||Saka||5th century BC||No known descendants, but possibly absorbed into the Uyghurs, who now show a large plurality of Indo-European DNA, despite the majority of Uighurs having Mongoloid racial traits (although there are some Uighurs with certain European traits, such as light hair, light eyes, face shape, etc.); an Eastern Iranian people who inhabited Tarim Basin sites like Khotan (see Kingdom of Khotan) and Kashgar (see Shule Kingdom)|
|Sute||粟特 (Sùtè)||Widespread throughout Central Asia; also lived in China proper||1st century BC to 11th century AD||Sogdians||6th century BC||An Eastern Iranian people who inhabited Central Asia, especially in areas of what are now modern Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, but also the Tarim Basin of Xinjiang, especially at Dunhuang, but also in major Chinese cities such as the capitals Chang'an and Luoyang, serving as key middlemen in the continental trade system of the Silk Road; several prominent Sogdians appear in Chinese records, such as the rebel An Lushan (half-Sogdian) and a contemporary Tang general Li Baoyu who aided the Tang in defeating the An Lushan Rebellion; they introduced Iranian religions such as Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism to China during the Northern Dynasties period.|
|Manchus||女真 (Nǚzhēn), 滿族 (Mǎnzú)||Manchuria and northern portion of Inner Mongolia||Early 10th century to present, established Jin Dynasty and Qing Dynasty, many Manchus have very much assimilated into Hans||Mohe, Jurchens, Mancho, Manchurian, Manchurian Chinese||Since mid-17th century, first encountered by the Russians||Modern Manchus. Largest minority ethnic group in the Dongbei region. Modern Manchus have very much assimilated into Han, though some distinctive aspects still remain.|
|Jews||猶太 (Yóutài)||Kaifeng||7th century to present, many Jews have very much assimilated into Hans||Jewish, Jewish Chinese, Hebrews, Israelites, Youtai||N/A||Modern Jews. Kaifeng is known for having the oldest extent Jewish community in China. Many Chinese Jews have very much assimilated into Han, though a number of international Jewish groups have helped Chinese Jews rediscover their Jewish roots.|
|Joseon||韩国人 (Hánguóren), 朝鲜族 (Cháoxiǎnzú)||Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Southeastern Manchuria||7th century to present, some Koreans assimilated into Hans.||Hanminjok, Joseonminjok, Goryeo, Hanguo, Chaoxian, Korean, Korean Chinese||N/A||Modern Koreans|
The Dingling (Chinese: 丁零) were an ancient people mentioned in Chinese historiography in the context of the 1st century BCE.
They are assumed to have been an early Proto-Turkic-speaking people,
whose original constituents mainly assimilated into the Xiongnu and Xianbei groups.
They originally lived on the bank of the Lena River in the area west of Lake Baikal, gradually moving southward to Mongolia and northern China. They were a huge independent horde for centuries, but later been defeated and temporary became subject of the Xiongnu Empire, and thus presumably related to the invaders known as Huns in the west.
Around the 3rd century they were assimilated into the Tiele, also named Di (翟)， DiLi (狄历)， Gaoche (高車) or Chile (敕勒), who gradually expanded westward into Central Asia, expelled from Mongolia by the Rouran and establishing a state Turpan in the 5th century.
The Tiele were a collection of early Turkic tribes, largely descended from the Chile.Donghu people
Donghu (simplified Chinese: 东胡; traditional Chinese: 東胡; pinyin: Dōnghú; Wade–Giles: Tung-hu; IPA: [tʊ́ŋ.xǔ]; literally: "Eastern foreigners" or "Eastern barbarians") was a confederation of nomadic people that was first recorded from the 7th century BCE and was destroyed by the Xiongnu in 150 BCE. They lived in northern Hebei, southeastern Inner Mongolia and the western part of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang along the Yan Mountains and Greater Khingan Range.The Dōnghú later divided into the Wuhuan in Yan Mountains and Xianbei in Greater Khingan Range, the latter of which are the origin of the Khitan and Mongols.Four Barbarians
Four Barbarians was a derogatory Chinese term for various ancient non-Chinese peoples bordering ancient China, namely, the Dōngyí 東夷 "Eastern Barbarians", Nánmán 南蠻 "Southern Barbarians", Xīróng 西戎 "Western Barbarians", and Běidí 北狄 "Northern Barbarians".Guifang
Guifang (Chinese: 鬼方; Wade–Giles: Kuei-fang) was an ancient ethnonym for a northern people that fought against the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BCE). Chinese historical tradition identified the Guifang with the Rong, Xunyu, or Xiongnu peoples. This Chinese exonym combines gui (鬼 "ghost, spirit, devil") and fang (方 "side, border, country, region"), a suffix referring to "non-Shang or enemy countries that existed in and beyond the borders of the Shang polity." The sinologist Herrlee Glessner Creel translated Guifang as "Demon Territory".Göktürks
The Göktürks, Celestial Turks, Blue Turks or Kok Turks (Old Turkic: 𐰜𐰇𐰛:𐱅𐰇𐰼𐰰, Kök Türük; Chinese: 突厥/تُركِئ; pinyin: Tūjué, Middle Chinese: *duət̚-kʉɐt̚ (türkut), Dungan: Тўҗүә; Khotanese Saka: Ttūrka, Ttrūka; Old Tibetan: Drugu, tatar: kük törek, bashqurt: kük török) were a nomadic confederation of Turkic peoples in medieval Inner Asia. The Göktürks, under the leadership of Bumin Qaghan (d. 552) and his sons, succeeded the Rouran Khaganate as the main power in the region and established the Turkic Khaganate, one of several nomadic dynasties which would shape the future geolocation, culture, and dominant beliefs of Turkic peoples.Hui nationality
The Hui nationality refers to two different ethnic classifications used in China's history
One of the Five Races Under One Union under which all Muslims by religion were grouped, regardless of race, under the Republic of China, no longer in use
Hui people, the current designation for Chinese language speaking people descended from foreign Muslims, who may or may not be practicing the religion of Islam, as recognized by the People's Republic of ChinaIdentity in the Eight Banners
Identity in the Eight Banners considers the subject of how identity was interpreted in China prior to and during the Manchu-led Qing dynasty (1644–1912). China consisted of multiple ethnic groups, primarily Han, Mongol and Manchu. Identity, however, was defined much more by culture, language and participation in the military (the Eight Banners) until the Qianlong Emperor resurrected the ethnic classifications.Jie people
The Jié (Chinese: 羯; Wade–Giles: Chieh; Middle Chinese: [ki̯at]) were members of a small tribe who invaded North China in the 4th century. During the period of the Sixteen Kingdoms, they were known by the Chinese as one of the Five Barbarians. Chinese sources state that the Jie originated among the Yuezhi. Under Shi Le, they established the Later Zhao state. The Jie were allegedly "completely exterminated" by Ran Min in the Wei–Jie war in AD 350 following the fall of the Later Zhao; however, Chinese history continue to document Jie people and account of their people's activities after the Wei-Jie war.Later Qin
The Later Qin (simplified Chinese: 后秦; traditional Chinese: 後秦; pinyin: Hòuqín; 384-417), also known as Yao Qin (姚秦), was a state of Qiang ethnicity of the Sixteen Kingdoms during the Jin dynasty (265-420) in China. The Later Qin is entirely distinct from the Qin dynasty, the Former Qin and the Western Qin.
Its second ruler, Yao Xing, supported the propagation of Buddhism by the Madhyamakin monk Kumārajīva.
All rulers of the Later Qin declared themselves emperors, but for a substantial part of Yao Xing's reign, he used the title Tian Wang.Qiang (historical people)
Qiang (Chinese: 羌; pinyin: Qiāng; Wade–Giles: Ch'iang) was a name given to various groups of people at different periods in ancient China. During the sixteen kingdoms era, they were known as one of the Five Barbarians. The Qiang people are generally thought to have been of Tibeto-Burman origin, though there are other theories.
As one of the oldest nations in western China, according to a legend, part of the Qiang people’s ancestry came from the famous Yan Emperor. Some 5,000 years ago, the Yan Emperor and his tribe were defeated by the Yellow Emperor. Most of his people were integrated with that of the Yellow Emperor and formed into a new nationality named Huaxia, who inhabited the Central Plain along the Yellow River. The rest moved west or south and became the ancestors of Tibetan, Yi and Qiang ethnic groups.The Tangut people of Tang, Sung and Yuan dynasties may be of Qiang descent.Secession in China
The People's Republic of China and the Republic of China both claim to have sole sovereignty over China, the former administering Mainland China and the two special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, and the latter administering the Taiwan area.Sushen
Sushen is the modern Chinese name for an ancient ethnic group of people who lived in the northeastern part of China (in the area of modern Jilin and Heilongjiang) and what is in modern times the Russian Maritime Province and some other Siberian provinces. They were active during the Zhou Dynasty period. Archeological relics in the area are attributed to the Xituanshan Culture, indicating that they were Tungusic peoples.According to the Guoyu and the Classic of Mountains and Seas published in the Warring States period (476–221 BCE), Sushen was the name of the tribe who lived in Shandong and border of Liaoxi Province.The name's characters appeared as early as the 6th century BC in Chinese documents. They are almost unknown with the exception of the fact that they lived to the north of China and used flint-headed wooden arrows, farmed, hunted, and fished, and lived in caves and trees. Ancient Chinese believed that the Sushen paid arrows as tribute to an ideal Chinese ruler. In other words, an arrival of Sushen delegates was, for the Chinese, an auspicious sign of the Chinese ruler's virtue.
From the 3rd century to the 6th century, the name Sushen was used as an alias for the Yilou, who were in eastern Manchuria. However, the connection between the Yilou and the ancient Sushen is unclear. Some historians think that Chinese, having heard that the Yilou paid arrows as tribute, linked them with the Sushen based on knowledge of ancient documents. They paid tribute several times and pleased rulers of Northern China. The Yilou disappeared from documents in the 6th century. The Mohe rose into power there instead.The Chinese characters of the name can also be found in Japanese documents, in which the characters are annotated and read as Mishihase or Ashihase. According to the Nihon Shoki, the Mishihase first arrived to Sado Province during the reign of Emperor Kimmei. In 660, Japanese General Abe no Hirafu defeated the Mishihase in Hokkaidō by request from the native inhabitants.Some historians consider that the Mishihase were identical with the Sushen of Chinese records, and others think that Japanese named the indigenous people in the northeast based on the knowledge of Chinese documents, just as the Chinese did during the Three Kingdoms period. They are generally believed to have been the ancestors of the Wuji, Yilou and Mohe, and subsequently of the Jurchen, Manchu, Nanai and many other Tungusic peoples.Tuoba
The Tuoba, also known as the Taugast or Tabgach (Tabgaç), was a Xianbei clan in ancient China.The Tuoba founded the Northern Wei (386–535) around the Yellow River delta and became increasingly sinicized. As a result, from 496, the name "Tuoba" disappeared by an edict of Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei, who adopted the Chinese language surname of Yuan (元) instead. A surviving branch of the Tuoba established the state of Tuyuhun before submitting as a vassal of the Tang dynasty; they later established the Western Xia, whose rulers adopted the Chinese surname Li (李). The ruling families of the Western Wei and Northern Zhou dynasties that followed the fall of Northern Wei were also of Tuoba ethnicity.Uyghurlar
Uyghurlar (in English: The Uyghurs) is a book by historian Turghun Almas on the history of the "6,000 year history" of the Uyghur ethnic group of the Xinjiang region of China. It was published in the People's Republic of China in 1989, at a high point of liberalization of academic freedom and ethnic minority policy in China. It was one of the books of the period that presented an "alternative Uyghur history", based on Soviet historiography during the Sino-Soviet split, that advanced the thesis that the Uyghurs are the historical owner of Xinjiang and should have an independent state. It was also one of the first books to publicize the term East Turkestan, which suggests a kinship to a "West Turkestan" in the independent Central Asian states. In contrast to the official Chinese history of Xinjiang, which states that the region was an integral part of China since the Han dynasty, the book takes a nationalist view, saying that many "Uyghur" states throughout history were independent of, or even dominant over, China.Turguhn Almas had used strong evidence, references from China itself resources and Soviet resources to prove theories which are China does not would like to accept but the truth about history, including that the Tarim mummies indicate that the Uyghurs were "older than Chinese civilization itself", and that the Uyghurs invented the compass, gunpowder, papermaking, and printing. It concluded, "If the Jews could reclaim their homeland after 3,000 years, the Uyghurs should be able to reclaim their homeland after 3,000 to 6,000 years". In response to the book's growing popularity among Uyghurs, in February 1991, the Xinjiang CPC Propaganda Department and the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences jointly organized an academic conference to discuss the historical claims in Uyghurlar, as well as those in two of Almas's other books. More than 140 historians, ethnographers, archaeologists, and literature specialists from different ethnic groups in Xinjiang and Beijing scrutinized the research of the book, concluding that it "distorted and falsified history". The government soon publicized a pamphlet called "One Hundred Mistakes of Turghun Almas's Uyghurlar" to publicize the book's historical flaws, which had the opposite effect of increasing interest in the book. The book was banned and Almas was said to be placed under "virtual house arrest" in Urumqi.Western Regions
The Western Regions or Xiyu (Hsi-yu; Chinese: 西域; pinyin: Xīyù; Wade–Giles: Hsi1-yü4) was a historical name specified in the Chinese chronicles between the 3rd century BC to the 8th century AD that referred to the regions west of Yumen Pass, most often Central Asia or sometimes more specifically the easternmost portion of it (e.g. Altishahr or the Tarim Basin in southern Xinjiang), though it was sometimes used more generally to refer to other regions to the west of China as well, such as the Indian subcontinent (as in the novel Journey to the West).
Because of its strategic location astride the Silk Road, the Western Regions have been historically significant since at least the 3rd century BC. It was the site of the Han–Xiongnu War until 89 AD. In the 7th century, the Tang campaign against the Western Regions led to Chinese control of the region until the An Lushan Rebellion.
The region became significant in later centuries as a cultural conduit between East Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Muslim world and Europe, such as during the period of the Mongol Empire. One of the most significant exports of the Western Regions was Buddhist texts, particularly the Mahāyāna sūtras, which were carried by traders and pilgrim monks to China. The Tang dynasty monk Xuanzang crossed the region on his way to study in India, resulting in the influential Great Tang Records on the Western Regions upon his return to the Tang capital of Chang'an.
Before the onset of Turkic migrations, the peoples of the region were Indo-Europeans divided into roughly two linguistic groups, the Saka and the Tocharians. The peoples of oasis city-states of Khotan and Kashgar spoke Saka, one of the Eastern Iranian languages, whereas the people of Kucha and Turfan spoke the Tocharian language. The language of the native people of Loulan has yet to be fully understood or determined.Xunyu
The Xunyu (Chinese: 獯鬻; Wade–Giles: Hsünyü, pronounced Hünyü) is the name of an ancient nomadic tribe which invaded China during legendary times. They are often identified as the Xiongnu.Yilou
Yilou is the modern Chinese name of a people in 3rd- to 12th -century ancient people who lived in the Primorsky Krai, Jilin, Heilongjiang. Known since the time of Zhou, probably associated with the Situanshan culture , used to communicate the Tungusic languages languages .. In the Chinese chronicles them in the 3-6 century AD. e. mixed with the tribal of the Sushen or considered Sushen the ruling dynasty, the relationship of Eilou and Sushen is still unknown. In 12 century joined the Jurchen.
The Eilou disappeared from chinese documents in the 6th century. But continued to exist further as a tribal alliance.Yiqu
Yiqu (simplified Chinese: 义渠; traditional Chinese: 義渠; pinyin: Yìqú; Wade–Giles: I-ch'ü; Old Chinese: /*ŋ(r)aj-s [ɡ](r)a/, or simplified Chinese: 仪渠; traditional Chinese: 儀渠; pinyin: Yíqú; Old Chinese: /*ŋ(r)aj [ɡ](r)a/), was an ancient Chinese state which existed during the Zhou dynasty in what is now eastern Gansu and northern Shaanxi. It was inhabited by a people who were called the "Yiqu," by contemporary writers, whom modern scholars have attempted to identify as one of the non-Han peoples on the fringes of the Zhou territories, such as the Rong, Di, or Qiang.Yuanshi society
Yuanshi society (原始社會) is a term to describe the early ancient tribal society around the time of the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors era in ancient Chinese history and mythology. The term literally means "primitive society".