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Related to Manchu: Manchu dynasty, Manchu Empire


(măn`cho͞o), people who lived in Manchuria for many centuries and who ruled China from 1644 until 1912. These people, related to the Tungus, were descended from the Jurchen, a tribe known in Asia since the 7th cent. They were first called Manchu in the early 17th cent. Originally pastoral nomads in Manchuria, the Manchu (or Jurchen) swept into N China in the early 12th cent. but were forced by the Mongols to withdraw in the mid-13th cent. The Manchu settled in the Songhua River valley and developed an agrarian civilization. Under the emperor NurhaciNurhaci
or Nurhachi
, 1559–1626, Manchu national founder. He consolidated the Manchu tribes under his control and founded the administration that later ruled China as the Ch'ing dynasty (1644–1912).
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 (1559–1626) they secured the allegiance of many tribes and increased their territory. The Manchu claim of relation to the Ch'in dynasty of China was the justification for conquering China in the 17th cent. and establishing the Ch'ingCh'ing
or Manchu
, the last of the Imperial dynasties of China. Background

The Ch'ing dynasty was established by the Manchus, who invaded China and captured Beijing in 1644, and lasted until 1911.
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 dynasty. The Manchu tried to keep themselves from being absorbed by the Chinese, but when the dynasty was overthrown in the 20th cent. these efforts failed; gradually, they have become part of the general Chinese population.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the language of the Manchus in northeastern China (Manchuria).

In the second half of the 20th century, the Manchu language is represented by one northern dialect spoken by a small, primarily rural, population in Heilungkiang Province and some Sibo in present-day Sinkiang Province in the People’s Republic of China. Manchu belongs to the Manchu-Tungus language group, within which it occupies an isolated position because of its specific word stock and its predominantly analytical grammatical structure. During the rule of the Manchu (Ch’ing) dynasty (1644-1911), Manchu was an official language of China, along with Chinese. A rich literature existed in Manchu. From the early 17th century, the Manchu literary language used a modified version of the Mongolian alphabet. The Manchu language was supplanted by Chinese after the Hsinhai Revolution of 1911 in China.


Zakharov, I. I. Polnyi man’chzhursko-russkii slovar’. St. Petersburg, 1875.
Zakharov, I. I. Grammatika man’chzhurskogo iazyka. St. Petersburg, 1879.
Pashkov, B. K. Man ’chzhurskii iazyk. Moscow, 1963.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. a member of a Mongoloid people of Manchuria who conquered China in the 17th century, establishing an imperial dynasty that lasted until 1912
2. the language of this people, belonging to the Tungusic branch of the Altaic family
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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