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Manchuria (măncho͝orˈēə), Mandarin Dongbei sansheng [three northeastern provinces], region, c.600,000 sq mi (1,554,000 sq km), NE China. It is officially known as the Northeast. Manchuria is separated from Russia largely by the Amur, Argun, and Ussuri rivers, from North Korea by the Yalu and Tumen rivers, and from Mongolia by the Da Hinggan (Great Khingan) Mts. It includes the Liaodong peninsula. Until 1860 it included territory now in Siberia and until 1955 territory now in the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region. Provincial divisions have changed frequently, but since 1956 Manchuria has comprised Jilin, Heilongjiang, and Liaoning provs. Much of the region is hilly to mountainous. The Da and Xiao Hinggan (Great and Lesser Khingan) in the north and the Changbai in the east are the greatest ranges.

Land and Economy

Manchuria's vast timber reserves have been damaged by excessive cutting. Mineral resources, chiefly coal and iron, are concentrated in the southwest; there is a large colliery at Fushun and a large steel mill at Anshan. Magnesite, copper, lead, and zinc are also important, and there is a large oil field at Daqing, NW of Harbin. Uranium and gold deposits have also been found.

The great Manchurian plain (average elevation c.1,000 ft/300 m), crossed by the Liao and Songhua rivers, is the only extensively level area. Fertile and densely populated, it has been a major manufacturing and agricultural center of China. One of the few areas in the country suitable for large-scale mechanized agriculture, it has numerous collective farms. Long, severe winters limit harvests to one a year, but considerable quantities of soybeans are produced. Sweet potatoes, beans, and cereals (including rice, wheat, millet, and kaoliang) are also grown, and cotton, flax, and sugar beets are raised as industrial crops. The processing of soybeans into oil, animal feed, and fertilizer is centered in cities in or near the plain, notably Changchun, Harbin, and Shenyang. Livestock are raised in the north and the west, and fishing is important off the Yellow Sea coast.

The chief commercial port is Dalian; Lüshun, which is administratively part of Dalian, is a major naval base. All rivers are navigable, but only the Songhua has significant heavy traffic. When the rivers freeze, they are used as roadways. An extensive rail system connects the hinterland with the coastal ports; major lines are the South Liaoning RR and the Northeast RR. The building of the railroads (after 1896) spurred industrial development. Manchuria is a great industrial hub, with huge coal mines, iron- and steelworks, aluminum-reduction plants, paper mills, and factories making heavy machinery, tractors, locomotives, aircraft, and chemicals. Since the 1980s, however, the region's inefficient state-controlled companies have had trouble gearing production to an economy that is increasingly market-oriented.


Manchuria is traditionally the homeland of peoples that have invaded and sometimes ruled N China. Among the most important of these tribes were the Tungus, Eastern Turks, Khitan, and Jurchen. It was the home of the Manchu conquerors of China. The Manchus tried to keep Manchuria an imperial preserve by limiting Chinese immigration. During the 20th cent., however, emigration to Manchuria from the adjacent provinces was heavy, and the population is now predominantly Chinese.


Japan and Russia long struggled for control of this rich, strategically important region. Japan tried to seize the Liao-tung peninsula in 1895, but was forestalled by the Triple Intervention. From 1898 to 1904 Russia was dominant. As a result of a Russo-Chinese alliance against Japan, the Russians built Harbin, the naval base at Port Arthur, and the Chinese Eastern RR. Japan, after victory in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–5), took control of Port Arthur and the southern half of Manchuria (see Liaoning), limiting Russian influence to the north. Chiefly through the South Manchurian RR, Japan developed the region's economy. From 1918 to 1931 the warlords Chang Tso-lin and Chang Hsüeh-liang controlled Chinese military power in Manchuria.

Japan occupied Manchuria in 1931–32, when Chinese military resistance, sapped by civil war, was weak. The seizure of Manchuria was, in effect, an unofficial declaration of war on China. Manchuria was a base for Japanese aggression in N China and a buffer region for Japanese-controlled Korea. In 1932, under the aegis of Japan, Manchuria with Rehe prov. was constituted Manchukuo, a nominally independent state. During World War II the Japanese developed the Dalian, Anshan, Fushun, Shenyang, and Harbin areas into a huge industrial complex of metallurgical, coal, petroleum, and chemical industries. Soviet forces, which occupied Manchuria from July, 1945, to May, 1946, dismantled and removed over half of the Manchurian industrial plant.

At the end of the war the Chinese Communists were strongly established in Manchuria and by 1948 had captured the major cities and inflicted devastating losses on the Nationalist army. From 1949 to 1954 Manchuria, ruled by Gao Gang, was the most staunch of the Communist areas in China. With the help of Soviet technicians the Communists rapidly restored Manchuria's large industrial capacity. After the Sino-Soviet rift in the 1960s there was a massive Soviet military buildup along the border, and several border incidents occurred. With the breakup of the Soviet Union, these incidents have subsided. China's changing economic policies led to renewed investment in the region in 1978, but the ensuing shift to a market economy resulted in unemployment and stagnant growth in the state-controlled businesses.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a historical name for northeastern China which is sometimes used in Russian. The word comes from the name for the early feudal state of the Manchus (Manchurians), which existed in the first half of the 17th century in Northeast China. In the People’s Republic of China this region is called Tung-pei (that is, the Northeast).

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


a region of NE China, historically the home of the Manchus, rulers of China from 1644 to 1912: includes part of the Inner Mongolian AR and the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning. Area: about 1 300 000 sq. km (502 000 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Yet the forces behind the channeling of the previously unrestrained flow of people, commodities, and ideas across the border: namely, the Sino-Soviet rivalry over the control of the Chinese Eastern Railroad in 1929 and Japan's occupation of Manchuria in 1931--as well as domestic developments in the USSR, such as the deportation of disloyal people or the establishment of border zones--deserve more attention.
(While the Russians negotiated with Japan, the Russians and Chinese secretly agreed to a mutual security pact 1896, in which Russia was granted control of large portions of northern Manchuria.) Further negotiations with Russia to stop interfering with the internal affairs of Korea were fruitless and Japan waged war against Russia to protect, once again, Korean sovereignty.
Russia feared that Japan would take over Manchuria, so after the war it built the Amur line, to provide a route entirely through Russian territory.
Culver's first chapter investigates how the Southern Manchurian Railway Company (SMRC) enlisted high profile Japanese intellectuals to produce positive accounts of Japanese-led development in Manchuria during 1909-31.
In an 1894 war with China, Japan had acquired Korea, and she now had her eyes on mineral-rich Manchuria. By the turn of the century she had begun negotiating with Russia over the fate of the province.
There was not much in Manchuria in the 1930's, but with the inflow of Japanese capital it turned into a complex hybrid society, and in Korean residents there were pro- and anti-nationalism in the 1940's.
The study is comprised of eight chapters that examine the history of alcohol and opium in China to the mid-20th century, major business and state developments in Manchuria's intoxicant industries, the appearance of alcohol in 1930s and '40s newspapers and journals, selling alcohol as the ticket to modernity, the influence of the intoxicants on fiction of the period, debates over women in the opium trade, attempts to define and treat addiction, and a special focused study of an 1942 Chinese text on opium addiction.
Warlords and regional governments controlled large parts of the country in semi-independence, including the resource-rich northeast, then largely known to the West as Manchuria.
Administering the Colonizer: Manchuria's Russians under Chinese Rule, 1918-29, by Blaine R.
1904: The Russo-Japanese War broke out, provoked by Russian penetration into Manchuria agnd Korea 1915: DW Griffith's epic film The Birth Of A Nation was released.
NIRVANA (MAHAYANA BUDDHISM) 1904: The Russo-Japanese War broke out, provoked by Russian penetration into Manchuria and Korea: to worldwide surprise, the Russians would be badly beaten.