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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(self-designation, Manchu nyalma; Chinese designation, Manchou, Ch’i), an indigenous people of northeastern China, living mainly in southern Manchuria. Population, approximately 3 million (1970, estimate).

The Manchu language is spoken chiefly by the Manchus living in villages in Heilungkiang Province; in other regions of the People’s Republic of China the Manchus speak Chinese. The Manchus profess Buddhism and Taoism; shamanism and ancestor worship still exist among some Manchus. The Manchus are basically the descendants of the ancient population of northeastern China, namely, the Sushen, Ilu, Wochü, Wuchi, Moho, and other Tungus tribes mentioned in Chinese chronicles. Neighboring Turkic, Mongol, and other tribes also contributed at different times to the ethnic evolution of the Manchus.

In the early eighth century the Moho formed the Pohai state, which was destroyed by the Khitan people in 926. The origin of the Jurchen feudal state (1115-1234) hastened the consolidation of the tribes in northeastern China. The Manchus formed a single people in the early 17th century, when the name “Manchu,” common for the whole territory and people, appeared with the unification of small domains and the creation of a military feudal state. This period also saw the formation of a national language of the Manchus and a common material and spiritual culture. In the 17th century, after their conquest of Korea, China, and Mongolia, the Manchus founded the Ch’ing empire; in the 18th century, the Manchus conquered Dzungaria, Tibet, and other regions. Compulsory service in the banner forces stationed in the large cities of the empire led to a loss of the native language and partial assimilation of the Manchus to Chinese culture. At the same time, the Chinese also adopted a number of elements from the Manchu material culture.

Vestiges of clan division, the observance of ancient rituals, and distinctive architectural features still survive among the Manchus. The chief occupation is farming (grain crops, legumes, sesame, hemp, vegetables); in the highland regions, the Manchus engage in the timber industry. Some Manchus are employed as industrial workers.


Narody Vostochnoi Azii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1965. (With bibliography.)
Starikov, V. S. “Predmety byta i orudiia truda man’chzhurov v sobraniiakh MAE: K voprosu o samobytnosti material’noi kul’tury man’chzhurov.” In Sb. muzeia antropologii i etnografii, vol. 25. Leningrad, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Manchus and Han: Ethnic Relations and Political Power in Late Qing and Early Republican China, 1861-1928.
Once the Manchus had their own literary language, they embarked upon what must surely be one of the world's great translation projects.
This section draws heavily from information in the Qing imperial archives, which provides exhaustive detail on the food, clothing, housing, and activities of the Manchu rulers and their family members.
The rebellion, which rocked the Manchu Dynasty for thirteen years (1851-1864), has been the focus of numerous fascinating and controversial studies by historians, not only in China but also in Japan, Russia, and the Western World.
In the case of Manchu contact with Chinese, the above assumption appears to hold true.
If the translation of the Confucian classics played an important role in the sinicization of the Manchus, then it is certainly curious that the Mencius was the first of the Four Books to be translated, since it is less directly associated with Confucius than is the Analects.
Source: Michael, Franz, The Origins of Manchu Rule in China.
The First and Second Opium Wars (1839-1842 and 1856-1860) against Britain saw the defeat of Manchu armies and forced China to cede Hong Kong to British control and grant them extensive trading privileges.
The ascension of the Manchus under the emperor Shun Chih, a young man who was both physically and mentally strong, at first saw the relegation of the eunuchs to that of menials, (14) and supervision of admission to the priesthood.
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After the 1911 revolution, Tibet and Mongolia soon broke away; later, Muslim separatism rocked Yunnan, and in the 1930s Manchus wished that the Japanese puppet state, Manchukuo, would turn out to be their own separatist state.
The last dynasty to rule from Beijing, the Qing, (1644-1912) was not Chinese at all, but the creation of Manchus, an inner Asian people.