Nerchinsk Treaty of 1689

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nerchinsk Treaty of 1689


the first treaty to define the relationship between the Russian state and the Ch’ing empire of the Manchus in China. The treaty was concluded on Aug. 27, 1689.

The Manchu dynasty had ruled in Peking from the middle of the 17th century and had subjugated the Chinese people. A military conflict broke out early in the 1680’s when the Manchus attempted to conquer the Amur region, which had been settled by the Russians. Negotiations between a Russian delegation, led by F. A. Golovin, and representatives of the Ch’ing government, headed by Songgotu, took place beneath the walls of the Nerchinsk ostrog (fortified settlement). At the same time, Nerchinsk was virtually besieged by a Manchu army that had invaded Russian territory.

The territorial clauses of the Nerchinsk Treaty, contained in the first three articles, were forcibly imposed on the Russian representatives, who were compelled to give up the vast region of the Albazin Voevodstvo. The boundary established by the Nerchinsk Treaty was extremely vague, except for the tract along the Argun’ River, mainly because the names of the rivers and mountains serving as geographic landmarks north of the Amur River were imprecise and were not identical in the Russian, Latin, and Manchu texts of the treaty. The demarcation of territories near the Sea of Okhotsk was postponed to a later date. The Manchus did not actually control the lands given over to them.

The territorial clauses of the Nerchinsk Treaty were extremely unfavorable to the Russian state, but the provisions on the opening of free trade to subjects of both states, on the rules of receiving diplomatic missions, and on measures to be taken against fugitives, which were contained in the treaty’s fourth, fifth, and sixth articles, opened up possibilities for the development of peaceful diplomatic and commercial relations between Russia and the Ch’ing empire. In the middle of the 19th century, Russia finally concluded its long diplomatic struggle to revise the Nerchinsk Treaty. This aim was reflected in the relevant clauses of the Aigun Treaty of 1858 and the Peking Treaty of 1860.


Russko-kitaiskie otnosheniia 1689–1916 gg.: Offitsial’nye dokumenty. Moscow, 1958.


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