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Extent of Manchuria according to:

Definition 1 (dark red)
Definition 2 (dark red + medium red)
Definition 3 (dark red + medium red + light red)      Dark Red      Medium Red      Light Red

Chinese name
Traditional Chinese 滿洲
Simplified Chinese 满洲
Manchu name
Manchu Manjui gisun.svg (Manju)
Mongolian name
Mongolian Манж
Russian name
Russian Маньчжурия
Extent of Northeast China
One of the earliest European maps using the term "Manchuria" (Mandchouria) (John Tallis, 1851). Previously, the term "Chinese Tartary" had been commonly applied in the West to Manchuria and Mongolia[1]

Manchuria is a historical name given to a vast geographic region in northeast Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria either falls entirely within People's Republic of China, or is divided between China and Russia. The region is commonly referred to as Northeast China (Chinese: 東北pinyin: Dōngběi), and historically referred as Guandong (Chinese: 關東pinyin: guāndōng), which literally means "East of the (Shanhaiguan) Pass/Mountain".

This region is the traditional homeland of the Xianbei (Chinese: 鲜卑), Khitan (Chinese: 契丹), and Jurchen (Chinese: 女真), who built several dynasties in northern China. The region is also the home of the Manchus, after whom Manchuria is named.


Extent of Manchuria

Manchuria can refer to any one of several regions of various size. These are, from smallest to largest:

  1. Inner Manchuria: Northeast China (Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning) and part of northeastern Inner Mongolia;
  2. The above, plus the Jehol region of Hebei province;
  3. The above, plus Outer Manchuria (Russian Manchuria), (from the Amur and Ussuri rivers to the Stanovoy Mountains and the Sea of Japan). Russian Far East comprises Primorsky Krai, southern Khabarovsk Krai, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast and Amur Oblast. These were part of Manchu China according to the Treaty of Nerchinsk of 1689, but were ceded to Russia by the Treaty of Aigun (1858)
  4. The above, plus Sakhalin Oblast, which is generally included on Chinese maps as part of Outer Manchuria, even though it is not explicitly mentioned in the Treaty of Nerchinsk.

Origin of the name

Manchuria is a translation of the Manchu word Mianju (Chinese language: Mǎnzhōu). After the 1911 revolution in China, which resulted in the collapse of the Manchu Qing Dynasty, the name of the region where the Manchus originated was replaced by Northeast in official documents in the newly founded Republic of China.

In current Chinese parlance, an inhabitant of "the Northeast", or Northeast China, is a "Northeasterner" (Dōng-běi-rén). "The Northeast" is a term that denotes the entire region, encompassing its history, culture, traditions, dialects, cuisines, and so forth. In effect, it replaces the concept of "Manchuria". As such, other provinces in the northeastern part of China (such as Hebei) are not considered to be a part of "the Northeast".

Geography and climate

Manchuria consists primarily of the northern side of the funnel-shaped North China Craton, a large area of highly tiled and overlaid Precambrian rocks. The North China Craton was an independent continent prior to the Triassic period, and is known to have been the northernmost piece of land in the world during the Carboniferous. The Khingan Mountains in the west are a Jurassic[2] mountain range formed by the collision of the North China Craton with the Siberian Craton, which marked the final stage of the formation of the supercontinent Pangaea.

Although no part of Manchuria was glaciated during the Quaternary, the surface geology of most of the lower-lying and more fertile parts of the region consists of extremely deep layers of loess, which have been formed by the wind-born movement of dust and till particles formed in glaciated parts of the Himalayas, Kunlun Shan and Tien Shan, as well as the Gobi and Taklamakan Deserts.[3] Soils are mostly fertile Mollisols and Fluvents, except in the more mountainous parts where they are poorly developed Orthents, as well as the extreme north where permafrost occurs and Orthels dominate.[4]

The climate of Manchuria has extreme seasonal contrasts, ranging from humid, almost tropical heat in the summer to windy, dry, Arctic cold in the winter. This extreme character occurs because the position of Manchuria on the boundary between the great Eurasian continental landmass and the huge Pacific Ocean causes complete monsoonal wind reversal.

In the summer, when the land heats up faster than the ocean, low pressure forms over Asia and warm, moist south to southeasterly winds bring heavy, thundery rain, yielding annual rainfall ranging from 400 mm (16 in.), or less in the west, to over 1150 mm (45 in.) in the Changbai Mountains.[5] Temperatures in the summer are very warm to hot, with July average maxima ranging from 31°C (88°F) in the south to 24°C (75°F) in the extreme north.[6] Except in the far north near the Amur River, high humidity causes major discomfort at this time of year.

In the winter, however, the vast Siberian High causes very cold, north to northwesterly winds that bring temperatures as low as −5°C (23°F) in the extreme south and −30°C (−22°F) in the north,[7] where the zone of discontinuous permafrost reaches northern Heilongjiang. However, because the winds from Siberia are exceedingly dry, snow falls only on a few days every winter and it is never heavy. This explains why, whereas corresponding latitudes of North America were fully glaciated during glacial periods of the Quaternary, Manchuria, though equally cold, always remained too dry to form glaciers[8] – a state of affairs enhanced by stronger westerly winds from the surface of the ice sheet in Europe.

History of Manchuria
Not based on timeline
Early tribes
Yan (state)
Han Dynasty | Xiongnu
Donghu | Wiman Joseon
Wuhuan | Sushen | Buyeo | Okjeo
Cao Wei
Jin Dynasty (265-420)
Former Yan
Former Qin
Later Yan
Northern Yan
Mohe | Shiwei
Khitan | Kumo Xi
Northern Wei
Tang Dynasty
Liao Dynasty
Jin Dynasty (1115-1234)
Yuan Dynasty
Ming Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
Far Eastern Republic
Republic of China
Soviet Union
People's Republic of China (Northeast China)
Russia (Russian Far East)




Neolithic sites located in the region of Manchuria are represented by the Xinglongwa culture, Xinle culture and Hongshan culture.

Early history

A 12th-century Jurchen stone tortoise in today's Ussuriysk

Manchuria was the homeland of several nomadic tribes, including the Manchu, Ulchs, and Hezhen (also known as the Goldi and Nanai). Various ethnic groups and their respective kingdoms, including the Gojoseon, Sushen, Donghu, Buyeo, Goguryeo, Xianbei, Wuhuan, Mohe, Balhae, Khitan, and Jurchens have risen to power in Manchuria. At various times in this time period, Han Dynasty, Cao Wei Dynasty, Western Jin Dynasty, Tang Dynasty and some other minor kingdoms of China occupied significant parts of Manchuria.

Manchuria under the Liao and Jin

With the Song Dynasty to the south, the Khitan people of Western Manchuria, who probably spoke a language related to the Mongolic languages, created the Liao Empire in the region, which went on to control adjacent parts of northern China as well.

In the early 12th century the Tungusic Jurchen people (the ancestors of the later Manchu people) originally lived in the forests in the eastern borderlands of the Laio Empire, and were Liao's tributaries, overthrew the Liao and formed the Jin Dynasty (1115–1234), which went on to control parts of northern China and Mongolia. Most of the surviving Khitan either assimilated into the bulk of the Han Chinese and Jurchen population, or moved to Central Asia; however, it is thought that the Daur people, still living in northern Manchuria, are also descendants of the Khitans.[9]

The first Jin capital, Shangjing, located on the Ashi River not far from modern Harbin, was originally not much more than the city of tents, but in 1124 the second Jin emperor Wuqimai starting a major construction project, having his Chinese chief architect, Lu Yanlun, build a new city at this site, emulating, on a smaller scale, the Northern Song capital Bianjing (Kaifeng).[10] When Bianjing fell to Jin troops in 1127, thousands of captured Song aristocrats (including the two Song emperors), scholars, craftsmen and entertainers, along with the treasures of the Song capital, were all taken to Shangjing (the Upper Capital) by the winners.[10] Although the Jurchen ruler Wanyan Liang, spurred on by his aspirations to become the ruler of all China, moved the Jin capital from Shangjing to Yanjing (now Beijing) in 1153,[11] and had the Shangjing palaces destroyed in 1157,[11] the city regained a degree of significance under Wanyan Liang's successor, Emperor Shizong, who enjoyed visiting the region to get in touch with his Jurchen roots.[12]

In 1234, the Jin Dynasty fell to the Mongols.

Manchuria under the Mongol Empire

In 1211, after the conquest of Western Xia, Genghis Khan mobilized an army to conquer the Jin Dynasty. His general Jebe and brother Qasar were ordered to reduce the Jurchen cities in Manchuria.[13] They successfully destroyed the Jin forts there. The Khitans under Yelü Liuge declared their allegiance to Genghis Khan and established nominally autonomous state in Manchuria in 1213. However, the Jin forces dispatched a punitive expedition against them. Jebe went there again and the Mongols pushed out the Jins.

The Jin general, Puxian Wannu, rebelled against the Jin Dynasty and founded the Dazhen (大眞) kingdom in Dongjing (Liaoyang) in 1215. He assumed the title Tianwang (天王 lit. Heavenly King) and the era name Tiantai (天泰). Puxian Wannu allied with the Mongols in order to secure his position. However, he revolted in 1222 after that and fled to an island while the Mongol army invaded Liaoxi, Liaodong and Khorazm. As a result of an internal strife among the Khitans, they failed to accept Yelü Liuge's rule and revolted against the Mongol Empire. Fearing of the Mongol pressure, those Khitans fled to Goryeo without permission. But they were defeated by the Mongol-Korean alliance. Genghis Khan (1206-1227) gave his brothers and Muqali Chinese districts in Manchuria.

The Great Khan Ogedei's son Guyuk crushed Puxian Wannu's dynasty in 1233, pacifying southern Manchuria. Some time after 1234 Ogedei also subdued the Water Tatars in northern part of the region and began to receive falcons, harems and furs as taxation. The Mongols suppressed the Water Tatar-rebellion in 1237. In Manchuria and Siberia, the Mongols used dogsled relays for their yam. The capital city Karakorum directly controlled Manchuria until 1260's.[14]

The Great Khan Kublai renamed his empire "Great Yuan" in 1271, instead of the old title-"Ikh Mongol Uls".[15] Under the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Manchuria was divided into Liaoyang and Zhendong districts. Descendants of Genghis Khan's brothers such as Belgutei and Qasar ruled the area under the Great Khans.[16] The Mongols eagerly adopted new artillery and technologies. The world's earliest known cannon, dated 1282, was found in Mongol-held Manchuria.[17]

After the expulsion of the Mongols from China, the Jurchen clans remained loyal to the Mongol Khagan Toghan Temur. In 1375, Nahacu, a Mongol official of the Northern Yuan in Liaoyang province invaded Liaodong with aims of restoring the Mongols to power. Although he continued to hold southern Manchuria, Nahacu finally surrendered to the Ming Dynasty in 1387. In order to protect the northern border areas the Ming decided to "pacify" the Jurchens in order to deal with its problems with Yuan remnants along its northern border. The Ming solidified control only under Yongle Emperor (1402-1424).

Manchuria during the Ming Dynasty

The Ming Empire took control of Liaoning in 1371, just three years after the expulsion of the Mongols from Beijing. During the reign of the Yongle Emperor in the early 15th century, efforts were made to expand Chinese control throughout entire Manchuria. Mighty river fleets were built in Jilin City, and sailed several times between 1409 and ca. 1432, commanded by the eunuch Yishiha down the Sungari and the Amur all the way to the mouth of the Amur, getting the chieftains of the local tribes to swear allegiance to the Ming rulers.[18]

Soon after the death of the Yongle Emperor the expansion policy of the Ming was replaced with that of retrenchment in southern Manchuria (Liaodong). Around 1442, a defense wall was constructed to defend the northwestern frontier of Liaodong from a potential threat from the Jurched-Mongol Oriyanghan. In 1467-68 the wall was expanded to protect the region from the northeast as well, against attacks from Jianzhou Jurchens. Although similar in purpose to the Great Wall of China, this "Liaodong Wall" was of a simpler design. While stones and tiles were used in some parts, most of the wall was in fact simply an earth dike with moats on both sides.[19]

Starting in the 1580s, a Jianzhou Jurchens chieftain Nurhaci (1558-1626), originally based in the Hurha River valley north-east of the Ming Liaodong Wall, started to unify Jurchen tribes of the region. Over the next several decades, the Jurchen (later to be called Manchu), took control over most of Manchuria, the cities of the Ming Liaodong falling to the Jurchen one after another. In 1616, Nurhaci declared himself a Khan, and founded the Later Jin Dynasty (which his successors renamed in 1636 to Qing Dynasty).

Manchuria within the Qing Dynasty

In 1644, the Manchus took Beijing, overthrowing the Ming Dynasty and soon established the Qing Dynasty rule (1644–1912) over all of China.

To the south, the region was separated from China proper by the Inner Willow Palisade, a ditch and embankment planted with willows intended to restrict the movement of the Han Chinese into Manchuria during the Qing Dynasty, as the area was off-limits to the Han until the Qing started colonizing the area with them later on in the dynasty's rule. This movement of the Han Chinese to Manchuria is called Chuang Guandong. The Manchu area was still separated from modern-day Inner Mongolia by the Outer Willow Palisade, which kept the Manchu and the Mongols in the area separate.

Loss of the "Outer Manchuria"

To the north, the boundary with Russian Siberia was fixed by the Treaty of Nerchinsk (1689) as running along the watershed of the Stanovoy mountains. South of the Stanovoy Mountains, the basin of the Amur and its tributaries belonged to the Manchu Empire. North of the Stanovoy Mountains, the Uda valley and Siberia belonged to the Russian Empire. In 1858, a weakening Manchu China was forced to cede Manchuria north of the Amur to Russia under the Treaty of Aigun; however, Qing subjects were allowed to continue to reside, under the Qing authority, in a small region on the now-Russian side of the river, known as the Sixty-Four Villages East of the Heilongjiang River.

In 1860, at the Treaty of Peking, the Russians managed to extort a further large slice of Manchuria, east of the Ussuri River.

As a result, Manchuria was divided into a Russian half known as “Outer Manchuria”, and a remaining Chinese half known as “Inner Manchuria”. In modern literature, “Manchuria” usually refers to Inner (Chinese) Manchuria. (cf. Inner and Outer Mongolia). As a result of the Treaties of Aigun and Peking, China lost access to the Sea of Japan.

Forty years later, during the Boxer Rebellion, Russian soldiers killed ten thousand Chinese (Manchu, Han Chinese and Daur people) living in Blagoveshchensk and Sixty-Four Villages East of the River.[20][21]

Russian and Japanese encroachment

By the 19th century, Manchu rule had become increasingly sinicized and, along with other borderlands of the Chinese Empire such as Mongolia and Tibet, came under the influence of colonial powers such as Britain which nibbled at Tibet, France at Hainan and Germany at Shandong. Meanwhile the Russian Empire encroached upon Turkestan and Outer Mongolia, having annexed Outer Manchuria.

Picture of Manchurian Plague victims in 1910-1911

Inner Manchuria also came under strong Russian influence with the building of the Chinese Eastern Railway through Harbin to Vladivostok. Some poor Korean farmers moved there. In Chuang Guandong many Han farmers, mostly from Shandong peninsula moved there.

Japan replaced Russian influence in the southern half of Inner Manchuria as a result of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904–1905. Most of the southern branch of the Chinese Eastern Railway (the section from Changchun to Port Arthur (Japanese: Ryojun)) was transferred from Russia to Japan, and became the South Manchurian Railway. In this series of historical events, Jiandao (in the region bordering Korea), was handed over to Qing Dynasty as a compensation for the South Manchurian Railway.

Between World War I and World War II, Manchuria became a political and military battleground. Japanese influence extended into Outer Manchuria in the wake of the Russian Revolution of 1917, but Outer Manchuria had reverted to Soviet control by 1925. Japan took advantage of the disorder following the Russian Revolution to occupy Outer Manchuria, but Soviet successes and American economic pressure forced Japanese withdrawal.

In the 1920s Harbin was flooded with 100,000 to 200,000 Russian White émigrés fleeing from Russia. Harbin held the largest Russian population outside of the state of Russia (see Harbin Russians).[22][23]

Manchuria was (and is) an important region for its rich mineral and coal reserves, and its soil is perfect for soy and barley production. For pre-World War II Japan, Manchuria was an essential source of raw materials. Without occupying Manchuria, the Japanese probably could not have carried out their plan for conquest over South-East Asia or taken the risk to attack Pearl Harbor.[24]

Japanese invasion and Manchukuo

Around the time of World War I, Zhang Zuolin established himself as a hugely powerful warlord with influence over most of Manchuria. He was determined to keep his Manchu army under his control and to keep Manchuria free of foreign influence. The Japanese tried to kill him in 1916 by throwing a bomb under his carriage, but failed. The Japanese finally succeeded on June 2, 1928, when a bomb exploded under his seven-carriage train a few miles from Mukden station.[25]

Following the Mukden Incident in 1931 and the subsequent Japanese invasion of Manchuria, Inner Manchuria was proclaimed as an independent state, Manchukuo. The last Manchu emperor, Puyi, was then placed on the throne to lead a Japanese puppet government in the Wei Huang Gong, better known as "Puppet Emperor's Palace". Inner Manchuria was thus formally detached from China by Japan to create a buffer zone to defend Japan from Russia's Southing Strategy and, with Japanese investment and rich natural resources, became an industrial powerhouse. However, under Japanese control Manchuria was one of the most brutally run regions in the world, with a systematic campaign of terror and intimidation against the local Russian and Chinese populations including arrests, organized riots, and other forms of subjugation.[26] The Japanese also began a campaign of emigration to Manchukuo; the Japanese population there rose from 240,000 in 1931 to 837,000 in 1939 (the Japanese had a plan to bring in 5 million Japanese settlers into Manchukuo).[27]. Hundreds of Manchu farmers were evicted and their farms given to Japanese immigrant families.[28] Manchukuo was used as a base to invade the rest of China, an expensive action (in terms of the damage to men, matériel and political integrity) that was very costly to Japan.

At the end of the 1930s, Manchuria was a trouble spot with Japan clashing twice with Russia. These clashes - at Lake Khasan in 1938 and at Khalkhin Gol one year later - resulted in many Japanese casualties. Russia won these two fights and a peace agreement was signed. However, the regional unrest endured.[29]

After World War II

After the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan in 1945, the Soviet Union invaded from Soviet Outer Manchuria as part of its declaration of war against Japan. From 1945 to 1948, Inner Manchuria was a base area for the Chinese People's Liberation Army in the Chinese Civil War. With the encouragement of the Soviet Union, Manchuria was used as a staging ground during the Chinese Civil War for the Communist Party of China, who were victorious in 1949.

During the Korean War of the 1950s, 300,000 soldiers of the Chinese People's Liberation Army crossed the Chinese-Korean border from Manchuria to repulse UN forces led by the United States from North Korea.

In the 1960s, Manchuria's border with the Soviet Union became the site of the most serious tension between the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. The treaties of 1858 and 1860, which ceded territory north of the Amur, were ambiguous as to which course of the river was the boundary. This ambiguity led to dispute over the political status of several islands. This led to armed conflict in 1969, called the Sino-Soviet border conflict.

With the end of the Cold War, this boundary issue was discussed through negotiations. In 2004, Russia agreed to transfer Yinlong Island and one half of Heixiazi Island to China, ending a long-standing border dispute. Both islands are found at the confluence of the Amur and Ussuri Rivers, and were until then administered by Russia and claimed by China. The event was meant to foster feelings of reconciliation and cooperation between the two countries by their leaders, but it has also sparked different degrees of discontent on both sides. Russians, especially Cossack farmers of Khabarovsk, who would lose their plowlands on the islands, were unhappy about the apparent loss of territory. Meanwhile, some Chinese have criticized the treaty as an official acknowledgement of the legitimacy of Russian rule over Outer Manchuria, which was ceded by the Qing Dynasty to Imperial Russia under a series of Unequal Treaties, which included the Treaty of Aigun in 1858 and the Convention of Peking in 1860, in order to exchange exclusive usage of Russia's rich oil resources. As a result of these criticisms, news and information regarding the border treaty were censored[citation needed] in mainland China by the PRC government. The transfer was carried out on October 14, 2008.[30]

See also



This article contains Chinese text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters.
  1. ^ E.g. Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society, Volumes 11-12, 1867, p. 162
  2. ^ Bogatikov, Oleg Alekseevich; Magmatism and Geodynamics: Terrestrial Magmatism throughout the Earth's History ; pp. 150-151. ISBN 905699168X
  3. ^ Kropotkin, Prince P.; "Geology and Geo-Botany of Asia"; in Popular Science, May 1904; pp. 68-69
  4. ^ Juo, A. S. R. and Franzlübbers, Kathrin Tropical Soils: Properties and Management for Sustainable Agriculture; pp. 118-119; ISBN 0195115988
  5. ^ Average Annual Precipitation in China
  6. ^ Kaisha, Tesudo Kabushiki and Manshi, Minami; Manchuria: Land of Opportunities; pp. 1-2. ISBN 1110977603
  7. ^ Kaisha and Manshi; Manchuria; pp. 1-2
  8. ^ Earth History 2001 (page 15)
  9. ^ DNA Match Solves Ancient Mystery
  10. ^ a b Jing-shen Tao, The Jurchen in Twelfth-Century China. University of Washington Press, 1976, ISBN 0-295-95514-7. Pages 28-32.
  11. ^ a b Tao, p.44
  12. ^ Tao (1976). Chapter 6. "The Jurchen Movement for Revival", Pages 78-79.
  13. ^ Tom Shanley- Dominion: Dawn of the Mongol Empire‎, p.144
  14. ^ C.P.Atwood-Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire, see: Manchuria
  15. ^ Patricia Ann Berger - Empire of emptiness: Buddhist art and political authority in Qing China‎, p.25
  16. ^ Niraj Kamal -Arise, Asia!: respond to white peril‎, p.76
  17. ^ C.P.Atwood-Encyclopedia of Mongolia and the Mongol Empire, p.354
  18. ^ Shih-shan Henry Tsai, The Eunuchs in the Ming Dynasty. SUNY Press, 1996. ISBN 0791426874. Partial text on Google Books. P. 129-130
  19. ^ Edmonds, Richard Louis (1985). Northern Frontiers of Qing China and Tokugawa Japan: A Comparative Study of Frontier Policy. University of Chicago, Department of Geography; Research Paper No. 213. pp. 38–40. ISBN 0-89065-118-3. 
  20. ^ 俄军惨屠海兰泡华民五千余人(1900年)
  21. ^ 江东六十四屯
  22. ^ Fleeing Revolution
  23. ^ The Russians are coming., Economist (US)
  24. ^ Edward Behr, The Last Emperor, 1987, p. 202
  25. ^ Edward Behr, ibid, p. 168
  26. ^ Edward Behr, ibid, p. 202
  27. ^ Prasenjit Duara: The New Imperialism and the Post-Colonial Developmental State: Manchukuo in comparative perspective
  28. ^ Edward Behr, ibid, p. 204
  29. ^ Battlefield - Manchuria
  30. ^


  • Elliott, Mark C. "The Limits of Tartary: Manchuria in Imperial and National Geographies." Journal of Asian Studies 59, no. 3 (2000): 603-46.
  • Jones, Francis Clifford, Manchuria Since 1931, London, Royal Institute of International Affairs, 1949
  • Tao, Jing-shen, The Jurchen in Twelfth-Century China. University of Washington Press, 1976, ISBN 0-295-95514-7.

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to North East (China) article)

From Wikitravel

Asia : East Asia : China : North East

North East China (东北; dōng​běi​; formerly known as Manchuria). The largest ethnic groups are Han, Manchu and Korean.

Provinces of North East China
Provinces of North East China
Fierce winters with snow and ice festivals and characteristic Russian buildings.
Winter resorts, nature preserves and imperial palace of the last emperor.
Coastal cities, water cave and imperial palace.
  • Anshan (鞍山; Ānshān), Liaoning Province — a heavy industry area but contains Qianshan National Park and other major tourist sites.
  • Changchun, Jilin Province — former Manchukuo State capital
  • Dalian, Liaoning Province — beautiful port city, once a Russian naval base
  • Harbin, Heilongjiang Province — Russian-influenced architecture, winter festival
  • Jilin City (吉林; Jílín), Jilin Province — home of the Rimmed Trees of Jilin, one of the four major natural wonders of China
  • Shenyang, Liaoning Province — former Manchu capital


Even if the Chinese understand that there is civilization beyond the Great Wall, most tourists do not. The lands to the northeast of Beijing represent the least traveled and most challenging regions of China.


The region was once known as Manchuria and the main ethnic group as Manchus. In 1644 the Manchus conquered China and founded the Qing dynasty which ruled until 1911. Manchuria was declared off limits to Han Chinese, but that prohibition broke down as the Qing started losing power in the late 1800's. Today, the Han are the largest ethnic group in the region. However, the area still has a mysterious quality separate from the rest of China.

Russia sought dominance in the region in the 19th and early 20th centuries, taking Port Arthur (now called Dalian) as a naval base, building a railroad, and generally exerting great influence. The failing Qing dynasty were unable to effectively oppose them. The British and Japanese tried to limit Russian influence, with mixed success. Russian influences continued in later times as well. After 1917 many White Russians fled to this region, or to Shanghai. After 1949 the communist government brought in many Russian advisors. Trade and tourism continue now.

The Qing dynasty fell in 1911. From 1915 to 1928, Manchuria was ruled by the Manchu warlord Zhang Zuolin, "the old marshal". At first he favoured the restoration of the Qing, but eventually he acknowledged the authority of the Nationalist government. He was therefore assassinated by the Japanese. His son, "the young marshal", fled to China with most of his army and became a prominent anti-Japanese fighter. At one point (the "Xi'an incident") he kidnapped Chiang Kai Shek and forced him to work out a truce with the the Communists so both could fight the Japanese.

Japan grabbed Manchuria and a chunk of Mongolia in the 1930s and set up a puppet state called Manchukuo under Puyi, the last Qing emperor, who had been deposed by China's 1911 revolution. They tried to expand further into Mongolia, but were soundly thrashed by a Russian/Mongolian force at Khalkin Gol. After that, they changed their strategy and struck South instead of trying to grab Mongolia and Siberia. As elsewhere, Japanese occupation was brutal; in particular millions in Manchuria were conscripted into slave labour.

China regained control of the region in 1945 when Japan lost the second World War. With infrastructure already in place from its former masters, Russia and Japan, the Chinese government made North East the center of their efforts at development on the Soviet model, with five-year plans and a concentration on heavy industry. The region is still sometimes referred to as "the rust belt".

Since Deng Xiao Ping's "reform and opening up". other regions such as the Pearl River Delta and the area around Shanghai have developed enormously, based mainly on trade and light industry. The North East has not had quite that spectacular sort of development, but it is doing very well indeed. As elsewhere, the coastal regions have some of the fastest development; in the North East, Dalian is one of the most prosperous cities.


For most Chinese, North East probably brings to mind images of factory workers with bright smiles and a cheery attitude instead of wild men riding on horseback from an earlier age. Despite the industrial buildup, North East can claim China's largest natural forest area, its most uncontaminated grassland area, and one of its most spiritual lakes (Tian Chi).


The region is trying for a makeover since the industrialization of the region is falling apart. It is not known as the rust belt without just cause. Tourism, it is hoped, will help pump money back into the region and keep the local economies afloat. North East is still difficult to visit but, because it is not as hyped as other parts of China, is still fresh and free of the tourism problems of other parts of China.


As anywhere in China, Mandarin is the lingua franca; nearly everyone can speak it. There are substantial groups whose first language is Korean, Manchu or Mongolian, and Russian is fairly common as a second language. As elsewhere in China, English is not widespread but some people speak it quite well.

Get in

By air


There are international airports at


There are domestic airports at

By train

Rail service is extensive throughout the region but when you get off the main lines it slows down considerably. The major problem is that since the northeast is connected with the rest of China by a few main lines, long-distance tickets to other places in China past this bottleneck are few and far between, especially sleeper tickets.

The three province capitals of Harbin, Changchun and Shenyang can be reached by direct train from most major cities in the country, only from distant places will a shift of trains in eg Beijing be needed. Other cities in the region has connections from Beijing but not too much from other places.

Northeast China can be entered from Russia via the train from Vladivostok to Harbin. This is a very slow train doing the not very long journey in 35 hours. This train is not much used, you will have to wait long hours in strange places, and crossing the border is a mess. Another option from Russia is there more well-travelled route from Irkutsk to Harbin. It is also possible to go by train from North Korea to the region.

By bus

Extensive and fairly reliable, can take a lot of time and be very crowded.

Get around

As elsewhere in China, there is an extensive rail network. Rail is the main means of inter-city travel for the Chinese themselves, and many visitors travel that way as well. The system now includes fast bullet trains on most major routes; unless your budget is very tight, these are the best way to go — fast, clean and comfortable.

All the major cities have airports with good domestic connections; some have international connections as well. See the individual city articles for details.

There is also an extensive highway network, much of it very good. Busses go almost anywhere, somewhat cheaper than the trains. See the China article for more. Driving yourself is also possible, but often problematic; see Driving in China.

  • Russian buildings — most prominent in Harbin shows the strong Russian influence in the area.
  • Goguryeo Ancient sites — the remains of the ancient kingdom of Goguryeo. The Goguryeo are credited as the ancestors of the Korean people. These sites include including Wunu Mountain City, Guonei City and Wandu Mountain City; fourteen imperial tombs; twenty-six noble tombs; a General's Tomb; and the monument to the nineteenth Emperor of the Koguryo Kingdom, which are now UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most of these are around Tonghua.
  • Puppet Emperor's Palace (偽皇宮 Wei Huang Gong) — the former residence of Puyi, the last emperor of China and the Puppet Emperor of Manchuco on behalf of the Japanese. In the north east of Changchun.
  • Religious structures — famous in the area include Fengguo Temple in Yixian, which possesses the largest single-floor wooden hall in China, Guangji Temple in Jinzhou and Yongfeng Pagoda in Dalian.
  • Ancient cities — remains in the area include Tayingzi Ancient City in Fuxin or Shenyang and Ruins of Gaoli City in Yingkou.
  • Siberian Tiger Preserve — in the outskirts of Harbin is home to hundreds of tigers and is a must see.
  • Zhaolin Park — in Harbin is home to the city's famous ice sculptures in the winter.
  • Longtou Mountain — these hills contain ancient Tombs including the Mausoleum of Princess Zhenxiao and royal tombs of the Balhae kingdom. It is in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.
  • Rimmed Trees of Jilin — the trees are extolled as one of the four major natural wonders of China along with the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River, the landscape of Jilin and the Stone Forest of Yunnan.
  • Mountains — there are a number worth a visit in the area, including Bijias Mountain in Jinzhou, Yiwulu Mountain in Fuxin, Longshou Mountain in Tieling, Tiesha Mountain in Benxi and Dagu Mountain in Dalian.
  • Heilongjiang Provincial Museum — in Harbin is not great but big
  • Meteorite Museum — in 1976, Jilin was hit by a heavy Meteorite storm. Many of the stones were collected and placed into this museum. The largest stone weighs 1,775kg and is thought to be the largest Meteorite in existence to date.
  • Imperial Palace or Forbidden city in Shenyang — a UNESCO world heritage site along with its bigger cousin in Beijing. The Shenyang palace rivals that of Beijing in its beauty and distinctive Manchurian architectural styles.
  • Tombs — Beiling is the North Tomb and Dongling is the East Tomb both in Shenyang, two of the three tombs north of the Great Wall and UNESCO world heritage sites.
  • Festivals — Harbin International Snow and Ice Festivals (from 5 January until warm weather) are the main events in the region and worth planning for if you can stand the cold. Harbin is also home to a beer festival (late August) and a music festival (every two years, next one in 2010). There are also a Ice Lantern Festival in Jilin and a Ice and Snow Festival in Shenyang.
  • Skiing — there are a number of skiing resorts in the region, one of the best is in Wofoshan near Jiamusiand some found around Shenyang
  • Heilongjiang River — cruises on the river from Mohe and Heihe. Mohe has the best Aurora Borealis viewing in winter. It is also possible to take a swim in the river.
  • Benxi Water Cave — cruise through the cave in Benxi Shuidong National Park near Benxi city. This is the largest water filled cavern in Asia. You can also raft down the nearby river.
  • River Rafting — if you are into this kind of thrilling sports, go to Fushun for Honghu Red River Canyon Rafting or Su River Rafting.
  • Beaches — the province does have some good ones including Xingcheng Beach in Huludao, Jinshi Beach in Dalian, Dalian Beach in Dalian and Dalian Beach-Lushunkou in Dalian.
  • Hot springs — are found around the region, eg in Anshan.
  • Fruits of Liaoning - Liaoning's fruits include apples from Dalian and Yingkuo, golden peaches from Dalian, pears from Beizhen District of Jinzhou, white pears from Huludao and Suizhou, and apricots and plums from Gushan District of Dandong.
  • Sea Delicacies of Liaoning - The sea off Dalian abounds with quality seafood, such as abalones, sea cucumbers, scallops, prawns, crabs and sea urchins. The big fish of Dandong, the jellyfish of Yingkou and the clams of Panjin are known worldwide for their freshness and great tastes.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun




  1. The historical name of a region of north-east China


Simple English

Manchuria is the homeland of the Manchu people (related to Chinese and Mongolians). This place is in north-east China. Parts of Manchuria were annexed by the Russian Empire so they are now ruled by Russia.

Manchuria is a translation of the Chinese word Manzhou (Chinese language: 滿洲,Mǎnzhōu).


In the early history, Manchuria was under the control of many Chinese kingdoms. Later, the Manchu people formed their own empire called Jurchen. They eventually invaded China and founded the Chinese Qing Dynasty.

Although China signed a treaty with Russia, the Russians took advantage of the weak Qing government and annexed the part that touches the Pacific Ocean. Japan then attacked the Russians to get this important piece of land. Later, Japan invaded the Chinese part of Manchuria too (see Manchukuo). This eventually lead to World War II.

After the war, Manchuria was returned to China and Russia.


Manchuria is in north-east China and the Russian Far East. The land has rocks, grasslands, mountains, and deserts. The weather is very extreme. It is very hot and humid in the summer and it is very cold and dry in the winter.


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