People, many of Juchen ancestry, who acquired a Manchu identity in the 17th century before conquering Ming China and forming the Qing dynasty (1644–1911/12). Though official policy aimed to maintain the Manchu as a distinct people, this did not prevent considerable intermarriage and adoption of Chinese customs in areas of maximum contact with Chinese. China today recognizes the Manchu as a distinct ethnic group; its more than 10 million members live mainly in northeastern China.
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The Manchu people (Manchu: Manju; , Mongolian: Манж, Russian: Маньчжуры) are a Tungusic people who originated in Manchuria (today's Northeastern China). During their rise in the seventeenth century, with the help of Ming rebels (such as general Wu Sangui), they conquered the Ming Dynasty and founded the Qing Dynasty, which ruled China until its abolition in 1911 after the Xinhai Revolution, which established a republican government in its place.
The Manchu ethnicity have largely been assimilated with the Han Chinese. The Manchu language is almost extinct, now spoken only among a small number of elderly people in remote rural areas of northeastern China and a few scholars; there are around ten thousand speakers of Sibe (Xibo), a Manchu dialect spoken in the Ili region of Xinjiang. In recent years, however, there has been a resurgence of interest in Manchu culture among both ethnic Manchus and Han. The number of Chinese today with some Manchu ancestry is quite large, and the adoption of favorable policies towards ethnic minorities (such as preferential university admission and government employment opportunities) has encouraged some people with mixed-Han and Manchu ancestry to re-identify themselves as Manchu.
They traditionally coiled their hair in high tufts on top of their heads and wore earrings, long gowns and embroidered shoes. The women with higher social standing wore silk and satin clothing while cotton clothing was worn by women of lower social standing. Variants of such vestments (including qi pao and ma gua, Mandarin dress) are still popular all over China. The man's clothing once consisted of a short and adjusted jacket over a long gown with a belt at the waist to facilitate horse-riding and hunting. Unlike the Han, the Manchu did not practice foot binding.
The traditional Manchu dwellings were made up of three quarters. In the center of the house was the kitchen while the wings contained the dormitory and the living room. The unique Manchu tradition did not allow people to die on nahan to the west or north. Believing that doors were made for living souls, the Manchus allowed dead bodies to be taken out only through windows. Ground burial was the general practice.
Ancestors of the Manchu were the peoples of the Mongolian steppes. The first ancestors of the Manchu were the Sushen, a people who lived during the second and first millennia BC. They were followed by the Yilou people, who were active from AD 202 to 220. The Wuji followed in the fifth century and the tribes of the Mohe in the sixth century. One of the tribes of the Mohe, the Heishui (Black Water) tribe, eventually became the ancestors of the Jurchens, from whom the Manchu originated.
The Jurchens under the Wanyan clan established the Jin Dynasty (literally Golden Dynasty) that ruled the northern half of China (1115–1234) and rivaled the Song Dynasty in southern China. The Jin were conquered by the Mongols under Genghis Khan.
The early significance of Manchu has not been established satisfactorily. It may have been an old term for the Jianzhou Jurchens. One theory claims that the name came from the Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī (the Bodhisattva of Wisdom), of which Nurhaci claimed to be an incarnation. Another theory is that the Manchus, like a number of other Tungusic peoples, take their name from the common Tungusic word *mangu(n), 'a great river'.
When Beijing was captured by Li Zicheng's peasant rebels in 1644, the last Ming Emperor Chongzhen committed suicide. The Manchu then allied with Ming Dynasty general Wu Sangui and seized control of Beijing, which became the new capital of the new ruling Qing dynasty. Over the next two decades, the Manchu took command of all of China.
For political purposes, the early Manchurian emperors took wives descended from the Mongol Great Khans, so that their descendants (such as the Kangxi Emperor) would also be seen as legitimate heirs of the Mongolian Yuan dynasty. During the Qing Dynasty, the Manchu government made efforts to preserve Manchu culture and the language. These efforts were largely unsuccessful in that Manchus gradually adopted the customs and language of the surrounding Han Chinese and, by the nineteenth century, spoken Manchu was rarely used even in the Imperial court. Written Manchu, however, was still used for the keeping of records and communication between the emperor and the Banner officials until the collapse of the dynasty. The Qing dynasty also maintained a system of dual appointments in which all major imperial offices would have a Manchu and a Han Chinese member. Because of the small number of Manchus, this insured that a large fraction of them would be government officials.
Near the end of the Qing Dynasty, Manchus were portrayed as outside colonizers by Chinese nationalists such as Sun Yat-Sen, even though the Republican revolution he brought about was supported by many reform-minded Manchu officials and military officers. This portrayal quickly dissipated after the 1911 revolution as the new Republic of China now sought to include Manchus within its national identity.
|prefecture-level city||Name||Chinese||pinyin||Designated minority||Local name||Capital|
|Hebei||Chengde||Fengning Manchu Autonomous County|| 豊寧滿族自治縣 (T)|
|Fēngníng Mǎnzú Zìzhìxiàn||Manchu||Fengning Manju Zijysiyan||Daming|
|Kuancheng Manchu Autonomous County|| 寛城滿族自治縣 (T)|
|Kuānchéng Mǎnzú Zìzhìxiàn||Kuwanceng Manju Zijysiyan||Kuancheng|
|Qinglong Manchu Autonomous County|| 青龍滿族自治縣 (T)|
|Qīnglóng Mǎnzú Zìzhìxiàn||Cinglung Manju Zijysiyan||Qinglong|
|Qinhuangdao||Weichang Manchu and Mongol Autonomous County|| 圍場滿族蒙古族自治縣 (T)|
|Wéichǎng Mǎnzú Měnggǔzú Zìzhìxiàn||Manchu and Mongol||?||Waichang Town|
|Jilin||Siping||Yitong Manchu Autonomous County|| 伊通滿族自治縣 (T)|
|Yītōng Mǎnzú Zìzhìxiàn||Manchu||Itung Manju Zijysiyan||Yitong Town|
|Liaoning||Fushun||Xinbin Manchu Autonomous County|| 新賓滿族自治縣 (T)|
|Xīnbīn Mǎnzú Zìzhìxiàn||Sinbin Manju Zijysiyan||Xinbin Town|
|Qingyuan Manchu Autonomous County|| 清原滿族自治縣 (T)|
|Qīngyuán Mǎnzú Zìzhìxiàn||Cingyuwan Manju Zijysiyan||Qingyuan Town|
|Benxi||Benxi Manchu Autonomous County|| 本溪滿族自治縣 (T)|
|Běnxī Mǎnzú Zìzhìxiàn||Xiaoshi Town|
|Huanren Manchu Autonomous County|| 桓仁滿族自治縣 (T)|
|Huánrén Mǎnzú Zìzhìxiàn||Huwanren Manju Zijysiyan||Huanren Town|
|Anshan||Xiuyan Manchu Autonomous County|| 岫岩滿族自治縣 (T)|
|Xiùyán Mǎnzú Zìzhìxiàn||?||Xiuyan Town|
|Dandong||Kuandian Manchu Autonomous County|| 寛甸滿族自治縣 (T)|
|Kuāndiàn Mǎnzú Zìzhìxiàn||Kuwandiyan Manju Zijysiyan||Kuandian Town|