Face Music - Mongolian Tribes in the East
  • Mongolian Tribes in the East




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P & C December 1998
- Face Music / Albi

- last update 03-2017


Text available in German


1.1 Khalkha (Halh Khalkha)
1.2 Manghud Uruud Nogai
1.3 Charchin (Kharchin)
1.4 Doyan Urianchai
1.5 Yunscheebuu (Yngshiyeb Yünshebü)
1.6 Naiman and Tatar
1.7 Khitan Empire (Descendents of the Liao Dynasty)
1.8 Bekrin (Mongolized Uighurs)
1.9 Üzemchin
2.0 Dariganga
2.1 Darchad (Darkhad) - Tsaatan (Zaatan) - Chöwsgöl Urianchai
2.2 Barga
2.3 Buriats
2.4 Huns




1.1 Khalkha (Halh Khalkha)

For the term "Halh", one possible interpretation is "shield" (to protect, conceal, intercept, etc.). Subgroups within the Khalkha unit were historically referred to as "Jalair Khalkha", "Sartuul Khalkha" or "Tanghut Khalkha". They are referred to as "The Southern Five Halh" and "The Thirteen Halh of the Far North". This refers to the "Khalkha" of the southern and northern tribal associations within the unit. The Mongols have always associated the term "Halh" with the name Khalkhyn Gol (River Khalkha).

The Khalkha consider their language to be the "real" one among Mongolian dialects, as all variations are understood within Mongolian tribes and by Mongols living in Central Asia. They are a dominant group in the current population in independent Mongolia. Their language belongs to the Eastern Mongolian branch and is the basis for today's Cyrillic script.
They were traditionally committed to shamanism (belief in an invisible world of gods, demons and spirits - nature is animate). Their shamans held ceremonies to cure illness, appease spirits, and prevent calamity. In the 15th century, they adopted Tibetan Buddhism of the Geluga School (Yellow Hut - Maitreya Buddha), now called Lamaism. Until the 19th century, more than half of the men still served as monks (lamas) in Buddhist monasteries. An anti-religious movement led by the Marxist government of Russia had monasteries destroyed and about three-quarters of the monks killed in the 1930s; or they became atheists.

In modern times, this belief of their ancestors was revived. Shamans are called to heal the sick or to appease or calm evil spirits through rituals, divination and consultation of oracles. A combination with Buddhism and shamanism has survived, especially among older people. Ovoos (cairns) or altars to local spirits are again built and used.

The Khalkha live as nomads in round felt tents (yurt), which have brightly painted wooden doors and face south. They raise horses, cattle and sheep and migrate four to five times a year in search of new pastures. Some have now become farmers and practice agriculture or vegetable growing. Because of the climate, their main diet consists of fat, meat (mainly mutton), fermented mare's milk (airag/kümis) and dairy by-products (referred to as "white food"). Large amounts of fat and mutton are consumed primarily in winter and dairy products such as yogurt, cheese and sour cream in summer. Their favourite drink is fermented mare's milk. Traditionally, in earlier times, they married very young. Girls usually at 13 or 14, and boys a few years older. The Khalkha were very fond of children, love music, folk dances and games. In July, their national festival of Naadam is celebrated, with sports competitions such as horse racing, archery and wrestling.

- Khalkhyn Gol
The source of the river is located in the Greater Khingan Range (Greater Khingan - Hinggan Mountain) in Inner Mongolia. In its lower course it divides. The left branch - the actual Khalkha River (Khalkha River) - flows into Lake Buir (Buir/Buir Nuur) and then as the Orchun River (Orchun Gol) further into Lake Hulun (Hulun Nuur) in the north.

The Khalkha form the largest tribal group in today's Outer Mongolia. They consider themselves direct descendants of Genghis Khan and thus preservers of Mongolian tradition (culture). In the thirteenth century, under Genghis Khan, they formed one of the largest empires in world history, uniting all Mongol tribes at that time. They remained the largest tribal group together with the Chahar, Ordos and Mongoljin-Tümed until the 15th century. They were led by the Borjigin family (Genghis Khan) until the 20th century - in contrast to the nobles of the Oirats, Djungars or Khorchin, who were ruled by descendants of the Qasars. The once powerful Mongol Empire was increasingly caught in the conflict between a growing Russian and Chinese empires and was threatened by these powers. In the early 1920s, Mongolia became vassals under a Marxist Russia until the 1990 revolution.

During the rise of Genghis Khan in the 12th-13th centuries, neither the inhabitants in the Selenge Valley in present-day southern Buriatia nor those in the Aga Steppe (Transbaikalia) had any connection with present-day Buriatians at that time. These were settlements of the Merkid tribe, a Mongol tribe. With the Russian conquest in 1628 and the Buriat migration, the Selenge Valley was conquered, settled and controlled by the Mongols under the rule of the Khalcha. In 1652, the Khalkha Khans protested Russian incursions into the Transbaikalian region. In 1666, Khalkha mounted warriors reached Bratsk, Ilimsk, Yeravninsk, and Nerchinsk along the Khoris and Uda Rivers and on the Selenge River, besieging Cossack fortresses. The Russians settling here managed to escape. In this way they were able to escape the tribute payments to Khalkha princes. Smaller settlements sought protection in Cossack fortresses from raids further north. An invasion under Galdan Boshogtu (Dzhungar-Oirat Khan in the Dzhungar Khanate) held out against a renewed Cossack advance in 1688.

- Selenge a river whose source originates in Lake Chöwsgöl (Khövsgöl Nuur) and flows into Lake Baikal.

The two Khalkha branches were ruled by male descendants of Khan Doyan.

The Baarin, Khongirad, Jaruud, Baigut and O'zeed (Ujeed/Öjived) were under Doyan Khan's fifth son Achibolod, thus forming "The Southern Five Khalkhas".
The Qaraei, Jalairs, Olkhonud, Khatagin, Besut, Ilyigin, Gorlos, Urianchai, Sartuul, Tanghut, Khotogoid, Khuree and Tsookhor were under the rule of Doyan Khan's youngest son Geresenjes, forming "The Thirteen Khalkhas of the Far North".

The eastern wing of the Khalkhas was popularly called "Tsookhor Halh"; their rulers were fifth-generation descendants of Gombo-Ilden. They were grandsons of Khan Gersenz the Jalair. They fled from Khan Zasakto Aimak of Outer Mongolia to Inner Mongolia in 1664, to the Tanghut Banner of the Khalkha, formerly subordinate to the East Wing Banner (Mongoljin Türmed). They inhabited a smaller area with a population of about 500. They spoke virtually no Chinese, as surrounding regions were predominantly populated by Mongolian speakers. The tribe had its own leader (Taiji) and had been founded by immigrants from the Zasakto lineage of Outer Mongolia. These were tribes that had now fled to Inner Mongolia and had submitted to the Manchus in 1662, during the wars between the tribes of the northern settling Khalkha and the western Olots (Ölöt). After the loss of their northern Khalkha territory to Russia, the Buriatized Khalkhas, settling on the Selenge River and cut off from their Khalkha kin by the new border, gradually adopted the Russian designation "Buriat" along with displaced Buriat Mongols who had intermarried with the Chori.

- Descendents of Taidschi Okhin (grandson of Khalkhas Khan Tsogtu) are as follows: Khatagin, Atagan, Ashabagad, Sartuul, Tavnanguud, Yunscheebuu (Yunshööbü), O'zeed (Ujeed – Öjived), Uuld, Tsongool.

- Sub-clans of Tsongool are as follows: Urianchad, Bolinguud, Baatuud, Ashibagad, Avgachuud, Sharnuud, Nomkhod, Khamnigan, Arshaantan, Khorchid, Naimantan, Yunscheebuu (Yunshööbü), Khotgoid, Eljiged, Örlüüd, Tavnanguud.

The Khalkha formed in the 16th-17th centuries from a fusion of older Mongol tribes. Khan Batumöngke Doyan installed his fifth son Alcu Bolod (*1490) and his eleventh son Geresenje (1489-1549) as noyon (princes). However, the notable Khalkha princes of the 17th century came from the line of Doyan Khan's eleventh son. After Geresenje's death, his principal wife Qatanqai distributed the people among the seven sons, from which four large groups were subsequently formed: those under Tüsiyetü Khan, Chechen Khan, Jasaktu Khan and Altan Khan. Those from the Tüsiyetü Khan descended from Geresenje's second son Nunuqu (*1534), the Chechen Khans from his fourth son Amin Dural (*1536) and the Jasaktu Khans as well as the Altan Khans from the eldest, Asiqai Darqan (*1530). The first Altan Khan was a younger cousin and thus actually a retainer of Jasaktu Khan; however, he had independently elevated himself to khan. His line lost power in the 1660s. In addition to the three or four khans, Jetsündamba Khutukhtu Dsanabadsar (1635-1723) ruled. Jetsündampa is the title of the highest lama of the Geluga School (Yellow Caps). His reincarnation still officiates today.

-
There could be no question of a common policy among the Khalkha princes after 1662, when military conflicts broke out among the khans with the assassination of a Jasaktu Khan. Then, under Manchu rule, the line of Sajn Noyan Khan (a younger line of Tüsiyetü khans) was established in 1725, so that by the 18th century the Tüsiyetü khan was the highest-ranking leader. Unlike the Chahar and other tribes, the Khalkha were able to maintain their independence from Manchu rule until 1688 or 1691. Only the threat of the Jungars under Khungtaiji Galdan (r. 1676-1697) ended this era: he defeated the Tüsiyetü- Khan Caqundorji in 1688, forced them to come under his protection and to submit to the Manchus in a ceremony in Dolon Nor in 1691. The latter integrated their newly won territory of Khalkha into their imperial administration as Outer Mongolia. Therefore, "Khalkha" is sometimes used as a synonym for "Outer Mongolia". The princes became officials and were responsible for all matters (confirmations, promotions, dismissals, decrees, receptions, etc.). They were controlled and coordinated by the Li fan yüan office.

Khalkha Mongols during the period of the early northern Yuan.

The Erdene Zuu Monastery was founded in the 16th century by Khan Abatai Sain in the heartland of the Khalkha. Doyan Khan created a Khalkha branch (Tümen) from Mongols who resided in the area of present-day central Mongolia and the northern part of Inner Mongolia. Mongolian historical sources such as Erdeniin Erih ("The Pearls of Jewel") describe how Khalkha Tümen (branch) was created and where these people currently settled during the creation.

- Hangai Khand nutuglan suuj
- Hari daisind chinu Khalkha
- bolson Haluun amind chinu
- Tushee bolson Irehiin uzuur
- Harahiin haruul bolson
- Khalkha Tümen Chinu Ter Bukhii Bier Ajaamuu

Translation:
- "Living in the Changai Mountains" (Central Mongolian Mountain Range.
- "A shield against foreign enemies" (Khalkha means "shield or protection")
- "A support for your precious life"
- "A blade to those who come, a guard to those who look"
- "Your Khalkha Tümen is indeed for you"

Khangai mountain range, near Kharakorum, the old capital city It is also believed that the southern Khalkha, who now settle in Inner Mongolia, migrated southward from their original territory in the Changai mountain region (Khangai). To commemorate their origin, southern Khalkha celebrate the "White Month" (White Moon, "Tsagaan Sar") every New Year, a special Changai worship, facing northwest to pray. This special ceremony is celebrated only by the southern Khalkhas. Other southern tribes do not know such a ritual.

Khalkha under the reign of Doyan Khan

The Khalkha were organized from three branches (Tümen) in the left wing. Doyan Khan authorized the fifth son Alchu Bolad and the eleventh son Geresenje as leaders of these branches. The Alchu Bolad became the founder of the five branches of the Southern, and Geresenie became the founder of the seven branches of the Northern. These were later called the "Inner and Outer Khalkha" by the Manchus. Mongol chronicles refer to Geresenie as "Taiji Khong of the Jalair," indicating that the core part of the Khalkhas were descendants of the Jalair tribe. Furthermore, some scholars believed that the Khalkha were composed of the tribes the Jaruud, Baarin, Kongirad (Onggirad), Bayaud and O'zeed (Ujeed - Öjived) and originally settled in the Shira Mören Valley east of the great Hinggan Mountains (Greater Khingan Range). They joined together but were conquered by the rising Manchus. The five tribes, with the exception of the Jaruud and the Baarin, were organized into eight banners, the left banner under the Juu Uda lineage and the right banner under the Ulaan chab lineage, which was an offshoot of the seven Khalkha Tümen (branch).

Taiji Chowhtu Khong of the Khalkhas, was a poet and follower of Khan Ligdan and an opponent of the Dalai Lama of the Geluga school and moved to Qinghai sometime after 1624 with Taiji Tsogtu Khong.

Khan Ligdan and Tsogtu Khong met in Qinghai and decided to establish a Mongol base that would be independent of Manchu rule and that would be geographically far from Mandchu influence. Moreover, the two Khans were aware that the influence of the Tibetan Dalai Lama was therefore increasing. Thus, they decided to end their influence and that of the "Geluga School" by turning to the Red Hat. However, the majority of the population and soldiers of Khan Ligdan died on the way to Qinghai because of smallpox. After their death, Taiji Tsogtu began to attack the Geluga monasteries. When Tsogtu called for a fight against Dalai Lama to Lhasa with 10,000 men under the command of his son Arslang, the latter changed sides and supported the Dalai Lama. The Fifth Dalai Lama (1617-1682) called for help from Khan Güshi of the Oirats and Toro-Baiku. The latter's army of 50,000 defeated Tsogtu's 30,000 men at Ulaan-Khoshuu in 1637 and killed Tsogtu. Today, Khan Güshi's Oirats are also known as the "Upper Mongols," still settling in Qinghai with 21 banners. The survivors of Taiji Tsogtu Khong formed only one banner and are known as the "Lower Mongols". The Khalkha banner of the right wing became popularly known as the Beili Darchan banner, and their rulers were descendants of the grandson Bunidari of Khan Gersenz the Jalair. In 1653, they migrated from Inner Mongolia to Outer Mongolia under Khan Tusheet. The seven Khalkhas were regularly involved in battles with the Oirat Alliance in the west. Under Geresenje's descendants, the princely houses under Khan Tüsheet, Khan Zasagt, and Khan Setsen formed a confederation and maintained their independence until they had to seek help from the Kangxi Emperor of the Manchu of the Qing Dynasty against the Jungar leader Galdan in 1688. In 1725, the Yongzheng Emperor Tsering declared independence from the House of Tüsheet Khan and established the House of Khan Sain Noyon.

Mongolia experienced a sharp population decline in the 18th and 19th centuries due to syphilis, tuberculosis, and monks moving into monastic life, as well as drastic economic changes. With the Manchu officials, Han Chinese trading companies penetrated these steppes. They required permission for tax reasons, but after initial attempts were never hindered. The administration thus tried to finance its expenditures and thus to bind the Mongols more strongly to China. In the course, Han Chinese also increasingly migrated after the monasteries and princes leased land to them. Also, Chinese trading companies accepted land as payment from princes and leased it to them further. This was all illegal, but was not punished, so by 1800 the Manchu government had to recognize Chinese settlement with the establishment of their own administrations, at least in some regions. Due to excessive demands by the princes, the monasteries and the Chinese moneylenders, many Mongols became chronic debtors and were forced to sell their animals at a loss or to switch to farming, the latter even in Outer Mongolia. When Chinese farmers settled, pasture land was lost, i.e. often winter pastures, so that by the middle of the 19th century Chinese influence gained the upper hand, at least in Inner Mongolia. In Outer Mongolia, this development was delayed due to inadequate transportation links, and their monasteries had less and less property. However, the negative development followed the same trend. Even their princes were now in debt to the Chinese, which is why they levied more and more taxes. Attempts to resist these authorities of Manchu officials, merchants and immigrant Chinese settlers with anonymous secret societies (Dughuyilang) were not very promising. Under such conditions, many Mongols fled their pastures. They eked out a living by semi-criminal activities, henchmen's work, begging, robbery and prostitution, mainly in rapidly growing trading, garrison and monastery towns such as Urga, Erdene Zuu, Uliastai, Kobdo, and Kjachta or in those of Inner Mongolia. If they were captured, they received severe punishments, both from the administration and the monasteries. But even monks of low rank could not survive in their monasteries, so in the face of the ban they took on additional work or returned home. They were also forced to beg or steal. Crime thus grew in the 19th century. Among the Mongol princes of the 19th century, To Wang is worth mentioning, for example, or Tögs-Ochiryn Namnansüren of the Khalkha - they were leaders of the National Liberation Movement in 1911. With the overthrow of Manchu rule, the Khalkha declared themselves under their traditional leadership, i.e., the princes and clergy, not the intellectuals, once again declared themselves independent, and the eighth Jebtsundamba Khutukhtu, also titled Bogd Gegeen (1870-1924), was installed as the nominal head of state. These were the first steps toward the establishment of present-day Mongolia. The Khalkha led the Mongolian independence movement in the 20th century. After facing enormous hardship, they established an independent state in northern Mongolia. The overwhelming majority of Khalkha Mongols now settle in the modern state.

There are still four small banners in China: two in Inner Mongolia; one in Qinghai; and one in Jehol (Chengde). Several groups among the Buriats live in Russia, but they have not managed to maintain their Khalkha self-identity in culture and language. The Khalkha Mongols in Qinghai, in present-day China, and the Buriats in Russia were former subjects under Khalkha Khan Tsogtu and his sons.

The Khalkha, together with the Chahars, Ordos and Mongoljin-Tümed, were the largest tribal group since the 15th century. Their leaders were provided by the Borjigin family until the 20th century. The original Khalkha were direct male descendants of Doyan Khan. The Baarin, Khongirad, Jaruud, Baigut (Bayuud) and the O'zeed (Ujeed - Öjived) were subjects under Dayan Khan's fifth son Achibolod, thus forming "The Southern Five Khalkhas" (Southern Five Halhs). The Qaraei, Jalairs, Olkhonud, Khatagin, Besut, Ilyigin, Gorlos, Urianchai, Sartuul, Tanghut, Khotogoid, Khuree and Tsookhor, "The Thirteen Khalkhas of the Far North" were under Doyan Khan's youngest son Geresenje (but could have been his third son). There were also numerous direct descendants of Genghis Khan who formed a ruling class of Khalkhas before the 20th century, but they were not initially referred to as Khalkhas. The larger tribes of the Left Wing of the former Yuan Dynasty under Kublai Khan were the Djalayir, Khongirad, Ikires, Uruud, and Manghud.

Khongirad - Onggirat, Onggirat, Qongrat, Khungirad, Kungrad, Qunghrãt, Wangjila, Yongjilie, Qungrat and Guangjila

Their original homeland was near Lake Hulun (Hulun Nuur) in what is now Inner Mongolia and the Khalkha River (Khalkhyn Gol) in Mongolia, where they had close ties to the ruling dynasties of northern China. Because the various Khongirad clans were never united under one leader, the tribe never achieved great military unity.

Their greatest importance came under Genghis Khan's Mongol Empire. Genghis Khan's mother, great-grandmother and first wife were descended from the Khongirads, as were subsequent Mongol queens and princesses. During the Yuan Dynasty, they were given the title Lu Wang (Prince of Lu). Some Khongirads may have migrated west to the area of present-day Uzbekistan and to the provinces in southern Kazakhstan.

- more information on the Tanguts

Khalkhyn Gol
The source of the river is found in the Greater Khingan Range in Inner Mongolia. In its lower course it divides. The left branch (the actual Khalkha River (Khalkha River) flows into Lake Buir (Lake Buir/Buir Nuur) and then continues as the Orchun River (Orchun Gol) into Lake Hulun (Hulun Nuur) in the north.

The banner of the "Thirteen Khalkhas of the Far North" is the most important in independent Mongolia today.


1.2 Manghud – Uruud – Nogai

The Manghud were a tribe within the Manghud-Uruud Federation. They founded the Nogai Horde in the 14th century and later the Manghit dynasty. The Manghud ruled the Emirate of Bukhara around 1785. They joined Islam and took the title of emir, as they were not descendants of Genghis Khan and therefore retained their own legitimacy.

According to ancient sources, they are derived from the Khiyad tribes. The Manghuds and Uruuds were warriors from the Mongolian plateau. Some Manghud warriors supported Genghis Khan (1162-1227), while some of them resisted his rise to power. As his Mongol empire expanded westward, the Manghud were pushed westward into the Middle East along with other tribes. The Manghuds and Nogai supported the Golden Horde and subsequently established their own independent horde in Sarai. After Nogai's death in 1299 AD, the majority of the Manghud warriors entered the service of Khan Tokhta. Edigu was a warlord of the Golden Horde and had led the Nogai Horde or the Manghud Horde in the 14th-15th centuries. Turkish historians gave the tribal name as Manghit or Nogai. Mangudai or Mengudai was the name for a military unit within the Mongol Empire, but there are different sources for it. One source refers to a Mongol light cavalry, a "suicide force" from the 13th century. A U.S. Army author suggests that Mangudai may be the name of a 13th-century Mongol warlord. Under Marco Polo, the word Meng-Gu- Dai was used as a name. Kublai Khan ordered Meng-Gu-Dai to invade Si-Fan.

The Mongolian Plateau is one of the largest plateaus in Asia, encompassing the Gobi Desert and the surrounding highland steppes. It is located in the territory of Mongolia and northern China and is the largest plateau in Central and East Asia after the highlands of Tibet. In contrast to Tibet, however, it has only an average sea level of 900 to about 1500 m.a.s.l. The mountains surrounding the large plateau, however, are 3000 to 5000 metres above the sea.

Some Manghuds assimilated in Turkic tribes and therefore were called Manghit. The Nogai protected the northern borders of Astrakhan and to the Crimean Khanate. They prevented raids on the northern steppes with Russian and Lithuanian settlements. Many Nogai joined the Crimean Khan and where they settled they contributed to the development of the Crimean sovereignty. However, the Nogai were not only good soldiers, but they were also known for their agricultural knowledge. Their units were semi-autonomous tribes (ulus) or alliances. The Nogai were proud of their nomadic traditions and independence.

At the beginning of the 17th century, Oirat tribes also migrated westward, from the steppes of southern Siberia, from the banks of the Irtysh River to the Lower Volga region: they were later called Kalmyks. They drove out the Nogai, who then fled to the plains of the northern Caucasus or to the Crimea, which was then under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Some joined the Kazakh Khanate of Little Jüz (Western Subgroups of Kazakhs). In the 18th century, the region of the Amudarya and Syrdarya rivers came under the control of the three Uzbek khanates, who based their legitimacy on Genghis Khan and now claimed it after his downfall. At the time, they were under the rule of the Khongirad (Onggirats) in Khiva of Khorezm, an oasis city in the northwest (Khiva in Khorasam 1717-1920), the Manghits in Bukhara (1753-1920), and the Ming in Kokand (1710-1876).

- The Amudarja (auch Amudarya or Amu-Darja; in ancient times Oxus) is a river in western Central Asia.
- The Syrdarja (also: Syrdarya / Syr- Darja / Syr; in ancient times: Jaxartes) is a river of Central Asia, which flows into the Northern Aral Sea.

The Manghit Dynasty

This dynasty was founded by an Uzbek ruling family that ruled the Bukhara Emirate from 1785 to 1920. The power of the Khanate of Bukhara began to grow in the early 18th century, as the emirs were equal leaders, like khans. The family was brought to power after the death of Nader Shah in 1747 and after the assassination of the ruling Abulfayz Khan and his young son Abdalmumin by Ataliq Muhammad Rahim Bi. From the 1750s to the 1780s, the Manghits ruled until Emir Shah Murad declared himself an open ruler and established the Emirate of Bukhara. The last emir of this dynasty, Mohammed Alim Khan, was ousted by the Russian Red Army in September 1920 and fled to Afghanistan. The dynasty was formed at the time by Mongol khans of the Golden Horde. The Manghit dynasty issued coins from 1787 until the Soviet takeover. Muhammad Alim Khan bin Abdul-Ahad 1910-1920 was the last Manghit Khan of Bukhara.

Manghuds now live together with the Khalkha in present-day Mongolia and Inner Mongolia. They are called Barin. Their descendants, the Nogai and Karakalpaks, live in Dagestan and Khorezm. Manghuds are also found among the Tatars in Russia, the Bashkirs, and the Kazakhs.
Karakalpaks today inhabit mainly the area named after them (Karakalpakistan) in Uzbekistan. Smaller groups of them live in and around Khorezm and in the Fergana Valley. Similarly, smaller Karakalpak minorities reside in neighbouring Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. There they live mainly in the border areas to the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakia.

- more information please find: Oirats 1.1 and Kalmyks 1.5 


1.3 Kharchin

The Kharchin are a subgroup who originally settled in north-western Liaoning and Chifeng (Ulanhad) in what is now Inner Mongolia. There are still Khalkha-Charchin Mongols in what is now Dornod-Gobi province. Charchin Örtöö was a province during the Qing rule, the origins of the Charchin are attributed to Eastern and Mongoljin Tümen. They originated from migrated Charchin of the Northern Yuan Dynasty under Kublai Khan. The Yunscheebuu Tümen was their southern branch under Doyan Urianchai and the more eastern branch under the Mongoljin. The tribes of the eastern Tümen (branch) in Chaoyang County in Liaoning Province and the Mongoljin in Fuxin County northwest in Liaoning Province were called the Charchin. More detailed information about the Charchin in China is difficult to obtain because there was a great migration among the Charchins in the late Qing Dynasty during the Jindandao conflicts and the former Josotu lineage was divided after the fall of the Qing Dynasty. At present, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning and Heibei are among the three provinces where Charchin settled. However, today there are designations such as Liaoning Mongols and Heibei Mongols, which are probably descended from Charchin. Exceptions are smaller Mongol groups such as Chahar, Barga, Oirat or those with other origins.

The Jindandao conflict refers to a rebellion by a Chinese secret society called Jindandao that rose in Mongolia and Inner Mongolia in November 1891 and massacred 150,000 Mongols before being suppressed by government loyalists in late December. The revolt destroyed Mongol communities in the south-eastern border area and forced many Mongols to flee to northern banners (Tümen - branch).

The term Charchin first appeared in history to the Yuan Dynasty (Kublai Khan) in the early 13th century. The Kipchaks and the Qanqlis were overrun by the Mongol Empire at that time. The Charchin came from the Kipchaks guard troops who served in Chanbalik or Dadu (modern Beijing), the capital of the Yuan Empire at that time, and in other Chinese areas. Kipchaks were a horse herding group settled in present-day Chowd Province and its neighboring areas in Mongolia. The Kipchaks, who bred black horses and brewed milk wine (mare's milk) , got this name because they became famous for paying tribute to the Yuan emperors with horse milk wine (kümis "khara-airag"), which was also called Charchin. Some scholars claim that Kharchin originally or partially originated from the Khalaj the historical Khorasan in modern Iran and Afghanistan and were a subgroup of the Oghuz or Arghun Turks. Taiji Bolai (leader) of the Kharchin was the successor of Taiji Arugtai, who at the time defended the power of the Eastern Mongols against the Oirat alliance.

Oghuz were one of the most important tribes in the tribal conglomerate in the Göktürk Empire. According to Ibn al-Athir, they arrived at Syrdarja in the years 775 - 783 during the time of Caliph Al-Mahdi. Here they established a confederation consisting of 22-25 tribes and clans, which was under the control of a yabghu (leader). The title is an ancient Turkic rank, which is below that of a khan and can roughly mean "viceroy". The use of the title Yabghu indicates that the Oghuz already enjoyed a high status in the hierarchy of the tribal confederation in the Göktürk Empire, which had fallen in 742.

- further information on the Oghuz

- Arghun Khan was the fourth ruler of the Ilkhanate of the Mongol Empire from 1284 to 1291. He was the son of Abaqa Khan and, like his father, a devout Buddhist.

The Arghun dynasty ruled over the area between southern Afghanistan and the Sindh province of Pakistan from the end of the 15th century to the beginning of the 16th century. They claimed their rise and name from Ilkhanid-Mongol Arghun Khan and were a dynasty of either Mongol, Turkic or Turkic-Mongol tribes. The Arghuns can be divided into two branches: the Arghun branch of Dhu'l- Nun Beg Arghun, who ruled until 1554, and the Tarkhan branch of Muhammad 'Isa Tarkhan, who ruled until 1591.

- further information on the Goktürks

The Kharchin formed the Kheshig (bodyguard) under Genghis Khan and his wife Börte and during the Yuan Dynasty after 1270. They were a minority in the Yuan Dynasty and quickly mixed with Mongols or other groups. In 1389, the Ming Dynasty established the Doyan Urianchai Guard in modern Inner Mongolia. In 1448, the Kharchin returned to the Ming frontier. Around 1600, the Kharchins moved east and merged with the Doyan Urianchai lineage. They faced the Qing dynasty in 1626 and were organized into three Charchin banners with the Josotu lineage, each ruled by a ruler of the Urianchai lineage.

According to popular legend, the Kharchin originated from the three subgroups: Bornuud, Sharnuud and Harnuud. "Bor" means "brown" and Borjigin was the family name of the Chinggisids. The Bornuud Charchin refer to the Yunscheebuu Tuamen and Mongoljin Tümen under the leadership of the Genghis Khan successors. "Shar" means "yellow," and the Urianchai were often referred to as the Yellow Branch. The Sharnuud Charchin refer to the Doyan Urianchai lineage under the leadership of the famous Urianchai General Zelme and his successors. "Char" means "black," and the Khitans were often referred to as Chara Khitans (Khara Khitans). The Kharnuud Charchin refer to the descendants of the Khitan Liao dynasty. It consisted of Khitans and Jurchen (Manchurians) and Han (Chinese). There is no evidence for origins of the Sharnuud, but to the Yunscheebuu. However, the Sharnuud should not be considered simply as Yellow-branch Urianchai, since many tribes were called Urianchai, such as the Naiman or Buriats who came from such a clan. Some of the monologue Uyghurs were also called Sharnuud. Sharnuud could be the term for their non-Mongolian physical character. The designation for Yunscheebuu or Sharnuud seems to be one for an original European race, for a group that had followed with the Alans and Kipchaks (guards) to serve as bodyguards for the Yuan Dynasty in Khanbalik (Dadu - modern Beijing).

The right wing of the Eastern Mongols, ruled by Doyan Khan of the Urianchai and his successors, consisted of three sub-tribes (Ulus): Charchin, Asud and Yunscheebuu. The Tümen of Yunscheebuu or its original tribal alliance was always the largest and most powerful among the eastern tribes before Doyan Khan regained the ruling power. Many famous main leaders of the Northern Yuan Dynasty court based in Mongolia, as well as the Taiji Asud-Arugtai, the Charchin Bolai Taiji, the Bekrin's Begersen Taiji and Ismail Taiji, and the Oirats Ibarai Taiji, were also leaders (Taiji) of the Yunscheebuu Tümen or its original tribes. They descended from the former power of the Yunscheebuu and had reached their political peak. The Yunscheebuu Tümen consisted of at least ten sub-tribes during the reign under Bekrin's Begersen Taiji: Asud, Charchin, Sharnuud, Tav Aimag, Dalandaganad, Chonghutan, Shibaguchin, Nomochin, Buriat, and Barga. Asud, Charchin and Sharnuud were also known as Huuchin or under the older name Charchin, whose core tribes were like those of Yunscheebuu-Tümen. The Asuds originated from the royal guard troops in the Yuan Empire from the Alans. The Taiji Asud-Arugtai may have been their first leader of a tribal alliance of the Yunscheebuu-Charch and one of the most important leaders in the Northern Yuan Dynasty.

- for more information on the Alans

Lomi, a Kharchin historian, gave another explanation for the Bornuud and the Sharnuud: Sharnuud descended from Genghis Khan and Bornuud from General Zelme according to his book "The History of the Borjigits", written in 1732. It is more likely because the Yunscheebuu were called the "yellow eyes" by Genghis Khan's successors because of their non-Mongol origin, while the Urianchai were the "brown eyes" from his point of view as General Zelme's successors.

In the early 20th century, Noyon Gungsangnorbu (Prince) of the Kharchin right wing introduced modernity among the Mongols. The Kharchin dominated the Mongol bureaucracy within China at that time. After 1945, the People's Republic of China established new Kharchin banners outside Inner Mongolia. In 1955, the right Chara Charchin Banner (Black Banner) was transferred to Inner Mongolia as the Charchin Banner, while their central banner was abolished. The left Charchin banner became the autonomous Inner Mongolia under China in 1957.


1.4 Doyan Urianchai

In 1389, the Ming Dynasty formed three border posts with Mongol tribes on the eastern slopes of the Greater Hinggan Range. The Urianchai formed the Doyangarde (Dayan in Chinese) on the Chuo River, a tributary of the Nen. The Doyan Urianchai was a core branch under Taiji Eljitai (leader), who was a son of Genghis Khan's younger brother Khajiun. According to Rashid al-Din, there were three larger tribes: the Naiman, the Tatar, and the Urianchai, as well as some unknown smaller ones under Taiji Eljitai. Chaurchan, an Urianchai leader (Taiji), was a cousin of General Zelme and Subedei. He was appointed governor general of the Eljitai by Genghis Khan. His troops consisted of 2000 Oirat soldiers. In the 1280s, his successor led a rebellion against Kublai Khan with other Mongol nobles, but was eventually quickly suppressed and punished by Kublai Khan. The leading family of Eljitai now lost their supremacy after this rebellion, while other nobles could now gradually control the ruling power over Eljitai. After the downfall of Kublai Khan's Yuan Dynasty, Khan Khaidu, the grandson of Khan Ögedei, defeated the Kirghiz, the Ursuud and the Khabkhanas. Under Khaidu's leadership, they were forced to emigrate and joined the Doyan Urianchai. They seemed to be different from the Eljitai for the time being, but for unknown reasons one group migrated further into the territory of Queen Hoelun, the mother of Genghis Khan and her youngest son Temüge, to guard the altar of Queen Hoelun in the Ekh Doyan Öndör mountain area - in today's Inner Mongolia under the Jalair banner, the Xing'an lineage. A group of the Urianchai were able to hold their own among the Kharchins, but not over the descendants of General Zelme under Taiji Chaurchan. A larger group of the Urianchai from the Temüge tribe joined with the Eljitai.

The Nen River flows southward in a wide valley between the Greater Khingan and the Lesser Khingan to the west and east, and meets the wide Songhua River near Dayan to form the Songhua River.

The Forest Urianchai were appointed to guard the mausoleum at Burchan Chaldun (Genghis Khan's Holy Mountain) and were later known as Burchan Urianchai.

The group of the Steppe Urianchai were called Doyan Urianchai. They were assigned to guard Queen Hoelun's altar on Doyan Mountain. There is no evidence that the forest Urianchai spoke either Mongolian or Turkic. The Steppe Urianchai were counted among the Darligin Mongol group after they migrated from the Siberian forests to the steppes. The two branches of the Urianchai had great influence on the later history of the Mongols after the fall of the Yuan dynasty under Kublai Khan. A group of the Burchan-Urianchai was probably one of the most important to the origin of the formation of the Ordos Mongols, the right wing under Khan Jinong. Among the Burchan-Urianchai, these Urianchai Tümen of the left wing also developed during the period under Khan Doyan. After these Tümen (branches) were destroyed, some of them fled to the north and may have contributed to the establishment of Tannu-Urianchai and Altai-Urianchai. The Doyan-Urianchai were conquered and absorbed by the Chahar, the Khalkha in the north and by the Charchins, the eastern Tümen (branch) and the Mongoljin Tümen in the south. The Jaruud banner in Inner Mongolia, known as one of the original Khalkha banners, had emerged under Doyan-Urianchai's leader Bagasun Tabunang, who married the only daughter of Doyan Khan. Khan Esen of the Choros, the Oirat alliance in the west, recognized him as the seventh generation, descendant of Urianchai's general Zelme. This was confirmed by some historical sources.

Kyrgyz, Ursuud and Khabkhanas were originally inhabitants of the Siberian forest (taiga). The Kyrgyz were a Turkic group who once founded the great Kyrgyz Khanate based on the former Uigur Khanate in what is now northern Mongolia, but whose nomadic kingdom was later destroyed by the Khitans. Some of them migrated back to their original homeland, and some stayed behind and later became known as the Naimans and/or by other names. The Kyrgyz were also partially absorbed by the Doyan-Urianchai. There were still the Kherenugud, the Mongolized Kyrgyz under the Oirat Alliance, and under the Ar-Khalkha (Outer Khalkha). The Ursuud, who were famous for their traditional medicine, and the Khabkhanas were neighbours to the Kyrgyz. However, no evidence of their origin has been found.

- more information about Tannu-Urianchai and Altai-Urianchai 1.6  
- more information about the Kyrgyz
- further information on the Uyghurs


1.5 Yunscheebuu (Yüngshiyebü Yünshebü)

The Buriats and Barga also settled in the Yunscheebuu Tümen and have distinguished themselves from those in the Siberian Forest. Probably ancestors of these migrated from the forest to western steppes of today's Mongolia and joined the Oirat alliance. It is believed that Buriats and Barga of Aragtemür were led by an Oirat leader. He fought against Khan Esen of the Choros and defeated him. However, Taiji Bolai of the Kharchin later defeated him and integrated this tribe into his horde. It is also possible that Bekrin's Begersen Taiji or Oirast Ibalai Taiji brought them into the Yunscheebuu-Tümen. Shibaguchin and Nomochin were originally tribes of the Yunscheebuu before they allied with the Charchin and took their names.

The Shibaguchin trained hawks for the Mongol nobles, and the Nomochins were their bow makers (Noman refers to an Inner Mongolian bow). Both the Shibaguchin and the Nomochins were of multi-ethnic origin who had already served under Xanadu (Kaiping), the Yuan Emperor. They were responsible for hunting on the Tsaagan Nuur (White Lake).

The Yuan empowered the Yunxufu to manage and protect their palace. It is believed that the Shibaguchin, the nomochin from the alternative name Yunxufu, later adopted the name Yunscheebuu as their common tribal name after they returned to the steppes as nomads.


1.6. Naiman and Tatar

These were the five main tribes in the Mongolian steppes during the period under Genghis Khan. The Naiman, it is believed, intermarried in the Kyrgyz Khanate and settled in northern Mongolia. There was a Naiman tribe known as one of the eight target groups (Targets) under the Chahar-Tümen (Branch), whose descendants live in the present Naiman Banner in Tongliao in Inner Mongolia. Haichid, Hailasud, Garhata, Shiranud, Narad, Marud and other family names are considered as ancestors of such Naiman. The Tatars were a Mongolian tribe that settled in eastern Mongolia. They belonged to the six subgroups of Tatars according to Rashid al-Dinaus; the Tutukliut, the Alji, the Chagan, the Kui, the Tarat, the Burqui. The Tsaagan Tatars (White Tatars) were also known as one of the eight target groups under Chahar-Tümen. There are family names among the Tsaagan Tatars such as Alji and also others. The Naiman and Tsaagan Tatars were probably absorbed by the Chahar from the northern branch of the Doyan Urianchai as well as the Zaruud from the Inner Khalkha.

1.7 Khitan Empire (Descendants of the Liao Dynasty)

The land settled by the Kharchins was once home to the Khitans. According to reports by Rashid al-Din, there were families of Khara-Khitans, a western branch of Khitans at the time of Genghis Khan.

The nomadic Khitans were recognized as Mongols in their original homeland during the Yuan Dynasty. In the Tav Aimag, the five tribes, the Dyalayir, Khongirad, Ikires, Uruud and Manghud, were under the leadership of General Muhulai. They had migrated from northern Mongolia to the Khitan steppes in what is now Inner Mongolia after the Yuan Empire lost its rule over China. The Khongirad and Ikires were called Darligin Mongols, and the Manghud and Uruud were called Nirun. They were all Mongolian-speaking tribes. The Tav Aimag was led by Orchuu of the Uruud, the successor of Taiji Bolai who was Charchin after they had been defeated under Taiji Morihai of the Khongirad. Orchuu led the tribal alliance after their immigration to the southwestern region of what is now Inner Mongolia and was considered a branch of the right wing of the Eastern Mongols. Dalandaganad and Khonghutan were the successors of Bayanmonkh Jinong, who is believed to have been the father of Batmonkh Doyan Khan. Orchuu's daughter Sikher Taikho was queen under Bayanmonkh Jinong and the mother of Doyan Khan. The Bekrins under Taiji Begersen migrated from Uighurstan to southwestern Mongolia, defeated Orchuu of the Uruuds there, and became leaders of the Yunscheebuu Tümen. Taiji Begersen challenged Manduul Khan to defeat and kill Bayanmonkh Jinong. Thus, Dalandaganad and Khonghutan became a part under the Yunscheebuu-Tümen.

Begersen's cousin Taiji Ismail married Queen Sikher Taikho. Batmonkh was rescued by the Dalandaganad and later taken in by Queen Mandukhai under Manduul Khan. The Dalandaganad were the descendants of the Tanguts, and the Khonghutans were a branch of the Nirun Mongols. Khitan's power was of multiple origins. A Khitan tribal offshoot, the Kumoci, were conquered and absorbed by the Khitans after they rose to power. Both Khitan and Kumoci were descended from the Yuwen tribe of Xianbei. The Yuwen was originally a southern Xiong-nu tribe (Hsiung-nu) that had migrated from the present southwestern Inner Mongolia to the eastern steppes populated by the Xianbei (and Wuhuan) and intermarried with them there. Similar to what happened with Yunscheebuu and the Doyan Urianchai later. The Tiele (Urturks) in the northern steppes were partially absorbed into the Khitan dominion. The Khitans became known as a group under Yelu, the original Khitans who ruled the Khitan Empire with the royal family of that time. They were related to the Xiao, who were founded by the two Shenmi (Yishiyi and Boli), the branches of the Tiele. They were the eight ancient tribes of Khitan who were absorbed by Chinese: Xiwandan, Hedahe, Fufuyu, Xiling, Rilian, Pijie, Li, and Tuliuyu. The Kumoci consisted of the five ancient tribes: Ruhuzhu, Mohefu, Qigu, Mukun, and Shide. It is also worth mentioning that a group of Kumoci marched west after the fall of the Khitan Empire and were conquered by the Jurchen (Manchu). They were probably ancestors of the royal family of Kipchaks, from which the Charchin Kipchaks descended. The Charchins were allowed to migrate to the land of the Khitans to intermarry with them. The Doyan Urianchai also migrated to the Tav Aimag to the steppes of the Khitans and became rulers of this land alongside the northern Yuan people. Thus, the nomadic Khitans were gradually absorbed by the Mongols and no longer existed as an independent group, except for the Dagurs (Daur). This small Mongolian group establishes its origin from the Khitans.

- more information can be found under "History of the Riding Nomads"
- about Hsiung-nu - Xiong-nu - Xanbei
- about Huns - Hun


1.8. Bekrin (Mongolized Uyghurs)

They originally settled in the Hami mountain area in Uyghuristan. The Mongols called them Uyghur and considered them the Mongolized Uyghurs, but the original Bekrin are said to be of different origin compared to the Uyghurs. The Bekrin were one of the most important branches of the Yunscheebuu, although Bekrin is not cited as one of the fanged tribes of the Yunscheebuu during the time Taiji Begersen was their leader. Some scholars considered the alliance between Taiji Arugtai of the Asuds and Khan Oljei of the Bekrins (the descendant of Khan Ogetai) as the basis of the Yunscheebuu branch. When Taiji Begersen and Taiji Abarai were conquered by the Yunscheebuu, they brought many Bekrin into the Yunscheebuu- Tümen (branch).

Kumul (chin. Hami) is an oasis - The mountain range of the eastern Tian-Shan rises in the group of Qarlik Tagh to over 4900 m.

During the later Han dynasty, Hami repeatedly changed hands between the Chinese and Xiong-nu, both of whom wanted to control this fertile and strategic oasis. Several times the Han established military agricultural colonies to supply their troops and trade caravans.

Turkic tribes took control of this region during the late Sui dynasty. The Mongols conquered this region during the Yuan Dynasty. Later, Gunashiri, a descendant of Khan Chagatai, established his own small state called Qara Del in Kumul or Hami, which accepted Ming supremacy in the early 15th century, but this was later conquered by another branch of the Mongols.

- The Sui Dynasty (581-618), despite its short-lived nature, was among the great dynasties of Imperial China, as the country was first reunified under its rule after a long period of fragmentation of central power since the fall of the Han Dynasty in 220.

- The Ming Dynasty established this region as Kumul Hami in 1404 after the Mongol kingdom of Qara De. The latter accepted their supremacy. But this area was later controlled by the Oirat alliance. In the 18th century, Kumul became the center of the Kumul Khanate, a semi-autonomous vassal state in the Qing Empire and the Republic of China as part of Xinjiang. The last ruler of the khanate was Maqsud Shah.

The Ming Dynasty ruled the Chinese Empire from 1368 to 1644, replacing the Mongol foreign rule of the Yuan Dynasty in China and ending with the Qing Dynasty in the 17th century.


1.9 Ütsemchin (Üzemchin)

Mongolian dialect of Chahar (Eastern Mongolian) - Tibetan Buddhism, Shamanism.

The Ütsemchin, also written Ujumchin, Ujumucin or Ujimqin, are a subgroup settling in Eastern and Inner Mongolia: Mainly in Sergelen, Bayantümen and Choibalsan in Dornod Province and together with the Xilin Gol lineage in Inner Mongolia. Some of the Xilin Gol migrated after China was liberated from the Japanese in 1945.

The Ütsemchin were originally a Chahar branch among the six Tümen (branches) within the Eastern Mongols in the Northern Yuan Dynasty. The land of Ongon Dural, the third son of Khan Bodi Alagh in the Northern Yuan, was originally called Ütsemchin. The name probably comes from the Mongolian "uzem", meaning "raisin", as in "raisin picker/gatherer".

2.0 Dariganga

The Dariganga, an eastern subgroup, settled mainly in Dari Ovoo and around Lake Ganga.

The Dariganga were a small group of Mongolian origin in the south-eastern regions of present-day Mongolia, in the southern part in present-day Sukhbaatar province, on a volcanic plateau near the Gobi Desert.

They belong to the eastern group of the Mongols, to which also the Khalkha, the Buriats are counted, as well as the Mongols in the Chinese area (Inner Mongolia). It is said that in the times of the Qing Dynasty the Dariganga, like the Chahar, Khalkha and Ölöd, were resettled to the emperor's territory from China to the south.

After many reforms in the Mongolian administrative structure, the Dariganga settled in the sums (Dariganga, Naran, Ongon, Chalzan, Asgat and Bayandelger) and from the 17th century now in Sukhbaatar province.

After the Xinhai Revolution, which overthrew the Qing Dynasty, forces loyal to the independent Mongol government fought and regained control of their territory in March 1912. Jodbajab, the Russian military official in charge of the region, was captured by the Qing and not released until 1915. During the Outer Mongolian Revolution in 1921, he attempted to restore Dariganga control but was driven out by Kalmyk troops and local partisans. Their territory at that time belongs to present-day Mongolia.

A large part of the Dariganga remained nomads and were traditionally committed to shamanism. In the late 15th century, like other Mongols, they joined Tibetan Buddhism and monasteries were built. Until 1900, men served as lamas in Buddhist monasteries and enjoyed an education. Such novices could leave and marry again. They served within the community with their knowledge. Today, a number of Dariganga have returned to the beliefs of their ancestors. Shamans are again called upon to heal the sick or appease evil spirits, to solve problems. A combination of Buddhism and shamanism has returned, especially among elders. Ovoos (cairns) rebuilt for local spirits bear witness to their past.

- The Xinhai Revolution, also known as the Chinese Revolution or the 1911 Revolution, which was a revolution that overthrew China's last imperial dynasty (the Qing Dynasty), after which the Republic of China (ROC) was established.

2.1. Darchad (Darkhad) - Tsaatan (Zaatan) - Chöwsgöl Urianchai

Darchad dialect (Eastern Mongolian) - Tibetan Buddhism and Shamanism.

The Darchad (untouchables, artisans) are a subgroup living mainly in northern Mongolia, in Bayanzürch, Ulaan-Uul, Renchinlchümbe, and Tsagaan Nuur in Chöwsgöl Province in the Darchad Valley. They were originally a part under the Oirat or Khotgoid alliance. Between 1549 and 1686 they were subjects of Khan Zasagt of the Oirats and under Khan Altan of the Khotgoid. In 1786 they became part of the Jebtsundamba Khutuktu's shabi otog. At about the same time they became known as Black Darchad.

This Northern Taiga population was called part of the Toja or Urianchai under the Qing Dynasty from 1755-1912. With Mongol independence in 1921, it was assigned to independent Tuva, which was annexed by the Russians in 1944, leaving only the North Taiga population on the Mongol side to the border. The South Taiga group of Darchads and other Urianchais fled across the border to Tuva to avoid conscription in the 1930s. At first, the Mongolian government kept deporting them to Tuva. In 1956, the government finally returned their Mongolian citizenship and settled them at Tsagaan Nuur and Shishigt River.

Chorgo Terchiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park - Until about 1920, Chorgo was considered a sacred mountain that only the chosen ones were allowed to enter. In recent years, numerous ovoos have been erected at Chorgo - cairns where spirits are commemorated and asked for their benevolence by placing one or more additional stones or some other offering.

Chorgo volcano is located about 10 km east of Tsagaan Nuur Lake, which is 2060 m above sea level. It was formed when lava flows dammed up a river during the volcanic eruption 7700 years ago, so that the rising water level filled part of the plain.

The Tsaatan also live in the Darchad Valley - a small community of reindeer herders whose ancestry is attributed to the Tungus. Only some Darchad families, called Tsaatan, remained at the source of the Yenissei. "Tsaatan" means "reindeer herders" as in "tsaa bug" (reindeer).

- more information about the Tsataan and Dukha among the southern peoples of Siberia
- for more information about the Evenks (Tunguses) and Evens (Lamutes)


2.2 Barga

Barga dialect belongs to Buriat dialect (Western Mongolian) - Tibetan Buddhism, Shamanism.

In the 12th/13th century the Barga tribes appeared near Lake Baikal, called Bargujin. The Barga are a subgroup that owe their name to the Baikal region: "Bargujin-Tukum - the Land End" (Bargujin Tökhöm). Genghis Khan's ancestor Alan Gua was of Barga descent. In the Mongol Empire they served in the army of the Great Khan. One of them named Ambaghai commanded the artillery. After the fall of the Yuan Dynasty in 1368, the Barga joined the Oirats against Genghis Khan. However, they were mixed among the Mongol and Oirat tribes. The Barga shared the same 11 clans into which the Chori-Buriats were divided. The main part of the Chori-Barga moved to the area between the Ergun River and the Greater Hinggan Range, where they were subjugated by the Dagurs (Daur) and the Solons (Evenks). A large part of the Chori Barga fled east to the Onon River in 1594. While some came under Russian rule, others were oppressed by the Khalkha.

When the Qing Dynasty attacked the Cossacks on the Ergnun and Shilka Rivers in 1685-89, these Barga tribes were moved east of the Ergun River into Manchuria. The Qing distributed them among the Chahar. Since the 17th century, they have settled mainly in the Hulunbuir (Hulun Lake) region. In 1734, the Barga, who were oppressed under the Khalkha rulers, complained of mistreatment. The Qing authorities responded by moving their families to Khölönbuir, in Dornod Province.

- Solons - ethnic tribe with Tungusic language in China in Tsitsikar province of Chinese Manchuria and in Russia, today mostly assigned to the Evenks, partly assimilated by Buryats and Dagurs (Daur).

- The Dagurs (Daur, Dauren, Daghurs, Dachurs and others - proper name: Daor) are one of the 56 officially recognized minorities in the People's Republic of China. They speak a language from the Mongolian language family. They live in Inner Mongolia (Hulun Buir "Hulun Lake", mainly in Morin Dawa), in Heilongjiang (Qiqihar, mainly in Meilisi, Youyi and Taha), and in Xinjiang (Tacheng)

- for further information on the Evenks (Tungus) and Evenks (Lamut)


2.3 Buryats

Their main tribes: Bulagad, Khongodor, Chori-Buryats, Ekhirid, Sartuul Buryats, Songol Tabungud (Tabunud)
other tribes: Alair, Ashibagad, Atagan, Khamnigan Burjats, Ikinat

The Buryats (Buryats, Buriat, Buryaad, and Buriad) are the largest group of Eastern Mongols, settling in their present homeland, the Republic of Buriat, in present-day Russia, north of the Russian-Mongolian border at Lake Baikal. They are descendants of eastern and northern tribes in Siberia. They inhabited mainly the forested lowland areas along the border with Russia. The Buriats in Mongolia and Inner Mongolia are minorities today. However, nowadays they can still be found in Mongolia in the provinces of Dornod, Chentii, Selenge, Tuv, Bulgan and Chöwsgöl, most of whose provinces (Aimag) have a border with the Republic of Buriatia or Chita Oblast (Chita). In Inner Mongolia, a Buriat group called Shinheeni Burjats also resides in the Lake Hulun region (Hulun Nuur), bordering Dornod Province; and also a group called Dagurs (Daur), who fled the Buriat region after falling under Russian control.


- The Dagurs (Daur, Dauren, Daghurs, Dachurs and others - proper name: Daor) are one of the 56 officially recognized minorities in the People's Republic of China. They speak a language from the Mongolian language family. They live in Inner Mongolia (Hulun Buir "Hulun Lake", mainly in Morin Dawa), in Heilongjiang (Qiqihar, mainly in Meilisi, Youyi and Taha), and in Xinjiang (Tacheng).

The area once inhabited by ancestors of these Northern Mongolian tribes includes Lake Baikal and this forest region around the former Lake Övröör, where an ancient hunter Görööchin once lived before the 13th century, as it is told in a legend. These Northern Mongol tribes are related to the Khalkha Mongols, especially in their physical features, dialects and customs. In fact, they are easily distinguishable from neighboring Mongol tribes, yet they share common roots. However, they hold a number of differences, the most significant of which is their language. They speak a Central Mongolian dialect, Buriatic, which belongs to the Western Mongolian language group. Today, the majority live in and around Ulan Ude, the capital of the republic, although many still live traditionally in rural areas, as well as some in Irkutsk, Russia, and Chita (Chita). As in the Mongolian provinces, the Buriats who were incorporated into Russia are exposed to two traditions - Buddhist and Christian influences. Buriatians west of Lake Baikal and on Olkhon Island (Irkut-Buriats) were Russified and abandoned a nomadic life for farming and agriculture, while the eastern Trans-Baikal Buriatians remained closer to the Khalcha, in some cases still living in yurts, closer to Buddhism and shamanism. In 1741, the Lamaist branch of Buddhism was recognized as a religion in Russia, and the first Buriat datsan (Dazan - Buddhist monastery) was built. The name "Buriats" is mentioned for the first time in the Secret History of the Mongols in the 13th century.

The civil war among the princes (Noyons) of the Mongols led to the disintegration of the Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan. The Oirat prince Galdan Boshig aspired to his position of becoming Khan of all Mongols. Therefore, the Oirat and Khalkha tribes were at odds. The Oirats, who were closer to the Buriats in dialect and culture, lived in western Mongolia, while the Khalkha settled in the central part of Mongolia and in the Gobi regions. A long war between the Oirat and Khalkha tore the Mongolian nation apart at the time when a new threat emerged. In the east of Mongolia settled the Manchu (formerly called Jurchen), who quickly gained power and took control from the Han (Chinese) and founded the Qing Dynasty. Not happy with this development were the Mongols, who settled west and north to their border and were now weakened by civil war. The Manchus invaded Mongol space and the Mongols became their vassals in their newly established empire. Some of the Oirats fled west across Siberia to the Volga River and settled there, were later called Kalmyks.

Some princes of the northern tribes sought protection from the Russians.

Selenge-Buryats (around 1900)

Various Siberian and Mongolian tribes who settled around Lake Baikal, are today generally referred to as Buriats. Under Genghis Kahn, these various Buriat tribes (Bulgachin, Kheremchin) around Lake Baikal were subjugated in the 13th century. The name "Buriat" first appears in the Secret History of the Mongols for all these forest tribes that settled north of Mongolia and in southern eastern Siberia. It mentions that Jochi, the eldest son of Genghis Khan, marched north around 1207 to subjugate these forest tribes. At that time they settled along the Angara River and its tributaries, meanwhile together with the Barga west of Lake Baikal, as well as in the north in the Barguzin Valley. Connected with the Barga were also the Chori-Tümen (branch) along the Arig River in the eastern part of today's Chöwsgöl and on the Angara River. A rebellion broke out in 1217 when Genghis Khan allowed his viceroy to kidnap 30 girls. Genghis Khan's commander Dorbei the Fierce of the Dörbets repelled them. Thereafter, the Buriats joined the Western Oirat Alliance, challenging this imperial rule of the Eastern Mongols during the Northern Yuan period in the late 14th century.

The area around Lake Baikal was subject to the Khalkha under Khan Tusheet and Khan Setsen, as the Buriats were subject to them. When the Russians expanded their territory in Transbaikalia in eastern Siberia in 1609, advancing Cossacks found only a small nucleus who spoke a Mongol dialect "Buriatic" and paid tribute to the Khalcha princes. However, they were powerful enough to subjugate the Kets and Samoyed peoples to the Khan and force the Evenks on the lower Angara (river) to pay tribute. Ancestors of these present-day Buriats probably spoke a Turkic-Tungus dialect. Apart from these original monoglized Buriat tribes such as the Bulagad, Chori, Ekhired, Khongoodor, they were merged with other East Siberian tribes including the Soyotes, among others, Oirats, Khalkha and Tungus (Evenks). The Chori-Barga had migrated eastward from the Barguzin Valley to the lands between the great Hinggan Mountains (Greater Chingan Range) and the Argun River. Around 1594, most of them fled back to the Aga and Nerchinsk rivers to escape subjugation by the Dagurs (Daur). The territory and population were annexed to the Russian state by treaties in 1689 and 1727 and separated from Mongolia. The consolidation of the modern Buriat tribes and groups took place under the conditions of the Russian state.

- The Soyotes live mainly in the Oka region in the Okinsky district in the Republic of Buriatia. Their extinct language was a Turkic language and similar to that of the Tuvins. In the meantime, their language has been reconstructed and a textbook about it has been published. The language is currently taught in some schools in Oka. The Oka River, the largest river flowing from the Western Sayan Mountains into the Angara River and to the Oka Hill at the Oka River basin, is inhabited by the Soyot people. Oka means „arrow."

- Tuvins is the name of the largest non-Slavic ethnic group in the Altai-Sayan region (southern Siberia). Linguistically, the Tuvins are now considered Turkic peoples. They call themselves Tyva kii (South Siberians).

The Tuvins are divided into three different groups: The Tady of southern Siberia are by far the largest group. They also include the Sojon-Urianchai, who live in the Chöwsgöl-Aimag, the northernmost province of Mongolia, and the "Tsaatan" (reindeer people) living there at the source of the Yenissei River. These are assigned to the Tungus. In the western Mongolia the Chomdu settle and high on the Mongolian-Chinese Altai main ridge finally the Alda.

The source of the Bagusin River is east of Lake Baikal. Initially, the Barguzin flows northwest and then turns southwest to enter the Barguzin Depression, a 200 km long and up to 35 km wide valley between the Barguzin Mountains in the northwest and the Ikat Mountains in the southeast.

- The Keten - proper name ket ("man") or deng ("people", "nation"); historical name: Jenissey-East Yaks. They are one of the 44 "indigenous peoples of the Russian North". The Kets live in the Krasnoyarsk region, with two relatively separate subgroups predominantly in the Turukhansk rayon on the left bank of the Yenissei River and in the former Evenk Autonomous Okrug on the right bank of the river. The Ketian language belongs to the group of the Paleo-Siberian languages and within this group it is the only language from the Yenissei language family still spoken today. Their traditional way of life is based on hunting and fishing and is closely related to the great Siberian rivers.

- Samoyedic peoples (Samodi peoples, Samoyeds, Samoyadj) refers to those peoples, populations or groups of people who used and use Samoyedic languages in history and in the present. If they are combined with the linguistically related Finno-Ugric peoples, they are also called Uralic languages or the Uralic family of peoples. The Samoyedic peoples belong to the indigenous peoples of the Russian North until the present.

The Samoyedic peoples include the Nenets (Jurak Samoyeds, Yuraks), Enzes, Nganasans (Tawgi Samoyeds) and Selkupes. The latter form the remnant of the Southern Samoyedes, who lived in parts of Central and Southern Siberia until the 19th century. Parts of the ancestors of the Kamassins and other Siberian Turkic peoples were also related to the Samoyeds. One Samoyedic ethnic group that became extinct in the 19th century was the Mators (Motors).

- more information about the northern peoples of Siberia
- more information about the Tuvinians, Tsaatan (Dukha)
- more information about the Yakuts

A Russian protectorate was established to save the Buriat region from Manchu conquest. The Oirats, who also refused to be subjugated by Manchus, were forced to migrate to the Volga. They too wanted to remain as a separate political entity and in independence and not become vassals of a Manchu province to the Qing Dynasty (China). Similarly, the Buriats, like the Kalmyks, on the Volga were not annexed to Russia for the time being. The local princes remained under a Russian protectorate under independent authority. Buriatia and Kalmykia were not part of the Soviet Union until the 20th century. However, their relationship with the Russian Protectorate was characterized by problems. In distant Siberia, far from the centres of power, the enforcement of authority fell into the hands of Cossack leaders. They raided settlements and terrorized the population to such an extent that the Dagurs (Daur) left their villages in the Onon Valley and moved to Manchu territory, where they still live today. Land rights were expropriated and given to Russian settlers, who converted it into farmland. Many of these immigrants were here in exile, having fled from western Russia; some were criminals or were religious or political dissidents who contributed to the new cultural and educational system over time. However, large parts of the territory of the settled Buriats west of Lake Baikal were expropriated, and the Mongol population of these areas were also forced to resettle. The Buriats did not accept this without resistance - there were two anti-Russian uprisings in 1695 and 1696. One form of resistance took the form of a worship of Gazriin ezen, (master spirit of the land and mountains). This movement became strong and strengthened its resistance to such expropriations.

- The Dagurs (Daur, Dauren, Daghurs, Dachurs and others - proper name: Daor) are one of the 56 officially recognized minorities in the People's Republic of China. They speak a language from the Mongolian language family. They live in Inner Mongolia (Hulun Buir "Hulun Lake", mainly in Morin Dawa), in Heilongjiang (Qiqihar, mainly in Meilisi, Youyi and Taha), and in Xinjiang (Tacheng).

In the regions where Buriats professed Buddhism, the Geluga School was adopted. In areas where shamanism was widespread, the Russians forced them to embrace Russian Orthodox Christianity. This Christianization was not successful, and attempts at Russification helped to reinforce their Mongol and national identity as a result. During the centuries of a ruling Russian protectorate, the feudal system of western Russia could not penetrate here. The main power remained in the hands of the taijis (Mongol leaders) Genghis Khan's descendants. A Buriat Cossack regiment was established in the Selenge region, which stood guard on the border with the Manchu Empire. Russian scholars in exile played an important role in creating an educational system. Sons of some of the leading Buriat families even attended universities. The first prominent scholar of Buriat descent was Dorji Banzarov, who lived in the early 19th century. In his short life span of 32 years, he distinguished himself as a scholar of Mongolian culture and history. This elite played an important role in the political life of the Buriats and Mongols in the early 20th century.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Mongolian nationalism began to revive in all Mongolian-ruled areas. At first, this agitation was fuelled by hostility from Russian authorities who threatened to destroy Buriat culture through forcible Russification, but it had to be abandoned. In Buriatia, the leading figures to this movement were Bazar Baraadin, Elbegdorj Rinchino and Ts. Jamtsarano, all of whom had taught at Russian universities. Their association with other Buriat intellectuals was to reunite with the Mongolian people and revive their independent culture. During the Russo-Japanese War (1904), the Japanese supported this Pan-Mongolism with the intention of destabilizing Russia. Moreover, in 1905, during a revolt against tsarist domination, Buriat leaders led a congress in Chita calling for self-government for the Buriat Mongols. After the end of this war, even the Russian government supported this Pan-Mongol movement in the hope that the Mongol territories in the south in the Manchu area could unite with Buriat to form a Mongol state under Russian hegemony.

Bazar Baraadin envisioned the agenda of Pan-Mongolism in a very special way. He developed the first alphabet to transcribe the Mongolian language in a way that would better reflect modern pronunciation.

In doing so, he hoped to create a means by which Mongolians could easily communicate with each other in all the regions in which they lived. The Bazar-Baraadin alphabet is still favoured by many scholars. Buriats in Outer and Inner Mongolia use this alphabet alongside the less accurate Old Mongolian script. A Buriat culture developed in the 1920s, and newspapers and books were again published in Mongolian. Although their republic was a part of the Soviet Union, they were able to shape Mongolian culture relatively freely and move closer to Mongolia. While the Buriat intellectuals developed the dream of an independent Mongolia, there was no territory for it yet and thus the unrest continued. For the first time in over two hundred years, the Buriat had a measure of independence even though they were still under the hegemony of the communist government in Moscow. The newly created republic did not yet regain many historical territories in Irkutsk and Chita (Chita Oblast) that had been expropriated and settled by the Russians at the time.

When civil war broke out in Russia at the end of World War I, the Buriats remained largely neutral in the conflict. In 1921, however, "Baron Ungern-Sternberg," a White Russian leader, met with some Buriats; he sought to establish an independent Mongolia including Buriatia. The Buriat elite could not identify with this movement, rightly knowing that a rule over Mongolia could be short-lived. On the other hand, many Buriat intellectuals, including prominent figures such as Elbegdorj Rinchino, allied themselves with Sukbaatar, a Mongol rebel leader who supported the Bolsheviks. In 1921, Ungern-Sternberg was captured and executed.

Because of their skills in horseback fighting, many were recruited by the Amur Cossacks. During the Russian Civil War, most of the Buriats united with the white forces of Baron Ungern-Sternberg and Ataman Semenov. They formed a significant part of Ungern's forces and were treated very well compared to other ethnic groups serving in the Baron's army. After the revolution, most of the lamas remained loyal to the Soviet force. In 1925, a struggle against religion and clergy began in Buriatia. Datsans (monasteries) were gradually closed, and the activities of the clergy were curtailed. In the late 1930s, the Buddhist clergy ceased to exist and countless cultural treasures were destroyed. Attempts to revive Buddhist worship began during World War II, and it was officially restored in 1946. A genuine revival of Buddhism has taken place since the late 1980s as an important factor in national consolidation and spiritual rebirth.

Sukbaatar and his allies created an independent Mongolian People's Republic, today's Outer Mongolia. Buriats from Buriatia and northern and eastern Outer Mongolia played an important role in the new government. Some of the cabinet posts were filled by Buriats. In 1923, the Buriat-Mongol Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was established and the Baikal Province (Pribaykalskaya guberniya) was formed. The Buriat people rebelled against this domination and a collectivization of their herds. The rebellion was put down by the Red Army with a loss of 35,000 Buriats. Beginning in 1929, Stalin imposed collectivization on other peoples and brought them under Soviet control. People were dispossessed of their farms and herds in both Buriatia and present-day Mongolia. Opposition to collectivization was brutally suppressed. Many Buriatians fled to Mongolia during this period, but found little support from the Choibal regime, which was allied with Stalin. In Mongolia in 1931-1932, the Buddhist clerics and Buriat intellectuals led a revolt against Soviet rule, which became known as the "Shambhala War," but ultimately failed because only a small portion of the population joined this rebellion. The Soviet authorities meted out relatively mild punishment on the agitators because Japan once again used this pan-Mongolism as an instrument to expand the conflict and its influence. In 1937, the dreams of Mongol autonomy collapsed during the Stalinist purges. The government separated from Stalin to disperse the Buriats. In just a few months, most of the Buriat leadership, intellectuals, and religious leaders were arrested and executed. Prominent Buriats and many others disappeared into Soviet prisons. Loyal allies of the Bolsheviks in Buriat and Mongolia were shot.

It is believed that of the more than 100 members of the Buriat writers, only a handful survived. To this day, no one knows how many Buriat perished during the purges. In Mongolia, Choibalsan followed Stalin's example, and about 30,000 died, including many Buriats. In addition to the purges, a number of counties were cleansed from the autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, such as the Buriat Mongols of about half of their land, including the western shores of Lake Baikal, Olkhon Island, Ust-Orda, and Aga. The Buriat-Mongols formed the Ust-Orda Buriat Autonomous Okrug and Agin-Buriat Autonomous Okrug. These last two regions were made Buriat Autonomous Orkrugs. At the same time, some regions with majority Buriat populations were admitted. In Buriat itself, Stalin brought in large numbers of Russian settlers to dilute the Mongol majority. Mongol writing was banned, and writings in Mongol were no longer allowed, written only in the Russian Cyrillic script. Buddhist monasteries (temples) and ritual sites were largely destroyed. Buddhist and shamanistic artefacts were destroyed or stored in a central warehouse in order to create a "museum of atheism" and display these works of art there.

- Shambhala - is a mythical kingdom in Tibetan Buddhism, said to be hidden somewhere in Central Asia, and particularly important in the Kalachakra tradition.
The Buddhist Shambhala myth was taken up and expanded in Western esotericism, first mainly by Helena Blavatsky, theosophical and ariosophical, and from the 1960s by occult and right-wing esoteric authors. In the process, similar concepts such as that of the subterranean realm of Agartha were included in the reshaping and received in popular culture along with places such as the fictional hidden paradise of Shangri-La.

Joseph Stalin had more than 10,000 Buriat people killed because of fears of the rise of Buriat nationalism. Such a purge was also carried out in Mongolia, known as the Lhumbee Incident. After the end of the Stalinist Soviet policy toward the Buriat, it was time to initiate a change. In 1958, when the conflict between Russians and Chinese had reached a critical point, the name "Mongol" was dropped from the name of the Buriat Republic. The reason for this was Mao Zedong's support of pan-Mongolism, which sought to bring all Mongol peoples under Chinese hegemony. Mao himself had purged this Pan-Mongolism in Inner Mongolia ten years later with his Cultural Revolution. In 1970, the Soviets abolished the teaching of "Mongol2 in the Buryat schools as unnecessary and removed the name "Mongol" from the name of the republic (Buriat ASSR).

During World War II, Buryats served in the Red Army and received awards as "Heroes of the Soviet Union." The devastation of Russian territories in the west accelerated a migration to Siberia. In 1948, Soviet authorities made further attempts to russify the Buriats and eradicate their culture. Traditional art forms were banned and it was forbidden to speak of heroes such as Geser or Genghis Khan. Control of the educational system was placed by the Russians. The history of Buriat was "reinterpreted" and it was claimed that Buriat were not Mongols, but rather had been conquered by Mongol feudal leaders. A non-chori Buriat dialect now became the standard Buriat dialect and was promoted and accepted as the only literary language. The idea was to create a Buriat nationality that was non-Mongolian in origin. Now ties with other nations were lacking, and over time it seemed that the culture was dying out.

For "security" reasons, the Buriat region became a restricted area in the Soviet Union, and access without special permission to the region was denied. Despite this policy, a new generation of Buriat intellectuals who had grown up in the 1950s and who had studied Mongolian before being dismissed from school became the backbone of a new national movement. Many of them came from the western part of Buriatia and from Mongolian areas such as Irkutsk and Chita (Chita Oblast). Despite the danger of being condemned as dissidents, they boldly wrote poetry in Russian and Mongolian on Mongolian themes or researched and wrote about their Mongolian past. And they did all this at a time when it was still impossible to enter politics (most of them had not yet joined the Communist Party). They played an important role in the revival of Buriat national consciousness on behalf of their people. The poets Dondok Ulzituyev, Dashi Dambaev, Lopsan Tapkhaev and Bayar Dugarov were part of this new generation. Buddhism was allowed to be taught again on a small scale at the sanctioned monastery, and Buriat lamas represented the USSR in international peace conferences.

- Geser - is an epic Tibetan king whose exploits are recited in chants. This epic is considered the largest Central Asian epic cycle. This corpus of tales contains the basic motif of the struggle of the good Tibetan ruler Gesar, who is born human but has many divine abilities, against the evil in the world. Gesar's warlike and cunning deeds are handed down throughout Central Asia from Ladakh to Mongolia, but especially in eastern Tibet, in the form of chants, hence it is usually called the Gesar Epic.

The rise of the communist government in 1990 unleashed Mongolian culture, which had been all but lost for decades of oppression. Buriat intellectuals participated in the revival of Mongolian culture and were further encouraged to follow Mongolia's example at home. In the fall of 1990, revealing a weakening of Soviet control, the regency government issued a statement on sovereignty, noting that their own laws took precedence over those of the USSR and that they wanted to claim control over their own natural resources. Buriat intellectuals urged that the name of the republic be restored to Buriat Mongolia. A Buriat National Party was formed with the goal of independence. In 1991, the Buriat created its own Ministry of Foreign Affairs and established closer relations with Mongolia and Inner Mongolia, and in 1992 a Mongolian consulate was opened in the capital, Ulan Ude. With the purpose of cooperation, a non-political All-Buriat Cultural Association was established. A revival of the Mongolian language was promoted among all Buriat regions, and textbooks were published for adults who had been unable to learn Mongolian in school. There was also a rapid revival of Buriat shamanism in 1990, and the number of shamans is still on the rise today. Buddhism has also been revived, and new temples have been built in the major Buriat cities. The history of the Mongols and their writing, poetry and literature have been allowed again. History about Buriatia in both Mongolian and Russian languages without ideological controls was reintroduced.

Buratia declared its sovereignty in 1990 and passed a law in 1992 making Buriatia an autonomous republic within the Russian Federation. In response to the revival of Buriat nationalism, Russian nationalist organizations also appeared, but no new hostilities arose between the two at this time. However, the problem of absentee ownership of Buriat industries has not been solved, and many profits of these enterprises are shifted to the West instead of being contributed to the local economy. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a good 93% of the citizens of Buriatia have been living below the poverty line.

The republic's constitution was adopted in 1994 by the then People's Tribune, and a bilateral treaty with the Russian Federation was signed in 1995. The first free elections were allowed, with Leonid Potapov, a Russian former communist, elected to the presidency. While Potapov has at times done much to ensure harmony among the various ethical and religious groups in Buriatia, he has also at times shown his insensitivity, as evidenced by the recent controversy over the Tibetan Medical Atlas. In 1998, the presidential election was hotly contested. Allegations of corruption abounded, but Potapov's opponents failed to topple him. One achievement, however, was the election of Sergei Aidaev, a Buriat, as mayor of the capital, Ulan Ude. While the revival of Buriat culture and language was strengthened, a return to their historical role as leaders among the Mongols was not possible at that time. They were unable to unite as a strong political force. The cultural revival was in danger of being derailed - for lack of financial resources. The government was unable to provide funding, and cultural programs were in jeopardy because of this, with many being cancelled altogether in 1999. It is indeed a crucial time in Buriat-Mongolian history for Buriat people to preserve their traditions and maintain the fate of their existence for the future. During the period of glasnost, Soviet repression and nationalism were relaxed and Buriat intellectuals became more aware of their identity. In 1989, Bayar Dugarov introduced a successful movement to restore the ancient Buriat celebration "Sagaalgan." The following year, he and other Buriat cultural figures performed a 5-year celebration of their cultural hero "Geser Epic" involving all Buriat tribes. It was a subtle strategy to "reawaken" Mongolian consciousness for Buriat and to remember Genghis Khan's legacy. Such discussions about this had until then been simply taboo in Russia or Mongolia.

Religion

The original religion of the Buriats was shamanism (Tengrism). By the end of the 19th century, however, Buddhism had also become established among the Transbaikalian Buriats and influenced their daily life, culture, and outlook on life. This led to a syncretic blending of previously animistic shamanic ideas with Buddhist ones. Examples of this are the shaman mirror (toli), originally from China, among the Buriats, and the appearance of persons who were both lama and shaman became common from then on. To the former shaman of the Buriats belonged the antler crown, a shaman stick and this mirror. Shamans had a wide range of duties - including being soul guides and diviners - and a high status within the community. There were male and female shamans. As with the Mongols and Turkic peoples, there was an eagle cult and sun cult, as in the ancient Iranian religion.

Despite the Russification in the 20th century, which brought massive changes in the previous way of life and culture, shamanism survived. However, today's samans no longer serve the welfare of individual clans, but they have founded organizations where one can use their services as healers or ritual attendants and which are dedicated to the preservation or reconstruction and transmission of traditional knowledge. The shamans have become a symbol of the cultural identity of all Buriats, although many aspects of shamanism have already been lost. To compensate for this, contacts have been made with Western esoteric neo-shamanism, which, however, leads to considerable distortions of the original ideas. In contrast to the earlier shamanism, today's shamanism has, in spite of everything, stronger and stronger features of a religion. The second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century were a time of growth for the Buddhist church. 48 monasteries (Datsan - Dazan) were counted in Buriatia in 1914. Buddhism became an important factor in their cultural development.

The Buriat tradition has ecological origins because the religious and mythological ideas of the Buriat people are based on a theology of nature. A synthesis of Buddhism and beliefs based on a system of ecological foundations was the main characteristic of the Buriat culture. The environment was deeply respected by the Buriat because of the nomadic way of life and the religious idea that nature was animate. In turn, the harsh climatic conditions of the region have created a fragile balance between people, society and the environment. This has led to a delicate approach to nature that has focused not on its conquest, but on harmonious interaction and equal partnership.

- more information about the history of shamanism (tengerism) in Mongolia

Archaeological excavations

From recent archaeological findings it can be concluded that Siberia was inhabited very early. Archaeological findings include cave sites and petroglyphs. A population practicing a Mongolian language and culture settled in the Baikal Plain, the Angara Valley and the Tunken Valley of the Eastern Sayan Mountains. In the Buriat Mongolian mythology these people were called Burte Chino (Blue Wolf People). Their ancestor was a man named Burte Chino, who took Goa Maral (beautiful red deer) as his wife; the descendants from their marriage are called Mongols, and from them the clan family Genghis Khan also originated. Burte or Bured meant "wolf" in the ancient dialect and from this word probably the name Buriat is derived. To this day, the Wolf clan is recognized as the ancestry among the Buriat Mongols.

- more information about Archaeology - Eurasia & Central Asia


2.4 Huns

The Huns (Hsiung-nu - Xiong-nu - Xanbei - Huns - Hun) were ancestors. They migrated south to the steppes and created a tribal confederation of warriors who terrorized the Han (China) for centuries and also migrated west and invaded Europe. Hun graves and megalithic monuments can be found in the Baikal region, Mongolia and the Altai region. One of their most famous monuments are these stones, with deer bearing the sun in their antlers, once shamanic symbols, but their use has been forgotten.

- more information about Hsiung-nu - Xiong-nu - Xanbei - Huns - Hun

After the collapse of the Hun Confederation, the area that is now modern Mongolia was largely overrun by Turkic tribes (such as the Yakuts), making the original homeland of the Mongols in the Selenge, Kherlen and Onon valleys and Lake Baikal, a region that has remained populated by the Buriat Mongol tribes to this day. For this reason, the Mongols are also called "Gurvan Goliin Mongolchuud", "Mongols of the Three Rivers".

An important point to note is that contrary to what was claimed by historians of the Soviet period who tried to deny the Mongol identity of the Buriat, the Buriat had very much settled in the core Mongol homeland. As the Secret History of the Mongols points out, this region, now known as Buriatia, was important to the Great Mongol Empire in Mongol history up to the time of the rise under Genghis Khan of the Borjigin family (wild duck people).

The land of this Burte Chino people had the ancient name Barguzin Tukum, which included the Baikal region. This is historically considered as the cradle of Mongolian peoples. It was also in this region that the craft of processing bronze was developed in a relatively early period. Some scholars believe that in southern Siberia this craft had been known even before this technique was adopted in China. The metalworking from this period is recognized because the shamans wore such a bronze mirror, believing to transmit great spiritual power with it, as it was handed down from them.

- more information about the Buriats
- further information about the Buriats under the southern peoples of Siberia
- more information about the Yakuts among the southern peoples of Siberia
- see more information under: Manchus, Tungus (Evenks)
- see more information under: Yakuts