History of Manchuria

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1851 map of Tibet, Mongolia and Manchuria. Manchuria is delimited by the Yablonoi range in the north, the Greater Khingan in the west, and the Pacific coast in the east. In the south it is delimited from the Korean peninsula by the Yalu River.

Manchuria is a region in East Asia. Depending on the definition of its extent, Manchuria can either refer to a region falling entirely within China, or a larger region today divided between Northeast China and the Russian Far East. To differentiate between the two parts following the latter definition, the Russian part is also known as Outer Manchuria in English, while the Chinese part is known as Inner Manchuria. It is the homeland of the Manchu people, the designation introduced in 1636 for the Jurchen people, in origin a Tungusic people which took power in 17th century China, establishing the Qing Dynasty that lasted until 1912. The population grew from about 1 million in 1750 to 5 million in 1850 and 14 million in 1900, largely because of the immigration of Chinese farmers.

Lying at the juncture of the Chinese, Japanese and Russian spheres of influence, Manchuria has been a cockpit of conflict since the late 19th century. The Russian Empire established control over the northern part of Manchuria in 1860 (Beijing Treaty); it built a railway to consolidate its hold. Disputes over Manchuria and Korea led to the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 to 1905. The Japanese invaded Manchuria in 1931, setting up the puppet state of Manchukuo which became a centerpiece of the fast-growing Japanese Empire. The Soviet invasion of Manchuria in 1945 led to the overnight collapse of Japanese rule. Manchuria was a base of operations for the Mao Zedong's People's Liberation Army in the Chinese Civil War, leading to the formation of the People's Republic of China. In the Korean War, Chinese forces used Manchuria as a base to assist North Korea against the UN forces. During the Cold War era, Manchuria became a matter of contention, escalating to the Sino–Soviet border conflict in 1969. The Sino-Russian border dispute was resolved diplomatically only in 2004. In recent years there has been extensive scholarship on Manchuria in the 20th century, while the earlier period is less studied.

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History of Manchuria

Prehistory[edit]

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

Early history[edit]

Antiquity[edit]

At various times in antiquity, Han Dynasty, Cao Wei Dynasty, Western Jin Dynasty, Tang Dynasty and some other minor kingdoms of China had established control in parts of Manchuria. Various Korean kingdoms, such as Gojoseon, Buyeo, Goguryeo and Balhae[1][2] were also established in parts of this area.

Manchuria was the homeland of several Tungusic tribes, including the Ulchs and Nani. Various ethnic groups and their respective kingdoms, including the Sushen, Donghu, Xianbei, Wuhuan, Mohe and Khitan have risen to power in Manchuria.

Finnish linguist Juha Janhunen believes that it was likely that a "Tungusic-speaking elite" ruled Goguryeo and Balhae, describing them as "protohistorical Manchurian states" and that part of their population was Tungusic, and that the area of southern Manchuria was the origin of Tungusic peoples and inhabited continuously by them since ancient times, and Janhunen rejected opposing theories of Goguryeo and Balhae's ethnic composition.[3]

Balhae[edit]

Further information: Balhae

From 698 to 926, the kingdom of Balhae occupied northern Korean peninsula and parts of Manchuria and Primorsky Krai, consisting of the people of the recently fallen Goguryeo kingdom of Korea as an aristocratic class, and the Nanai, the Udege, and the Evenks and descendants of the Tungus-speaking people as a lower class. Balhae was an early feudal medieval state of Eastern Asia, which developed its industry, agriculture, animal husbandry, and had its own cultural traditions and art. People of Balhae maintained political, economic and cultural contacts with the southern Chinese Tang Dynasty, as well as Japan.

Primorsky Krai settled at this moment by Northern Mohe tribes were incorporated to Balhae Kingdom under King Seon's reign (818–830) and put Balhae territory at its height. After subduing the Yulou Mohe (Hangul: 우루말갈 Hanja/Hanzi: 虞婁靺鞨 pinyin: Yúlóu Mòhé) first and the Yuexi Mohe (Hangul: 월희말갈 Hanja/Hanzi: 越喜靺鞨 pinyin: Yuèxǐ Mòhé) thereafter, King Seon administrated their territories by creating four prefectures : Solbin Prefecture, Jeongli Prefecture, Anbyeon Prefecture and Anwon Prefecture.

Manchuria under the Liao and Jin[edit]

Main articles: Liao Dynasty and Jin Dynasty

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

In the early 12th century the Tungusic Jurchen people (the ancestors of the later Manchu people) originally lived in the forests in the eastern borderlands of the Liao Empire, and were Liao's tributaries, overthrew the Liao and formed the Jin Dynasty (1115–1234). They went on to control parts of Northern China and Mongolia after a series of successful military campaigns. Most of the surviving Khitan either assimilated into the bulk of the Han Chinese and Jurchen population, or moved to Central Asia; however, it is thought that the Daur people, still living in northern Manchuria, are also descendants of the Khitans.[4]

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

The first Jin capital, Shangjing, located on the Ashi River not far from modern Harbin, was originally not much more than the city of tents, but in 1124 the second Jin emperor Wuqimai starting a major construction project, having his Chinese chief architect, Lu Yanlun, build a new city at this site, emulating, on a smaller scale, the Northern Song capital Bianjing (Kaifeng).[5] When Bianjing fell to Jin troops in 1127, thousands of captured Song aristocrats (including the two Song emperors), scholars, craftsmen and entertainers, along with the treasures of the Song capital, were all taken to Shangjing (the Upper Capital) by the winners.[5] Although the Jurchen ruler Wanyan Liang, spurred on by his aspirations to become the ruler of all China, moved the Jin capital from Shangjing to Yanjing (now Beijing) in 1153,[6] and had the Shangjing palaces destroyed in 1157,[6] the city regained a degree of significance under Wanyan Liang's successor, Emperor Shizong, who enjoyed visiting the region to get in touch with his Jurchen roots.[7]

The capital of the Jin, Zhongdu, was captured by the Mongols in 1215 at the Battle of Zhongdu. The Jin moved their capital Kaifeng,[8] which fell to Mongols in 1233. In 1234, the Jin Dynasty collapsed after the siege of Caizhou. The last emperor of the Jin, Emperor Modi, was killed while fighting the Mongols who had breached the walls of the city. Days earlier, his predecessor, Emperor Aizong, committed suicide because he was unable to escape the besieged city.[9]

Manchuria under the Mongol Empire[edit]

In 1211, after the conquest of Western Xia, Genghis Khan mobilized an army to conquer the Jin Dynasty. His general Jebe and brother Qasar were ordered to reduce the Jurchen cities in Manchuria.[10] They successfully destroyed the Jin forts there. The Khitans under Yelü Liuge declared their allegiance to Genghis Khan and established nominally autonomous state in Manchuria in 1213. However, the Jin forces dispatched a punitive expedition against them. Jebe went there again and the Mongols pushed out the Jins.

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

Ögedei Khan's son Güyük crushed Puxian Wannu's dynasty in 1233, pacifying southern Manchuria. Some time after 1234 Ögedei also subdued the Water Tatars in northern part of the region and began to receive falcons, harems and furs as taxation. The Mongols suppressed the Water Tatar rebellion in 1237. In Manchuria and Siberia, the Mongols used dogsled relays for their yam. The capital city Karakorum directly controlled Manchuria until the 1260s.[11]

During the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368), established by Kublai Khan by renaming his empire to "Great Yuan" in 1271,[12] Manchuria was administered under the Liaoyang province. Descendants of Genghis Khan's brothers such as Belgutei and Hasar ruled the area under the Great Khans.[13] The Mongols eagerly adopted new artillery and technologies. The world's earliest known cannon, dated 1282, was found in Mongol-held Manchuria.[14]

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

Manchuria during the Ming Dynasty[edit]

A Jurchen man hunting from his horse, from a 15th-century ink and color painting on silk.

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

Soon after the death of the Yongle Emperor the expansion policy of the Ming was replaced with that of retrenchment in southern Manchuria (Liaodong). Around 1442, a defence wall was constructed to defend the northwestern frontier of Liaodong from a possible threat from the Jurched-Mongol Oriyanghan. In 1467–68 the wall was expanded to protect the region from the northeast as well, against attacks from Jianzhou Jurchens. Although similar in purpose to the Great Wall of China, this "Liaodong Wall" was of a simpler design. While stones and tiles were used in some parts, most of the wall was in fact simply an earthen dike with moats on both sides.[16]

Chinese cultural and religious infleunce such as Chinese New Year, the "Chinese god", Chinese motifs like the dragon, spirals, scrolls, and material goods like agriculture, husbandry, heating, iron cooking pots, silk, and cotton spread among the Amur natives like the Udeghes, Ulchis, and Nanais.[17]

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

Manchuria during the Qing Dynasty[edit]

Northeastern part of the map of China and Chinese Tartary (1735; based on the French Jesuit expedition of 1709)

The process of unification of the Jurchen people completed by Nurhaci was followed by his son's, Hong Taiji, energetic expansion into Outer Manchuria. The conquest of the Amur basin people was completed after the defeat of the Evenk chief Bombogor, in 1640.

Soon after the establishment of the Qing Dynasty, the territory of today's Primorsky Kray was made part of the Government-general of Jilin, and along with the lower Amur area was controlled from Ninguta (a garrison town south of today's Mudanjiang).[18][19]

In 1644, the Manchus took Beijing, overthrowing the Ming Dynasty and soon established the Qing Dynasty rule (1644–1912) over all of China. The Manchus ruled all of China, but they treated their homeland of Manchuria to a special status and ruled it separately. The "Banner" system that in China involved military units originated in Manchuria and was used as a form of government.[20]

After conquering the Ming, the Qing identified their state as "China" (中國, Zhongguo; "Middle Kingdom"), and referred to it as "Dulimbai Gurun" in Manchu.[21][22][23] The Qing equated the lands of the Qing state (including present day Manchuria, Xinjiang, Mongolia, Tibet and other areas) as "China" in both the Chinese and Manchu languages, defining China as a multi ethnic state, rejecting the idea that China only meant Han areas, proclaiming that both Han and non-Han peoples were part of "China", using "China" to refer to the Qing in official documents, international treaties, and foreign affairs, and the "Chinese language" (Dulimbai gurun i bithe) referred to Chinese, Manchu, and Mongol languages, and the term "Chinese people" (中國人 Zhongguo ren; Manchu: Dulimbai gurun i niyalma) referred to all Han, Manchus, and Mongol subjects of the Qing. The lands in Manchuria were explicitly stated by the Qing to belong to "China" (Zhongguo, Dulimbai gurun) in Qing edicts and in the Treaty of Nerchinsk.[24]

"Manchuria" is a translation of the Japanese word Manshū, which dates from the 19th century. The name Manju (Manzhou) was invented and given to the Jurchen people by Hong Taiji in 1635 as a new name for their ethnic group, however, the name "Manchuria" was never used by the Manchus or the Qing dynasty itself to refer to their homeland. According to the Japanese scholar Junko Miyawaki-Okada, the Japanese geographer Takahashi Kageyasu was the first to use the term 满洲 (Manshū) as a place-name in 1809 in the Nippon Henkai Ryakuzu, and it was from that work where Westerners adopted the name.[25][26] According to Mark C. Elliott, Katsuragawa Hoshū's 1794 work, the "Hokusa bunryaku", was where 满洲 (Manshū) first appeared as a place name was in two maps included in the work, "Ashia zenzu" and "Chikyū hankyū sōzu" which were also created by Katsuragawa.[27] 满洲 (Manshū) then began to appear as a place names in more maps created by Japanese like Kondi Jūzō, Takahashi Kageyasu, Baba Sadayoshi and Yamada Ren, and these maps were brought to Europe by the Dutch Philipp von Siebold.[28] According to Nakami Tatsuo, Philip Franz von Siebold was the one who brought the usage of the term Manchuria to Europeans, after borrowing it from the Japanese, who were the first to use it in a geographic manner in the eighteenth century, while neither the Manchu nor Chinese languages had a term in their own language equivalent to "Manchuria" as a geographic place name.[29] According to Bill Sewell, it was Europeans who first started using Manchuria as a name to refer to the location and it is "not a genuine geographic term."[30] The historian Gavan McCormack agreed with Robert H. G. Lee's statement that "The term Manchuria or Man-chou is a modern creation used mainly by westerners and Japanese.", with McCormack writing that the term Manchuria is imperialistic in nature and has no "precise meaning", since the Japanese deliberately promoted the use of "Manchuria" as a geographic name to promote its separation from China while they were setting up their puppet state of Manchukuo.[31] The Japanese had their own motive for deliberately spreading the usage of the term Manchuria.[32] The historian Norman Smith wrote that "The term "Manchuria" is controversial".[33] Professor Mariko Asano Tamanoi said that she "should use the term in quotation marks", when referring to Manchuria.[34] Herbert Giles wrote that "Manchuria" was unknown to the Manchus themselves as a geographical expression.[35]

During the Qing dynasty, the area of Manchuria was known as the "three eastern provinces" (san dong sheng) 三東省 since 1683 when Jilin and Heilongjiang were separated even though it was not until 1907 that they were turned into actual provinces.[36] The area of Manchuria was then converted into three provinces by the late Qing government in 1907.

For decades the Manchu rulers tried to prevent large-scale immigration of Han Chinese, but they failed and the southern parts developed agricultural and social patterns similar to those of north China. Manchuria's population grew from about 1 million in 1750 to 5 million in 1850 and 14 million in 1900, largely because of the immigration of Chinese farmers. The Manchus became a small element in their homeland, although they retained political control until 1900.

The region was separated from China proper by the Inner Willow Palisade, a ditch and embankment planted with willows intended to restrict the movement of the Han Chinese into Manchuria during the Qing Dynasty, as the area was off-limits to the Han until the Qing started colonizing the area with them later on in the dynasty's rule. This movement of the Han Chinese to Manchuria is called Chuang Guandong. The Manchu area was still separated from modern-day Inner Mongolia by the Outer Willow Palisade, which kept the Manchu and the Mongols in the area separate.[37]

Han Chinese farmers were resettled from north China by the Qing to the area along the Liao River in order to restore the land to cultivation.[38] Wasteland was reclaimed by Han Chinese squatters in addition to other Han who rented land from Manchu landlords.[39] Despite officially prohibiting Han Chinese settlement on the Manchu and Mongol lands, by the 18th century the Qing decided to settle Han refugees from northern China who were suffering from famine, floods, and drought into Manchuria and Inner Mongolia so that Han Chinese farmed 500,000 hectares in Manchuria and tens of thousands of hectares in Inner Mongolia by the 1780s.[40] Qianlong allowed Han Chinese peasants suffering from drought to move into Manchuria despite him issuing edicts in favor of banning them from 1740-1776.[41] Chinese tenant farmers rented or even claimed title to land from the "imperial estates" and Manchu Bannerlands in the area.[42] Besides moving into the Liao area in southern Manchuria, the path linking Jinzhou, Fengtian, Tieling, Changchun, Hulun, and Ningguta was settled by Han Chinese during Qianlong Emperor's rule, and Han Chinese were the majority in urban areas of Manchuria by 1800.[43] To increase the Imperial Treasury's revenue, the Qing sold formerly Manchu only lands along the Sungari to Han Chinese at the beginning of the Daoguang Emperor's reign, and Han Chinese filled up most of Manchuria's towns by the 1840s according to Abbe Huc.[44]

The Russian conquest of Siberia was accompanied by massacres due to indigenous resistance to colonization by the Russian Cossacks, who savagely crushed the natives. At the hands of people like Vasilii Poyarkov in 1645 and Yerofei Khabarov in 1650 some peoples like the Daur were slaughtered by the Russians to the extent that it is considered genocide.[45] The Daurs initially deserted their villages since they heard about the cruelty of the Russians the first time Khabarov came.[46] The second time he came, the Daurs decided to do battle against the Russians instead but were slaughtered by Russian guns.[47] The indigenous peoples of the Amur region were attacked by Russians who came to be known as "red-beards".[48] The Russian Cossacks were named luocha (羅剎), after Demons found in Buddhist mythology, by the Amur natives because of their cruelty towards the Amur tribes people, who were subjects of the Qing.[49] The Russian proselytization of Orthodox Christianity to the indigenous peoples along the Amur River was viewed as a threat by the Qing.[50]

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

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

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

The Manza War in 1868 was the first attempt by Russia to expel Chinese from territory it controlled. Hostilities broke out around Vladivostok when the Russians tried to shut off gold mining operations and expel Chinese workers there.[51] The Chinese resisted a Russian attempt to take Askold Island and in response, 2 Russian military stations and 3 Russian towns were attacked by the Chinese, and the Russians failed to oust the Chinese.[52] However, the Russian finally managed it from them in 1892[53]

History after 1860[edit]

By the 19th century, Manchu rule had become increasingly sinicized and, along with other borderlands of the Qing Empire such as Mongolia and Tibet, came under the influence of Japan and the European powers as the Qing dynasty grew weaker and weaker.

Russian and Japanese encroachment[edit]

Picture of Manchurian Plague victims in 1910-1911

Inner Manchuria also came under strong Russian influence with the building of the Chinese Eastern Railway through Harbin to Vladivostok. Some poor Korean farmers moved there. In Chuang Guandong many Han farmers, mostly from Shandong peninsula moved there, attracted by cheap farmland that was ideal for growing soybeans.

During the Boxer Rebellion in 1899–1900, Russian soldiers killed ten-thousand Chinese (Manchu, Han Chinese and Daur people) living in Blagoveshchensk and Sixty-Four Villages East of the River.[54][55] In revenge, the Chinese Honghuzi conducted guerilla warfare against the Russian occupation of Manchuria and sided with Japan against Russia during the Russo-Japanese War.

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

From 1911 to 1931 Manchuria was nominally part of the Republic of China. In practice it was controlled by Japan, which worked through local warlords.

Japanese influence extended into Outer Manchuria in the wake of the Russian Revolution of 1917, but Outer Manchuria came under Soviet control by 1925. Japan took advantage of the disorder following the Russian Revolution to occupy Outer Manchuria, but Soviet successes and American economic pressure forced Japanese withdrawal.

In the 1920s Harbin was flooded with 100,000 to 200,000 Russian white émigrés fleeing from Russia. Harbin held the largest Russian population outside of the state of Russia.[56][57]

It was reported that among Banner people, both Manchu and Chinese (Hanjun) in Aihun, Heilongjiang in the 1920s, would seldom marry with Han civilians, but they (Manchu and Chinese Bannermen) would mostly intermarry with each other.[58] Owen Lattimore reported that during his January 1930 visit to Manchuria, he studied a community in Jilin (Kirin), where both Manchu and Chinese bannermen were settled at a town called Wulakai, and eventually the Chinese Bannermen there could not be differentiated from Manchus since they were effectively Manchufied. The Han civilian population was in the process of absorbing and mixing with them when Lattimore wrote his article.[59]

Manchuria was (and still is) an important region for its rich mineral and coal reserves, and its soil is perfect for soy and barley production. For Japan, Manchuria became an essential source of raw materials.[60]

1931 Japanese invasion and Manchukuo[edit]

Map of the Manchukuo state in 1939

Around the time of World War I, Zhang Zuolin, a former bandit (Honghuzi) established himself as a powerful warlord with influence over most of Manchuria. He was inclined to keep his Manchu army under his control and to keep Manchuria free of foreign influence. The Japanese tried and failed to assassinate him in 1916. They finally succeeded in June 1928[61]

Following the Mukden Incident in 1931 and the subsequent Japanese invasion of Manchuria, Inner Manchuria was proclaimed to be Manchukuo, a puppet state under the control of the Japanese army. The last Manchu emperor, Puyi, was then placed on the throne to lead a Japanese puppet government in the Wei Huang Gong, better known as "Puppet Emperor's Palace". Inner Manchuria was thus detached from China by Japan to create a buffer zone to defend Japan from Russia's Southing Strategy and, with Japanese investment and rich natural resources, became an industrial domination. Under Japanese control Manchuria was one of the most brutally run regions in the world, with a systematic campaign of terror and intimidation against the local Russian and Chinese populations including arrests, organised riots and other forms of subjugation.[62] The Japanese also began a campaign of emigration to Manchukuo; the Japanese population there rose from 240,000 in 1931 to 837,000 in 1939 (the Japanese had a plan to bring in 5 million Japanese settlers into Manchukuo).[63] Hundreds of Manchu farmers were evicted and their farms given to Japanese immigrant families.[64] Manchukuo was used as a base to invade the rest of China in 1937-40.

At the end of the 1930s, Manchuria was a trouble spot with Japan, clashing twice with the Soviet Union. These clashes - at Lake Khasan in 1938 and at Khalkhin Gol one year later - resulted in many Japanese casualties. The Soviet Union won these two battles and a peace agreement was signed. However, the regional unrest endured.[65]

After World War II[edit]

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

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

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

With the end of the Cold War, this boundary issue was discussed through negotiations. In 2004, Russia agreed to transfer Yinlong Island and one half of Heixiazi Island to China, ending an enduring border dispute. Both islands are found at the confluence of the Amur and Ussuri Rivers, and were until then administered by Russia and claimed by China. The event was meant to foster feelings of reconciliation and cooperation between the two countries by their leaders, but it has also provoked different degrees of dissent on both sides. Russians, especially Cossack farmers of Khabarovsk, who would lose their ploughlands on the islands, were unhappy about the apparent loss of territory. Meanwhile, some Chinese have criticised the treaty as an official acknowledgement of the legitimacy of Russian rule over Outer Manchuria, which was ceded by the Qing Dynasty to Imperial Russia under a series of Unequal Treaties, which included the Treaty of Aigun in 1858 and the Convention of Peking in 1860, in order to exchange exclusive usage of Russia's rich oil resources. The transfer was carried out on October 14, 2008.[66]

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Further reading[edit]