Haixi Jurchens

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The Haixi Jurchens (Chinese: 海西女真) were a grouping of the Jurchens as identified by the Chinese of the Ming dynasty. They inhabited an area that consists of parts of modern-day Jilin, Heilongjiang, Liaoning and Inner Mongolia in China.


Haixi Jurchens is a name used by Han Chinese dynasties to denote this specific group of Tungusic people. In the records of other Jurchens, they are called "Hūlun gurun" which means The country or land of Hulun. The four powerful clans that dominated this tribe are called "Four Huluns" which is consisted of Ula, Hoifa, Hada, and Yehe.

The Haixi Jurchens was one of the three nomadic Jurchen tribes that was living on the northern border of Ming dynasty China. The other two Jurchens are Jianzhou Jurchens and Wild Jurchens respectively. Although the contemporary use of the word "Manchu" include the Haixi and Wild Jurchens, these two tribes are not originally called Manchus since the word "Manchu" or "Manju" was the indigenous name of the Jianzhou Jurchens only.


The Haixi Jurchens appeared on the northern border of Ming China in the 1520s.[1] Wangji Wailan, chieftain of the Hada clan obtained a peerage title from the Ming dynasty and became a vassal under the Chinese polity.[1] Wanji Wailan's nephew Wan expanded the territories under his control and proclaimed himself a Khan. He established his seat in Hetu Ala and was also referred as the "Ningguta Beile”.[1] The Haixi Jurchens sided with Ming dynasty throughout the rule of Wan. When Wanggao, chieftain of the Jianzhou Jurchens started a rebellion against the Ming China, the Haixi Jurchens actively participated in the repression of Wanggao's rebellion. After Wanggao was captured and executed, China rewarded the Haixi Jurchens greatly.

At the early stages of the rise of Qing empire, the Haixi Jurchens played an important and antagonistic role. The Jianzhou Jurchens which later become the ruler of Qing China had bitter relationships with the Haixi Jurchens. Eventually, the Hada clan were defeated by the Jianzhou Jurchens in the year of 1601 marking the end of its independence. Another notable clan Yehe resisted the Jianzhou Jurchens longer with failed attempts of seeking alliance with Ming dynasty (Since both Haixi and Ming are decisively defeated by Jianzhou and were not able to even up the odds). In 1619, Jianzhou Chieftain Nurhaci besieged the seat of Haixi Chieftain Gintaisi. Gintaisi died during the siege while leaving a famous curse "Even if there is only one daughter left in my clan, I will overthrow the Manchus!".[2] The curse was arguably fulfilled by his direct descendant, Empress Dowager Cixi, who usurped power from the house of Aisin-gioro and became the de facto ruler of China.

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  1. ^ a b c Draft History of Qing,Book 223
  2. ^ 《崇陵傳信錄》:「天命朝,大兵定葉赫,頗行威戮,男丁罕免者。部長布揚古臨沒憤言曰:『吾子孫雖存一女子,亦必覆滿洲!』以此祖制宮闈不選葉赫氏。」

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