Outer Manchuria (known as "外滿洲" in Chinese; Приаму́рье Priamurye in Russian) is an unofficial term for the territory formerly claimed by the Qing Empire and now belonging to Russia. Russia officially received this territory by way of the Treaty of Aigun in 1858 and the Treaty of Peking in 1860. The northern part of the area was also in dispute between 1643 and 1689. The area comprises the present-day Russian areas of Primorsky Krai, southern Khabarovsk Krai, the Jewish Autonomous Oblast and Amur Oblast. Another Chinese claim also adds the island of Sakhalin. Currently, the People's Republic of China has no claim to this territory.
According to the Treaty of Nerchinsk in 1689, the China–Russia border was the Stanovoy Mountains and the Argun River, which established Outer Manchuria as a part of Qing dynasty China. After losing the Opium War, a series of treaties were forced upon the Qing dynasty that gave away land and ports to the European powers; these were known as the Unequal Treaties. Starting with the Treaty of Aigun in 1858 and the Treaty of Peking in 1860, the Sino–Russian border was realigned in Russia's favor on the Amur and Ussuri rivers. As a result, China lost Outer Manchuria, as well as access to the Sea of Japan.
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The term "Outer Manchuria" and its counterpart "Inner Manchuria", by analogy of Outer and Inner Mongolia, was invented to prove Chinese claims to Russian territory and never used in scientific literature. Commonly accepted terms are "Manchuria" for the area now belonging to People's Republic of China, with "Northern Manchuria" and "Southern Manchuria" as its parts. The critics of this analogy, however, suggest though Mongols under the Qing Empire were a recognized ethnic group, 'Manchus' were an ethnic group constructed by Nurhaci in the early 17th century, mainly for the purposes of military conquest in China; according to this view, there were no Manchus north of the Nen River and the Songhua River, so that region cannot properly be called "Outer Manchuria" and the term from this perspective is considered to be a neologism. However, the native population of Outer Manchuria were southern Tungus speakers, closely related to the Manchu and certainly no more different from them nor each other than the differences found between the various Mongol groups, [clarify] The only exception was the non-Tungus Gilyak (Nivkh) who inhabit the lowest reaches of the Amur and the island of Sakhalin.
Today there still exist certain reminders of the ancient Manchu domination in English-language toponyms: for example the Sikhote-Alin, the great coastal range; the Khanka Lake; Amur and Ussuri Rivers; Yam Alin; Miao-Shan Alin; Il-Kuri Alin[clarification needed]; the Greater Khingan, Lesser Khingan and others small ranges and the Shantar coastal archipelago. Evenks, speaking a closely related language, comprise a significant part of the indigenous population.
Different ancient nations lived in this area. The original inhabitants apparently were the Mohe and other Tungus tribes. Other entities occupying parts of this area include the ancient mixed Mohe and proto-Korean kingdoms of Goguryeo and Balhae, whose territories extended from the northern Korean peninsula to the southern and central parts of inner and outer Manchuria.
According to the Treaty of Nerchinsk in 1689, the Manchu-Russian border was the Argun River and the Stanovoy Mountains until the Pacific coast. This latter was defined differently in the three versions of the Treaty, viz. Latin, Russian and Manchu. The eastern end of the boundary was generally held to be the Uda river, so leaving Outer Manchuria to China. However, Outer Manchuria was ceded by the Qing dynasty to Russia in the Treaty of Aigun of 1858 and the Treaty of Peking of 1860. A small region to the north of the Amur known as the Sixty-Four Villages, east of the Heilongjiang river, was kept by the Qing Empire according to the Treaty of Aigun, but invaded and annexed by Russia in 1900. Outer Manchuria formed part of the Far Eastern provinces of the USSR and was used as the launch-pad for the Soviet assault on Japanese occupied Inner Manchuria in 1945. During the Chinese Civil War, Chinese communist forces began the war with large amounts of Inner Manchuria already in their hands; in 1949 the victorious communists established the People's Republic of China.
In 2004, Russia agreed to transfer Yinlong Island as well as one half of Heixiazi Island (zh:黑瞎子岛) to China, ending a long-standing border dispute between Russia and China. Both islands are found at the confluence of the Amur and Ussuri Rivers, and were until then administered by Russia and claimed by China. The event was meant to foster feelings of reconciliation and cooperation between the two countries by their leaders, but it has also sparked different degrees of discontents on both sides. Russians, especially Cossack farmers of Khabarovsk who would lose their plowlands on the islands, were unhappy about the apparent loss of territory. The transfer has been ratified by both the Chinese National People's Congress and the Russian State Duma. The official transfer ceremony was held on-site 14 October 2008.
Outer Manchuria is regarded by some Manchu, and for that matter Han Chinese, as territory that was unfairly taken away. However, outstanding boundary issues between China and Russia have been officially settled. Article 6 of the 2001 Sino-Russian Treaty of Friendship provides that the contracting parties- the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation- have no territorial claims.
As the Republic of China, now based in Taiwan, has never recognized the People's Republic of China or its border treaties with other countries, some Chinese maps published in Taiwan still consider the entire Heixiazi Island and the Sixty-Four Villages East of the Heilongjiang River to be Chinese territories. However, these maps show Outer Manchuria, sometimes called "lost territories in the Northeast (China)" (東北失地), to be Russian territory.
- Hulun (Manchuria)
- Outer Mongolia
- Northwest China#Outer Northwest China
- 1991 Sino-Russian Border Agreement
- Fletcher, Joseph. "Sino-Russian Relations, 1800-62: The loss of north-east Manchuria". In Fairbank, John K. The Cambridge History of China 10. Cambridge University Press. pp. 332–351.