Chinese historians during Qin/Han period have collectively called the nomadic people of the north as "Hu 胡" people (such as XiongNu, Qiang, Jie, Xianbei, Wuhuan etc.), while the 'uncivilized' people of the south as "Yue" people. During Han Wudi's period, he led a conquest of what's today Guangdong and Fujian province, and northern Vietnam, where a large population of "Yue" people dwelled. This occurred roughly around 130 BC (uhmm.. not sure the exact date). Because there were many groups within the "Yue" people, there were also called "Bai Yue" 百越, which means "hundred Yue"
I've already posted an article at
History of Yue People
Basically, during the spring/autumn and warring states period times, the people that dwelled in the southern region of what's called "Zhejiang", "Fujian", "Guangdong" provinces today and northern part of "Vietnam" are called "Yue" people. The Yue people are quite diverse and have many clans and tribal federation. The Yue people are considered by the civilized chinese of the central plain (中原) as uncivilized and therefore barbaric. Because of so many clans and tribes, the Yue people are also called the "Hundred Yue or Baiyue" (百越).
During the Spring/Autumn period, among the Yue people, the tribes that are more advanced and civilized will have to include the "Yue" (越) clan and " Gou Wu" (句吴) clan. During those times, they dwelled in the region of the lake Tai. The Yue clan founded the Yue state (in today's Zhejiang province region) while the Gou Wu established the Wu state (in today's Jiangsu province region). Later, the Wu state defeated the Yue state and the king of Yue, "Gou Jian" (勾践) had to rear horses for the king of Wu, "Fu Chai" (夫差). However, the king of Yue later gained trust from the king of Wu and he was allowed to return to Yue kingdom. Legend had it that after he returned to Yue kingdom, he worked very hard to make his kingdom strong. Finally after 10 years of hardwork, he finally defeated the Wu state. However, by the late Warring states period, the Kingdom of Yue was conquered by the Chu kingdom (one of the 7 strong states during the warring states period).
Although the Yue kingdom was conquered by the chu kingdom, the Yue people survived. The Yue people of former yue state and Wu state intermixed with the Hua Xia people (ancestors of Han-chinese) . After the warring states period, the "hundred Yue' term began to become popular. During the Western Han period, the people of the south were officially called "Hundred Yue". The "Yue" (越) could also referred to another Yue "粤" (which means "cantonese").
During the early Han dynasty period, the "Hundred Yue" were divided into "Eastern Ou" (东瓯), "Min Yue" (闽越), "Southern Yue" (南越), "Western Ou" (西瓯), "Luo Yue" (骆越) etc, main groups.
1. "Eastern Ou" (东瓯) - also known as "Ou Yue" (瓯越). They dwelled in the region of previous Yue and Wu state. (today's Zhejiang Wenzhou region)
2. "Min Yue" (闽越) - also within the region of previous Yue state (today's Fujiang province) - these were the ancestors of the "Min" chinese people today (who speaks Hokkien dialect)
3. "Southern Yue" (南越) - within the region of today's Guangdong province, later developed into the region of Guangxi province and its south part. They were the ancestors of cantonese today.
4. "Western Ou" (西瓯) - within the region of today's western part of Guangdong province and southern part of Guangxi province
5. "Luo Yue" (骆越) - today's north Vietnam region. The ancient Luo Yue people were the direct ancestors of today's Vietnamese. Today's vietnam in chinese is called "Yue Nan" (越南), which means south of Yue.
The above Yue people were all conquered by Emperor Han Wudi during his military expansion campaign of the south and after that, these regions in the south became part of the Han provinces. After this conquest, the term "Hundred Yue" disappeared from the history records of the chinese. Some of the Yue people were sinificised and mixed with the Han-chinese. Some of the Yue people became the ancestors of today's "Gao Shan" ethnic
(高山族) in Taiwan. Another Yue faction became today's "Dai" ethnic (傣族) in southern China. Others became today's "Zhuang" ethnic (壮族), "Bu Yi" ethnic (布依族), "Tong" ethnic (侗族), "Shui" ethnic (水族) in Southern China.
Basically, today's "Zhuang" ethnic (壮族) and "Tong" ethnic (侗族) in South China were related to the polynesian people in south-east asia.
It is thus important to note that Yue was a generic term to referred to barbarian people of the south during warring states.
Now, if someone can point to me the detail history of their migration, their mixing and their sinification, I would be very glad.
Edited by Yun, 05 January 2006 - 04:41 AM.