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Where did the original Han People come from?


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#1 Intranetusa

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 12:46 AM

Where did the original Han-People come from?

I was under the impression that the Han people came from the Yellow River Valley (since the Xia Dynasty and the first states were
based around the Yellow River).

However, I'm currently in a tense argument with a person in Armchairgeneral history forums who says that the Han came from the Yangtze River, or more specifically, the Han came from the Han River (tributary of the Yangtze). He claims that the Han people and Han Dynasty got their name from the Han river because they originated from the river.

thanks
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#2 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 01:12 AM

Where did the original Han-People come from?

I was under the impression that the Han people came from the Yellow River Valley (since the Xia Dynasty and the first states were
based around the Yellow River).


Before you try to find out where the "han people" 汉人 come from, firstly you got to understand that "han people" did not even exist before Han dynasty. The han dynasty simply called the people within its Han Empire the "han people", who then later descended into today's Han-Chinese.

Before Han dynasty, there were different names attached to Chinese living in China. The Chinese were first called "Xia people" 夏族, but by Spring/Autumn period, the people living in central plain of China were called "Huaxia" people 华夏族 (literally means "the civilized Xia people"). Thus, technically speaking, han people were simply the descendants of the Huaxia people.

The cradle of Chinese civilization started from Yellow river, where the Xia people (or Xia tribes) 夏族 dwelled.


However, I'm currently in a tense argument with a person in Armchairgeneral history forums who says that the Han came from the Yangtze River, or more specifically, the Han came from the Han River (tributary of the Yangtze). He claims that the Han people and Han Dynasty got their name from the Han river because they originated from the river.
thanks


No, the name of "han 汉" for Han people originated from the historical fact when Liu Bang 刘邦 (founder of Han dynasty) was made the king of Han (Han Wang 汉王) in 206 BC after the collapse of Qin dynasty. After Qin dynasty collapsed, there was a battle between Liu bang and Xiang Yu who fought for control of China. In the beginning, Liu Bang's forces was weaker, so he accepted Xiang Yu's conferment to be a king of Han to rule the region of Han Zhong 汉中. The reason why he was called "King of Han" was because of the region of "Han Zhong 汉中" (literally means "central of Han"). That's how the name "han" came about.

After Liu Bang defeated Xiang Yu, he used the name of his kingdom as the name of the new dynasty and called it "Han dynasty". From then on, the people living within the Empire of Han came to be known as the Han people.

Han people were descended from different groups of Huaxia people living within the domains of Han Empire.
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#3 qrasy

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 01:20 AM

I see a similar "problem" with the "which country is the oldest" thread - similar dependencies.
It depends on what time the ancestors should qualify to be called as "Han". Of course Africa won't be considered, but how about "Proto-Mongoloid"?

The label "Han dynasty" indeed came from Han river - but it's been the name of Liu Bang's state since before he unified the entire China.
After he unified the entire China, the name remained but the territories (and peoples) were obviously different.

I guess, even at that time the name "Han people" had not yet been really used to refer to themselves - it was used more during or after the "Hu peoples' dynasties" during Age of Fragmentation - perhaps from how the Hu liked to call their new subjects.

Edited by qrasy, 26 April 2010 - 01:22 AM.

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#4 xng

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 03:50 AM

I was under the impression that the Han people came from the Yellow River Valley (since the Xia Dynasty and the first states were
based around the Yellow River).


Regardless of whether you call them Han or Hua people, the earliest ancestors of today's Han chinese came from the Yellow River.

Look at the xia dynasty map.

http://en.wikipedia....Xia_dynasty.svg

Before they went to the Yellow River, they came from the Kunlun mountains and share the same ancestors as the Tibetans.

#5 Intranetusa

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Posted 26 April 2010 - 06:17 PM

Thanks, this is what I thought as well. I just needed confirmation to be sure.
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#6 Jaak

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 02:16 PM

Before they went to the Yellow River, they came from the Kunlun mountains and share the same ancestors as the Tibetans.


How is it known?

It is clear from language that Chinese are (remotely) related to Tibetans and Burmans. But did Chinese come from Kunlun mountains down to Yellow River valley (and if yes, who lived there before?)? Or did, conversely, the Tibetans go up from Yellow River valley? Is it known which way it happened, and when?

#7 Houyi

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Posted 27 April 2010 - 02:32 PM

How is it known?

It is clear from language that Chinese are (remotely) related to Tibetans and Burmans. But did Chinese come from Kunlun mountains down to Yellow River valley (and if yes, who lived there before?)? Or did, conversely, the Tibetans go up from Yellow River valley? Is it known which way it happened, and when?

I would like to know what evidence are there to support this theory as well.

#8 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 08:34 AM

Linguistically, the Chinese languages (Sino-languages) and Tibetan languages are often classified under the same language family called "Sino-Tibetan" languages. Does that mean the Chinese and Tibetans all originated from the same place of origin?
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#9 xng

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:01 AM

Or did, conversely, the Tibetans go up from Yellow River valley? Is it known which way it happened, and when?



Please note that most of the Earth was sparsely inhabited more than 6000 years ago, so it won't be surprising if the yellow river could have been devoid of any humans at that time.

Kunlun mountain lies to the center of both early Han chinese and early Tibetans. The Han chinese migrated to the east while the Tibetans migrated to the south.

Let us look at migration theories, ancient people usually migrate to areas where there are plenty of water and fertile land and not the other way around. Why would the Tibetans go up to the Tibetan mountains from Yellow River when it is less fertile ?

If you look at the map of Kunlun mountain and surroundings.

http://www.freeworld.../china/map.html

There are 4 directions to migrate from Kunlun Mountain

1. East

Yellow river which is fertile arable land. This area is much better than Kunlun mountain to live.

2. South

Tibet's environment is similar to Kunlun but at least there are more grasses to roam and sheeps to rear.

3. North

Takla Makan Desert is too hostile for any ancient humans to live in. Even now, it is a very hostile place to live.

4. West

No comments ..

Edited by xng, 28 April 2010 - 09:24 AM.


#10 xng

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:11 AM

Linguistically, the Chinese languages (Sino-languages) and Tibetan languages are often classified under the same language family called "Sino-Tibetan" languages. Does that mean the Chinese and Tibetans all originated from the same place of origin?


If the languages spoken is their true ancestral mother tongue and not adopted tongue, then the answer is yes.

Languages within the same language family share common basic words (not exactly the same but similar sounds) and grammar which suggest that they once were the same language many thousand years ago.

From my research, this is not true for Burmese, as burmese is an adopted language for the mon-khmer natives in Myanmar. That's why they look different from Sino-Tibetans.

Edited by xng, 28 April 2010 - 09:25 AM.


#11 xng

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 09:22 AM

Thanks, this is what I thought as well. I just needed confirmation to be sure.


http://www.tibettrip...untain-pass.htm

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#12 Houyi

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Posted 28 April 2010 - 10:48 AM

Linguistically, the Chinese languages (Sino-languages) and Tibetan languages are often classified under the same language family called "Sino-Tibetan" languages. Does that mean the Chinese and Tibetans all originated from the same place of origin?

Besides xng's point about depending on whether the language is adopted or not, linguistic families are known to change as linguists become less ignorant.

#13 xng

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 03:48 AM

Besides xng's point about depending on whether the language is adopted or not, linguistic families are known to change as linguists become less ignorant.


True. But I doubt this would happen in the Sino-Tibetan case or else the whole language family will have to change the name to Sino only.

Tai-Kadai used to be part of Sino Tibetan before linguists became 'less ignorant' but Tibetan still remains.

#14 Jaak

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 10:03 AM

Please note that most of the Earth was sparsely inhabited more than 6000 years ago,

Sparsely only by comparison with present time.

so it won't be surprising if the yellow river could have been devoid of any humans at that time.

It would be very surprising.

ancient people usually migrate to areas where there are plenty of water and fertile land and not the other way around.

How so?

Why would the Tibetans go up to the Tibetan mountains from Yellow River when it is less fertile ?

If you look at the map of Kunlun mountain and surroundings.

http://www.freeworld.../china/map.html

There are 4 directions to migrate from Kunlun Mountain

1. East

Yellow river which is fertile arable land. This area is much better than Kunlun mountain to live.

Why did Chinese migrate to Manchuria? It is cold, and rather unpleasant place to live compared to the warm China Proper?

Because, in 19th century, the people already in Manchuria were few in number and did not much resist Chinese going there. Eventually, the Manchus disappeared. They were not killed - they simply adopted the culture and language of the incoming Chinese.

Note that the migrations went both ways. In 17th century, Manchus migrated to China, because China had plenty of fertile land. In 19th century, Chinese migrated to Manchuria because, although the land was infertile, there were few locals in Manchuria.

But the end result was that both China and Manchuria ended up speaking Chinese and not Manchu.

#15 mrclub

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Posted 29 April 2010 - 07:45 PM

I believe they came from Central Plains, where Yellow River and Yangtze River is
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