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The Manchu Race

Abstract

THE origin of the Manchus—the race to which the reigning dynasty in China belongs—is discussed by a writer in the North China Herald, of Shanghai. He says that the Tungus people are scattered about in Siberia and Manchuria in rather small communities of several hundreds or thousands each. In 1854 there were about thirty-five or forty thousand persons altogether in Siberia belonging to this race. Being hunters and fishers they find it best to live on the banks of rivers and on the seaside for fishing, and in wooded hill countries for hunting. They are met with, consequently, on the shores of the Baikal, and on the upper waters of the Lena, which rises among the mountains west of that inland sea. These few colonies of this race are under the jurisdiction of Irkutsk. Still farther west there are a tribe or two on the Yenissei. Those on the Lena are near the part where the mammoth and other wild animals formerly had their haunts. The frozen remains of these ancient creatures are found chiefly at the mouth of the Lena, which flows north to the Arctic Sea through about twenty degrees of latitude from the neighbourhood of Baikal. On the east of the Baikal, Nerchinsk and the banks of the Orchon and Onon Rivers are preferred by this people, who are irregularly scattered among the Buriat tribes in this part of Siberia. In the Amur territory of Russia they occupy parts of the sea coast, and are known as the Orotches and Goldi. It is because the salmon and other fish that they live on are found in abundance that they here build their movable huts. In the Russian Amur province there are about forty thousand of them, representing an ancient race which, as their language, joined with the facts of Chinese history, shows, must have occupied these same territories and prosecuted these occupations for thousands of years. In Kirin province there are, it is likely, a corresponding number, for the trade with China always demands sable skins, otter skins, squirrel skins, beavers, ermines, and fox skins in an ever increasing quantity. It is this demand for skins that maintains the tribes in the north part of Kirin province residing on the banks of the Usuri and other streams which flow north into the Amur.

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The Manchu Race. Nature 45, 523–524 (1892). https://doi.org/10.1038/045523a0

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