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Tuyuhun: A kingdom founded by Xianbei people in Qinghai that was nearly destroyed and lasted 400 years.

In Chinese history, some nomadic peoples took initiative to adopt and spread Han culture, which hastened integration of northern peoples. Xianbei, Khitan and Jurchen played such roles. Among them, Xianbei were first people to successfully enter Central Plains. The Yan, Liang, Northern Wei, and Northern Zhou, founded by them, pursued a policy of Sinicization that contributed to economic stability of north and laid foundation for unification of Sui and Tang dynasties. Tuyuhun, mentioned in this article, is also a country founded by Xianbei people, but it is not in Central Plains, but in Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

First, hard way to founding a country

The Tuyuhun Kingdom is named after its founder. Tuyuhun's full name is Murong Tuyuhun, which belongs to Murong Xianbei. During Western Jin Dynasty, Murong family migrated to Central Plains and later established Qianyang, Houyan, Xiyang, and Beiyang regimes. During wave of ethnic migration, Tuyuhun had some conflicts with his elder brother Murongsin, so he led 1,700 families under his control to move west and finally reached Hehuang Valley. Here they united with Xiongnu, Xiqiang and other ethnic groups, forming a new ethnic group.

Tuyuhun: A kingdom founded by Xianbei people in Qinghai that was nearly destroyed and lasted 400 years.

Migration route of Tuyukhun

After third-generation chief Ye Yang inherited throne, he established Mukechuan headquarters in Shazhou (Guinan County, Qinghai Province), appointed Sim, Changshi, and other officials, and took his grandfather Tuyuhun as his surname. originally founded kingdom of Tuyuhun. In later period of Sixteen Kingdoms period, Pixie, leader of fourth generation of Tuyuhun, received title of King of Bailan from Western Qin Dynasty that ruled Hexi. During Uhedi period, Tuyuhun was defeated by Qifu Gangui, ruler of the Western Qin Dynasty, Uhedi turned to Nanliang and nearly died.

Tuyuhun: A kingdom founded by Xianbei people in Qinghai that was nearly destroyed and lasted 400 years.

After that, Shu Luogan led thousands of remnants of Tuyuhun and fled to Mohechuan (now Tongdebagou, Qinghai), where he called himself governor, general of Cheqi, great shanyu, king of Tuyuhun, and Khan of Wuyin. , Restore kingdom. Western Qin could not allow Tuyuhun to rebuild country, so he continued to attack him, forcing Shu Luogan to surrender Bailan, and eventually fell ill and died.

In 418, Shuluo Gan's brother Jackal succeeded to throne as khan and began to stabilize situation. The jackal united Bindi and Qiang tribes in Qinghai region, expanded land thousands of miles, and became a powerful country in northwest. Subsequently, Tuyuhun and southern dynasties took Lunku (Song Fang) as their frontier and established good relations with southern dynasties. To find a waterway with southern dynasties, Tuyuhun once looked for source of Yangtze River. In 425, Ah Kai passed to his younger brother Mu Hui, who was canonized as Duke and King of Longxi by Liu Yilong, Emperor Wen of Song Dynasty.

Tuyuhun: A kingdom founded by Xianbei people in Qinghai that was nearly destroyed and lasted 400 years.

Tuyuhun Royal Family Tomb Discovered in Wuwei, Gansu

At this time, Northern Wei Dynasty rose rapidly, and all major separatist regimes in Central Plains were liquidated by it. In 431, Northern Wei dynasty pursued He Lianding, ruler of Great Xia, and He Liangding led his remaining troops to cross Yellow River to west and retreat to Liangzhou. When Mu Hui learned of this, he immediately led 30,000 cavalry to attack Heliandin on Yellow River and capture it. Mu Hui sent He Lianding to Northern Wei dynasty. Tuoba Tao was very happy and gave Mu Hui title of general and king of Western Qin. Tuyuhun also received lands of Jincheng (Lanzhou), Fanghan (Linxia) and Longxi counties. This was time when Tuyuhun was at its strongest.

Secondly, economy, system and culture of Tuyukhun.

The rise and fall of Tuyuhun is inseparable from development of Central Plains dynasty. When Central Plains were in chaos, Tuyuhun could gain space to develop, seize opportunity to occupy Hexi Corridor, and become prosperous through trade. Tuyuhun is a country that combines agriculture, animal husbandry and trade. Its Hehuang Valley is most suitable area for farming in Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It is root of Tuyuhun's elevation. The area around Hehuang Valley is rich in water and grass, which is suitable for development of animal husbandry, which makes animal husbandry very important in economy.

Many yaks, horses, mules... although there is a city wall, but they do not live in it, they always live in a dome, and live with water and grass... they are good at shooting and hunting, eat meat and cheese . I also know about agriculture, including barley, millet and beans. However, climate on northern frontier is very cold, and only turnips and barley can be obtained, so poor are many and rich few. —— “Northern History Biography of Tuyukhun”

Tuyuhun: A kingdom founded by Xianbei people in Qinghai that was nearly destroyed and lasted 400 years.

Hehuang Valley with plenty of water and grass

Because both agriculture and animal husbandry are underdeveloped, Tuyukhun's wealth is mainly related to business. The Book of Jin says: "There is no permanent tax in country, and if it is not paid, it will gather wealthy businessmen and stop it." Tibetan plateau, southern dynasties, northern dynasties, western regions and desert. An important bridge, transportation position is very important. Tuyuhun also took advantage of this advantage to start business with neighboring countries and gradually became prosperous. Tuyuhun was well aware of importance of trade for country, so he tried his best to maintain peace with his neighbors, and at same time accepted canonization of Northern and Southern dynasties.

Tuyuhun: A kingdom founded by Xianbei people in Qinghai that was nearly destroyed and lasted 400 years.

Cultural relics found from Tuyuhun Tomb in Qinghai

There are two important trade resources in Tuyukhun: horses and smelters. Tuyuhun produced good horses such as dragon species and Qinghai Kong, which were strategic military resources needed by both Northern and Southern Dynasties. The Qinghai Kong is a hybrid of Persian horses and local native horses. They are said to cover thousands of miles a day. The Qinghai region produces more gold, copper and iron, so metal smelting is more developed. Tuyuhun relied on these advantages in trade with neighboring countries. Prior to 553, Western Wei dynasty attacked Tuyuhun caravan and "captured 240 merchants, 600 camels and mules, and tens of thousands of colorful silks", an indication of its size. In 1956, archaeologists discovered as many as 76 silver coins from the Persian Sassanian Balus period in Xining.

Tuyuhun: A kingdom founded by Xianbei people in Qinghai that was nearly destroyed and lasted 400 years.

Persian coins found in Qinghai

Although Tuyuhun was a nomadic country, its political system was largely created by mimicking system of Central Plains. The early leader Tuyuhun proclaimed himself king and later became khan under influence of Turks. Tuyuhun's early official names were mostly borrowed from Wei and Jin dynasties, and there were official titles such as Sima, Doctor, Minister, and Biejia. Later, they imitated Northern and Southern dynasties, as well as Sui and Tang dynasties, and there were official titles. titles such as Prince, Prime Minister, Poshe, Shangshu, and Lanzhong.

Tuyuhun: A kingdom founded by Xianbei people in Qinghai that was nearly destroyed and lasted 400 years.

The "Tsushima Brocade" silk fabric discovered in ancient tomb of Dulan was made by Persians

In terms of customs and habits, there is not much difference between Tuyuhun and other nomadic peoples. Religiously, early Tuyuhun people professed shamanism, a primitive religion, and then, under influence of surrounding ethnic groups, gradually converted to Buddhism. One day, Tuyuhun sent envoys to ask Emperor Liang Wu for Buddhist scriptures and statues, and received Nirvana Sutra, Prajna, Jin Guangming Lectures, and so on. The spread of Buddhism in Tuyukhun had a great influence on subsequent penetration of Buddhism into Tibet. In terms of language, Tuyuhun people use both Xianbei and Chinese. Since Xianbei people do not have a written language, Chinese characters are official language.

Thirdly, decline of Tuyukhun

Tuyuhun's prosperity is inseparable from Hexi Corridor, and its decline is associated with Hexi Corridor. Because existence of Tuyuhun would always threaten international channel of Hexi Corridor, Central Plains dynasties wanted to destroy Tuyuhun quickly. First, Western Qin nearly destroyed Tuyuhun, and then Northern Wei dynasty unified north.

In 439, Tuoba Tao destroyed Beiliang, marking formal unification of north. Tuyuhun felt that something was wrong, so he withdrew deeper into Qinghai. Indeed, in 444 Tuoba Tao conquered Tuyuhun, took Leda, Fanhan and other places, and Mu Liyan, king of Tuyuhun, retreated to Bailan. Tuoba Tao did not want to stop there, so he continued to advance towards Qinghai, and Mu Liyan was forced to cross Altun Mountain and reach Khotan region. After Tuoba Tao withdrew his army, Mu Liyan returned to Qinghai. Although this national disaster caused Tuyuhun to lose Hexi Corridor, it gained Shanshan and Qiemo, and territory expanded to "two thousand miles from east to west and more than a thousand miles from north to south."

Tuyuhun: A kingdom founded by Xianbei people in Qinghai that was nearly destroyed and lasted 400 years.

Tuyukhun District

The Northern Wei Dynasty attacked Tuyuhun, causing Tuyuhun to fall to Southern Dynasty and be named "Kingdom of Henan". Tuyuhun has since been renamed "Kingdom of Henan". At end of Northern Wei Dynasty, there was a major rebellion in Guanlong, and Tuyuhun took opportunity to advance towards Hexi Corridor, restoring national strength to prosperity. In 530, Kvalu inherited throne and began to call himself Khan, with capital in Fucheng (Republic of Qinghai). This was heyday of Tuyuhun.

Tuyuhun: A kingdom founded by Xianbei people in Qinghai that was nearly destroyed and lasted 400 years.

Fucheng City Ruins

But good times don't last long. After fall of Northern Wei Dynasty, Gao clan and Yuwen clan confronted each other, and Gao Huan married Tuyuhun, hoping to use Tuyuhun to contain Yuwentai. Since then, Tuyuhun became an adversary of Northern Zhou Dynasty, and two countries confronted each other for a long time in Hexi Corridor. In 550, Türkic Khanate arose. Having completed hegemony of north and south of desert and Western regions, Turks tried to eradicate Tuyuhun and completely take over Western regions. In 556, Turkic Mugan Khan and Northern Zhou dynasty jointly attacked Tuyuhun. Tuyuhun suffered a blow that nearly destroyed country, was forced to join Northern Zhou Dynasty, and never recovered.

Subsequently, during Turkic Civil War, Tuyuhun regained some of his national power and again began to invade border fortress of Sui Dynasty. During reign of Emperor Yang of Sui Dynasty, Tuyuhong was in strife, and father and son attacked each other, leading to decline. In 608, Sui dynasty attacked Tuyuhun, occupying almost entire territory, and established four prefectures of Xihai, Heyuan, Qemo, and Shanshan. However, Sui Dynasty only controlled Heyuan County, and officials sent by Emperor Sui Yang to other counties were unable to move forward after reaching Xiping (Xining), showing that Tuyuhun returned soon after. Soon Sui dynasty was in turmoil, and Tuyuhun not only restored entire country, but also captured some counties of Sui dynasty.

Tuyuhun: A kingdom founded by Xianbei people in Qinghai that was nearly destroyed and lasted 400 years.

Print script: "Epitaph to late Murong Mansion of Great Zhou Dynasty"

After founding of Tang Dynasty, Tuyuhun was still invading frontier, so Tang Dynasty also decided to destroy Tuyuhun. In 434, Tang Dynasty sent troops to Tuyuhun for first time and won a great victory. Tuyuhun later invaded Liangzhou again and Tang Taizong sent Li Jing, Hou Junji, Li Daozong, Li Dalian, Li Daoyan, Gao Zengsheng, Qibi Heli (Turks) and others to attack Tuyuhun, causing Tuyuhun to become a vassal state. Tang dynasty.

Tuyuhun: A kingdom founded by Xianbei people in Qinghai that was nearly destroyed and lasted 400 years.

Tuyuhun has finally become land of Tubo. In 663, Tubo entered Qinghai and completely destroyed Tuyuhun kingdom. After that, Tang Dynasty sent troops to Qinghai to fight Tubo and suffered major defeats in Dafeichuan and other battles. Seeing collapse of Tang Dynasty, Tuyuhun tribe did not dare to return to Qinghai, so they moved to live in Hexi and Longxi Corridor. The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period also saw emergence of generals such as Li Jinquan, Li Xien, and Murong Yanchao. The Tuyuhun people who eventually migrated to hinterland integrated into Qiang or Han people.

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