Generally speaking, territory of China consists of two parts: one part is nomadic civilization area north of Great Wall, and other part is agricultural civilization area south of Great Wall. Throughout ancient history of world, struggle between nomads and agricultural peoples has never stopped. However, when nomadic people entered agricultural areas, they were assimilated into agricultural civilization after some time and became farmers. However, it is difficult for farmers to go deep into nomadic areas to manage nomads. Therefore, how to manage nomadic areas has become a difficult problem in world history. The same is true in China, but fortunately, after more than 2,000 years of experience and lessons, China finally formed most perfect method of government in Qing Dynasty.1. The strategy of protecting Qin and Han dynasties from Xiongnu
Although Monan and Mobay are deserts, their natural conditions are very different. The Monan area is located in south of Yinshan and Gobi, so it has a natural barrier with Mobei area. The Hetao Plain is fertile and fertile for thousands of miles, with lush water and grass, and Yellow River flows through it. It is very suitable for nomads or agriculture. After nomads occupied Monan, they could enter directly into Guanzhong, Shanxi and other places; after Central Plains agricultural dynasty occupied area, they were able to farm and build Great Wall, turning place into a frontier against nomads heading south.
During Warring States period, Huns rebelled. Zhao Guo immigrated, farmed, and built Great Wall of China in Hetao region. The Qin Dynasty after Warring States period also followed same policy. During Qin and Han dynasties, Xiongnu became powerful and occupied Monan again, so Central Plains were repeatedly invaded. The first step in counteroffensive against Xiongnu during reign of Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty was return of Monan and reimplementation of defensive policies of Zhao and Qin. Of course, after Central Plains Dynasty occupied this place, they could retreat and defend, as well as advance and attack. But it's very dangerous for general to go straight to Mobay. The nomads are constantly on move, and army of Central Plains Dynasty must strive for a decisive battle when it sends troops, otherwise it will retreat due to supply difficulties. Fortunately, main strength of Huns was revealed in several decisive battles during reign of Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty, otherwise consequences would have been unimaginable.
Map of Ancient Great Wall
In this regard, Central Plains Dynasty adopted method of "using barbarians to rule barbarians", that is, to unite and divide nomadic peoples. Nomads better understand habits of nomads, so they can check each other. During reign of Emperor Wudi of Han Dynasty, Zhang Qian was sent as an envoy to Western Regions, whose goal was to unite nomads in Western Regions to fight Xiongnu. Later, Wusun state, most powerful country in western regions, made an alliance with Han Dynasty. In addition, Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty also launched Battle of Hexi, which severed link between Xiongnu and Western Qiang and defeated Wuhuan and other nomadic peoples to east of Xiongnu. Thus, Han Dynasty created enemies around Xiongnu.
Map of Zhang Qian's mission to Western Regions
Besides, internal division is also a major policy of Han Dynasty. The Xiongnu had feuds after Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty and gradually split into Southern Huns and Northern Huns. The Han Dynasty befriended Southern Huns and forced them to live in Monan area to help Han Dynasty deal with Northern Huns. Thus, threat of Huns naturally disappeared. During Eastern Han Dynasty, nomadic peoples around Northern Huns such as Dingling, Xianbei, and Wuhuan attacked Northern Huns, causing them to collapse, fail to gain a foothold in Mobei, and finally move west.
Zhaojun leavesSecond, shortcomings and failures of "using barbarians to control barbarians."
These defensive measures of Han Dynasty served as a guide for central dynasties of past dynasties, but they also caused great problems. These nomadic peoples, set up by Han Dynasty on frontiers, only surrendered to Han Dynasty. The Han Dynasty did not organize and manage them, did not educate them and did not teach them how to cultivate agriculture. This is necessary to preserve their nomadic nature. But chaos reigns in Central Plains, and they will again go south, constantly invading. And some warlords in Central Plains will want to forge an alliance with them, relying on their elite cavalry to fight other warlords.
During Wei and Jin dynasties, these nomadic peoples entered Central Plains one by one. However, Western Jin government not only failed to educate and rule them, but also pandered to local officials by deceiving and oppressing them, which aggravated ethnic conflicts and finally provoked Yongjia change and fall of Western Jin dynasty. Since then, "five random chinas" have appeared in north. In fact, Wuhu Luanhua was not caused by a foreign invasion, but by class tensions within Western Jin Dynasty. Therefore, most of these ethnic groups did not invade Central Plains, but migrated to Central Plains long ago.
Five Geese move south
After that, Northern Wei Dynasty, founded by Xianbei people, united Yellow River basin and carried out rapid Sinicization. From Northern Wei Dynasty to Tang Dynasty, this is stage of China's development, and this stage is stage created by Xianbei people. After Xianbei people entered Central Plains, they created well system, rent modulation, government soldier system, etc. These systems were passed on to late Tang Dynasty. The complete sinicization of Xianbei people means that Xianbei people quickly learned to use traditional methods of Central Plains Dynasty to fight Rouran and other ethnic groups in desert. The Northern Wei Dynasty founded six cities in Hetao region and built Great Wall of China on a large scale. These are traditional ways.
Move capital to Luoyang
During Sui and Tang Dynasties, Central Plains Dynasty made some progress in governing northern nomadic peoples, that is, they adopted a containment method. Emperor Taizong of Tang Dynasty conferred titles of Jimi Prefecture and Jimi Governor's Mansion to all nationalities that were subordinate to Tang Dynasty and established a Duhufu to govern them. Thus, Tang dynasty was able to mobilize large numbers of nomadic troops for battle. But in fact it is "management of barbarians with barbarians." An important reason why Tang Dynasty was able to easily defeat Eastern Turks, Western Turks, Xue Yantuo, etc. was because these ethnic groups were internally unstable and had many powerful external enemies. However, Tang Dynasty method of "using barbarians to control barbarians" also made me suffer greatly.
In later period of Tang Xuanzong's reign, Mount Anlu, which helped Tang Dynasty to guard border, launched Anshi Rebellion, causing Tang Dynasty to turn from prosperity to decline. Since then, Tang dynasty has become even more powerless in fight against Huihe and Tubo. In 762, Tubo army directly invaded city of Chang'an, and Tang dynasty relied on rescue of Huihe army to defeat Tubo. At end of Tang Dynasty, Tang Dynasty relied on army of Shatuo tribe to put down Huangchao rebellion. Later, Shatuo people established several regimes in Central Plains: Later Tang, Later Jin, and Later Han. How similar is this phenomenon to Jin Dynasty. Eventually. This strategy of using barbarians to control barbarians ultimately failed.3. Eliminating Huai Debate: The Formation of Greater China
In Song Dynasty after Tang Dynasty, territory was greatly reduced. However, northern nomads at that time entered a new stage of development. In 916, Yelü Abaoji of Khitan nationality proclaimed himself emperor, setting precedent for proclaiming an emperor in a desert area and founding Liao dynasty. Compared to previous nomadic regime, Liao kingdom made great strides. In past, Xiongnu, Xianbei, Rouran, Turks, etc., strictly speaking, represented a powerful military alliance, and not a strict country that prevented this. Once faced with intervention of powerful external forces, this alliance will soon fall apart. The Liao Kingdom is different from others The state institutions of Liao Kingdom are very perfect, not inferior to Central Plains Dynasty. Moreover, system of "Northern and Southern Courts" was also established in Liao Kingdom.
Therefore, Liao Kingdom can control nomads well and manage farmland well. After Liao Kingdom signed a peace agreement with Northern Song Dynasty, it will not send troops to invade Northern Song Dynasty. This is due to fact that Liao kingdom changed backward custom of Xiongnu, who rebelled solely through robbery, and turned into a state machine striving for stability and self-development. Since then, Jin kingdom has also adopted a similar policy. Liao and Jin pursued a policy that has become groundbreaking in Chinese history. It's amazing why northern nomads can use this system so well, but Central Plains Dynasty finds it hard to implement. An important wish is that Central Plains Dynasty adheres to "Hua-Yi Debate" and does not actually consider nomads as their people.
The rise of Mongolia in 13th century was another important event that changed nomads. After establishment of Mongolia in past, loose organization in desert area basically changed, and a relatively complete regional government system began to exist. The ten banners of Mongolia form one road, ten roads form one prefecture, and ten prefectures form one country. There are also mass organizations under banner, such as ten households, one hundred households, one thousand households, and ten thousand households. . Therefore, management of nomads in Mongolia is more progressive than in Liao. Since emergence of Mongolia, nomads in desert area have always been called "Mongolia" and never changed. It is also because this strong regional organization has strengthened their national concept and improved their cohesion.
In 1271, Kublai Khan announced in Beijing that he had been re-elected Emperor of China and founded Yuan Dynasty. It also shows that Mongolia, a nomadic people, is also beginning to adopt "Han law to govern Han". Of course, Mongols' familiarity with and study of Han culture was much worse than that of Khitans and Jurchens, which led to a slow process of Sinicization in Yuan Dynasty. This is also one of reasons for fall of Yuan Dynasty.
Zhu Yuanzhang pushed Mongols back into desert under slogan of "drive out Hulu and restore China", which meant that Ming Dynasty's concept of a dispute between Hua and barbarians had reached an unprecedented level. Zhu Yuanzhang's constant use of troops against Mongolia in early days was aimed at relinquishing title of Emperor of Mongolia. But after Mongols stopped proclaiming themselves emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang felt at ease. During Ming Dynasty, Guanxi Seven Guards, Duoyan Three Guards, and Jurchen tribes adopted a policy of confinement and reintroduced method of "using barbarians to control barbarians" in Han and Tang dynasties. At same time, large-scale construction of Nine Sided Great Wall, Great Coastal Wall, Liaodong Side Wall, and Miaojiang Great Wall will shrink inside Great Wall. At same time, a maritime ban and a border ban were put in place to cut off non-governmental trade exchanges between Han region of Central Plains and surrounding ethnic groups in an attempt to hit them economically. History has long proved fallacy of this ethnic policy of Ming Dynasty, so it will inevitably be thrown into wastebasket of history.
At end of Ming Dynasty, Manchus (Jurchens) rose again in northeast. In terms of ethnic politics, Manchu Qing inherited Liao, Jin, and Yuan traditions and abandoned practice of Ming dynasty. The Qing Dynasty enforced a strict administrative division of Mongols, created alliances and banners, married Mongolian nobility, and even actively promoted Yellow Sect (Tibetan Buddhism) to weaken their martial arts. In Qinghai, Tibet, Qing Dynasty pursued a policy of unifying politics and religion, deployed troops, and appointed ministers of affairs. In Han region, Confucianism was used to rule country, basically imitating rules and regulations of Ming Dynasty. In western regions, Burke system was introduced and it was also fully used to take care of their religious beliefs. It can be seen that Qing Dynasty achieved great success in ethnic politics.