What Happened To The Manchu People In China?

The Manchu people ruled China for over 250 years or from 1644 to about 1911. Anyone who has watched the Last Emperor of China can understand a bit about the collapse of the Manchurian or Qing Dynasty in China. The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China.

China in 1900
China in 1900

After the collapse of the Qing Dynasty, the Manchu people continued to live in China. The Chinese government categorizes the Manchu people as a Chinese ethnic group. It is estimated that just over 10 million Manchu ethnic minorities live mainly in the Northeastern area of China.

Many of the Manchus intermarried with Han Chinese. The Manchu have assimilated so well into Chinese society that today, not many people considered Manhu can speak the Manchu or Manchurian language.

China Today – The Manchu People

Today the Chinese government continues to identify the Manchu people as a separate Chinese ethnic group. There are estimated to be at least 10.5 million Manchu people in China.

The Manchu ethnic group still live mainly in northern China, including Liaoning, Jilin, Heilongjiang, and Heibei provinces. There are also many Manchu ethnic minorities in Beijing and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Today about half or about 5 million Manchus live in Liaoning Province n Northeastern China.

After the Manchus conquered China, many of them migrated down towards Beijing or the seat of the Qing Dynasty. Many of the Manchus left their estates and only used their estates as a hunting lodge. Over time these estates were sold, broken up, or occupied by Han Chinese.

Over time the Manchu bloodline has been watered down as many Manchurians have intermarried the Han Chinese. So unlike many other Chinese ethnic groups, very few Manchus today can still speak the Manchu language. Today only as few as a few hundred people can even speak the Manchu language.

In 1895, Japan made Liaoning, where many Manchu lived part of the Japanese empire. During this time, Korea was also part of the Japanese Empire. Many of the Manchus were living under Japanese rule during this time also ensured they lost a lot of their culture and language.

The Manchu People And Their Contributions

The Manchu people ruled China for many years. The Manchus’s contributed many things to the Chinese culture. Many of these things have been integrated into China’s culture and life.

Here are some things that the Manchus are known for:

  • Agriculture – For more than 2,000 years, the Manchu’s are agricultural people. They also raised animals.
  • Expert Horsemen, Hunting and Archery – The Manchus aare known to be expert horsemen, hunters and very good at archery.
  • Governance – Until the collaspe of the Qing Dynasty, the Manchu’s were expert in being able to control a large population of people. An example of this is how successful the Manchu Qing Dynasty was for hundreds of years.
  • Pickled Vegetables – The winters are very cold in northern China so the Manchu people eat a lot of pickled vegetables. This is similar to the Korean cuisine that eats kimchi.
  • Hotpot – The Manchurians also eat a Manchurian hotpot that usually includes mutton, portk and pickles, plus millet, soybeans, peas and corn. They also like to grill meat and love to use soya sauce in their dishes.
  • Three Quarter Houses – Traditional Manchu houses are built with three quarters. There is a middle house that serves as a kitchen and another two wings that will have living and bedrooms.
  • Heated Beds – The Manchus are also famous for their heated brick beds. These brick beds were heated during the cold winter months. They are on a raised platform called kangs.
  • Embrodiery and High Heels – The Manchu women had intricately embrodiered silk clothes known as the “qipao.” The robes were long with baggy sleeves; the women would wear high heels to add to their height,.
  • PIgtails and Braids For Mens Hair – The Manchu mean braided their hair into a queue or pigtail. Many shaved their entire head except for the long pigtail or braid. The Manchu’s forced the Han Chinese to adopted this hair-style to show their loyality to the Manchu Emperor.
This is a painting I have hanging in my house in China; I had it commissioned. My grandparents are at the front as they lived in China for many years. The style is the Manchu style.

Life As A Manchu Under The Qing Dynasty

The Manchurian Emperors of the Qing Dynasty believed in the patronage of the Chinese arts, scholarship, and culture. But despite all of this, the Manchurian Emperors made many attempts to prevent the Manchu people and culture from being absorbed in the Han Chinese culture and society.

While the Manchurians ruled China, here are some things that they wanted the Manchus to continue:

  • Manchu Language – They wanted the Manchu people to keep the Manchu language. They urged the Manchu children be given an Manchurian education.
  • Discouraged Intermarriage – The Manchu emperors also discouraged the Manchu and Han Chinese to intermarry. They Emperors wanted to keep the Manchu population as ethniclaly “pure” as possible.
  • Social Intregraton – They discouraged any type of social intregraton between the Han Chinese and Manchu. They wanted the Manchu to only socalize with the Manchurian population and not the Han Chinese.

The truth is that the Manchurian Qing Dynasty’s efforts to keep the Manchurians separated from the Han Chinese later proved to be almost fruitless. The Manchu ethnic group, more than many other ethnic groups in China, has assimilated with the Han Chinese.

After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, the Manchus began to adopt the Chinese language and customs quickly and intermarry with the Han Chinese. Today few people speak the Manchu language.

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What Is The Difference Between Manchu, Mongols, And Han Chinese People?

The Manchu people are traditionally from Northeastern China, and they traditionally speak a language called Manchurian. The Mongol people mainly live in Mongolia and Inner Mongolia in China. They speak the Mongolian language.

On the other hand, the Han Chinese are the major ethnic group in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore. There are many dialects of Chinese spoken, but the significant dialects are Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese.

You can learn more by reading What Is The Difference Between Manchu, Mongols, And Han Chinese People? by clicking here.

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You can discover more by reading our blog 6 Lessons On Community Support from The Mongolian Nomadic Herders by clicking here.

Anita L Hummel

Hi, I live in Hanoi, Vietnam but spend time traveling the region. I love to share with you things I see and learn through my travels.

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