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PARTHIA THE KUSHANS THE HAN AND THE XIONGNU

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1994
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YURI BREGEL
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Geography
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Akbar III 1948-2012
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Description

Collection Name: An Historical Atlas of Central Asia book

Author: YURI BREGEL

Date: 1944 | Short Title: . | Publisher: | Publisher Location:----

Type: Atlas Map

Place : Central Asia

Full Title:
An Historical Atlas of Central Asia" written by Yuri Bregel. This is stated on Page no 11 of this book.

Note

In the 2nd century B.C., at the time when the Xiongnu drove out the Yuezhi from Eastern Turkestan, this region was divided among more than thirty city-states (nine of which were predominant), each occupying a separate oasis along the northern and southern rims of the Taqla-Makan desert; Chinese authors called them “Walled city-states of the Western Regions.” When the Xiongnu were at the height of their power, in the early 2nd century B.C., they collected tribute from these city-states. By the end of the same century, the Xiongnu were losing their position in this region to the Han. In 121 B.C. the Han established their control over the Gansu corridor—the main link between China and Eastern Turkestan. As early as in 101 B.C. the Han general Li Guangli campaigned already as far as Ferghana; he did not conquer it, but, after a long siege of the capital (apparently Kasan), he received as tribute a large number of horses. After continuing defeats, the Xiongnu withdrew from Eastern Turkestan, and in 60 B.C. the Han established the post of “Protector General of the Western Regions,” an official subordinate to the central government, in charge of all the oasisstates of the Tarim basin; the Han also founded a number of small military agricultural colonies, where soldier-farmers were settled. But Han rule was indirect: the local dynasties remained in place (receiving a formal investiture from the Han emperor), and they often pursued independent policies in their relations with one another. Thus, in the first half of the 1st century A.D., the principality of Shache (Yarkend) achieved hegemony in the south of the Tarim basin, while in the 60s A.D. Yutian (Hotan) and Loulan strengthened at the expense of Yarkend. After the end of the Western (or Early) Han dynasty in China, as well as during the reign of Wang Mang (9-23 A.D.) and the following years, down to the middle of the 1st century A.D., China lost its position in the “Western Regions.” However, owing to the activity of the Later Han general Ban Chao (73-102 A.D.),Han authority was restored, and in 94 A.D. it was recognized by all the city-states of the “Western Regions.” In 74 A.D. the Kushans took part in the subjugation of Yarkend, in alliance with Ban Chao, but in 90 the Kushans attacked Ban Chao (through the Pamirs) and were repelled. Later Han authority in the “Western Regions” declined again. Formally, the Chinese protectorate over the “Western Regions” existed until 107 A.D. In 107-123 A.D. the northern part of the Tarim basin was dominated by the Northern Xiongnu (see below), while Hotan was probably occupied by the Kushans. The Xiongnu were defeated in 126 A.D. by Ban Chao’s son, Ban Yun, who was given the title “Secretary General,” instead of Protector General, of the “Western Regions.” This was the last success of the Han in Eastern Turkestan. The internal situation of the Han empire deteriorated in the middle of the 2nd century A.D.; the dynasty fell in 220 A.D., but it had already lost the “Western Regions” in the 180s A.D. The Kushans took advantage of the fall of the Han and the weakening of the Chinese positions in the Tarim basin and incorporated at least the southwestern part of this region into their empire sometime in the early 3rd century A.D.

In the wars between the Han and the Xiongnu that had continued since the 3rd century B.C., the Han gained a decisive advantage as early as in the 1st century B.C., when the Xiongnu became tributary to the Han. In 48 A.D. the Xiongnu split into two groups known as the Southern and the Northern Xiongnu. The southern tribes submitted to the Han (and later were gradually absorbed in China). The Northern Xiongnu, whose main territory was now in the Ili valley and Jungharia, tried to compete with the Han for the domination of the “Western Regions”; but in 155 A.D. they were crushed by the Xianbi (in old transcription Hsien-pi), a new nomadic confederation that had emerged in Mongolia; after this the Xiongnu migrated westward.

Farther west, in the middle and lower course of the Sïr-Darya, the mixed nomadic-sedentary polity of the Kangju continued to exist until the 3rd century A.D. It also included the region of Chach and had some close ties with Chorasmia (Khorezm) to the west and Dayuan (Ferghana) to the east, and Soghd was apparently its dependency. It was sufficiently strong to withstand (in the mid-1st century B.C.) the attacks of the Wusun from the east and, in turn, to subjugate a Sarmatian group northwest of the Aral Sea called Yancai in Chinese sources and Aorsi by the Greek authors

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