1.Archaeological Data and Primitive Residents in the Western Regions Today's Xinjiang Region in the northwest of China was called the Western Regions in history. That name tirst appeared in the history records during the Han Dynasty more than 2000 yearsago.Atthattime,theWestern RegionsreferredtoareaswestofYumenPassandYangPass. Later on, the entire northwest of the territories of Chinese dynasties of the Central Plains was generally described as the Western Regions. Despite differences of the outreach in history books of different dynasties, the central part of the Western Regions has always been today's Central Asianregion including Xinjiang of China. When did primitive humans in the Western Regions first appear? Archaeol ogical discoveries and research in the 20lh century have presented us a general picture about the historical source of thehumansinXinjiang. Therehave been reportson Palaeolithicsites there,suchasPalaeolithic chipped stone implements of 20,000 to 10,000 years ago unearthed in the southwest of the old city of Jiaohe, . There are more discoveries of Neolithic sites in Xinjiang. However, Neolithic stone implementswere often found side by side with bronze or iron implements. The dates could be as early astheMesolithicAgeoraslateastheBronzeAgeorevenearly IronAge. Inplacessurrounding theWesternRegions, including the Central Asia and South Siberia of the former Soviet Union, Gansu and Qinghai of China as well as some spots in India, their Neolithic sites were all more than 4,000 years old. Those places basically went into the Bronze Age afterwards. The Western Regions should not be a dramatic exception given its geographic location. All the abovementioned information combined, we believe the Western Regions do have Stone Age sites dated 4,000yearsago. Therefore,ourstoryofthepre-historicalWesternRegionsshouldstartfrom then. As to archaeological conclusions and related descriptions before that time, they still have to be confirmed in future discoveries and research. The primitive residents in the Western Regions have long been an issue that tremendously intereststheacademic circle. Overthepastdecade,thankstobotharchaeologicaldiscoveriesand ethnicand racial studies of historical humans in the Westem Regions, we now have a rough idea about the source, distribution, migration, integration and development of the primitive residents in that area. Up to now, no site has been found in the Western Regions suggesting the evolution
of the anthropoid or apes, on which basis we may deduce that the primitive residents in the Western Regions came from the surrounding areas in different historical times . Despite the absence of a full-blown palaeo-anthropological explanation of the ancient racial and ethnic structure in today's Xinjiang due to data inadequacy, it can be asserted for sure that the primitive residents in Xinjiang were composed of two branches, the western race and the eastern race, thanks to archaeological and anthropological data in today's Khotan, Lop Nor, Hami and IIi.
2. Western Humans in the Western Regions The western humans refer to the ancient Caucasoid race. There are two proofs pointing to their entry into ancient Xinjiang. One is the archeological and anthropological data in Central Asia, which is close to Xinjiang. Fossils of Homo Neanderthal in the Palaeolithic era were excavated from the rock cave at Queshka-Tash in Uzbekistan. Two skulls of pre-historic European man with Cro-Magnon features were unearthed in eastern Kazakhstan, one of the Neolithic era and the other Bronze-Stone Age . In some other places narrow-faced skulls of the Neolithic age were found . All those skulls have a lot of things in common with the skulls unearthed from tombs in the Neolithic age in the Mediterranean areas. Conclusion can be drawn from those data that those primitive Europeans moved further east to the ancient Western Regions. The second proof is the data in Xinjiang. Elements of the two types of primitive European people, the Neanderthal and the Cro-Magnon have also been found in the palaeo-anthropological data after the Bronze Age in Xinjiang. As pointed out by the famous Chinese palaeo-anthropologist Mr. Han Kangxin, "At least by the end of the Bronze Age, European races with primitive features were already in the region near Lop Nor. It is still not possible to pin down from where and how they came to the heartland of Xinjiang, however, the anthropological features of the residents of the Gumugou (in the area of Lop Nor) Culture show that racially, they were closely linked with residents in South Siberia, Kazakhstan, Central Asia or even the lower reach of River Volga at the Bronze Age ." "Elements of the European race with east Mediterranean features seemed to have come later, as they were found in the ancient tombs in Shanpula at Lop (in Khotan area) , outskirts of Loulan at Lop Nor, and Alagou (south of the eastern part of the Tianshan Mountains). Such features were dominant in the first two places." Mr. Han gives a sketch on how the primitives around the Tarim Basin in ancient Xinjiang travelled: "People with elements of the Mediterranean race in Central Asia traversed the Pamirs and then divided into two groups. The First group moved further east along the southern edge of the Tarim Basin, arriving in Lop Nor, possibly forming an important part of the residents in the State of Loulan during the Han Dynasty either by themselves or together with another primitive group with European racial elements who arrived earlier in that region. The other group moved eastward along the northern line of the Tarim Basin until they arrived at the eastern part of the Tianshan Mountains. In their infiltration process, it is likely that they mixed more with local people than their southern-route counterparts." As to the primitive population to the north of the Tianshan Mountains, Mr. Han states as follows: "In the hundreds of years around the beginning of Gregorian calendar, people living in the upper reach of River IIi (north of Tianshan Mountains) were the ancient Sak and Usun, who had another type of anthropological features, that is, the short-skulled Pamir-Fergan type, or otherwise known as the Central Asia Transoxiana type. Some of them had transitional features
between the Transoxiana type and Andronov (European) type. On the whole, they were obviously similar in physique to other Sak (excluding South Pamir Sak) and Usun people in Central
HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE MULTI-ETHNIC REGION
Asia, but quite different from the afore-mentioned European and Mediterranean primitives."!
3. Eastern Humans in the Western Regions
The eastern humans refer to the Monguloid race. At present, data showing the suurce and distribution of those people in ancient Xinjiang are still very sketchy, but the existing archaeological and anthropological materials do point to a number of preliminary conclusions.
First, the Monguloid race already moved into ancient Xinjiang before the starting year of the Gregurian calendar. "Shortly before the Christian era, with the major racial movements at that time, features of the Mongoloid 'sedimented", to varying degrees, into the Transuxiana type (active in today's Central Asia and north to the Tianshan Muuntains) that was taking shape then.'?
Second, it is assumed on the basis of archaeological and anthropological data on Yablak Tomb in Hami and Turki tomb in Lop Nor that "possibly at least before the Chinese Han Dynasty, the western and eastern races moved into Xinjiang in the opposite direction. But in comparison, the westbound infiltratiun by the Mongoloid was rather fragmentary, unlike the active eastward-moving western-type humans." ]
Third, it is found widely that people with elements of the eastern and western races tended
to stay in the same place (including the same tomb or tomb complex), as demonstrated by the
ancienttombs inAlagou,Yablak inHami and lateron,LoulanandZhaosu(inIIiarea). It is still
notclear whether those people were uf a race-based master-slave relationship or members of the
From what has been discussed above, we can see that the primitive residents in ancient Xinjiangcame from the neighbouring regions. People moved from east or west to Xinjiang along grassland(including the grassland hidden deep in mountains), rivers and alluvial plains and oases on the verge of the basins. The Caucasoid from the west spread wider in the Western Regions, andtheygraduallymovedfurther intotheeastandarrivedintoday'sHamiinEasternXinjiangby early Irun Age. The Mongoloid from the cast mainly lived in the eastern part uf the Western Regiuns,and they also moved westward as time passed by, arriving in today's IIiRiver valley by early Irun Age. Archaeological excavations and study show that those primitive residents of Xinjiang coming from different directions met on their route of migration and mixed with each other ethnically.
4.Ancient Exchanges Between Civilizations What has been unearthed also reflects the aboriginal social and cultural customs of the earl y residents in the Western Regions, which were a combination uf local features and their neighbours' way oflife. In the middle of the Western Regions, localllavuur was pretty strong, while theborderareasweresubjecttobiggerinfluence ofeithertheeastern urwesterncivilizations. It can be deduced that the primitive people went through a period uf stable integration and devel
1Han Kangxin, Ethno-anthropological Research on Ancient Residents in Xinjiang, in Xinjiang Ancient
Bodies. Xinjiang People's Publishing House, February 2002, pp214-223.
2 Kinsburg (pronunciation), Basic Palaeo-anthropologic al Issues in Central Asia Concerning Origin of
CentralAsian Peoples, in Russian-version Brief Report of the Research Centre on Ethnology, Issue No. 31, 1959.
3 Han Kangxin , pp214-223.
XINJIANG OF CHINA ITS PAST AND PRESENT
opment after moving into the Western Regions, on which basis the unique civilization of the Western Regions came into being.
Human civilizations do not move along at the same pace in different regions. To the east of the Western Regions, the Central Plains along the Yellow River were advancing faster in their own civilization. Before 2000 BC, the Xia tribe in that area set up the first slave state in the history the Central Plains-the Xia Dynasty. At about the 15th century BC, the Shang Dynasty then ruling the Central Plains was at the peak of the slave society. In the 8th century BC, the system enfeoffment was prevalent in both the western and eastern Zhou Dynasties. At the same time, the Western Regions were in transition to the class societj; However, the ancient Transoxiana, which was to the west of the Western Regions, only gradually developed a class society between the IO" and T" centuries Be. It came under the rule of the ancient Persia Kingdom in the 6th century BC. The mountains at the western edge of the Tarim Basin and the Pamirs restricted the eastward expansion of the ancient Persian Kingdom, which made it much easier for the Western Regions to interact with the east, including both the land-farming civilization on the Central Plains and the nomadic civilization on the northern grassland. As a result, the Western Regions has a long history of exchanges and communications with areas to its east. As time passed by, their interactions intensified, and more and more people from the east moved to the Western
Regions and lived there. Such inter-civilization exchanges then formed a part of the increasingly
inclusive ancient Chinese civilization.
It is universally recognized both at home and abroad that the earliest written record on the Western Regions was in Chinese and that no study on the Western Regions (including the Central Asia) before the 6th century BC can be made without referring to the Chinese-language historical data. A lot of records of the geography, history and legends of the Western Regions can befound in those Chinese historical materials written during or around the Warring-States Period (465-221 BC), such as Book of Mountains and Seas, Chronicles on Bamboo, Biography of Mutianzi, Yi Zhou Book, and Da-Dai-Li-Ji. There are even more lengthy accounts in Records of History and Book of Han.
All those records share one feature in common, that is, the Western Regions were described
as part of the Chinese civilization. For example, in records of geography, the landscape, moun
tains and rivers, mineral resources and other products of the Western Regions were always put
side by side with the relevant items on the Central Plains. As recorded in Book of Mountains and
Seas, the Kunlun Mountains and the Altun Mountains, which are located in the mid-south and
southeast of the Western Regions respectively, were called as the Southern Mountains together
with the Qilian Mountains west of the Yellow River in today's Gansu Province and the Qinling
Mountains in today's Shaanxi Province. The Qinling were also called the End of the Southern
Mountains, since they are the concluding part of the Southern Mountains. In the same book, it
was also written that the Yellow River on the Central Plains had its origin from the Western
Regions. According to the book, the Congling River (today's Kashgar and Yarkand Rivers) and
Yutian River (today's Khotan River) converged into one (also known today as the Tarim River),
which flowed into Youze (today's Lop Nur) and then went underground and ran through the
Southern Mountains (today's Jishi Mountains in Qinghai), forming the source of the Yellow
River. Although that assumption was mistaken and was gradually abandoned during the Tang
Dynasty, it did reflect that ancient people in China thought the Western Regions and the Central
Plains as a whole.
There are numerous records and legends about the interactions and friendly exchanges
HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE MULTI-ETHNIC REGION
between the ancient Western Regions and the Central Plains. For example, it was recorded in Chronicleson Bamboothatin the26th year of DawuofZhongzong's reignintheShangDynasty (about 1612 BC), Xirong sent people eastward and the king of Shang reciprocated by sending Wang Meng to Xirong. The best known story is the visit by the king of Zhou Dynasty, Muwang, to the Western Regions. The story has it that Muwang led a big entourage eastward and received welcome in the Western Regions by the local leader, a lady called Xiwangmu. Muwanggavetheladyalotofgiftssuchassilk,bronzeware andshellcoins,whileXiwangmu hosted a banquet in Muwang's honour at Yaochi. The two leaders were so happy that they improvisedpoemsatthebanquet. Inthk17thyearofMuwang'sreign(about985BC),Xiwangmu cametotheCentralPlainstoseeMuwangandwasaccommodatedintheZhaoPalace', Todayon themuralsof Cave No. 423 of Mogaoku in Dunhuangand thosein the forechamberofTombNo. 5duringtheWuliangPeriodunearthedin 1978atXijiazha,JiuquanofGansu,peoplecanstillsee the vivid story of the meeting between Muwang of the Zhou Dynasty and Xiwangmufrom the WesternRegions. Althoughsuchstoriesmaywellbejustlegendary,theydolendusadditional supporttoargue for the time-honouredand harmoniousrelationsbetweentheWesternRegions
Amongeverythingthat has been discovered,two types of culturalrelicsaremostconvincing evidenceforthematerialexchangesbetweentheWesternRegionsandtheCentralPlains. The first type is the jade the Western Regions sent to the Central Plains. For long, the Western Regions have been famous for their jade stones. All the kings and lords of the Central Plains "took pride in possessing Yuzhi Jade". Yuzhi was another name for Rouzhi people in the northwest, wholivedinplacesfromeastTianshanMountainstoDunhuang,thecorridorlinking theWestern RegionsandtheCentralPlains,hencejade producedinthe Western Regionscalled YuzhiJadebytheCentralPlains. Inaddition,therewasKunlunJade,whichwasproducedinthe KunlunMountains. In 1976,thetombofFuhao,thewifeofthekingofShangDynastyWuding, wasunearthedatYinxu,AnyangofHenan. Fromthatover-3,200 yearsoldtomb,756piecesof jade wares were excavated, most of which were made of Kunlun Jade. The Yumen Pass at Dunhuang is literally translated as the Pass of Jade Gate, which apparently suggests it was a must-go passforthetransportationofjade fromthe WesternRegions.
The second type is the silk fabrics produced on the Central Plains that were transported to
uptonowwerefoundinthe tombsduring theearly yearsof theWesternHanDynasty,about the
2nd centuryBC Giventhedifficultyofpreservingsilkandtheevidenceofsilkbeingtransported
to Persia via the Western Regions as early as in the latter half of the 5th century BC, it must be
waybeforethelate5th century BC thatsilk was transportedintotheWesternRegions.
Warring States period in the history of the Central Plains were found in the tombs of the Hujie
PeoplelivingintheAltayareaof theWesternRegionsinthe5th century BC, and that the mirrors
werebasicallyidenticalwith thoseunearthedfromtheGuoguoTombat ShangfenglinginShaan
Countyof Henan (a province on the Central Plains) both in terms of shape and size. In another
development, the lacquer wares popular in ancient Western Regions were also undoubtedly
transported from the Central Plains.
1 Chronicles on Bamboo.
XINJIANG OF CHINA ITS PAST AND PRESENT
From the Warring States period to the Qin and Han Dynasties (i.e., from the 5th century BC to the 3rd century AD), sedentary or semi-sedentary residents living in the oases on the verge of the Tarim Basin or depressions between mountains already fromed their relatively independent tribes and towns, hence the name "city states". At that time, the nomadic Rouzhi tribe active in the River West (or Hexi) area gradually prospered and expanded west to the Altay Mountains and east Tianshan Mountains. In the latter half of the 3rd century BC, the Rouzhi reached out to the plateau north of the desert and controlled the Hun people who were roaming in that area. The Rouzhi tribe even obliged the head of the Huns, Touman Chanyu (?-209 BC) to send his crown prince, Maodun over as a hostage. In 209 BC (the first year of the Ershi's reign ofQin Dynasty), the Huns went into armed resistance against Rouzhi, and Maodun fled back to his own people and claimed himself Chanyu (ruler, or chief) of the Hun. After driving the Rouzhi out of the northern steppe, the Huns headed south to provoke the Han Dynasty. In 200 BC (the T" year of Gaozu's reign of the Western Han Dynasty), Maodun and his troops besieged Gaozu Emperor of Han Dynasty at Baidengshan (northeast of today's Datong City, Shanxi Province), which resulted in the Han Dynasty offering a royal marriage as a gesture for reconciliation. After that the Huns expanded their influence northwest and entered the Western Regions around 177 Be.
In the early days of the Western Han Dynasty, the city states dotting around the Tarim Basin to the south of the Tianshan Mountains were called the "Thirty-six States", among which Loulan (northwest of today's Lop Nur) in the east was the most powerful. To the north of the Tianshan Mountains were the Sak, Usun and Hujie people, who mainly relied on herding for a living, sometimes complemented by hunting. Among those people Usun (near today's Hami) and Hujie (south of today's Altay Mountains) were among the strongest. In addition, there were the Jiankun tribe along the upper reach of today's Yenisei River, and the Dingling people living next to Hujie and Jiankun. Both of the two tribes were subject to the Huns.
States in the Western Regions were very unbalanced in terms of the stage of social development, yet basically they all belonged to the class society. Those states also varied in size, as their population ranged from a thousand to tens of thousands. "States" as they were called, they were nothing more than a group of people with a city or a tribe as their centre. On the whole, the Western Regions were in a state of "no unity, with each group having its own elders and troops'".
The Huns were at their prime time under the reign of Junchen Chanyu (161 BC to 126 BC), with their influence from the Daxing'anling Mountains (east) to the Talas River (west of the Western Regions), and from north of the desert (north) to the Great Bend of the Yellow River (south). The ruling body of the Huns was composed of the Royal Court of Chanyu, the Left Prince and the Right Prince. The Royal Court of Chanyu was the centre of the regime, while the Left and Right Princes controlled the east and the west respectively. After being unified by the
1 Western Regions, Book of Han.
HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE MULTI-ETHNIC REGION
Huns,the Western Regions were first put under the administration of the Right Prince, and later on, his subordinate, the Rizhu Prince. In 92 BC (the first year of Zhenghe reign), the Rizhu Prince installed local official in the Western Regions. Known as Tongpu Duwei, that official roamedbetween Yanqi (today's Yanqi County), Weixu (southeast oftoday's Hoxud County) and Yuli (today's Ziniquan, south ofYanqi County) and levied taxes and collected tributes from the states there.
The Book of Han devoted a whole article on the Western Regions, which told us states in the Western Regions "did not feel attached to the Huns despite their subordination... they would not obey military dictates from the Huns although they gave the latter horses, cattle, wools and rugs". Such records suggest that after the unification of the Western Regions, the Huns only subjected the Western Regions under their rule politically (through vassal states status) and economically(through tributes or taxes), without exercising any direct administration. That was atthattimeatypicalmodeofrulingbynomadicpeople. TheHunswerethefirststrongnomadic peopleemerging from China's northern steppe. Despite their loose relationship with the WesternRegions,or in some remote areas, only indirect or nominal controls, the Hun Royal Court was thefirstChineseregimethatdid somethingintheWestern Regions.
The unification of the Western Regions by the Huns was an epoch-making event in the
Chinesehistory, and particularly, in the history of the Western Regions. The significance can be
exemplified in the following dimensions. First, the Western Regions and the inland were unified
one. Second, formerly dispersed and mutually-independent states in the Western Regions were
broughtcloser to each other, which benefited the internal interactions and integration of the entire
region. Third, groundwork was made and experience accumulated for the unification of the
Western Regions by the Central Plains regimes. Limited as the Hun rule was over the Western
Regions, such rule broadened the exchanges between civilizations in the Western Regions, the
northernsteppe and the Central Plains, defined the road of a unified China in history and laid
downfoundation for wider unification in the following centuries. Fourth, while unifying the
Western Regions, the Huns also placed areas west of the Western Regions under their control,
whichfacilitated the east-west transportation. According to historical records, from Usun west
wardtoAnxi (or Parthia, today's Iran), "when a Hun envoy travelled with a certificate issued by
Chanyu,he was always well fed, well accommodated and sent on his way without delay by
countrieson the way'". That description captured the state of transportation in that area at that
2.Western Regions under the Central Kingdoms of Western and Eastern Han Dynasty In the initial years of the Western Han Dynasty, the Han rulers curried favour with the Huns by marrying their daughter to the latter's leaders. However, the Huns still attacked the borders frequently, posing a threat to the Han Dynasty. During the Wudi reign (140 BC-87 BC), havingregained national strength and military might, the Han emperor decided to change the policyand fight back. In that connection, the Han government formulated a strategy of fighting
1 Dalwan, Book of History.
XINJIANG OF CHINA ITS PAST AND PRESENT
the Huns through coalition with the Western Regions.
The main prospective ally on the mind of the Han rulers was the State of Da-Rouzhi (or the Kushans). The Rouzhi people were forced to move to the IIi river basin and Chu river basin in the Western Regions