From the history of the Far East

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From the history of the Far East


The history of this eastern area is a part of the Russian history and a part of the history of the aboriginal people who live here. The way of living of eastern ancient people has been greatly influenced by the peculiarities of climate and geographical position of the Far East. For many years scientists have been making excavations in this area trying to clear up the past of the indigenous people of the Far East and to penetrate into the very source of their unique culture.

Numerous relics and archeological finds testify to the fact that this particular territory had been populated since ancient times and that a man appeared here 200-150 thousand years ago and had gone the way from a stone age to a metal age. Scrappers, cutters, sharing knives found in this area prove the origin of the settlements in the Far East in paleolithic era, in other words, in the old stone age.

The most important discovery – a bow and an arrow - was made in the transitional period from paleolithic to mesolithic which was a step forward in the development of the primitive society. Methods of stone treatment flourished in the neolithic era.

Man learnt to polish, to saw and to drill stones. Instruments of labour became more perfect and consequently more productive. These old instruments give us an idea about the way of life of ancient fishermen and hunters. Those who lived in the south were engaged in agriculture and cattle breeding.

In the neolithic period a man invented a ceramic and ancient vessels were decorated with rich and delicate (тонкий) ornaments of spiral design. Sikachi-Alyan petroglyphs is a living museum of the primitive arts of the ancient Amur tribes.

Acquaintance with metal (bronze and iron) led to the real revolution in all spheres of economy and man’s life. Agriculture, cattle-breeding, home crafts developed rapidly, social relations were changing. Matriarchy gave way to patriarchy. There appeared class inequality, the first large tribal unions and the first states.

The basis of the local population of the Russian Far East are the Mokhe people who lived in taiga and mountains, who bred cattle and were engaged in hunting. The Mokhe people were real warriors, their ancient towns were often surrounded by ramparts and ditches. The source of the manpower for the Mokhe’s well - developed economy were slaves and prisoners-of-war. The ammunition found in the archeological excavations – swords, knives, spears, armoured plates – was well made and richly decorated. Gradually the Mokhe tribes formed an early state feudal system and participated in the formation of the Bokhai and Chzurchzen enthnic groups, after they lost the war in the 7th century against the Chinese Emperess U-KHOU and founded a settlement Chzen which later got the name of Bokhai.

The state of Bokhai grew rapidly and occupied a part of the present Maritime and Khabarovsk Territories. Various crafts and agriculture flourished, the Bokhai people had a written language and they did not allow their young men who could not read, write and shoot to get married. The Bokhai people also knew how to manufacture porcelain and iron nails. The favourite sports of Bokhai people were archery and horse-a-back polo.

Chzurchzen enthnic group was finally formed by the 11th century. Their economy was diverse, they were engaged in agriculture, horse-breeding, hunting and fishing. Chzen people were highly qualified craftsmen, farmers and soldiers. The lodgings of Chzen people remind us of those of the Ulchi and Nanai people at the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th centuries. There existed the same heating system with a special khan-stove.

Luxurious temples with tiled roofs and faced with the images of rooster and Phoenix were erected in the state of Chzurchzen.

Coins and decorations were moulded from bronze. In 1154 banknotes appeared and three years later coined money came into life. But in the 13th century Chengis Khan struck a crushing blow to the powerful Golden Empire of the Chzen people. Their towns were burnt to ashes, but the defeat of the Empire did not mean the extinction of the ethnic group. The period from the 13th to the 17th century is described as the period of economic depression.


Answer the questions:


1. When did a man appear in the Far East?

2. When was the most important discovery made in the history of the aboriginal people?

3. What instruments of labour did the aboriginal people use?

4. What kinds of economy were the indigenous people engaged in?

5. What was the basis of the local population of the Far East?


6. What part of the Far East did the state of Chzurchzen occupy?

7. What did happen to the powerful Empire of the Chzen people in the 13th century?

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