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Thread: The Most Easterly Indo-European Settlers

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    The Most Easterly Indo-European Settlers

    The following is the eastern most expansion of Indo-Europeans into East Asia that can be identified through archaeology, literature, genetics.

    Well known among most of these are the Tocharians who settled in modern day Xinjiang in the Taklamakhan desert. However little known until recently is other branches of the Tocharian Indo-European group that settled in modern day Gansu, Qinghai, Shanxi, and Yunnan provinces respectively. Most of these groups were nomads and tribes who occasionally settled on the borders of the Han civilization.

    The Yuezhi were a group known as the moon people, because it was a Chinese description of their, "moon eyes." These people lived along the trade silk route in Gansu which connects heartland China with Xinjiang in the West. The Yuezhi lived directly west of Qin/Han dynasty border and Qin Huangdi's (first emperor) ancestors were believed to have come from Gansu. During the Han dynasty Zhang Qian attempted to ally with them in 126 to fight off the Mongolians in the north. These group of Caucasians lived here until the Xiongnu from Mongolia chased them out in the 2nd century B.C. The Yuezhi eventually traveled as far as India setting up kingdoms there.

    Just south of the Yuezhi was the Wusun, who were collectively known by the Chinese as, "Grandchildren of the crow." According to Chinese archaeologists the excavated skeletal remains of the presumed Wusun people are of the short-headed Europoids. The 7th century commentary to the Hanshu by Yan Shigu stated; "Among the various Rong [alien races] in the Western Regions, the Wusun's shape was the strangest; and the present barbarians who have green eyes and red hair, and are like macaques, belonged to the same race as the Wusun." In 71 BCE, a Chinese envoy cooperated with the Wusun and supplied an army of 50,000 to attack the Xiongnu for them, which ended in a great victory. However, a dispute took place soon after the death of their ruler, Nimi, in 53 BCE. The Wusun were divided into two kingdoms, under a little kunmi and greater kunmi, both of whom recognized Chinese supremacy and remained faithful vassals.

    In 2 CE, Wang Mang issued a list of four regulations to the allied Xiongnu that the taking of any hostages from Chinese vassals, i.e. Wusun, Wuhuan and the statelets of the Western Regions, would not be tolerated. The Xiongnu obeyed.

    These two groups however were not the most easterly Indo-European groups. The, "Ordos culture," existed in the Shanxi areas along the Chinese Yellow river for centuries but this culture was not entirely Indo-European. Indo-Europeans settled in the area sometime from about the 7th to the 2nd century B.C. What is unique about this is that this is farthest extent of Indo-Europeans which is only about 200 miles from modern day Beijing.

    The Rong nomads were likely a conglomerate of Indo-European and Mongoloid tribes comprising a loosely organized tribal confederacy. This was the Tribal confederacy that overran the Early Zhou dynasty and forced the later Zhou to move their capital from Haojing to Luoyang away from the northwestern barbarian nomads in 770 B.C.

    The Dian kingdom (in present day Yunnan and Szechuan) while probably not specifically having a significant Scythian population was probably ruled by a Scythian elite and did hire and allow mercenaries soldiers from the western regions to settle as evidenced by cultural artifacts. They may have migrated to the area of Yunnan in southern China following their expulsion by the Yuezhi in the 2nd century B.C. Excavations of the prehistoric art of the Dian civilization of Yunnan have revealed hunting scenes of Caucasoid horsemen in Central Asian clothing. The scenes depicted on these drums sometimes represent these horsemen practicing hunting. Animal scenes of felines attacking oxes are also at times reminiscent of Scythian art both in theme and in composition.

    The Silla kingdom in Korea, part of the 3 kingdoms period of Korean history had a culture that can (more than Gorguryeo or Baekje) be described having a culture similar to that of Scythians. Sillian crowns and jewelry have been exavated and found resemble Scythian culture closely.

    It is important to note that a lot of this information is still sketchy and may not be conclusive; however, the fact remains that a variety of Caucasians ethnic groups were settling in the far east thousands of years ago.

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    Thanks for the post. It's an interesting topic. Here is a link to pictures of the caucasian mummies found in china

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