Tongwan City in Nomadic Times

Updated: 2007-08-15 08:35

When talking about Xi'an, people generally mention that it was the capital of the Zhou (11th century-256BC), Qin (221-206BC), Han (206BC-220AD), and Tang (618-907) dynasties. However, nearly no one knows that it was also a capital of the Qian Zhao (304-329), Qian Qin (351-394), Hou Qin (384-417), Western Wei (535-556), and Northern Zhou (557-581) dynasties, which were established by nomadic minorities.

Actually, the farming Han majority as well as the nomadic minorities, throughout history, overlapped in not only Xi'an, but also the rest of China.

Nomadic minorities were not apt to writing, so that which has been written in books, by the farming Han ethnicity, represents just half of China's history, with the other half written in the green grasslands.

Most of the past descriptions of nomadic groups were unfair. For example, historic books describe Helianbobo, chief of the Huns, as a cruel, moody, and cutthroat tyrant.

Now, although we are unable to know what kind of a person he truly was, he left a big present to the world -- Tongwan City, the capital of the Daxia Kingdom. It bears testimony to the prosperity once enjoyed by these nomadic people on China's northern frontiers.

Some say that Helianbobo loved his hometown. It is because when he conquered the central plains, he left his son to rule Xi'an, while he himself went back to his Tongwan City in the northern grasslands.

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