Nation and Nations in the Qing Empire: A Boundless Homeland

Nation and Nations in the Qing Empire: a Boundless Homeland
Terminology of Territorial Administration
(59th Annual Meeting of the PIAC, Ardahan 2016)

During the Conquest of Inner Asia in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Manju rulers of the Qing Empire brought extensive areas inhabited by numerous non-Manju, non-Chinese nationalities under their control. The administrative challenge was two-fold. One task was civil administration which had to be implemented in the new dominions, for which, together with the attempt to establish Chinese-style officialdom, Chinese terminology was translated into languages like Manju, Mongolian and Turki. Another task was the military administration and the system of ranks which included non-Manju soldiers. A well-known multi-lingual dictionary of the Qianlong period (the Pentaglot dictionary, compiled late 18th century) offers a systematic insight into how these fields of terminology were treated in the languages just mentioned, which lexical differences can be found between these languages, and which status was attributed to each nationality. Besides the Pentaglot, the author consults additional sources for comparison.