An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Qing Period - Geography

Mar 19, 2016 © Ulrich Theobald

The Qing empire 清 (1644-1911) was founded by the Tungusian people of the Manchus, descendants of the Jurchens. They came from the northeastern region (what became to be known as "Manchuria") and conquered China in 1644. They inherited the provinical structure from the Ming empire 明 (1368-1644). The empire was divided into provinces (sheng) that were - except those in the northern border regions to Mongolia - more or less identical to those of modern China. Subordinated to the provinces were superior prefectures (fu 府) and secondary prefectures (zhou 州). The number of prefectures was substantially less than five hundred years before. Border regions (in the provinces of Zhili, Shanxi, Hunan, Sichuan, Guangdong, Guizhou, and Yunnan) were administered by subprefectures (ting 廳) that were directly responsible to the provincial government. The border regions of the southwest were often indirectly administered through native chieftains (tusi 土司). In the course of the 18th century their territories were gradually transformed into regular districts (xian 縣), a process called gaitu guiliu 改土歸流 "transforming indirect rule by regular forms". The provinces of Qinghai and Xinjiang were only created during the 18th and 19th centuries, as a result of the territorial expansion of the Qing empire. The province of Sichuan was also considerably enlarged by the conquest of Eastern Tibet.

Provinces of Qing China:
直隸 Zhili [modern Hebei, Beijing, Tianjin]
Shengjing 盛京 (later Fengtian 奉天 [modern Liaoning])
Jilin 吉林
Heilongjiang 黑龍江
Shanxi 山西
Shaanxi 陜西
Gansu 甘肅
Shandong 山東
Henan 河南
Jiangsu 江蘇
Anhui 安徽
Hubei 湖北

Hunan 湖南
Jiangxi 江西
Zhejiang 浙江
Fujian 福建
Guangdong 廣東
Guangxi 廣西
Guizhou 貴州
Yunnan 雲南
Sichuan 四川
Qinghai 青海 (since 1907)
Xizang 西藏 (since 1751)
Xinjiang 新疆 (since 1884)

In the homeland of the Manchus, in the provinces Kirin and Heilongjiang the territory was administered as subordinated banners (fu dutong xiaqu 副都統轄區):

Subordinated banners of Kirin Province:
Kirin 吉林副都統轄區
Baidune 白都訥副都統轄區
Alachuka 阿勒楚喀副都統轄區
Ningguta 寧古塔副都統轄區
Sanxing 三姓副都統轄區
Subordinated banners of Heilongjiang Province:
Heilongjiang 黑龍江副都統轄區
Qiqihar 齊齊哈爾副都統轄區
Morgen 墨爾根副都統轄區
Ulunber Centrally Administered Territory 呼倫貝爾總管轄區

Mongolia, whose population was politically joint to the Manchus, was administered in khanates (Chinese: hanbu 汗部; Mongolian: aimaγ), unions or leagues (meng 盟), and banners (Chinese: qi 旗; Mongolian: khōshun). Outer Mongolia (Uliasutai 烏里雅蘇台) was governed by a military governor.

Khanates of Outer Mongolia:
Sechen Khanate 車臣汗部
Tüshiyetü Khanates 土謝圖汗部
Sayin-Noyan Khanates 三音諾顏汗部
Jasaghtu Khanates 扎薩克圖汗部
Border regions:
Khobdo Region 科布多
Tangnu-Uula Uriyangkhai 唐努烏梁海
Banners and unions of Inner Mongolia:
Etsina Torghuud Banner 額濟納土爾扈特旗
Alashan Eluud Banner 阿拉善厄魯特旗
Ih-Ju Union 伊克昭盟
Ulanqab Union 烏蘭察布盟
Kilin-Gol Union 錫林郭勒盟
Ju-Ud Union 昭烏達盟
Josotu Union 卓索圖盟
Jirem Union 哲里木盟
Special administration regions:
Chahar 察哈爾
Dariganga Pastures 達里岡愛牧場

Tibet (Xizang 西藏; province since 1751) and Eastern or Chinese Turkestan (Xinjiang 新疆; province since 1884) and Qinghai 青海 (province since 1907) were loosely administered by Grand Ministers (Zhu Zang dachen 駐藏大臣) resp. a commander-general (zongtong 總統) for Turkestan and different commanders-in-chief (Sino-Mongolian: zhasake 札薩克) for Qinghai.
Bhutan 布嚕克巴 Sikkim 哲孟雄 Nepal (Gorkha) 廓爾喀 Russia "Eluosi" 俄羅斯 (Tsarist Russia: "Sha-E" 沙俄) Korea 京城 kyongsong (mod. Seoul), Yuenan 河內, Nanzhang 南掌 cap: Longbolabang 隆勃剌邦 Luang Prabang, Miandian 緬甸 cap: Amoluobuluo 阿摩羅補羅 (modern Mandalay), Kokand 霍罕