Hmong people

ethnic group in Southwest China and Southeast Asia

The words Hmong and Mong refer to an Asian ethnic group. Their homeland is in China, especially along the Yangtze and Yellow river. In the 18th century, Hmong people started moving to other Southeast Asian countries. Today, they live in all of China, northern Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar. In 1975, communists took over Laos. After they took over, many Hmong people moved to the United States, Australia, France, French Guiana, and Canada. Hmong people divide themselves into the White Hmong, the Green Hmong, and other smaller groups.

Flower Hmong women in traditional dress at the market in Bắc Hà, Vietnam
Total population
14 to 15 million[1]
Regions with significant populations
 China~9.4 million [2][3]
 Vietnam1,068,189 (2009)[4]
 Laos595,028 (2015)
 United States260,073 (2010)[5]
 Thailand250,070 (2015)
 France (French Guiana)2,000[7]
Hmong folk religion, Buddhism, Christianity



Hmong people have been living in southern China for at least 2,000 years.

Miao clans with Han origins


Some of the origins of the Hmong and Miao clan names are a result of the marriage of Hmong women to Han Chinese men,[9][10] with distinct Han Chinese-descended clans and lineages practicing Han Chinese burial customs.[11] These clans were called "Han Chinese Hmong" ("Hmong Sua") in Sichuan, and were instructed in military tactics by fugitive Han Chinese rebels.[12] Such Chinese "surname groups" are comparable to the patrilineal Hmong clans and also practice exogamy.[13][14][15][16][17]

These Miao clans produced by Han Chinese men mating with Miao women introduced Han Confucian influence into Miao people despite culture in Miao society being transmitted maternally.[18]

Han Chinese male soldiers who fought against the Miao rebellions during the Qing and Ming dynasties were known to have married with non-Han women such as the Miao because Han women were less desirable.[19][20][21] The Wang clan, founded among the Hmong in Gongxian county of Sichuan's Yibin district, is one such clan and can trace its origins to several such marriages around the time of the Ming dynasty suppression of the Ah rebels.[22] Nicholas Tapp wrote that, according to The Story of the Ha Kings in the village, one such Han ancestor was Wang Wu.[23] It is also noted that the Wang typically sided with the Chinese, being what Tapp calls "cooked" as opposed to the "raw" peoples who rebelled against the Chinese.[24][22]

Hmong women who married Han Chinese men founded a new Xem clan among Northern Thailand's Hmong. Fifty years later in Chiangmai two of their Hmong boy descendants were Catholics.[25] A Hmong woman and Han Chinese man married and founded northern Thailand's Lau2, or Lauj, clan, [25], with another Han Chinese man of the family name Deng founding another Hmong clan. Some scholars believe this lends further credence to the idea that some or all of the present day Hmong clans were formed in this way.[26]

Jiangxi Han Chinese are claimed by some as the forefathers of the southeast Guizhou Miao, and Miao children were born to the many Miao women married Han Chinese soldiers in Taijiang in Guizhou before the second half of the 19th century.[27]

Xijiang, a Miao-majority township in Guizhou

From 1919 to 1921, the Hmong people were involved a war. The French called this war the War of the Insane.

From 1962 to 1975, the Hmong people were involved in the Laotian Civil War, also known as the Secret War.



China has the largest population of Hmong people with 3 million Hmong people. Vietnam has 787,600 Hmong people, Laos has 320,000 Hmong people, and Thailand has 150,000 Hmong people. Some Hmong people live in Myanmar.

Outside of Asia, the United States has the most Hmong people; it has 186,310 Hmong people. France has 15,000 Hmong people, Australia has 2,000 Hmong people, and French Guiana has 1,500 Hmong people. Canada and Argentina have a total of 600 Hmong people.


  1. Lemoine, Jacques (2005). "What is the actual number of (H)mong in the world?" (PDF). Hmong Studies Journal. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  2. Actual number is in dispute, as Hmong people are lumped together with related peoples to form a super-ethnicity - the Miao. Many Hmong find this term offensive.
  3. "Hmong people". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-11-10.
  4. "The 2009 Vietnam Population and Housing Census: Completed Results". General Statistics Office of Vietnam: Central Population and Housing Census Steering Committee. June 2010. p. 134. Archived from the original on 18 October 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  5. "American FactFinder". Retrieved 2012-06-07.
  6. "ABS Census – ethnicity". Archived from the original on 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2012-06-07.
  7. "Hmong's new lives in Caribbean". 2004-03-10. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  8. Canada (8 February 2017). "Census Profile, 2016 Census".
  9. Tao Tao Liu; David Faure (1996). Unity and Diversity: Local Cultures and Identities in China. Hong Kong University Press. pp. 88–. ISBN 978-962-209-402-4.
  10. Nicholas Tapp (2010). The Impossibility of Self: An Essay on the Hmong Diaspora. LIT Verlag Münster. pp. 100–. ISBN 978-3-643-10258-4.
  11. Stephan Feuchtwang (2004). Making Place: State Projects, Globalisation and Local Responses in China. Psychology Press. pp. 141–. ISBN 978-1-84472-010-1.
  12. Nicholas Tapp (2001). The Hmong of China: Context, Angency, and the Imaginary. BRILL. pp. 204–. ISBN 0-391-04187-8.
  13. Narendra Singh Bisht; T. S. Bankoti (2004). Encyclopaedia of the South East Asian Ethnography. Vol. 1. Global Vision Publishing House. pp. 243–. ISBN 978-81-87746-96-6.
  14. Narendra S. Bisht; T. S. Bankoti (2004). Encyclopaedia of the South-east Asian Ethnography: A-L. Global Vision. p. 243. ISBN 978-81-87746-97-3.
  15. David Levinson (1993). Encyclopedia of world cultures. G.K. Hall. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-8168-8840-5.
  16. Timothy J. O'Leary (1991). Encyclopedia of world cultures: North America. Hall. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-8168-8840-5.
  17. Melvin Ember; Carol R. Ember (1999). Cultures of the world: selections from the ten-volume encyclopedia of world cultures. Macmillan Library Reference. p. 252. ISBN 9780028653679.
  18. Tapp, Nicholas (2002). "Cultural Accommodations in Southwest China: The 'Han Miao' and Problems in the Ethnography of the Hmong". Asian Folklore Studies. 61 (1). Nanzan University: 77–104. doi:10.2307/1178678. JSTOR 1178678.
  19. Louisa Schein (2000). Minority Rules: The Miao and the Feminine in China's Cultural Politics. Duke University Press. pp. 61–. ISBN 0-8223-2444-X.
  20. Susan Brownell; Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom (2002). Chinese Femininities, Chinese Masculinities: A Reader. University of California Press. pp. 392–. ISBN 978-0-520-21103-2.
  21. Brackette Williams (2013). Women Out of Place: The Gender of Agency and the Race of Nationality. Routledge. pp. 98–. ISBN 978-1-135-23476-8.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Tao Tao Liu; David Faure (1996). Unity and Diversity: Local Cultures and Identities in China. Hong Kong University Press. pp. 86–. ISBN 978-962-209-402-4.
  23. Nicholas Tapp (2001). The Hmong of China: Context, Angency, and the Imaginary. BRILL. pp. 327–. ISBN 0-391-04187-8.
  24. Nicholas Tapp (2001). The Hmong of China: Context, Angency, and the Imaginary. BRILL. pp. 333–. ISBN 0-391-04187-8.
  25. 25.0 25.1 Nicholas Tapp (1989). Sovereignty and Rebellion: The White Hmong of Northern Thailand. Oxford University Press. p. 169. ISBN 978-0-19-588912-3.
  26. Asian Folklore Studies. Nanzan University Institute of Anthropology. 2002. p. 93.
  27. Mark Bender (2006). Butterfly Mother: Miao (Hmong) Creation Epics from Guizhou, China. Hackett Publishing. pp. xvii–. ISBN 1-60384-335-3.

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