The Xiongnu (Chinese: 匈奴) were nomads who lived north of China from about 3rd century BC to 460s AD. Their lands were very infertile, so they tried to attack China many times. As this was very irritating, the first emperor of China (Qin Shi Huang) built the Great Wall of China around 214 to 206 BC to keep them out. Some Han dynasty emperors tried to stop the wars and make friends with them, but they still tried to attack the Chinese borders.
|3rd century BC–460s|
Territory of the Xiongnu (green), circa 250 BC
|Capital||Longcheng (龙城/蘢城), near Khoshoo Tsaidam (present-day in Mongolia), was established as the annual meeting place and de facto capital.|
|3rd century BC|
At first, it was believed that they were related to the Huns, and currently many people still believe this. In old times, nomadic tribes often travelled and lived together, even tribes speaking different languages. Around 60 BC, there was a struggle for power, and the Xiongnu broke up into five smaller tribes.
In 202 AD, the leader of the Southern Xiongnu surrendered to Prime Minister Cao Cao of the Han dynasty.
They are part of the Mongolian people now, or some of them have migrated to China for a better life.
- Pines, Yuri (2012). The Everlasting Empire: The Political Culture of Ancient China and Its Imperial Legacy. Princeton University Press. p. 37. ISBN 1-4008-4227-1.
- Man, John (2005). Attila: The Barbarian King who Challenged Rome. Bantam Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-593-05291-4.