48 Facts About Balhae


Balhae, rendered as Bohai, was a multi-ethnic kingdom whose land extends to what is today Northeast China, the Korean Peninsula and the Russian Far East.

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Balhae was conquered by the Khitan-led Liao dynasty in 926.

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Balhae survived as a distinct population group for another three centuries in the Liao and Jin dynasties before disappearing under Mongol rule.

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Balhae was founded in 698 by Dae Joyeong under the name ?, transcribed as Jin in Korean romanisation or Zhen in Chinese romanisation.

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Linguists Karl Heinrich Menges and Roy Andrew Miller raised another theory, suggesting that the name Balhae had an underlying native name which was cognate to Manchu butha .

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Many Chinese, Korean, Russian, and Japanese scholars of Balhae believe its population was composed of Goguryeo remnants and Mohe tribes.

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Russian scholars argue that the ethnic composition of Balhae cannot be determined with great precision because no materials exist that can confirm either the Chinese or Korean claims.

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Archaeological evidence suggests that the Balhae culture was an amalgamation of High Tang Chinese, Korean, and Tungusic cultures.

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The Balhae force raided and pillaged along the Liao River and the coast of the Liaodong Peninsula.

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Balhae sent an agent to Luoyang to plot the assassination of his brother.

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In 738, an envoy from Balhae requested Tang ritual codes and dynastic histories in a symbolic gesture towards peace.

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Balhae kept diplomatic and commercial contacts with Japan until the end of the kingdom.

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Balhae dispatched envoys to Japan 34 times, while Japan sent envoys to Balhae 13 times.

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In 907, Balhae came into conflict with the Khitan Liao dynasty because of the decision of the Khitans near modern Chifeng and Tongliao, who recognized the supremacy of Balhae, to become part of the Liao dynasty.

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Taejo of Goryeo felt a strong familial kinship with Balhae, calling it his "relative country" and "married country", and protected the Balhae refugees.

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Khitan conquest of Balhae resulted in Goryeo's prolonged hostility towards the Khitan Empire.

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However, it seems few Balhae refugees retained high positions in Goryeo as service in the Khitan administration offered more benefits.

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Balhae arrested and killed Khitan leaders and proclaimed the establishment of a new dynasty, Xing Liao.

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Balhae people played a pivotal role in the politics, literature, and society of northern China under the Liao and Jin dynasties.

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Balhae imprisoned minister Xiao Xiaoxian and his wife, killed the tax commissioners and chief military commander, and declared his own Xing Liao dynasty .

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Balhae requested aid from Goryeo, who sent forces against Liao only to be repelled.

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The old Balhae nobility were resettled near the Supreme Capital while others fled to Goryeo.

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In 1114, Balhae descendants took advantage of the Jurchen-Khitan war and rebelled.

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In 1116 another rebellion occurred at the Eastern Capital when a Balhae officer named Gao Yongchang declared himself emperor of the Yuan dynasty and requested aid from the Jin.

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The Balhae played a critical role in supporting Emperor Shizong of Jin's accession to the throne.

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Balhae descendants participated with success in the Jin imperial examinations.

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Balhae's eldest daughter became a Daoist priestess, named Congqing, and was a poet at the imperial court.

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The epitaph acknowledges that his most recent ancestors were in the employ of Balhae but added that they only "lived dispersed among the eastern barbarians", rejecting his Balhae identity.

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Term "Balhae" became noticeably less prevalent under the rule of the Mongol Empire.

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Balhae was only used as a toponym in the early 14th century and Balhae disappeared entirely from historical sources by the late 14th century.

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Some Balhae adopted Mongol or Tatar culture rather than Chinese.

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Balhae's population was composed of former Goguryeo people and Tungusic Mohe people in Manchuria.

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Balhae women were described as "fiercely jealous" and prevented the men from deviating from martial fidelity.

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The main part of society in Balhae was free in a personal capacity and consisted of clans.

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The indigenous language of Balhae is unclear, as no extant text or gloss of the language survived.

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One term that the people of Balhae used to describe "a king" was Gadokbu, which is related to the words kadalambi of the Manchu language and kadokuotto of the Nanai language.

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Alexander Vovin suggests that the Balhae elite spoke a Koreanic language, which has had a lasting impact on Khitan, Jurchen and Manchu languages.

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However, he believes that the vast majority of the Balhae population were probably Tungusic, and at least partially Jurchen-speaking.

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Some names of Balhae's emissaries were similar to Chinese names while others were unique to Balhae: Wodala, Zhaoheshi, and Nansali.

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The Old Book of Tang records that Balhae had its own script, about which almost nothing is known.

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Balhae produced fine iron and copper wares, silk and linen textiles, and ceramics, including Sancai pottery developed under the influence of that of the Tang.

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Balhae had a high level of craftsmanship and engaged in trade with neighboring polities such as the Gokturks, Nara Japan, Later Silla and the Tang dynasty.

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Balhae sent a large number of envoys to Japan, called Bokkaishi.

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Fur from Balhae was exported to Japan while textile products and precious metals, such as gold and mercury, were imported from Japan.

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Similarly, Balhae builders used Japanese fortification techniques and with prevailing Japanese culture in their construction of the port of An.

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Korean scholars consider Balhae to be the successor state of Goguryeo, and part of the North–South States Period of Korean history.

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Chinese scholars argue that Balhae was a local administration of the Tang dynasty and composed of Mohe people, making it a part of Chinese history due to its close cultural and political ties with Tang China.

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Balhae is the name of the lunar research facility in the Korean TV series, The Silent Sea.

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