Daur people

This article is about the Daur people and their language. For the Daur region of Pakistan, see Daur, Pakistan.

Daur woman
Total population
(131,992 (2010 census)[1])
Regions with significant populations
People's Republic of China, in Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang and Xinjiang
Daur, Chinese
Tibetan Buddhism, Shamanism
Related ethnic groups
Mongols, Khitan

The Daur people (Khalkha Mongolian: Дагуур/Daguur; simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Dáwò'ěr zú; the former name "Dahur" is considered derogatory) are a Mongolic-speaking ethnic group. They form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized in the People's Republic of China. They numbered 131,992 according to the latest census (2010), and most of them live in Morin Dawa Daur Autonomous Banner (Mòlì Dáwǎ Dáwò'ěrzú Zìzhìqí 莫力達瓦達斡爾族自治旗/莫力达瓦达斡尔族自治旗) in Hulun Buir, Inner Mongolia and Meilisi Daur District (Měilìsì Dáwò'ěrzú qú 梅里斯達斡爾族区/梅里斯达斡尔族区) in Qiqihar, Heilongjiang of China. There are also some near Tacheng in Xinjiang, where their ancestors were moved during the Qing Dynasty. Daguur in Mongolian language means "follower/copier" as in dagakh "to follow/copy" (also cf. Manchu daha- "to follow; to submit, to surrender; to obey; to accord, to be because, to be since").


Daur is a Mongolic language. There is no written standard, although a Pinyin-based orthography has been devised by the native Daur scholar Merden Enhebatu. The Daur language retains some Khitan substratal features, including a number of lexemes not found in other Mongolic languages. It is made up of three dialects: Bataxan, Hailar, Qiqihar.

During Qing rule, some Daurs spoke and wrote Manchu as a second language.[2]


Location of the Daur (Daguur) in the 16th century.
Dauria on a British 1851 map. As the map was published 7 years before the Treaty of Aigun, eastern (Amur) Dauria is still shown as part of the Qing dynasty
The Daur (Tagour) placed between the Nonni River and the Amur River on a 1734 French map. Yaxa was a Daurian town prior to its fall to Khabarov's Russian raiders in 1651.
Daur wrestling

Genetically, the Daurs are descendants of the Khitan, as recent DNA analyses have proven.[3] In the Qianlong Emperor's "钦定《辽金元三史语解》" (Imperially commissioned Translations of the History of Liao, History of Jin and History of Yuan) he retranslates "大贺", a Khitan clan described in the History of Liao, as "达呼尔". That is the earliest theory that claims Daurs are descendants of Khitans.

In the 17th century, some or all of the Daurs lived along the Shilka, upper Amur, on the Zeya and Bureya River. They thus gave their name to the region of Dauria, also called Transbaikal, now the area of Russia east of Lake Baikal.

By the mid-17th century, the Amur Daurs fell under the influence of the Manchus of the Qing Dynasty which crushed the resistance of Bombogor, leader of the Evenk-Daur Federation in 1640. When the Russian explorers and raiders arrived to the region in the early 1650 (notably, during Yerofei Khabarov's 1651 raid), they would often see the Daur farmers burn their smaller villages and taking refuge in larger towns. When told by the Russians to submit to the rule of the Tsar and to pay yasak (tribute), the Daurs would often refuse, saying that they already paid tribute to the Shunzhi Emperor (whose name the Russians recorded from the Daurs as Shamshakan).[4] The Cossacks would then attack, usually being able to take Daur towns with only small losses. For example, Khabarov reported that in 1651 he had only 4 of his Cossacks killed while storming the town of the Daur prince Guigudar (Гуйгударов городок) (another 45 Cossacks were wounded, but all were able to recover). Meanwhile, the Cossacks reported killing 661 "Daurs big and small" at that town (of which, 427 during the storm itself), and taking 243 women and 118 children prisoners, as well as capturing 237 horse and 113 cattle.[4] The captured Daur town of Yaxa became the Russian town Albazin, which was not recaptured by the Qing until the 1680s.

Facing the Russian expansion in the Amur region, between 1654 and 1656, during the reign of Shunzhi Emperor, the Daurs were forced to move southward and settle on the banks of the Nen River, from where they were constantly conscripted to serve in the banner system of the Qing emperors.

When the Japanese invaded the area of present-day Morin Dawa in Inner Mongolia in 1931, the Daurs carried out an intense resistance against them.[5]


There is a very noticeable hierarchic structure. People sharing the same surname are in groups called hala, they live together with the same group, formed by two or three towns. Each hala is divided in diverse clans (mokon) that live in the same town. If a marriage between different clans is made, the husband continues to live with the clan of his wife without holding property rights.

During the winter, the Daur women wear long dresses, generally blue in color and boots of skin which they change for long trousers in summer. The men dress in orejeros caps in fox or red deer skin made for winter. In the summer, they cover the animal's head with white colored fabrics or straw hats.

A customary sport of the Daur is Beikou, a game similar to field hockey or street hockey, which has been played by the Daur for about 1,000 years.[6]


Many Daurs are shamanists. Each clan has its own shaman in charge of all the important ceremonies in the lives of the Daur. However, there are a significant number of Daurs who have taken up Lamaism (Tibetan Buddhism).

See also


  1. Multicultural China: A Statistical Yearbook (2014), p349
  2. Evelyn S. Rawski (15 November 1998). The Last Emperors: A Social History of Qing Imperial Institutions. University of California Press. pp. 38–. ISBN 978-0-520-92679-0.
  3. Li Jinhui (2 August 2001). "DNA Match Solves Ancient Mystery". china.org.cn.
  4. 1 2 Вадим Тураев (Vadim Turayev), О ХАРАКТЕРЕ КУПЮР В ПУБЛИКАЦИЯХ ДОКУМЕНТОВ РУССКИХ ЗЕМЛЕПРОХОДЦЕВ XVII ("Regarding the omissions in published documents of Russian 17th-century explorers") (Russian)
  5. Bulag, Uradyn E. The Mongols at China's edge: history and the politics of national unity. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2002. p.158
  6. McGrath, Charles (August 22, 2008). "A Chinese Hinterland, Fertile With Field Hockey". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-23.

External links

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