From the women's kingdoms to the continuous uprising
analysis suggests that the Lahu descend from the old Qiang that lived
in Northwest China in times of the first Chinese dynasties.
collected in recent times make us think that in remote times the Lahu
inhabited the loess plateaus of the basin of the Yellow river. In those
remote times the Lahu society was a matriarchy.
3.000 years ago, war and worsening climatic conditions provoked a first
migration that led them to the shores of Qinghai Lake. From where moved
centuries later to the south of Qinghai Province, until they reached the
present Yushu Prefecture.
It is believed
that in the 7th century existed two Lahu political entities in the southeast
of Qinghai: The Supi Kingdom and the Daomi Kingdom. These two kingdoms
are supposed to be the Women's Kingdoms, described by early Tang dynasty
documents in that area. Both kingdoms were conquered by Tubo dynasty of
the Tibetans in the 7th century. After their defeat at the hands of the
Tibetans, the Lahu emigrated toward the south, settling down in the border
between Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.
The Lahu maintained good relationships with the Nanzhao Kingdom, as well as with Dali's Kingdom. Later differences with this kingdom drove to the war, and to a new migration of the Lahu.
of the Dali Kingdom for Kublai Khan's Mongolian in the year 1253 supposed
a stir for all the peoples of the area. The Lahu began a new migration,
going some to the east and others to the west. It is in this moment when
surge the two main branches of the Lahu, the Lahuna who went to the west
and the Lahuxi who migrated to the east. This long separation has created
important linguistic and cultural differences among them. The history
of the Lahuxi and the Lahuna also separated.
migrated east until the territory of the Dai. Under the nominal dominance
of the Tusi Dai, the Lahuxi of Lincang rebelled numerous times along the
15th and 16th centuries against the Dai. The defeated warriors escaped
to Shuanjiang, Gengma and Cangyuan districts, where they are still living
The Lahuna went to the basin of the Lancang River that was known as the "river of the Lahu" during some time.
beginning of the 18th century the history of the Lahuxi comes defined
by continuous uprisings against the authority of the Tusi (local chiefs)
Dai. In fact, during the two following centuries there are more than 20
uprisings of major or minor duration and intensity. The own development
of the Lahu society made that during the first hundred years of this period
their rebellions had a strong ethnic component, against the Dai that oppressed
them. During the second part, the development of the inequalities among
the Lahu becomes apparent, the chiefs share the same economic interests
than the Tusi Dai, and their rebellions take a mixed ethnic and social
Lahuna, isolated in the remote mountains, their social structure was kept
intact until the end of the imperial era. After 1912, the republican government's
intents to maintain under their control the minorities of the border areas
modified the traditional structure of the Lahuna society.
With the arrival to the power of the Communist Party, that structure is totally abolished. The Lahu were grouped in villages, communes or production teams according to the political fashions in the capital.
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