4. CULTURAL & HISTORICAL HERITAGES

MONGOLIAN HISTORY: THE ROURAN EMPIRE (5TH – 6TH CENTURIES CE)

Also known as the Joujian, Ruan-Ruan or Ruruan (Chinese for “wriggling insect”), this empire was formed around 400 CE by the northern Xianbei in confederation with other nomadic tribes in the Mongolian heartland. Driving the Xiongnu farther west to the Ural Mountains and Caspian Sea, the Rouran established a vast and powerful empire generally north of the Northern Wei and stretching from Korea to Central Asia, including the eastern part of present-day Kazakhstan.

 


The Rouran are credited as the first Mongolians to use the title “khan” for their leaders, previously a title used by the Xianbei nobles. But the confederation, spread over such a vast area and with a mixture of tribes, was always a tenuous one. Early on, the legendary Ephthalites split off at the western end on a campaign of conquest all the way to Persia and India. The Chinese fomented several rebellions against the Rouran, finally forcing the empire’s collapse to the Turks in 552 CE. (The Rouran disappeared as an entity, prompting speculation that they fled westwards to become the Eurasian Avars of Central and Eastern Europe in the sixth century.) 


Resource: Carl Robinson "Mongolia Nomad Empire of Eternal Blue Sky"