Inner Asia

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Inner Asia was a historical a term referring to particular regions within Asia (today part of China, Mongolia and Russia). It has a major overlap with some definitions of Central Asia, mostly the historical ones, but certain regions of Inner Asia (such as Manchuria) are not considered a part of Central Asia by any of its definitions. One way to think of Inner Asia is as the "frontier" of China, and as bounded by East Asia (consisting of China, Japan, and Korea).[1] The actual extent of Inner Asia may be different during different periods in history. In 1800 it consisted of four main areas, namely Manchuria (modern Northeast China and Outer Manchuria), Mongolia (Inner and Outer), Xinjiang and Tibet. All were part of the Qing dynasty and were garrisoned by Qing forces, but they were governed through several different types of administrative structure[2] and not as regular provinces during most of the Qing period. The Qing government agency known as the Lifan Yuan was established to supervise the empire's Inner Asian regions.

Definition and usage

"Inner Asia" has a range of meanings among different researchers and in different countries.[3] Denis Sinor defined Inner Asia in contrast to agricultural civilizations; noting its changing borders, as for example North China could be considered "Inner Asia" when it was occupied by the Mongols, or the Turkification of Anatolia eradicated a Hellenistic culture.[4]

Scholars or historians of the Qing dynasty such as those of the New Qing History often use the term "Inner Asia" when studying Qing interests or reigns outside China proper.[5]

Different languages

German usage makes a distinction between "Zentralasien", meaning Mongolia, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Manchu lands, and "Mittelasien", meaning the republics of Central Asia. The less common term "Innerasien" corresponds to our sense of "Inner Asia."[citation needed]

In French, "Asie centrale" can mean both "Central Asia" and "Inner Asia"; Mongolia and Tibet by themselves are termed "Haute-Asie" (High Asia, or Upper Asia).[6]

The terms meaning "Inner Asia" in the languages of Inner Asian peoples are all modern loan translations of European, mostly Russian, terms.[citation needed]

Related terms

Central Asia

"Central Asia" normally denotes the western, Islamic part of Inner Asia; that is, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan, with Afghanistan sometimes also included as part of Central Asia. However, The Library of Congress subject classification system treats "Central Asia" and Inner Asia as synonymous.[7]

Central Eurasia

According to Morris Rossabi, the term "Inner Asia" is the well-established term for the area in the literature. However, because of its deficiencies, including the implication of an "Outer Asia" that does not exist, Denis Sinor has proposed the neologism "Central Eurasia", which emphasizes the role of the area in intercontinental exchange.[8] According to Sinor:[9]

The definition that can be given of Central Eurasia in space is negative. It is that part of the continent of Eurasia that lies beyond the borders of the great sedentary civilizations.... Although the area of Central Eurasia is subject to fluctuations, the general trend is that of diminution. With the territorial growth of the sedentary civilizations, their borderline extends and offers a larger surface on which new layers of barbarians will be deposited.

See also


  1. Bulag, Uradyn E. (October 2005). "Where is East Asia? Central Asian and Inner Asian Perspectives on Regionalism". Japan Focus.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. The Cambridge History of China: Volume 10, Part 1, by John K. Fairbank, p37
  3. Book Abstaract: "Inner Asia: Making a Long-Term U.S. Commitment." Authors: Carol D. Clair; ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA. Retrieved: 22 August 2009.
  4. The Cambridge history of early Inner Asia, Volume 1 By Denis Sinor. Retrieved: 22 August 2009.
  5. New Qing Imperial History: The Making of Inner Asian Empire at Qing Chengde, by Ruth W. Dunnell, Mark C. Elliott, Philippe Foret, James A Millward
  6. Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies (RIFIAS). Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Retrieved: 22 August 2009.
  7. Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies (RIFIAS). Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Retrieved: 22 August 2009.
  8. Rossabi, Morris (1975). China and Inner Asia: from 1368 to the present day. Pica Press. p. 10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Sinor, Denis (1997). Inner Asia: History, civilization, languages: a syllabus. p. 4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Di Cosmo, Nicola. 1999. “State Formation and Periodization in Inner Asian History”. Journal of World History 10 (1). University of Hawai'i Press: 1–40.
  • Rogers, J. Daniel. 2012. “Inner Asian States and Empires: Theories and Synthesis”. Journal of Archaeological Research 20 (3). Springer: 205–56.

External links


fr:Asie centrale