|132,394 (2000 census)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|People's Republic of China, in Inner Mongolia, Heilongjiang and Xinjiang|
|Related ethnic groups|
The Daur people (simplified Chinese: 达斡尔族; traditional Chinese: 達斡爾族; 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 132,394 according to the latest census (2000), and most of them live in the 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 autonomous region of China. There are also some near Tacheng in Xinjiang, where their ancestors were moved during the Qing Dynasty.
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.
Genetically, the Daurs are descendants of the Khitan, as recent DNA analyses have proven. 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's the earliest theory claim Daurs are descendants of Khitans.
In the 17th century, some or all of the Daurs lived along the Shilka, upper Amur, and on the Zeya 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 pay tribute to the Shunzhi Emperor (whose name the Russians recorded from the Daurs as Shamshakan). 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) (other 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. 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 Manchuria in 1931, the Daurs carried out an intense resistance against them.
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.
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).
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