The Treaty of Nerchinsk

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The Treaty of Nerchinsk


Amur Region, part 1


As Russia sent explorers and settlers eastward in the mid-seventeenth century, they struggled over the land in the Amur basin. At the time of Yerofei Khabarov’s 1649 expedition, one bank of the Amur river was ruled by the Daurians and the other by the Manchu, at the time the ruling dynasty of China. Khabarov captured a Daurian fortress that he called Albazino and installed a Russian settlement there, which fought against the Manchu in numerous battles and sieges. Several times the settlers escaped from Albazino to Nerchinsk, where they regrouped before returning to the fortress. Only 100 of the 800 settlers escaped from a 1685 siege, but returned the next year. The next siege lasted a full year and was more deadly still, leaving 40 out of 900 settlers alive. Finally, in 1689, Russian and Manchu delegations met at Nerchinsk to agree on a treaty that gave the Amur region to the Manchu rulers of China.

The Treaty of Nerchinsk gave the lands of the upper Amur to China and called for the destruction of the Russian settlement at Albazino, with the Chinese promising not to populate the Amur basin. The treaty also opened trade with China and included provisions allowing travel and extradition of criminals between Russia and China. China’s northern boundary was extended, now marked by the river Gorbitsa, and a neutral zone was left between the river Ud and the frontier mountains. However, with a lack of both accurate maps and clear descriptions the exact boundary was and is ambiguous.Because the treaty was written using Latin as a lingua franca and translated into Russian and Manchu separately, a great number of differences exist between the various translations, exacerbating the boundary ambiguities. This border between Russia and China held, legally if not precisely, from 1689 until the Treaty of Aigun in 1858.


Group 3


The Territorial Terms of the Sino-Russian Treaty of Nerchinsk, 1689. V. S. Frank. Pacific Historical Review , Vol. 16, No. 3 (Aug., 1947) , pp. 265-270

"The Amur's siren song." The Economist. Dec 17th 2009.

"Treaty of Nerchinsk, the first treaty between Russia and China, concluded." Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library. Web. 10 Feb 2014.

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