Empire-Building on China's Frontiers: Reclamation, Religion, and Rebellion, 1644-1911
1: Sino-Korean Cross-border Trade and the Construction of China's Eastern Frontier, 1644-1910
Friday, March 25, 2022
1:30pm – 3:00pm EST
Location: Conv. Center, Room 313C
University of Delaware, United States
Within the Sino-Korean tributary framework the Chinese and the Koreans traded with each other on the Chinese side of the Yalu River since the early seventeenth century. From Fenghuang City, a border town serving as the only pass for Korean tributary missions to enter Manchuria by passing the gate of the Willow Palisade, the Chinese merchants needed to travel about 60 kilometers to reach the riverside by crossing an uncultivated land that no one was allowed to live on due to the seclusion of Manchuria since 1644. In the 1680s a group of Manchu businessmen started to monopolize the transportation of the Korean tribute packages and personal luggage between Fenghuang City and Beijing. In four decades the lucrative transportation business attracted official and individual capitals, stimulated the rise and prosperity of a new cross-border market in Fenghuang City, and brought a large number of Han-Chinese immigrants from Inner China to Southeast Manchuria to reclaim the lands. After suppressing local bandits near the riverside in the 1870s, Beijing established a new county of Andong (“pacifying the east”) in the place, which was followed by the termination the seclusion of Manchuria in the early 1880s. Many Chinese immigrants thus moved to live in the two-century unoccupied land and Andong, while Andong gradually became a frontier town encountering with modern Japanese colonialism proliferating from Korea. My research examines the prolonged process of the construction of the eastern frontier of Qing China in which cross-border capitalism and domestic colonialism played a key role.