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Protectorate of the Western Regions

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Subject: Han dynasty, History of Xinjiang, Economy of the Han dynasty, History of the Han dynasty, East Turkestan independence movement
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Protectorate of the Western Regions

Protectorate of the Western Regions
Traditional Chinese 西域都護府
Simplified Chinese 西域都护府

The Protectorate of the Western Regions was a regional government established by the Han dynasty to manage and to control the Western Regions, roughly today's Xinjiang (excluding Dzungaria).[1]

During the Han–Xiongnu War, the Chinese established a military seat at Wulei, north east of present-day Bugur with an aim to protect the Indo-European Tocharian statelets of the region and kept them away from the Xiongnu's aggression in the northeastern steppe. It is believed to be the first Chinese sign of direct rule of Central Asia.[1][2] The seat was later shifted to Tagan, at around modern Kucha during the Eastern Han.[3]

First set up in 60 BC, it was the highest military position in the west during its existence. During its peak in 51 BC, the Wusun nation was brought under submission.[2] After at least 18 different protector generals, of whose names only 10 of their names are known, the post was abandoned, by the time of Wang Mang's Xin dynasty, until Emperor Ming of Han and his successor awarded the position (now with administrative obligations as well) to general Chen Mu, in 74, and subsequently to Ban Chao, with his successful conquest of the region. On July 29, 107, a series of Qiang's uprisings in the areas of Hexi Corridor and Guanzhong forced the abandonment the post, but was assumed under the Chief Official of the Western Regions later.[3]

List of protector generals

Western Han and Xin

  • Zheng Ji 60-48 BCE
  • Han Xuan (韩宣) 48-45 BCE
  • Anonymous (3rd) 45-42 BCE
  • Anonymous (4th) 42-39 BCE
  • Anonymous (5th) 39-36 BCE
  • Gan Yanshou (甘延寿) 36-33 BCE
  • Duan Huizong (段会宗) 33-30, 21-18 BCE
  • Lian Bao (廉褒) 30-27 BCE
  • Anonymous (9th) 27-24 BCE
  • Han Li (韩立) 24-21 BCE
  • Anonymous (11th) 18-15 BCE
  • Guo Shun (郭舜) 15-12 BCE
  • Sun Jian (孙建) 12-9 BCE
  • Anonymous (14th) 9-6 BCE
  • Anonymous (15th) 6-3 BCE
  • Anonymous (16th) 3 BCE-1 CE
  • Dan Qin (但欽) 1-13 CE
  • Li Chong 13-23 CE

Eastern Han

See also


  1. ^ a b "Xiyu Duhu"
  2. ^ a b Yu 2003, 57-59
  3. ^ a b Yu 1995, 56, 68-71


  • Ma, Yong, "Xiyu Duhu" ("Protector General of the Western Regions"). Encyclopedia of China (Chinese History Edition), 1st ed.
  • Yu, Taishan. A Study of the History of the Relationship Between the Western and Eastern Han, Wei, Jin, Northern and Southern Dynasties and the Western Regions. Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, June 1995. Sino-Platonic Papers, Oct, 2006.
  • Yu, Taishan (2nd ed, 2003). A Comprehensive History of Western Regions. Zhengzhou: Zhongzhou Guji Press. ISBN 7-5348-1266-6.

External links

  • The Grand Game in Afghanistan
  • Maps of Xinjiang

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