How a Republic of Chinese red beards was invented in Paris

Mark Gamsa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Between the years 1883-86, a mixed community sprang up on a side stream of the river Albazikha, a right tributary of the upper Amur. The discovery of gold, in a Chinese territory previously unfamiliar to any but the local Evenki tribes, had brought about a stampede of fortune seekers. Since Russia's annexation of the Amur District by the Aigun treaty of 1858, and its acquisition of the Maritime District by the treaty of Peking in 1860, the Amur and the Ussuri had marked the eastern borderline between the two empires, and the left banks of both rivers were by now dotted with Cossack settlements. Russians thus made up the bulk of the arrivals to the newly discovered deposits of placer gold, opposite the Cossack station Ignashino. However, estimates at different points in time spoke of up to ten percent of Chinese gold-seekers, while persistent reports mentioned the presence among the miners of the representatives of many other nationalities, from Siberian and Chinese native peoples to European and American adventurers. It must have been the Russians who gave the name Zheltuga to the stream along which gold was extracted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)993-1010
Number of pages18
JournalModern Asian Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes


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