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Life in the Middle Kingdom

Hakka History

November 7, 2004

The Hakka are a sub-culture of the Han Chinese, constituting about 7% of the population of China. They are generally believed to have migrated from central China into the South (mostly to Guangdong and Fujian), where they have maintained cultural elements distinct from the other, local, Han.  According to the book Hakka Enclosed Houses, the people to become known as Hakka (guest people) 

Early in the East Jing dynasty, the Zhongyuan (Central Plains) people from Shanxi and He'nan migrated south through different places in order to avoid war and famines. These migrants came to live, multiply, and settle at the juncture of three provinces, Guangdong, Fujian, and Jiangxi where the Meijiang River, Dongjiang River and Ganjiang River pass through. With the flow of years, these migrants successively moved westward from Meizhou to Huidong, until they at last settled in Longgang due to expansion of population, scarce land, poor living resources and wars. According to the textual research on the historical data, their earliest history goes back to the end of the Song Dynasty and early Yuan Dynasty, about the time that the Hakka people moved to Longgang. Mass Hakka migration took place at the 23rd year of the reign of the Emperor Kangxi of Qing Dynasty (1684) when the emperor oredered the opening up of the wasteland. As a result, the existing Hakka dwellings in Longgang, totaling about 100, were mainly built at the mid-and-late period of Qing Dynasty. These buildings were mainly located at Kengzi Town, Pingshan Town, Pingdi Town, Longgang Town, and Henggang Town. They are well preserved and have become important cultural relics for the study of the Hakka in Shenzhen.
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For further reading on Hakka history, see the Asiawind article (with an interesting section regarding possible Hakka/Japanese connections) and this article.

Return to Hakka Main Page

 

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