Russian-Manchu Border Conflicts


The new Qing Dynasty quickly found conflict with its closest neighbours to the West, the Russians. Alexis I, the ruler of Russia, and Yerofey Khabarov, a Russian adventurer, were exploring the region around the Amur River, traditionally Manchu territory, attempting to claim it for Russia and began taking towns belonging to the native Mongol residents. The Qing Dynasty responded by allying Korean troops with Manchu forces and drove the Russians out of the region. In 1685, the Russians were fully driven out after the siege of Albazin – Russia’s main stronghold in the region. After driving out the Russians, the Kangxi Emperor sent letters proposing peace, which was settled on in 1689 through the Treaty of Nerchinsk; which abolished Russian claim to the land in return for more open trade in Chinese markets for Russia.

“Arx seu fortalitia in loco nomine Yagsa a Eussis extructa funditus eruetur ac destruetur.”

(The citadel or region built in the name of Yagsa a Eussie shall be made flat and completely destroyed)

This agreement was solidified with the destruction of Albazin, and marked the first treaty between the new Qing Dynasty and a great European Power, signalling its power to the rest of Europe. This would later lead to strong European intervention in other Qing affairs in an effort to control the budding empire and its massive wealth.