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Jinggu History

Jinggu Dai and Yi Autonomous County, part of Yunnan Pu'er City, is located in east longitude 100 ° 02'-101 ° 07 ', latitude 22 ° 49'-23 ° 52' between. The Tropic of Cancer goes across from the nearby county, it is typical of one of the tropical regions of South Asia. Jinggu Dai and Yi Autonomous County (景谷傣族彝族自治县) is an autonomous county under the jurisdiction of Pu'er Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China. The Dai ethnic minority, which numbers 1,158,989, is distributed throughout the Dai Autonomous Region and the Dehong Dai-Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture in Xishuangbanna in the southern part of Yunnan Province. In the past, they were called 'Baiyue', meaning a vast living area. Therefore, they have established a close relationship with ethnic groups like the Zhuang, Dong, Shui, Bouyei and Li, who are said to be the descendants of the Dai people. The history of Dai people has much to do with the county’s history.


A Brief History of Dai People

The origin of the Dai ethnic family goes back to the ancient Baiyue (alternatively, Bai Yue, or Hundred Yue) people, a tribe of ancient ethnic groups. The term "Yue" has historically been used in a broad-stroke manner by the ancient Chinese to refer to any number of larger to smaller ethnic groups that do not necessarily belong in the same ethnic "pot", much like the ancient Greeks used the term "Keltai" (corresponding to the present-day English-language term "Celt") to refer, in broad-brush strokes, to certain peoples of present-day Europe, stretching from France through Germany and on to the British Isles.

The Baiyue include the Dong, though this group insists that it is a separate ethnic entity. In fact, scholars believe that the original Yue folk who branched out along a northerly route that would lead them into present-day China (a similar group, forebears of the present-day Tai (alternatively "Thai") folk of Thailand, branched southward) are in fact forebears to the Han Chinese - indeed, the Cantonese language is also called the Yue language (to read more about this interesting migration theory, which relates the Dong, the Yue, and the ancestors of the Han together, click here).

The earliest Dai peoples of China were separated into three different groups, corresponding to three kingdoms: the Mong Loong Kingdom (Kingdom of Uncle), situated in the southern Yellow River region; the Mong Pa Kingdom (Kingdom of Auntie), in present-day Sichuan Province; and the Mong Yio Kingdom (Kingdom of the Yue/ Yi peoples), east of the Yangtze River. With plentiful rainfall and fertile land, the areas that these three Dai groups inhabited was quasi-subtropical, and thus suitable for the planting of Dai crops that today would be called cash crops. According to ancient Chinese documents, the Dai had a fairly well-developed system of agriculture, and a part of their crops were sold, or bartered, for other commodities. The Dai are believed by scholars to be one of the first ethnic groups to employ oxen to till the land.

The forebears of the present-day Dai Ethnic Minority of China first organized themselves into a semi-unified political organization - the "Shan Guo" - during the Qin (BCE 221-207) and Han (BCE 206 - CE 220) Dynasties period. In BCE 109, Emperor Wu Di of the Western Han (BCE 206 - CE 009) Dynasty set up the prefecture of Yizhou (alternatively Yi Zhou, "Yi" being a variant of "Yue", and "Zhou" (alternatively "Zhao") meaning state, or prefecture) as a special area to house the Yue people in southwestern China, corresponding to present-day Guizhou, Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces.


Present-Day Dai People

The Dai Language and Writing System: The language of the Dai belongs to the Zhuang-Dai branch of the Zhuang-Dong group of Chinese-Tibetan Phylum, or family of languages. The Dai have their own special writing system, which is written in an alphabetic, as opposed to a character, script. There are five different branches of this writing system spread throughout the various Dai communities in China. Among these, the most common are the Daikou and the Daina writing systems, which are also known as the Xinshuangbanna and the Dehong writing systems, respectively.

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