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Yun Su, Yuan Kang, Xianshuai Zhai, and Xiuqi Fang


Climate change affects relationships between regions. The sequence of peacemaking events between farming and nomadic groups in northern China from the Western Han to the Qing dynasty was constructed based on historical documents. We analyzed the impacts of climate change on ethnic relationships using war and temperature sequence data from previous studies. The main results are as follows: 1) There were 504 peacemaking events between farming and nomadic groups, with an average frequency of 2.4 times per decade. Paying tribute (68.9%) occurred significantly more frequently than intermarriage for pacification (31.1%). The sequences showed different stages. 2) There were more peacemaking events during cold periods and fewer during warm periods. Intermarriage for pacification played a greater role in peacemaking during warm periods, while paying tribute was more important during cold periods. 3) High-incidence stages of war and of peacemaking events alternated. Peacemaking events occurred more frequently during cold periods and wars occurred more frequently during warm periods. 4) During warm periods, farming and nomadic groups had enough power to contend with each other, wars occurred frequently, and intermarriage was often used for peacemaking. During cold periods, agriculture and animal husbandry declined, both sides weakened, and the power difference between them usually increased. Wars rarely occurred, and paying tribute was often used for peacemaking. Ethnic relationships are affected by many factors. As a background factor influencing land productivity, climate indirectly affected conflict-resolution measures between farming and nomadic groups. We can hereby consider ways to manage interregional ethnic relationships under global climate change today.

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