1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hiung-nu

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HIUNG-NU, Hiong-nu, Heung-nu, a people who about the end of the 3rd century B.C. formed, according to Chinese records, a powerful empire from the Great Wall of China to the Caspian. Their ethnical affinities have been much discussed; but it is most probable that they were of the Turki stock, as were the Huns, their later western representatives. They are the first Turkish people mentioned by the Chinese. A theory which seems plausible is that which assumes them to have been a heterogenous collection of Mongol, Tungus, Turki and perhaps even Finnish hordes under a Mongol military caste, though the Mongolo-Tungus element probably predominated. Towards the close of the 1st century of the Christian era the Hiung-nu empire broke up. Their subsequent history is obscure. Some of them seem to have gone westward and settled on the Ural river. These, de Guiques suggests, were the ancestors of the Huns, and many ethnologists hold that the Hiung-nu were the ancestors of the modern Turks.

See Journal Anthropological Institute for 1874; Sir H. H. Howorth, History of the Mongols (1876-1880); 6th Congress of Orientalists, Leiden, 1883 (Actes, part iv. pp. 177-195); de Guiques, Histoire générale des Huns, des Turcs, des Mongoles, et des autres Tartares occidentaux (1756-1758).