Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Tungus, one of the main divisions of the Ural-Altaic race (q.v.), who are scattered in small groups over a vast domain of nearly two million square miles in East Siberia, between the Yenisei River and the Pacific Ocean, and at some points even reaching northwards to the Arctic Ocean. But, excluding the Manchus, the only civilised and settled members of the family, the total population of Tungus speech is estimated at not more than 50,OOO, and by some authorities as low as 20,000. Chief tribal groups: Tungus proper ("Reindeer Tungus"), widespread north of the Amur River; Olchas (Manzu), at the mouth of the Amur River; Oroks, in the island of Sakhalin; Negdas and Samaghirs, northern affluents of the Amur; Orochons, of the Upper Amur; Golds, of the Lower Amur and Ussuri River; Solons and Daurs, of the Upper Nonni Basin; Manchus, now mostly assimilated to the Chinese; Lamuts, round the shores of the Sea of Okhotsk. Type distinctly Mongolic, marked by high cheekbones, slant eyes, yellow skin, lank black hair, low stature, great physical strength, extraordinary powers of endurance, keen sense of smell, hearing, and vision, but with a sort of colour blindness, generally confusing blue, green, and yellow; sluggish intellects, but moral qualities (courage, generosity, love of truth, hospitality) highly developed, hence described by Castren as the "true nobility of Siberia"; are hunters and trappers in the forests, pastors on the steppes, fishers on the shores of seas and rivers. Nearly all are still Shamanists, the very word Shaman being of Tungus origin; even the few official. Christians practice Shamanist rites, and polygamy is universal. In the Ural-Altaic linguistic family Tungus is most nearly allied to Mongolian, which it surpasses in wealth of grammatical forms. Tungus (properly Tinghiz) is their Tatar name, adopted by the, Russians, but they usually call themselves Boia, "men." (Castren, Hickisch, Shrenck.)