(из книги «Строкой и памятью отмечено…»)
Перевод на английский Елены Букиной
The ruling prince of the local Tungus tribe wandered along the Nercha, Shilka and Urulga rivers in the 17th–18th centuries.
Russians met him and his tribesmen in the middle of the 17th century. The tribe numbered 300 people and was one of the largest native families at that time.
It was the time when the first dispute between them came about. Urazov made the Prince an offer to become an amanat (a hostage who could ensure allegiance of the tribe to the conqueror) but the Prince flatly refused the offer. A military unit commander Peter Beketov who arrived on the Nercha in 1654 to build Bolshoi Ostrog (Big Fort) made efforts, too, to persuade Gantimur to accept the proposal but they came to nothing as well.
Persistent demands to become an amanat took the opposite effect: Gantimur abandoned his camp and led his tribe to another river.
Later, Prince Gantimur’s military tribesmen managed to force away the Russians from the Nercha without taking up open struggle with them. They trampled and burnt their harvest of ripe wheat so that Beketov and his people had to leave the Nercha, drift down the Shilka and the Amur to join Onufri Stepanov’s squard.
Since that time up to the year of 1667, the Russians had not heard anything about Gantimur.
It is known that while Gantimur wandered about the
territory the Chinese emperor Khan-Si made an attempt to bring him into
bondage. But the Prince who valued liberty most did not yield to the pressure
and retreated to the native lands around the
Ever since, whenever the Russians made contacts with the Chinese,
the controversy about Gantimur came to light. The Chinese emperor demanded that
Gantimur be placed under his rule. In answer to this demands the Russian envoy
in China N. G. Spafari (1675–1678) argued: “The following protest lodged I to
this claim: the code of rights of any people on the face of the earth has it
that the man and his kin who happen to be born on the land which is the
dominion of a certain ruler must be the subject to this ruler, him and his
tribe as well. Gantimur and his forefathers came into the world on the
Gantimur himself used to say that he would take his own life rather than give himself to Kansi (the name used by Russians to refer to Khan-Si).
N. G. Spafari gave characteristic to Gantimur, the only one ever known. “This very Gantimur is the best of Your Grand Highness’ subject Tunguses, a great man of courage, a giant by the look of him who has nine wives and his children number more than thirty. They are well-armed all but his daughters and his troops count more than three hundred people, all in military outfit and with spears. He dwells on the borderline in the Nerchinsk fort”.
The Nerchinsk voivode1 received the tsar decree which ran
that Gantimur should be escorted to
In 1683, Ignati Milovanov, a boyar’s son, set about the
task of conducting aging Peter Gantimur and his son Pavel to the capital so as
to introduce them to the tsar but the Tungus prince did not bear the long way
and died on the way there. The tsar was gracious to Pavel who had been safely
When the Nerchinsk treaty – the first treaty with
Researches have to gather information about Gantimur’s family literally bit by bit. To my knowledge, a complete and comprehensive essay about him is non-existent. Isolated facts of his biography are scattered over the reports of the Nerchinsk voivodes that date back to the 17th century and were published in “Historic Acts” and “Addendum to Historic Acts”.
The details of Gantimur’s family tree can be traced in the registry of the Nerchinsk voivodes, which remains deposited in the State Archive of the Chita Region. There they are sitting intact waiting for their future researchers.
1 Slavic term meaning ‘garrison commander’