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List of nomadic peoples

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'This is a list of nomadic people arranged by economic specialization and region.


Nomadic people are communities who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but nomadic behavior is increasingly rare in industrialized countries.

Nomadic cultures are listed in three categories of economic specialization: hunter-gatherers, pastoral nomads, and "peripatetic nomads".


Nomadic hunting and gathering, following seasonally available wild plants and game, is the oldest human method of subsistence.


  • Raute
  • Australia

  • Most Indigenous Australians prior to Western contact
  • Pastoralists

    Pastoralists raise herds, driving them or moving with them, in patterns that normally avoid depleting pastures beyond their ability to recover. The pastoralists are sedentary, remaining within a local area, but moving between permanent spring, summer, autumn and winter (or dry and wet season) pastures for their livestock.

    Popular Misconceptions

    The Manchus are mistaken by some as nomadic people when in fact they were not nomads, but instead were a sedentary agricultural people who lived in fixed villages, farmed crops, practiced hunting and mounted archery.

    The Sushen used flint headed wooden arrows, farmed, hunted, and fished, and lived in caves and trees. The cognates Sushen or Jichen (稷真) again appear in the Shan Hai Jing and Book of Wei during the dynastic era referring to Tungusic Mohe tribes of the far northeast. The Mohe enjoyed eating pork, practiced pig farming extensively, and were mainly sedentary, and also used both pig and dog skins for coats. They were predominantly farmers and grew soybean, wheat, millet, and rice, in addition to engaging in hunting.

    The Jurchens were sedentary, settled farmers with advanced agriculture. They farmed grain and millet as their cereal crops, grew flax, and raised oxen, pigs, sheep, and horses. Their farming way of life was very different from the pastoral nomadism of the Mongols and the Khitan on the steppes. "At the most", the Jurchen could only be described as "semi-nomadic" while the majority of them were sedentary.

    The Manchu way of life (economy) was described as agricultural, farming crops and raising animals on farms. Manchus practiced Slash-and-burn agriculture in the areas north of Shenyang. The Haixi Jurchens were "semi-agricultural, the Jianzhou Jurchens and Maolian (毛怜) Jurchens were sedentary, while hunting and fishing was the way of life of the "Wild Jurchens". Han Chinese society resembled that of the sedentary Jianzhou and Maolian, who were farmers. Hunting, archery on horseback, horsemanship, livestock raising, and sedentary agriculture were all practiced by the Jianzhou Jurchens as part of their culture. In spite of the fact that the Manchus practiced archery on horse back and equestrianism, the Manchu's immediate progenitors practiced sedentary agriculture. Although the Manchus also partook in hunting, they were sedentary. Their primary mode of production was farming while they lived in villages, forts, and towns surrounded by walls. Farming was practiced by their Jurchen Jin predecessors.

    For political reasons, the Jurchen leader Nurhaci chose variously to emphasize either differences or similarities in lifestyles with other peoples like the Mongols. Nurhaci said to the Mongols that "The languages of the Chinese and Koreans are different, but their clothing and way of life is the same. It is the same with us Manchus (Jušen) and Mongols. Our languages are different, but our clothing and way of life is the same." Later Nurhaci indicated that the bond with the Mongols was not based in any real shared culture. It was for pragmatic reasons of "mutual opportunism", since Nurhaci said to the Mongols: "You Mongols raise livestock, eat meat and wear pelts. My people till the fields and live on grain. We two are not one country and we have different languages."


    Peripatetic nomads offer the skills of a craft or trade to the settled populations among whom they travel. They are the most common remaining nomadic peoples in industrialized nations. Most, or all, of the following ethnonyms probably do not correspond to one community; many are locally or regionally used (sometimes as occupational names), others are used only by group members, and still others are used pejoratively only by outsiders. Most peripatetic nomads have traditions that they originate from South Asia. In India there are said to be home of over two hundred such groups. Many peripatetic groups in Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey still speak dialects of Indo-Aryan, such as the Ghorbati. There is also academic scholarship that connects European Romany groups with India.


    List of nomadic peoples Wikipedia

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