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The Tanguts were a Tibeto-Burman people that inhabited northwest China from the 10th to 13th centuries. The Tanguts were related to the Qiang of western China, and they migrated from northeastern Tibet to the eastern Ordos region under pressure from the Tibetan Empire. At the time of the An Lushan Rebellion, the Tanguts were the dominant people in the region, and they founded the Western Xia dynasty (1038-1227). In 1227, the Mongols conquered the Western Xia and massacred tens of thousands of people. As late as the Ming dynasty, small Tangut communities existed in Anhui and Henan, and the Tanguts in central China maintained their language until the mid-16th century.

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