History of Wa Minority

There are several different legends about the origin of the Wa Ethnic Minority: the Wa people came out from "Sigang Li", and it means that the ancestors of the Wa people come out of a gourd or a cave in the mountain, of which, "Sigang" means a gourd or a cave in the mountain and "Li" means "to come out". It is said that the gourd and the cave are in the north Myanmar, not far from Simeng and Cangyuan Counties. God created Daguya and Yeli, who were the first ancestors of the Wa people; Daneng smeared his saliva on Yenumu, who later gave birth to the first Wa generation. The legend about "Sigang Li" is the most popular explanation spread among the Wa people.


Photo from ilish.blog.163.com

According to historical records, the Wa people are the descendants of the "Baipu" people who lived before the Qin period (221 BC-26 BC). They were called "Wangman", "Guci" and "Kawa" in the Tang, Ming and Qing Dynasties respectively. With the founding of the People's Republic of China, they were formally named "Wa" by the government after unanimous approval from the people.

However, the Wa people in different places in Yunnan Province call themselves by different names. For example, those living in Ximeng, Menglian and Lancang Counties call themselves "Ah Wa" or "Le Wa", in Cangyuan, Shuangjiang and Gengma Counties "Ba Raoke" or "Bu Rao", and in Yongde and Zhenkang Counties "Wa". Interestingly, these names all mean "the people living on the mountain".

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