The Xianbei (ʃjɛnˈbeɪ; ) were most likely a Proto-Mongolic ancient nomadic people that once resided in the eastern Eurasian steppes in what is today Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Northeastern China. There are also other strong suggestions that they were a multi-ethnic confederation with Mongolic and Turkic influences. They originated from the Donghu people who splintered into the Wuhuan and Xianbei when they were defeated by the Xiongnu at the end of the third century BC. The Xianbei were largely subordinate to larger nomadic powers and the Han dynasty until they gained prominence in 87 AD by killing the Xiongnu chanyu Youliu. However unlike the Xiongnu, the Xianbei political structure lacked the organization to pose a concerted challenge to the Chinese for most of their time as a nomadic people.
After suffering several defeats by the end of the Three Kingdoms period, the Xianbei migrated south and settled in close proximity to Han society and submitted as vassals, being granted the