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n. (context now historical English) A Chinese official under the Qing Dynasty, especially the ranking official or provincial governor in a semi-independent territory under Chinese rule.


Amban ( pl: ambasa) is a Manchu word meaning "high official," which corresponds to a number of different official titles in the Qing imperial government. For instance, members of the Grand Council were called Coohai nashūn-i amban in Manchu and Qing governor-generals were called Uheri kadalara amban .

The word amban was transcribed into Chinese as 昂邦 (angbang).

By far the most known ambans were the Qing imperial residents ( Manchu: Seremšeme tehe amban; Chinese: Zhùzhá Dàchén 駐紮大臣; and Tibetan: Ngang pai) in Tibet, Qinghai, Mongolia and Xinjiang, which recognized Qing authority, but were not governed as regular provinces and retained many of their existing institutions.

The Qing imperial residents can be roughly compared to a European resident in a protectorate (e.g. a British Indian princely state), the real rapport depending on historical circumstances rather than a general job description for every amban, while his authority often was very extensive, rather like a provincial governor.

Usage examples of "amban".

A highly efficient expedition drove back the Gurkhas in 1792 and a reorganisation of the Tibetan government gave the Ambans an even greater power.