The Western Xia or Xi Xia (Chinese: 西夏; pinyin: Xī Xià; Wade–Giles: Hsi1 Hsia4), also known to the Mongols as the Tangut Empire and to the Tangut people themselves and to the Tibetans as Mi-nyak, was an empire which existed from 1038 to 1227 in what are now the northwestern Chinese provinces of Ningxia, Gansu, eastern Qinghai, northern Shaanxi, northeastern Xinjiang, southwest Inner Mongolia, and southernmost Outer Mongolia, measuring about 800,000 square kilometres (310,000 square miles). Its capital was Xingqing (modern Yinchuan), until its destruction by the Mongols in 1227. Most of its written records and architecture were destroyed, so the founders and history of the empire remained obscure until 20th-century research in the West and in China.
The Western Xia occupied the area round the Hexi Corridor, a stretch of the Silk Road, the most important trade route between North China and Central Asia. They made significant achievements in literature, art, music, and architecture, which was characterized as "shining and sparkling". Their extensive stance among the other empires of the Liao, Song, and Jin was attributable to their effective military organizations that integrated cavalry, chariots, archery, shields, artillery (cannons carried on the back of camels), and amphibious troops for combat on land and water.