Decisive Battle of Shanhai Pass in 1644
Tokugawa Shogunate (Japan)
Kingdom of Portugal
Shun dynasty (Li Zicheng)
Xi dynasty (Zhang Xianzhong)
Kingdom of Shu (She-An Rebellion)
|Commanders and leaders|
Li Yongfang (defected in 1618)
Geng Zhongming (defected in 1633)
Kong Youde † (defected in 1633)
Shang Kexi (defected)
Zu Dashou (defected in 1642)
Wu Sangui (defected in 1644) (WIA)
Hong Chengchou (defected)
Shi Lang (defected)
Zheng Zhilong (defected)
Meng Qiaofang (defected)
Zhang Cunren (defected)
Sun Kewang (defected)
Wang Fuchen (defected)
Zhu Yuyue, Prince of Tang (Shaowu Emperor)
Manchu, Mongol, Han Bannermen
Han Green Standard Army defectors (after 1644)
by 1648, Han Bannermen made up 75% of the Eight Banners while Manchus at only 16%.
|Han Chinese soldiers, Hui Muslim soldiers, and Mongol cavalry||
Shun dynasty army varies between 60,000 and 100,000 men
Zhang Xianzhong's army - 100,000 men
300,000 Yi warriors
Nanai Hurka: 6,000
|Casualties and losses|
|25,000,000 deaths overall, including civilians.|
The transition from Ming to Qing, Ming-Qing transition, or the Manchu unification of China from 1618 to 1683 saw the transition between two major dynasties in Chinese history. It was the decades-long conflict between the emergent Qing dynasty (), the incumbent Ming dynasty (), and several smaller factions in China (like the Shun dynasty and Xi dynasty ). It ended with the rise of the Qing, the fall of the Ming and other factions, and the unification of Outer Manchuria, Mongolia, Xinjiang, Tibet, and Taiwan under the Qing Empire.
The transition from the Ming to Qing was a decades-long period of conflict between:
Leading up to the Qing, in 1618, Aisin Gioro leader Nurhaci commissioned a document entitled the Seven Grievances, which enumerated grievances against the Ming and began to rebel against their domination in Northeast Asia (including Manchuria). Many of the grievances dealt with conflicts against the Ming-backed Yehe clan of the Jurchens. Nurhaci's demand that the Ming pay tribute to him to redress the seven grievances was effectively a declaration of war, as the Ming were not willing to pay money to a former tributary. Shortly afterwards, Nurhaci began to rebel against the Ming in Liaoning.
At the same time, the Ming dynasty was fighting for its survival against fiscal turmoil and peasant rebellions. Han Chinese officials urged Nurhaci's successor Hong Taiji to crown himself Emperor of China, which he did in 1636, declaring the new Qing dynasty. On April 24, 1644, Beijing fell to a rebel army led by Li Zicheng, a former minor Ming official who became the leader of the peasant revolt, who then proclaimed the Shun dynasty. The last Ming emperor, the Chongzhen Emperor, hanged himself from a tree in the imperial garden outside the Forbidden City. When Li Zicheng moved against him, the Ming general Wu Sangui shifted his allegiance to the Qing. Li Zicheng was defeated at the Battle of Shanhai Pass by the joint forces of Wu Sangui and Manchu prince Dorgon. On June 6, the mainly Han Chinese forces of Dorgon and Wu entered the capital.
However, the victory was far from complete as it required almost 40 more years before all of China was securely united under Qing rule. In 1661, the Kangxi Emperor ascended the throne, and in 1662 his regents launched the Great Clearance to defeat the resistance of Ming loyalists in South China. He then fought off several rebellions, such as the Revolt of the Three Feudatories led by Wu Sangui in southern China, starting in 1673, and then countered by launching a series of campaigns that expanded his empire. In 1662, Zheng Chenggong (Koxinga) drove out and defeated the Dutch and founded the Kingdom of Tungning in Taiwan, a Ming loyalist state with a goal of reunifying China. However, Tungning was defeated in 1683 at the Battle of Penghu by Han admiral Shi Lang, a former admiral under Koxinga.
The fall of the Ming dynasty was largely caused by a combination of factors. Scholars have argued that the fall of the Ming dynasty may have been partially caused by the droughts and famines caused by the Little Ice Age.Kenneth Swope argues that one key factor was deteriorating relations between Ming Royalty and the Ming Empire's military leadership. Other factors include repeated military expeditions to the North, inflationary pressures caused by spending too much from the imperial treasury, natural disasters and epidemics of disease. Contributing further to the chaos was a peasant rebellions throughout the country in 1644 and a series of weak emperors. Ming power would hold out in what is now southern China for years, though eventually would be overtaken by the Qing forces.
The Qing victory was overwhelmingly the result of the defection of the Ming dynasty's Liaodong military establishment and other defectors, with the Manchu military playing a very minor role (see below for specific examples).
The Manchus are sometimes described as a nomadic people, when in fact they were not nomads, but a sedentary agricultural people who lived in fixed villages, farmed crops, practiced hunting and mounted archery. Their main military formation was infantry wielding bows and arrows, swords, and pikes while cavalry was kept in the rear.
The Jianzhou Jurchen chief, Nurhaci, is retrospectively identified as the founder of the Qing dynasty. In 1589 the Ming dynasty appointed Nurhaci as Paramount chieftain of the Yalu Region, believing that his tribe was too weak to gain hegemony over the larger Yehe and Hada. When the other tribes attacked him to check his power in 1591, he succeeded in defeating them and seize much of their warhorses. In 1607 he declared himself Khan. Upon the advice of an Erdeni, most likely a Chinese transfrontiersman, he proclaimed the Jin State, named after the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty that had ruled over north China several centuries earlier. His unifying efforts gave the Jurchen the strength to assert themselves backed by an army consisting of majority Han defectors as well as Ming produced firearms. In 1618 he proclaimed Seven Grievances against the Ming. By summer 1621, the Ming's Liaodong fortress cities, Fushun, Shenyang, and Liaoyang, were all handed over to the Later Jin by traitors and defectors. The Ming General Li Yongfang who surrendered the city of Fushun in what is now Liaoning province in China's northeast did so after Nurhaci gave him an Aisin Gioro princess in marriage and a noble title. The Princess was one of Nurhaci's granddaughters. Shenyang was made into the capital of their newly founded dynasty.
The Hulun tribes, a powerful confederacy of Jurchen tribes, started recognizing the authority of Nurhaci by the beginning of the 17th century. In some cases, such as with Bujantai of the Ula, chieftains would attempt to reassert their independence and war would break out, but the Jianzhou Jurchens would defeat and assimilate all the tribes eventually (Hada 1601, Hoifa 1607, Ula 1613, Yehe 1619). The powerful Yehe Jurchens under Gintaisi united with the forces of the Ming dynasty to combat the rise of Nurhaci but Gintaisi was defeated and died in 1619. The fur-trapping Warka peoples near the Pacific coast were subjugated as tributary tribes from 1599 to 1641.
When the Jurchens were reorganized by Nurhaci into the Eight Banners, many Manchu clans were artificially created from groups of unrelated people who would found a new Manchu clan (mukun) using a term of geographic origin such as a toponym for their hala (clan name). The irregularities over Jurchen and Manchu clan origin led to the Qing trying to document and systemize the creation of histories for Manchu clans, including manufacturing an entire legend around the origin of the Aisin Gioro clan by taking mythology from the northeast.
In the late Ming dynasty, Ming army units had become dominated by officers who would spend long periods of ten or 12 years in command instead of the usual practice of constant rotation, and the Central Military Command had lost much of its control over regional armies. Zongdu Junwu, or Supreme Commanders, were appointed throughout the empire to oversee the fiscal and military affairs in the area of his jurisdiction. In the frontier areas these became increasingly autonomous, and especially in Liaodong, where military service and command became hereditary and vassalage-like personal bonds of loyalty grew between officers, their subordinates and troops. This military caste gravitated toward the Jurchen tribal chieftains rather than the bureaucrats of the capital.
The Wuqiao mutiny was a rebellion that broke out in 1631, led by Kong Youde and Geng Zhongming. Undersupplied and underpaid soldiers mutinied against the Ming dynasty. They subsequently sailed across Bohai Gulf and defected to the Jurchens en masse.
In the early 1640s, mass rebellions led by a variety of rebel leaders broke out in northwestern China's provinces of Shaanxi and spread throughout China in the 1640s. Major battles included the sacking of Fengyang by Li Zicheng and Zhang Xianzhong and the battle of Kaifeng which led to the deliberately engineered 1642 Yellow River flood by the Ming governor in an attempt to stop Li Zicheng.
After the Jurchen unification, the Jurchen Khan Nurhaci began to set his eyes on China. In 1618, he commissioned a document entitled the Seven Grievances in which he enumerated seven problems with Ming rule and began to rebel against the domination of the Ming dynasty. A majority of the grievances dealt with conflicts against Yehe, and Ming favouritism of Yehe.
In May 1618, Nurhaci proclaimed his Seven Grievances against the Ming and departed his capital of Hetu Ala with 20,000 men. The army attacked and captured Fushun, located on the Hun River about 10 kilometers east of Shenyang.
By May 1621, Nurhaci had conquered the cities of Liaoyang and Shenyang. In 1625, the Jurchens captured the port city of Lüshun, thus controlling the whole Liaodong peninsula. In April 1625, Nurhaci designated Shenyang the new capital city, which would hold that status until the Qing conquest of the Ming in 1644.
In February 1626, the Jurchens besieged Ningyuan but suffered a defeat in which Nurhaci was mortally wounded.
The Later Jin had lost at the Battle of Ningyuan the previous year and their khan Nurhaci died from his wounds afterwards. Peace negotiations with the Ming after the battle delayed an aggressive Ming response to the Jurchen loss, and the Ming general Yuan Chonghuan was busy fortifying the border garrisons and training new musketeers. The new Khan Hong Taiji was eager for a quick victory to consolidate his position as khan. By invading Joseon he also hoped to extract much-needed resources for his army and subjects, who had suffered in the war against Ming.
In 1627, Hong Taiji dispatched Amin, Jirgalang, Ajige and Yoto to Joseon with 30,000 troops under the guidance of Gang Hong-rip and Li Yongfang. The Jurchens met sharp resistance at the border towns but Joseon border garrisons were quickly defeated. The Jurchen army advanced into Uiju where Mao Wenlong was stationed, and Mao quickly fled with his men into the Bohai Sea. Next, the Jurchens attacked Anju. When it became clear that defeat was inevitable, the Anju garrisons committed suicide by blowing up their gunpowder storehouse. Pyongyang fell without a fight and the Jin army crossed the Taedong River.
By this time news of the invasion had reached the Ming court, which immediately dispatched a relief contingent to Joseon, slowing the Jurchen advance into Hwangju. King Injo then dispatched an envoy to negotiate a peace treaty, but by the time the messenger returned, Injo had already fled from Hanseong (Seoul) to Ganghwa Island in panic.
The Khorchin Mongols allied with Nurhaci and the Jurchens in 1626, submitting to his rule for protection against the Khalkha Mongols and Chahar Mongols. Seven Khorchin nobles died at the hands of Khalkha and Chahars in 1625. This started the Khorchin alliance with the Qing.
The Chahar Mongols were fought against by Dorgon in 1628 and 1635. An expedition against the Chahar Mongols in 1632 was ordered to establish a trading post at Zhangjiakou. The Qing defeated the armies of the Mongol Khan Ligdan Khan, who was allied to the Ming, bringing an end to his rule over the Northern Yuan. The defeat of Ligdan Khan in 1634, in addition to winning the allegiance of the Southern Mongol hordes, brought a vast supply of horses to the Qing, while denying the same supply to the Ming. The Qing also captured the Great Seal of the Mongol Khans, giving them the opportunity to portray themselves as heirs of the Yuan dynasty as well.
Hong Taiji was the eighth son of Nurhaci, whom he succeeded as the second ruler of the Later Jin dynasty in 1626. He organised imperial examinations to recruit scholar-officials from the Han Chinese, and adopted Chinese legal forms. He formed autonomous Han Chinese military colonies governed by Han Chinese officials, where Manchus were forbidden to trespass. Hong Taiji curtailed the power of the Manchu princes by relying on Han Chinese officials. He personally welcomed surrendered Ming commanders, eating side-by-side with them so as to build a rapport that was impossible with the Ming Emperors. The Manchus, led by Prince Amin, expressed their displeasure at the situation by massacring the population of Qian'an and Yongping. Hong Taiji responded by arresting and imprisoning Amin, who later died in prison. Hong Taiji then implemented, on the urging of his Han Chinese advisors, Chinese-style Confucian education, and Ming-style government ministries. When Zhang Chun, a Ming commander, was captured but refused to defect, Hong Taiji personally served him with food to show his sincerity (Zhang still refused but was kept in a temple until his death). With the surrender of Dalinghe in 1631, the most capable army officers of the Ming became faithful followers of the new dynasty who would take over the preparation and planning of much of the war. From this episode onward, the Ming-Qing transition ceased to be an inter-nation conflict between Chinese and Manchus but rather a civil war between Liaodong and Beijing.
Hong Taiji was reluctant to become Emperor of China. However, Han Chinese officials Ning Wanwo, Fan Wencheng, Ma Guozhu, Zu Kefa, Shen Peirui, and Zhang Wenheng urged him to declare himself as Emperor of China. On May 14, 1636, he accepted this advice, changing the name of his regime from the Later Jin () to the Qing dynasty (), and enthroning himself as Emperor of China in an elaborate Confucian ceremony.
Hong Taiji's renaming of the Jurchens to Manchus was meant to hide the fact that the ancestors of the Manchus, the Jianzhou Jurchens, were ruled by the Han Chinese. The Qing dynasty carefully hid the two original editions of the books of "Qing Taizu Wu Huangdi Shilu" () and the "Manzhou Shilu Tu" (Taizu Shilu Tu ) in the Qing palace, forbidding them from public view, because they showed that the Manchu Aisin Gioro family had been ruled by the Ming dynasty. In the Ming period, the Koreans of Joseon referred to the Jurchen-inhabited lands north of the Korean peninsula, above the rivers Yalu and Tumen, to be part of Ming China, as the "superior country" (sangguk), the name they used to refer to Ming China. The Qing deliberately excluded references and information that showed the Jurchens (Manchus) as subservient to the Ming dynasty, from the History of Ming to hide their former subservient relationship to the Ming. The Veritable Records of Ming were not used to source the History of Ming because of this. Refusing to mention in the Mingshi () that the Qing founders were Ming China's subjects was meant to avoid the accusation of rebellion.
Han Chinese Generals who defected to the Manchu were often given women from the Imperial Aisin Gioro family in marriage. Manchu Aisin Gioro princesses were also married to Han Chinese official's sons. The Manchu leader Nurhaci married one of his granddaughters to the Ming General Li Yongfang after he surrendered Fushun in Liaoning to the Manchu in 1618. Nurhaci's son Abatai's daughter was married to Li Yongfang. The offspring of Li received the "Third Class Baron" (?; ) title. Li Yongfang was the great great great grandfather of Li Shiyao (). The 4th daughter of Kangxi () was wedded to Sun Cheng'en (), son of the Han Chinese Sun Sike (). Other Aisin Gioro women married the sons of the Han Chinese generals Geng Jimao, Shang Kexi, and Wu Sangui. Meanwhile the ordinary soldiers who defected were often given non-royal Manchu women as wives, and a mass marriage of Han Chinese officers and officials to Manchu women numbering 1,000 couples was arranged by Prince Yoto (Prince Keqin) and Hongtaiji in 1632 to promote harmony between the two ethnic groups.
This policy, which began before the invasion of 1644, was continued after it. A 1648 decree from Shunzhi allowed Han Chinese civilian men to marry Manchu women from the Banners with the permission of the Board of Revenue if they were registered daughters of officials or commoners or the permission of their banner company captain if they were unregistered commoners, it was only later in the dynasty that these policies allowing intermarriage were done away with. The decree was formulated by Dorgon. In the beginning of the Qing dynasty the Qing government supported Han Chinese defectors weddings to Manchu girls. Han Chinese Bannermen wedded Manchus and there was no law against this.
The "Dolo efu" ? rank was given to husbands of Qing princesses. Geng Zhongming, a Han bannerman, was awarded the title of Prince Jingnan, and his son Geng Jingmao managed to have both his sons Geng Jingzhong and Geng Zhaozhong () become court attendants under the Shunzhi Emperor and married Aisin Gioro women, with Prince Abatai's granddaughter marrying Geng Zhaozhong and Haoge's (a son of Hong Taiji) daughter marrying Geng Jingzhong. A daughter of the Manchu Aisin Gioro Prince Yolo (Prince An) was wedded to Geng Juzhong who was another son of Geng Jingmao. Aisin Gioro women were offered to Mongols who defected to the Manchus. The Manchu Prince Regent Dorgon gave a Manchu woman as a wife to the Han Chinese official Feng Quan, who had defected from the Ming to the Qing. Feng Quan willingly adopted the Manchu queue hairstyle before it was enforced on the Han population and Feng learned the Manchu language.
Manchus were living in cities with walls surrounded by villages and adopting Han-style agriculture well before the Qing conquest of the Ming, and there was an established tradition of Han-Manchu mixing before 1644. The Han Chinese soldiers on the Liaodong frontier often mixed with non-Han tribesmen and were largely acculturated to their ways. The Jurchen Manchus accepted and assimilated Han soldiers who went over to them, and Han Chinese soldiers from Liaodong often adopted and used Manchu names. Indeed Nurhaci's secretary Dahai may have been one such individual.
When Li Yongfang surrendered, he was given much higher status than under the Ming, and even allowed to keep his troops as retainers. Kong Youde, Shang Kexi and Geng Zhongming were also allowed to keep their personal armies. The warlord Shen Zhixiang, who had unlawfully taken over command of his deceased uncle Shen Shikui's troops as his private army, was unable to attain recognition from the Ming court. He then proceeded to lead his forces to switch allegiance to the Qing, and they became critical assets to the Qing.
There were too few ethnic Manchus to rule China, but they absorbed defeated Mongols, and, more importantly, added Han to the Eight Banners. The Manchus had to create an entire "Jiu Han jun" ( Old Han Army) due to the very large number of Han Chinese soldiers absorbed into the Eight Banners by both capture and defection. The Qing showed that the Manchus valued military skills in propaganda targeted towards the Ming military to get them to defect to the Qing, since the Ming civilian political system discriminated against the military. From 1618-1631 Manchus received Han Chinese defectors and their descendants became Han Bannermen and those killed in battle were commemorated as martyrs in biographies.
Hong Taiji recognized that Ming defectors were needed in order to defeat the Ming, explaining to other Manchus why he needed to treat the Ming defector General Hong Chengchou leniently. Hong Taiji understood that the Ming would not be easily defeated unless Han Chinese troops wielding musket and cannon were included in the army. Indeed, among the Banners, gunpowder weapons like muskets and artillery were specifically used by the Han Chinese Banners. The Manchus established an artillery corps made out of Han Chinese soldiers in 1641. The use of artillery by Han Bannermen may have led to them being known as "heavy" soldiers (ujen cooha). The "red coat cannon" were part of the Han army (Liaodong Han Chinese) serving the Qing.
Ming officers who defected to the Qing were allowed to retain their previous military rank. The Qing received the defection of Shen Zhixiang in 1638. Among the other Han officers who defected to the Qing were Ma Guangyuan, Wu Rujie, Zu Dashou, Quan Jie, Geng Zhongming, Zu Zehong, Zu Zepu, Zu Zerun, Deng Changchun, Wang Shixian, Hong Chengchou, Shang Kexi, Liu Wuyuan, Zu Kefa, Zhang Cunren, Meng Qiaofang, Kong Youde, Sun Dingliao. Aristocratic and military ranks, silver, horses and official positions were given to Han Chinese defectors like Zhang Cunren, Sun Dingliao, Liu Wu, Liu Liangchen, Zu Zehong, Zu Zepu, Zu Kufa and Zu Zerun. Han Chinese defectors were primarily responsible for military strategy after 1631.
So many Han defected to the Qing and swelled up the ranks of the Eight Banners that ethnic Manchus became a minority within the Banners, making up only 16% in 1648, with Han Bannermen dominating at 75% and Mongol Bannermen making up the rest. It was this multi-ethnic force in which Manchus were only a minority, which unified China for the Qing. The Qing takeover was done by the multi-ethnic Han Banners, Mongol Banners, and Manchu Banners which made up the Qing military. In 1644, the Ming was invaded by an army that had only a fraction of Manchus, the invading army was multi-ethnic, with Han Banners, Mongols Banners, and Manchu Banners. The political barrier was between the commoners made out of non-bannermen Han Chinese and the "conquest elite", made out of Han Chinese bannermen, nobles, and Mongols and Manchu. It was not ethnicity which was the factor. Han (Nikan) bannermen used banners of black color and Nurhaci was guarded by Han soldiers. Other banners became a minority compared to the Han Nikan Black Banner detachments during Nurhaci's reign.
The Later Jin had forced Joseon to open markets near the borders because its conflicts with Ming had brought economic hardship and starvation to Jin subjects. Joseon was also forced to transfer suzerainty of the Warka tribe to Jin. Furthermore, a tribute of 100 horses, 100 tiger and leopard skins, 400 bolts of cotton, and 15,000 pieces of cloth was to be extracted and gifted to the Jin Khan. Injo's brother was sent to deliver this tribute. However, in later letters to the Joseon king, Hong Taiji would complain that the Koreans did not behave as if they had lost, and were not abiding by the terms of the agreement. Joseon merchants and markets continued to trade with Ming and actively aided Ming subjects by providing them with grain and rations. Hong Taiji rebuked them, saying that the food of Joseon should only be fed to Joseon subjects.
Prior to the invasion, Hong Taiji sent Abatai, Jirgalang, and Ajige to secure the coastal approaches to Korea, so that Ming could not send reinforcements. On 9 December 1636, Hong Taiji led Manchu, Mongol, and Han Banners against Joseon. Chinese support was particularly evident in the army's artillery and naval contingents. The defected Ming mutineer Kong Youde, ennobled as the Qing's Prince Gongshun, joined the attacks on Ganghwa and Ka ("Pidao"). The defectors Geng Zhongming and Shang Kexi also played prominent roles in the Korean invasion.
After the Second Manchu invasion of Korea, Joseon Korea was forced to give several of their royal princesses as concubines to the Qing Manchu regent Prince Dorgon. In 1650 Dorgon married the Korean Princess Uisun. The Princess' name in Korean was Uisun and she was Prince Yi Kaeyoon's (Kumrimgoon) daughter. Dorgon married two Korean princesses at Lianshan.
The Qing defeated the Evenk-Daur federation led by Evenki chief Bombogor and beheaded Bombogor in 1640, with Qing armies massacring and deporting Evenkis and absorbing the survivors into the Banners. The Nanais at first fought against the Nurhaci and the Manchus, led by their own Nanai Hurka chief Sosoku before surrendering to Hongtaiji in 1631. Mandatory shaving of the front of all male heads was imposed on Amur peoples conquered by the Qing like the Nanai people. The Amur peoples already wore the queue on the back of their heads but did not shave the front until the Qing subjected them and ordered them to shave. The Qing married off Manchu princesses to Amur chiefs who submitted to their rule. The Daur and Tungusic Amur Evenks, Nanai and other ethnicities of the Amur region were absorbed into the Qing Eight Banner system.
In 1638, Qing armies raided deep into the interior of China as far as Jinan in Shandong province and immediately retreated back across the Great Wall. The Ming emperor insisted on concentrating all efforts at fighting the rebel armies instead, likening the Qing to be a mere "skin rash" while the rebels were a "visceral disease". In 1641, Jinzhou was besieged by a force of over 30 cannons of Han Chinese banner artillery under Manchu Prince Jirgalang, with supporting Korean artillery under the command of Yu Im. The Koreans, however, were incapacitated by outbreaks of disease. The fortress city of Songshan fell next due to the defection and betrayal of Ming commander Xia Chengde. The emperor responded by ordering the Ningyuan garrison commander Wu Sangui to go on the offense, but he was quickly repelled. Manchu Prince Abatai then led another raid into the interior of China, reaching Northern Jiangsu province and looting 12,000 gold taels and 2,200,000 silver taels. Ming Grand Secretary Zhou Yanru refused to engage in battle, while fabricating reports of victory and extorting bribes to cover up for defeats. Prince-Regent Dorgon later told his officials how "it was really very comical" reading captured Ming military reports, because most were fabricated stories of victory. Meanwhile, rebel "bandits" continued advancing. After the fall of Songshan, amid the urging of his brother and sons (formerly also Ming generals) to join them in defecting to the Qing, the commander of Jinzhou, Zu Dashou, also defected on 8 April 1642, handing them the city.
In their later years, the Ming faced a number of famines and floods as well as economic chaos, and rebellions. Li Zicheng rebelled in the 1630s in Shaanxi in the north, while a mutiny led by Zhang Xianzhong broke out in Sichuan in the 1640s. Historians estimated that up to one million people were killed in this self-proclaimed emperor's reign of terror. 
Just as Dorgon and his advisors were pondering how to attack the Ming, the peasant rebellions ravaging northern China were approaching dangerously close to the Ming capital Beijing. In February 1644, rebel leader Li Zicheng had founded the Shun dynasty in Xi'an and proclaimed himself king. In March his armies had captured the important city of Taiyuan in Shanxi. Seeing the progress of the rebels, on 5 April the Ming Chongzhen Emperor requested the urgent help of any military commandant in the Empire. On 24 April Li Zicheng breached the walls of Beijing, and the Emperor hanged himself the next day on a hill behind the Forbidden City. He was the last Ming emperor to reign in Beijing.
The Qing made a proposal to Li Zicheng's Shun forces on 6 March 1644 that they should ally and divide northern China between the Shun and Qing, sending a delegation to propose a joint attack on the Ming to take over the Central Plains. The Shun received the letter.
When Li Zicheng and his army reached Beijing, he had made an offer via the former Ming eunuch Du Xun to the Chongzhen Emperor of the Ming dynasty that Li Zicheng would fight the Qing dynasty and eradicate all other rebels on behalf of the Ming, if the Ming dynasty would recognize Li Zicheng's control over his Shaanxi-Shanxi fief, pay him 1 million taels and confirm Li Zicheng's noble rank of Prince. Li Zicheng did not intend to overthrow the Ming Emperor or kill him. The Ming Emperor, however, fearful that accepting such political expediency would ruin his reputation tried to get Wei Zaode (), the Chief Grand Secretary, to agree with the decision and shoulder the responsibility of the decision. Wei Zaode refused to answer, so the Chongzhen Emperor rejected Li Zicheng's terms. Li Zicheng marched into the capital as Ming officials surrendered and defected. Li Zicheng still did not intend to kill the Chongzhen Emperor and the Ming Crown Prince, intending to recognise them as nobles of the new Shun dynasty. Li Zicheng lamented the death of the Chongzhen Emperor after discovering he committed suicide, saying that he had come to share power and rule together with him. Li Zicheng distrusted the Ming officials who defected to his side when the Ming fell, viewing them as the reason for the Ming demise. After declaring his own Shun dynasty in Beijing, Li Zicheng sent an offer to the powerful Ming General at the Great Wall, Wu Sangui, to defect to his side in exchange for a high noble rank and title. Wu Sangui dallied for days before he decided to accept the rank and defect to Li Zicheng. Wu Sangui was on his way to formally capitulate and defect to Li Zicheng, but by that time Li Zicheng thought Wu Sangui's silence meant he had rejected the offer and ordered Wu Sangui's father to be beheaded. This caused Wu Sangui to defect to the Qing.
Soon after the emperor had called for help, Ming general Wu Sangui had left his stronghold of Ningyuan north of the Great Wall and started marching toward the capital. On 26 April, his armies had moved through the fortifications of the Shanhai Pass (the eastern end of the Great Wall) and were marching toward Beijing when he heard that the city had fallen, whereupon he returned to the Shanhai Pass. Li Zicheng sent two armies to attack the Pass but Wu's battle-hardened troops defeated them easily on 5 May and 10 May. Then on 18 May, Li Zicheng personally led 60,000 of his troops out of Beijing to attack Wu. At the same time, Wu Sangui wrote to Dorgon to request the Qing's help in ousting the bandits and restoring the Ming dynasty.
Meanwhile, Wu Sangui's departure from the stronghold of Ningyuan had left all the territory outside the Great Wall under Qing control. Two of Dorgon's most prominent Chinese advisors, Hong Chengchou and Fan Wencheng (), urged the Manchu prince to seize the opportunity of the fall of Beijing to present themselves as avengers of the fallen Ming and to claim the Mandate of Heaven for the Qing. Therefore, when Dorgon received Wu's letter, he was already about to lead an expedition to attack northern China and had no intention to restore the Ming. When Dorgon asked Wu to work for the Qing instead, Wu had little choice but to accept.
After Wu formally surrendered to the Qing in the morning of 27 May, his elite troops charged the rebel army repeatedly, but were unable to break the enemy lines. Dorgon waited until both sides were weakened before ordering his cavalry to gallop around Wu's right wing to charge Li's left flank. Li Zicheng's troops were quickly routed and fled back toward Beijing. After their defeat at the Battle of Shanhai Pass, the Shun troops looted Beijing for several days until Li Zicheng left the capital on 4 June with all the wealth he could carry, one day after he had defiantly proclaimed himself Emperor of the Great Shun.
Qing Prince of Yu, Dodo berated the Southern Ming Prince of Fu, Zhu Yousong over his battle strategy in 1645, telling him that the Southern Ming would have defeated the Qing if only the southern Ming assaulted the Qing military before they forded the Yellow river instead of tarrying. The Prince of Fu could find no words to respond when he tried to defend himself.
The [unification of the empire], after the Manchus had securely seated themselves in Pekin, had to be undertaken largely with [Han Chinese] troops, [with a little] Manchu regiment here and there.-- E.H. Parker, The Financial Capacity of China; Journal of the North-China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
The easy transition between the Ming and Qing dynasties has been ascribed to the Chongzhen Emperor's refusal to move southward when his capital had been under rebel threat. This allowed the Qing dynasty to capture an entire corps of qualified civil servants to administer the country, and also ensured that the Southern Ming pretenders would suffer from infighting due to their weak claims on the throne. A large emigre elite of northerners in the south would also have increased the probability of an aggressive policy of reconquest to regain their northern homelands.
Imperial examinations started being organised almost immediately upon the Qing capture of Beijing. The early Qing government was dominated by scholars from North China, and a strong factional rivalry between Northern and Southern scholars ensued. Ming dynasty officials in the finance, appointments and military departments largely joined the new dynasty and formed the core of the Qing civil service, but not the staff of rites, music and literature (the Qing may not have prioritised these either). These defectors were responsible for easing the transition of government without major setbacks. A large proportion of military officials and civilian officials in the Board of War were given promotions after defecting. The top positions were mainly in the hands of Han Bannermen from Liaodong.
When Dorgon ordered Han civilians to vacate Beijing's inner city and move to the outskirts, he resettled the inner city with the Bannermen, including Han Chinese bannermen. Later, some exceptions were made, allowing Han civilians who held government or commercial jobs to also reside in the inner city. The civilian government was flooded by Han Chinese Bannermen. The Six Boards President and other major positions were filled with Han Bannermen chosen by the Qing.
It was Han Chinese Bannermen who were responsible for the successful Qing takeover. They made up the majority of governors in the early Qing and were the ones who governed and administered China, stabilizing Qing rule. Han Bannermen dominated governor-general posts in the time of the Shunzhi and Kangxi Emperors, as well as governor posts, largely excluding ordinary Han civilians. Three Liaodong Han Bannermen officers who played a major role in southern China from the Ming were Shang Kexi, Geng Zhongming, and Kong Youde. They governed southern China autonomously as viceroys for the Qing. The Qing deliberately avoided placing Manchus or Mongols as provincial governors and governors-general, with not a single Manchu governor until 1658, and not a single governor-general until 1668.
In addition to Han Banners, the Qing relied on the Green Standard soldiers, composed of Han (Ming) military forces who defected to the Qing, in order to help rule northern China. It was these troops who provided day-to-day military governance in China, and supplied the forces used in the front-line fighting. Han Bannermen, Mongol Bannermen, and Manchu Bannermen were only deployed to respond to emergency situations where there was sustained military resistance.
It was such a Qing army composed mostly of Han Bannermen which attacked Koxinga's Ming loyalists in Nanjing. The Manchus sent Han Bannermen to fight against Koxinga's Ming loyalists in Fujian. The Qing carried out a massive depopulation policy and clearances, forcing people to evacuate the coast in order to deprive Koxinga's Ming loyalists of resources: this led to a myth that it was because Manchus were "afraid of water". In fact, in Guangdong and Fujian, it was Han Bannermen who were the ones carrying out the fighting and killing for the Qing and this disproves the claim that "fear of water" on part of the Manchus had to do with the coastal evacuation to move inland and declare the sea ban. Most of the coastal population of Fujian fled to the hills or to Taiwan to avoid the war; Fuzhou was an empty city when the Qing forces entered it.
On the orders of Nurhaci in 1629, a number of Chinese works considered to be of critical importance were translated into Manchu by Dahai. The first works translated were all Chinese military texts dedicated to the arts of war due to the Manchu interests in the topic. They were the Liutao, Su Shu (), and Sanlüe followed by the military text Wuzi and The Art of War.
Other texts translated into Manchu by Dahai included the Ming penal code. The Manchus placed great significance on Chinese texts relating to military affairs and governance, and further Chinese texts of history, law and military theory were translated into Manchu during the rule of Hong Taiji in Mukden. A Manchu translation was made of the military themed Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. As well as the translations by Dahai, other Chinese literature, military theory and legal texts were translated into Manchu by Erdeni.
Under the reign of Dorgon, whom historians have variously called "the mastermind of the Qing conquest" and "the principal architect of the great Manchu enterprise", the Qing subdued the capital area, received the capitulation of Shandong local elites and officials, and took Shanxi and Shaanxi. They then turned their eyes to the rich commercial and agricultural region of Jiangnan south of the lower Yangtze River. They also wiped out the last remnants of rival regimes established by Li Zicheng (killed in 1645) and Zhang Xianzhong (Chengdu taken in early 1647). Finally, they managed to kill claimants to the throne of the Southern Ming in Nanjing (1645) and Fuzhou (1646) and chased Zhu Youlang, the last Southern Ming emperor, out of Guangzhou (1647) and into the far southwestern reaches of China.
Soon after entering Beijing in June 1644, Dorgon despatched Wu Sangui and his troops to pursue Li Zicheng, the rebel leader who had driven the last Ming emperor to suicide, but had been defeated by the Qing in late May at the Battle of Shanhai Pass. Wu managed to engage Li's rearguard many times, but Li still managed to cross the Gu Pass () into Shanxi, and Wu returned to Beijing. Li Zicheng reestablished his power base in Xi'an (Shaanxi province), where he had declared the foundation of his Shun dynasty back in February 1644. In October of that year Dorgon sent several armies to root out Li Zicheng from his Shaanxi stronghold, after repressing revolts against Qing rule in Hebei and Shandong in the Summer and Fall of 1644. Qing armies led by Ajige, Dodo, and Shi Tingzhu () won consecutive engagements against Shun forces in Shanxi and Shaanxi, forcing Li Zicheng to leave his Xi'an headquarters in February 1645. Li retreated through several provinces until he was killed in September 1645, either by his own hand or by a peasant group that had organized for self-defense in this time of rampant banditry.
Between Beijing and Datong and in Shanxi province Millenarianist groups of martial artist acolytes calling themselves the "Supreme Heaven's Clear and Pure Good Friends" and the "Society of Good Friends" respectively rose up in rebellion in 1645 against the new regime. These were suppressed by slaughtering anyone suspected of membership in such popular sects.
The Monguors, who were tusi appointed by the Ming emperor, supported the Ming against a Tibetan revolt and against Li Zicheng's rebels in 1642. They were unable to resist Li Zicheng and many tusi chiefs were massacred. When the Qing forces under Ajige and Meng Qiaofang fought against Li's forces after 1644 they quickly joined the Qing side. Meanwhile, Ming loyalist forces numbering 70,000 well-equipped troops were coalescing in the mountains south of Xi'an, under former Ming commanders Sun Shoufa, He Zhen and Wu Dading, capturing the city of Fengxiang. As they advanced toward Xi'an they were flanked by recent Ming defectors under Meng Qiaofang, and overrun with Bannermen. He Zhen's rebels were mainly bandits, and they continued operating out of small stockades in the forested, mountainous regions with ten to 15 rebel families in every stockade, usually centered around a temple. They generally enjoyed popular support, and would retreat to the higher mountain safehouses upon receiving locals' notice of any military movements in the area. Groups of stockades congregated around a "King", who would grant commissions of Colonel or Major to other stockade leaders. They were finally pacified by forces led by Ren Zhen.
Late in 1646, forces assembled by a Muslim leader known in Chinese sources as Milayin () revolted against Qing rule in Ganzhou (Gansu). He was soon joined by another Muslim named Ding Guodong (). Proclaiming that they wanted to restore the fallen Ming, they occupied a number of towns in Gansu, including the provincial capital Lanzhou. These rebels' willingness to collaborate with non-Muslim Chinese suggests that they were not only driven by religion, and were not aiming to create an Islamic state. To pacify the rebels, the Qing government quickly despatched Meng Qiaofang (), governor of Shaanxi, a former Ming official who had surrendered to the Qing in 1631. Both Milayin and Ding Guodong were captured and killed in 1648, and by 1650 the Muslim rebels had been crushed in campaigns that inflicted heavy casualties. The Muslim Ming loyalists were supported by the Muslim Chagatid Kumul Khanate and the Turfan Khanate and after their defeat, Kumul submitted to the Qing. Another Muslim rebel, Ma Shouying, was allied to Li Zicheng and the Shun dynasty.
In early 1646 Dorgon sent two expeditions to Sichuan to try to destroy Zhang Xianzhong's Great Xi dynasty regime: the first expedition did not reach Sichuan because it was caught up against remnants;[clarification needed] the second one, under the direction of Hooge (the son of Hong Taiji who had lost the succession struggle of 1643) reached Sichuan in October 1646. Hearing that a Qing army led by a major general was approaching, Zhang Xianzhong fled toward Shaanxi, splitting his troops into four divisions that were ordered to act independently if something were to happen to him. Before leaving, he ordered a massacre of the population of his capital Chengdu. Zhang Xianzhong was killed in a battle against Qing forces near Xichong in central Sichuan on 1 February 1647. In one account, he was betrayed by one of his officers, Liu Jinzhong, who pointed him out to be shot by an archer. Hooge then easily took Chengdu, but found it in a state of desolation he had not expected. Unable to find food in the countryside, his soldiers looted the area, killing resisters, and even resorted to cannibalism as food shortages grew acute.
A few weeks after the Chongzhen Emperor committed suicide in Beijing in April 1644, some descendants of the Ming imperial house started arriving in Nanjing, which had been the auxiliary capital of the Ming dynasty. Agreeing that the Ming needed an imperial figure to rally support in the south, the Nanjing Minister of War Shi Kefa and the Fengyang Governor-general Ma Shiying () agreed to form a loyalist Ming government around the Prince of Fu, Zhu Yousong, a first cousin of the Chongzhen Emperor who had been next in line for succession after the dead emperor's sons, whose fates were still unknown. The Prince was crowned as emperor on 19 June 1644 under the protection of Ma Shiying and his large war fleet. He would reign under the era name "Hongguang" (). The Hongguang regime was ridden with factional bickering that facilitated the Qing conquest of Jiangnan, which was launched from Xi'an in April 1645.[a] He set out from Xi'an on that very day. For examples of the factional struggles that weakened the Hongguang court, see Wakeman 1985, pp. 523-543 harvnb error: multiple targets (6×): CITEREFWakeman1985 (help). Greatly aided by the surrender of Southern Ming commanders Li Chengdong () and Liu Liangzuo (), the Qing army took the key city of Xuzhou north of the Huai River in early May 1645, leaving Shi Kefa in Yangzhou as the main defender of the Southern Ming's northern frontiers. The betrayal of these commanders handed over the entire northwestern zone of the Southern Ming, helping the Qing forces to link up. Ma Shiying had under his command in Nanjing indigenous ethnic minority warriors who came all the way from Sichuan.
In Jiangnan, the Qing implemented peaceful surrender for districts and cities who defected without any violent resistance, leaving the local Ming officials who defected in charge and the Qing Han-Manchu army would not attack them nor kill or do any violence against peaceful defectors.
Several contingents of Qing forces converged on Yangzhou on 13 May 1645. The majority of the Qing army which marched on the city were Ming defectors and they far outnumbered the Manchus and Bannermen. Shi Kefa's small force refused to surrender, but could not resist Dodo's artillery: on 20 May Qing cannon wielded by the Han Bannermen (Ujen Coohai) breached the city wall and Dodo ordered the "brutal slaughter" of Yangzhou's entire population to terrorize other Jiangnan cities into surrendering to the Qing. On 1 June Qing armies crossed the Yangzi River and easily took the garrison city of Zhenjiang, which protected access to Nanjing. The Qing arrived at the gates of Nanjing a week later, but the Hongguang Emperor had already fled. The city surrendered without a fight on 16 June after its last defenders had made Dodo promise he would not hurt the population. Within less than a month, the Qing had captured the fleeing Ming emperor (he died in Beijing the following year) and seized Jiangnan's main cities, including Suzhou and Hangzhou. By then the frontier between the Qing and the Southern Ming had been pushed south to the Qiantang River. Nieuhof observed that the city of Nanjing was unharmed by Qing soldiers.
Manchu soldiers ransomed women captured from Yangzhou back to their original husbands and fathers in Nanjing after Nanjing peacefully surrendered, corralling the women into the city and whipping them hard with their hair containing a tag showing the price of the ransom, which was cheap at only 3 to 4 taels for the best and 10 taels at most for those wearing good clothing.
On 21 July 1645, after the Jiangnan region had been superficially pacified, Dorgon issued "the most untimely promulgation of his career": he ordered all Chinese men to shave their forehead and to braid the rest of their hair into a queue just like the Manchus. The punishment for non-compliance was death. In the queue order edict, Dorgon specifically emphasized the fact that Manchus and the Qing emperor himself all wore the queue and shaved their foreheads so that by following the queue order and shaving, Han Chinese would look like Manchus and the Qing Emperor and invoked the Confucian notion that the people were like the sons of the emperor who was like the father, so the father and sons could not look different and to decrease differences in physical appearance between Manchu and Han.
The queue order was proposed by a number of Han Chinese officials in order to curry favour with Dorgon. This policy of symbolic submission to the new dynasty helped the Manchus in telling friend from foe.[b] However, for Han officials and literati, the new hairstyle was "a humiliating act of degradation" (because it breached a common Confucian directive to preserve one's body intact), whereas for common folk cutting their hair "was tantamount to the loss of their manhood."[c] Because it united Chinese of all social backgrounds into resistance against Qing rule, the hair-cutting command "broke the momentum of the Qing [expansion]."[d]
The defiant population of Jiading and Songjiang was massacred by former Ming northern Chinese general Li Chengdong (), respectively on August 24 and September 22.Jiangyin also held out against about 10,000 Qing troops for 83 days. When the city wall was finally breached on 9 October 1645, the Qing army led by northern Chinese Ming defector Liu Liangzuo (), who had been ordered to "fill the city with corpses before you sheathe your swords," massacred the entire population, killing between 74,000 and 100,000 people. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed before all of China was brought into compliance. Although Manchu Bannermen were often associated with the Jiangyin Massacre which targeted the Ming loyalists, the majority of those who had participated in Jiangyin Massacre were Chinese Bannermen.
When the Qing imposed the Queue Order in China, many Han defectors were appointed in the massacre of dissidents. Li Chengdong, a former Ming general who had defected to the Qing faction, oversaw three massacres in Jiading that occurred within the same month; together which resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and left cities depopulated.
In Fuzhou, although former-Ming subjects were initially compensated with silver for complying to the Queue Order, the defected southern Chinese general Hong Chengchou had enforced the policy thoroughly on the residents of Jiangnan by 1645. The Han banners were repeatedly assigned to enforce the Queue Order, often resulting in massacres such as the Yangzhou Massacre, during which local residents were seen harassed by troops.
Ming defector Li Chengdong's Han Chinese soldiers who were mostly former revolted refugees, peasants and bandits from the north called the Han Chinese anti-queue resisters and Ming loyalists in Jiading "southern barbarians" (manzi) threatening them, telling them "southern barbarian, hand over your valuables", raping, torturing and massacring.
Meanwhile, the Southern Ming had not been eliminated. When Hangzhou fell to the Qing on 6 July 1645, the Prince of Tang Zhu Yujian, a ninth-generation descendant of Ming founder Zhu Yuanzhang, managed to escape by land to the southeastern province of Fujian. Crowned as the Longwu Emperor in the coastal city of Fuzhou on 18 August, he depended on the protection of talented seafarer Zheng Zhilong (also known as "Nicholas Iquan"). The childless emperor adopted Zheng's eldest son and granted him the imperial surname. "Koxinga," as this son is known to Westerners, is a distortion of the title "Lord of the Imperial Surname" (Guoxingye ). In the meantime, another Ming claimant, the Prince of Lu Zhu Yihai, had named himself regent in Zhejiang, but the two loyalist regimes failed to cooperate, making their chances of success even lower than they already were.
In February 1646, Qing armies seized land west of the Qiantang River from the Lu regime and defeated a ragtag force representing the Longwu Emperor in northeastern Jiangxi. In May, they besieged Ganzhou, the last Ming bastion in Jiangxi. In July, a new Southern Campaign led by Prince Bolo sent Prince of Lu's Zhejiang regime into disarray and proceeded to attack the Longwu regime in Fujian. On the pretext of relieving the siege of Ganzhou, the Longwu court left their Fujian base in late September 1646, but the Qing army caught up with them. Longwu and his empress were summarily executed in Tingzhou (western Fujian) on 6 October. After the fall of Fuzhou on 17 October, Zheng Zhilong surrendered to the Qing and his son Koxinga fled to the island of Taiwan with his fleet.
The Prince-Regent of Lu, with the aid of the sea-lord Zhang Mingzhen, continued resistance at sea on the island of Shacheng, between Zhejiang and Fujian. By July 1649 their base of operations shifted northward to Jiantiaosuo. After killing a rival naval commander Huang Binqing, the base was moved to Zhoushan in November. From there he attempted to raise a rebellion in Jiangnan, but Zhoushan fell to the Qing after being betrayed by Huang Binqing's former officers. Zhang Mingzhen, his family all slain, fled to join Zheng Chenggong in Xiamen.
The Longwu Emperor's younger brother Zhu Yuyue, who had fled Fuzhou by sea, soon founded another Ming regime in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, taking the reign title Shaowu () on 11 December 1646. Short of official costumes, the court had to purchase robes from local theater troops. On 24 December, Prince of Gui Zhu Youlang established the Yongli () regime in the same vicinity. The two Ming regimes fought each other until 20 January 1647, when a small Qing force led by former Southern Ming commander Li Chengdong () captured Guangzhou, killing the Shaowu Emperor and sending the Yongli Emperor fleeing to Nanning in Guangxi.
In May 1648, however, Li Chengdong, disappointed at being made a mere regional commander, mutinied against the Qing and rejoined the Ming, and the concurrent reversion of another dissatisfied ex-Ming general, Jin Shenghuan, in Jiangxi helped the Yongli regime to retake most of southern China. This resurgence of loyalist hopes was short-lived. New Qing armies managed to reconquer the central provinces of Huguang (present-day Hubei and Hunan), Jiangxi, and Guangdong in 1649 and 1650. The Yongli Emperor fled to Nanning and from there to Guizhou. Finally on 24 November 1650, Qing forces led by Shang Kexi captured Guangzhou with the aid of Dutch gunners and massacred the city's population, killing as many as 70,000 people.
A major revolt around Zouping, Shandong broke out in March 1647. Shandong had been plagued by brigandage before the collapse of the Ming, and most Ming officials and their gentry-organised militia welcomed the new Qing regime, cooperating with them against the bandits who now grew into sizeable rebel armies complete with guns and cannons, and who leaders had declared themselves "kings". These were held off by the local gentry, who organised the local population into a defence force.
In March 1648, a bandit chief, Yang Sihai, and a woman by the surname of Zhang, claimed to be the Crown Prince of the Tianqi Emperor, and his consort, respectively. With the aid of another bandit chief called Zhang Tianbao, they rebelled under the Ming flag in Qingyun, south of Tianjin. The Qing was forced to send in "heavy troops" (artillery), as well as extra reinforcements. The Qing succeeded in subduing the rebellion in 1649, but with heavy losses. Further south, in the forests between Shandong, Hebei, and Henan provinces, 20 Ming loyalist brigades of 1,000 men each were amassing. This force was known as the "Elm Garden Army", equipped with Western cannons. Commander Li Huajing had declared a distant relative of the Ming imperial family as the "Tianzheng Emperor", and besieged and captured the cities of Caozhou, Dingtao County, Chengwu County, and Dongming County, Lanyang and Fengqiu. Heavy casualties were inflicted on the Qing. Defected Ming general Gao Di led elite multi-ethnic Banner forces to crush the insurrection by November 18.
In January 1649, Jiang Xiang, the military governor in Datong, Shanxi, felt threatened that Dorgon might be attempting to restrict his authority and rebelled, switching allegiance back to the Ming. Dorgon travelled to personally intervene against the rebels. The generals Liu Denglou, commander of Yulin, Shaanxi, and Wang Yongqiang, top commander in Yan'an, Shaanxi, rebelled and switched back to the Ming. and The revolt was defeated by the end of the year by a Banner force commanded by Prince Bolo, and Wu Sangui. The Ming loyalist-held city of Puzhou was subject to a massacre. Simultaneously, Zhu Senfu, a man who claimed to be related to the Ming Imperial family, declared himself Prince of Qin in Jiezhou, Shaanxi, near Sichuan, backed by a local outlaw Zhao Ronggui with an army of 10,000 men. The rebels were crushed by Wu Sangui's forces. In the chaos, many bandit groups expanded their raids. A local outlaw by the name of Zhang Wugui rose up in Shanxi and began handing out Ming ranks and documents, assembling an army. He attacked Wutai in 1649, but was driven off. He continued marauding the province until he was killed in February 1655.
The southeastern region of Shaanxi, a rural, untamed area, was beset by Ming Colonel Tang Zhongzheng, accompanied by two Ming princes Zhu Changying and Zhu Youdu and a Ming Mongol commander, Shibulai. Other rebels, given the ready access to the Ming loyalists in neighbouring Sichuan, were able to continue resistance. Sun Shoujin, who called himself the Earl of Xing'an, with the aid of General Tan Qi, led an alliance of mountain fortresses around Mount Banchang. They resisted an intense Banner assault with their long rifles, but Tan Qi abandoned Sun in July 1652, leading to Sun's defeat and death. A bandit gang, the "Pole bandits", who were plundering the local population were also defeated shortly afterward by the betrayal of one of their two chiefs.
After the elimination of Zhang Xianzhong's Xi dynasty, his generals retreated southward to Guizhou province, where they encountered the Southern Ming forces retreating from Guangxi province. The Ming emperor, in urgent need of reinforcements, requested the aid of the Xi dynasty's followers. Zhang Xianzhong's former deputy, Sun Kewang, exterminated all his opponents in the Southern Ming court and kept the Ming emperor under de facto imprisonment, all the while continuing to refer to Zhang Xianzhong as a deceased Emperor.
Though the Qing under Dorgon's leadership had successfully pushed the Southern Ming deep into southern China, Ming loyalism was not dead yet. In early August 1652, Li Dingguo, who had served as general in Sichuan under Zhang Xianzhong (d. 1647) and was now protecting the Yongli Emperor of the Southern Ming, retook Guilin (Guangxi province) from the Qing. Within a month, most of the commanders who had been supporting the Qing in Guangxi reverted to the Ming side. Despite occasionally successful military campaigns in Huguang and Guangdong in the next two years, Li failed to retake important cities. In 1653, the Qing court put Hong Chengchou in charge of retaking the southwest. Headquartered in Changsha (in what is now Hunan province), he patiently built up his forces; only in late 1658 did well-fed and well-supplied Qing troops mount a multipronged campaign to take Guizhou and Yunnan. Infighting broke out between the forces of Li Dingguo and Sun Kewang. The Ming emperor, fearful that Sun intended to make himself emperor, asked Li Dingguo to liberate him. After Sun's forces were routed, he and his surviving troops defected to Hong Chengchou's Qing armies, giving the Qing their opening to strike.
In late January 1659, a Qing army led by Manchu prince Doni took the capital of Yunnan, sending the Yongli Emperor fleeing into nearby Burma, which was then ruled by King Pindale Min of the Toungoo dynasty. The last sovereign of the Southern Ming stayed there until 1662, when he was captured and executed by Wu Sangui, whose surrender to the Manchus in April 1644 had allowed Dorgon to start the Qing expansion.
Zheng Chenggong ("Koxinga"), who had been adopted by the Longwu Emperor in 1646 and ennobled by Yongli in 1655, also continued to defend the cause of the Southern Ming. In 1659, just as Shunzhi was preparing to hold a special examination to celebrate the glories of his reign and the success of the southwestern campaigns, Zheng sailed up the Yangtze River with a well-armed fleet, took several cities from Qing hands, and went so far as to threaten Nanjing. Despite capturing many counties in his initial attack due to surprise and having the initiative, Koxinga announced the final battle in Nanjing ahead of time giving plenty of time for the Qing to prepare because he wanted a decisive, single grand showdown like his father successfully did against the Dutch at the Battle of Liaoluo Bay, throwing away the surprise and initiative which led to its failure. Koxinga's attack on Qing held Nanjing which would interrupt the supply route of the Grand Canal leading to possible starvation in Beijing caused such fear that the Manchus (Tartares) considered returning to Manchuria (Tartary) and abandoning China according to a 1671 account by a French missionary. The commoners and officials in Beijing and Nanjing were waiting to support whichever side won. An official from Qing Beijing sent letters to family and another official in Nanjing, telling them all communication and news from Nanjing to Beijing had been cut off, that the Qing were considering abandoning Beijing and moving their capital far away to a remote location for safety since Koxinga's iron troops were rumored to be invincible. The letter said it reflected the grim situation being felt in Qing Beijing. The official told his children in Nanjing to prepare to defect to Koxinga which he himself was preparing to do. Koxinga's forces intercepted these letters and after reading them Koxinga may have started to regret his deliberate delays allowing the Qing to prepare for a final massive battle instead of swiftly attacking Nanjing. When the emperor heard of this sudden attack he is said to have slashed his throne with a sword in anger. But the siege of Nanjing was relieved and Zheng Chenggong repelled, forcing Zheng to take refuge in the southeastern coastal province of Fujian. Koxinga's Ming loyalists fought against a majority Han Chinese Bannermen Qing army when attacking Nanjing. The siege lasted almost three weeks, beginning on August 24. Koxinga's forces were unable to maintain a complete encirclement, which enabled the city to obtain supplies and even reinforcements--though cavalry attacks by the city's forces were successful even before reinforcements arrived. Koxinga's forces were defeated and "slipped back" (Wakeman's phrase) to the ships which had brought them. Pressured by Qing fleets, Zheng fled to Taiwan in April 1661 and defeated the Dutch in the Siege of Fort Zeelandia, expelling them from Taiwan and setting up the Kingdom of Tungning. Zheng died in 1662. His descendants resisted Qing rule until 1683, when his grandson Zheng Keshuang surrendered Taiwan to the Kangxi Emperor after the Battle of Penghu. The Ming dynasty Princes who accompanied Koxinga to Taiwan were the Prince of Ningjing Zhu Shugui and Prince Zhu Hónghuán (), son of Zhu Yihai.
The Dutch looted relics and killed monks after attacking a Buddhist complex at Putuoshan on the Zhoushan islands in 1665 during their war against Zheng Chenggong's son Zheng Jing.
Zheng Jing's navy executed 34 Dutch sailors and drowned eight Dutch sailors after looting, ambushing and sinking the Dutch fluyt ship Cuylenburg in 1672 on northeastern Taiwan. Only 21 Dutch sailors escaped to Japan. The ship was going from Nagasaki to Batavia on a trade mission.
Koxinga executed Shi Lang's family causing him to defect to the Qing after Shi Lang disobeyed orders. Koxinga implemented extremely strict harsh discipline on his soldiers which caused many of them to defect to the Qing. Failure to listen to orders and failing in battle could bring death sentences with no leniency from Koxinga. The Qing implemented a lenient policy towards defectors who defected to the southern Ming, Koxinga, and the Three Feudatories, inviting and allowing them back into Qing ranks without punishment even after they initially betrayed the Qing and defected and was able to secure mass defections.
In 1673, Wu Sangui, Shang Kexi, and Geng Jimao, the "Three Feudatories", rebelled against the Kangxi Emperor. They dominated southern China, and Wu declared the "Zhou dynasty". However, their disunity destroyed them. Shang Zhixin and Geng surrendered in 1681 after a massive Qing counteroffensive, in which the Han Green Standard Army played the major role with the Bannermen taking a backseat.
The rebellion was defeated mainly due to the refusal of most Han Chinese commanders to turn against the Qing dynasty. Particularly repulsive to many was the blatant opportunism of Wu Sangui, who had betrayed two dynasties in one lifetime: even Ming loyalists ridiculed his cause.
Fan Chengmo, son of Fan Wencheng, remained loyal to the Qing despite imprisonment and eventually death, and as one of leading military families of Liaodong, his example inspired other Liaodong generals to remain loyal.
The Qing forces were crushed by Wu from 1673-1674. The Qing had the support of the majority of Han Chinese soldiers and Han elite against the Three Feudatories, since they refused to join Wu Sangui in the revolt, while the Eight Banners and Manchu officers fared poorly against Wu Sangui, so the Qing responded with using a massive army of more than 900,000 Han (non-Banner) instead of the Eight Banners, to fight and crush the Three Feudatories. Wu Sangui's forces were crushed by the Green Standard Army, made out of defected Ming soldiers. In the Three Feudatories rebellion, Han bannermen who stayed on the Qing side and died in battle were categorized as martyrs.
Several Ming dynasty Princes accompanied Koxinga to Taiwan including Prince Zhu Shugui of Ningjing and Prince Zhu Honghuan (w:zh:), the son of Zhu Yihai. The Kangxi Emperor, the one who had crushed the Three Feudatories' revolt, began his own campaigns to expand his empire.
The Qing agreed to an alliance with the Dutch East India Company against the remaining Ming loyalists in Fujian and Taiwan. The Dutch intended to take a colonial outpost in Taiwan. In October 1663, the joint fleet succeeded in capturing Xiamen and Kinmen (Quemoy) from the Southern Ming. However, the Qing grew suspicious of Dutch ambitions to maintain a colony in Taiwan and to push for trading privileges, so the alliance collapsed. Admiral Shi Lang, who strongly objected to cession of Taiwan to the Dutch, offered to launch his own expedition instead.
Having lost the Battle of Penghu, Koxinga's grandson Zheng Keshuang surrendered and was rewarded by the Kangxi Emperor with the title "Duke of Haicheng" (). He and his soldiers were inducted into the Eight Banners. His rattan shield troops ( tengpaiying) served against Russian Cossacks at Albazin.
The Qing sent most of the 17 Ming princes still living on Taiwan back to mainland China where they spent the rest of their lives. The Prince of Ningjing and his five concubines committed suicide rather than submit to capture. Their palace was used as Shi Lang's headquarters in 1683 but he memorialized the emperor to convert it into a Mazu temple as a propaganda measure in quieting remaining resistance on Taiwan. The emperor approved its dedication as the Grand Matsu Temple the next year and, honoring the goddess Mazu for her supposed assistance during the Qing expansion, promoted her to "Empress of Heaven" (Tianhou) from her previous status as a heavenly consort (tianfei).
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The defeat of the Ming dynasty posed practical and moral problems, especially for literati and officials. Confucian teachings emphasized loyalty (? zh?ng), but the question arose as to whether Confucians should be loyal to the fallen Ming or to the new power, the Qing. Some, like the painter Bada Shanren, a descendant of the Ming ruling family, became recluses. Others, like Kong Shangren, who claimed to be a descendant of Confucius, supported the new regime. Kong wrote a poignant drama, The Peach Blossom Fan, which explored the moral decay of the Ming in order to explain its fall. Poets whose lives bridged the transition between Ming poetry and Qing poetry are attracting modern academic interest.[e] Some of the most important first generation of Qing thinkers were Ming loyalists, at least in their hearts, including Gu Yanwu, Huang Zongxi, and Fang Yizhi. Partly in reaction and to protest the laxity and excess of the late Ming, they turned to evidential learning, which emphasized careful textual study and critical thinking. Another important group in this transitional period were the "Three Masters of Jiangdong"--Gong Dingzi, Wu Weiye, and Qian Qianyi--who among other things contributed to a revival in the ci form of poetry.
The emperors, in order to legitimize their rule, encouraged Qing officials and literary figures to organize and appropriate the legacy of Chinese literature, producing anthologies and critical works. They also patronized the development of Manchu literature and the translation of Chinese classics into Manchu. Yet the phrase "defeat the Qing and restore the Ming" remained a byword for many.
Dulimbai Gurun is the Manchu name for China ( Zhongguo; "Middle Kingdom"). After extinguishing the Ming, the Qing identified their state as "China" (Zhongguo), and referred to it as "Dulimbai Gurun" in Manchu. The Qing equated the lands of the Qing state (including present day Manchuria, Xinjiang, Mongolia, Tibet and other areas) as "China" in both the Chinese and Manchu languages, defining China as a multi-ethnic state, rejecting the idea that China only meant Han areas, proclaiming that both Han and non-Han peoples were part of "China", using "China" to refer to the Qing in official documents, international treaties, and foreign affairs, and the "Chinese language" (Dulimbai gurun i bithe) referred to Han Chinese, Manchu, and Mongol languages, and the term "Chinese people" ( Zhongguo ren; Manchu: Dulimbai gurun i niyalma) referred to all Han, Manchus, and Mongol subjects of the Qing.
When the Qing defeated Dzungar Mongols in 1759, they proclaimed that the Oirats territorial lands were absorbed into "China" (Dulimbai Gurun) realm in a Manchu language memorial. They expounded the ideology that they were bringing together the "outer" non-Han like the Khalkha Mongols, Inner Mongols, Oirats (including Tibetans, who were then under the rule of Oirat Khanates) together with the "inner" Han Chinese, into "one family" united under the Qing state. To show that the diverse subjects of the Qing were all part of one family, the Qing used the phrase "Zhongwai yijia" (?, "central areas and outer areas as one realm") or "neiwei yijia" (?, "interior and exterior of great-walls as one family"), to convey this idea of "unification" of the different peoples. A Manchu language version of a treaty with the Russian Empire concerning criminal jurisdiction over bandits called Qing subjects "people of the Central Kingdom (Dulimbai Gurun)". In the Manchu official Tulisen's Manchu language account of his meeting with the Torghut leader Ayuka Khan, it was mentioned that while the Torghuts were unlike the Russians, the "people of the Central Kingdom" (dulimba-i gurun Zhongguo) were like the Torghuts, and the "people of the Central Kingdom" referred to the Manchus.
The rebellions led by Li Zicheng, Zhang Xianzhong, and the subsequent expansion by the Qing was one of the most devastating wars in Chinese history. Examples of the devastation include the Yangzhou massacre, in which some 800,000 people, (although this number is now considered an exaggeration) including women and children, were massacred. The Qing carried out massacres in cities which resisted like Yangzhou and Guangzhou but did not carry out violence in cities which surrendered and capitulated to Qing rule like Beijing and Nanjing. Nanjing surrendered to the Qing without a violence as all officials surrendered and defected. Whole provinces, such as Sichuan, were thoroughly devastated and depopulated by the rebel Zhang Xianzhong. Zhang Xianzhong killed 600,000 to 6 million civilians. A massive famine in Shaanxi had spurred Zhang Xianzhong and Li Zicheng to revolt and brutality by the rebels was widespread across northern China. Coastal China was devastated by the Qing coastal evacuation order. An estimated 25 million people died in the entire war. Some scholars estimate that the Chinese economy did not regain the level reached in the late Ming until 1750, a century after the foundation of the Qing dynasty. According to economic historian Robert Allen, family income in the Yangtze delta, China's richest province, was actually below Ming levels in 1820 (but equal to that of contemporary Britain).[full ]
Immediately before the Ming dynasty was overthrown by Li Zicheng and the Qing entered Shanhai pass, disease, famine, starvation and bandits ravaged the population of China. A disease killed half of the population in cities across China from 1640-1642 and three out of ten people in Huzhou city died of plague and starvation. As the rural areas were hit by famine, peasants abandoned their homes by the millions, bandits took over Huguang, entire parts of the countryside were abandoned by peasants in the middle of China and theft and begging was widespread in cities by peasants looking for food and cannibalism spread all over famine hit Henan. in 1641 northern China was hit by disease and plague spreading to Huangpi and the plague infected corpses were the only food available to the survivors. A massive drought in 1636 hit Huangpi amidst a series of natural disasters. Plague, locusts and famine spread all over. The plains and villages were hit by bandits and rebels as starving refugees, orphans who lost parents to disease and fired postal couriers and soldiers whose salary was cut off turned into rebels in 1642 all over China.
China's population growth led to devastating death tolls due to famine from cold weather, drought and floods. Soil and anything that was consumable was eaten by people in 1637 in Jiangxi in a massive famine. The massive disease epidemic devastated South Zhili (Jiangnan) from 1641-1642 hitting the region twice, leaving corpses from the disease all over Zhili and killing 9 out of 10 across northern Zhejiang after it spread there from the Grand Canal from northwestern China. Due to the loss in people, crops were not farmed further exacerbating the famine. The Yangtze river delta's urban regions, the coastal southeast and the northwest were all hit by massive famine as the grain producing regions lost productivity. Massive deflation blew up as silver bullion remained in Fujian and stopped grain and payments for famine relief from reaching famine victims. The rebellions broke out because of these famines. Famine hit Hangzhou from 1640-1642, killing 50 percent of the population, forcing the impoverished to eat cocoons and silkworms, and forcing the rich to eat rice gruel. In multiple counties only three out of ten survived when Henan was hit by the 1641 disease plague epidemic.
Select groups of Han bannermen were mass transferred into Manchu Banners by the Qing, changing their ethnicity from Han to Manchu. Han bannermen of Tai Nikan (watchpost Chinese) and Fusi Nikan ? (Fushun Chinese) backgrounds into the Manchu banners in 1740 by order of the Qing Qianlong emperor. It was between 1618-1629 when the Han Chinese from Liaodong who later became the Fushun Nikan and Tai Nikan defected to the Jurchens (Manchus). These Han-origin Manchu clans continue to use their original Han surnames and are marked as of Han origin on Qing lists of Manchu clans.
Accounts of atrocities during the transition from the Ming to Qing were used by revolutionaries in the anti-Qing Xinhai revolution to fuel massacres against Manchus. Manchu bannermen and their families were massacred in several banner garrisons across China during the revolution, one of the massacres taking place in Xi'an. The Hui Muslim community was divided in its support for the 1911 Xinhai Revolution. The Hui Muslims of Shaanxi supported the revolutionaries and the Hui Muslims of Gansu supported the Qing. The local Hui Muslims (Mohammedans) of Xi'an (Shaanxi province) joined the Han Chinese revolutionaries in slaughtering the entire 20,000 Manchu population of Xi'an. The native Hui Muslims of Gansu province led by general Ma Anliang sided with the Qing and prepared to attack the anti-Qing revolutionaries of Xi'an city. Only some wealthy Manchus who were ransomed and Manchu females survived. Wealthy Han Chinese seized Manchu girls to become their slaves and Han Chinese troops seized young Manchu women to be their wives. Young pretty Manchu girls were also seized by Hui Muslims of Xi'an during the massacre and brought up as Muslims.