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Qing conquest of the Ming

Manchu conquest of China

Decisive Battle of Shanhai Pass in 1644.
Date 1618-1683
Location Manchuria, China proper
Result Ming dynasty falls
short-lived Shun dynasty falls
Qing dynasty is formed
Qing dynasty Ming dynasty

Supported by:
Kumul Khanate

Turfan Khanate
Shun dynasty
Zhang Xianzhong's rebel army
Commanders and leaders
Hong Taiji
Shunzhi Emperor

Li Yongfang (defected from the Ming in 1618)
Geng Zhongming (defected from the Ming in 1633)
Kong Youde (defected from the Ming in 1633)
Shang Kexi (defected from the Ming)
Zu Dashou (defected from the Ming in 1642)
Wu Sangui (defected from the Ming in 1644)
Shi Lang (defected from the Ming)
Zheng Zhilong (defected from the Ming)
Meng Qiaofang (defected from the Ming)
Chongzhen Emperor
Yuan Chonghuan
Zhu Shichuan, Prince of Yanchang 
Milayin (米喇印) 
Ding Guodong (丁國棟)  
Sa'id Baba
Sultan Khan
Shi Kefa
Li Dingguo
Ou Guangchen
Zhu Youlang, Prince of Gui
Zhu Yuyue, Prince of Tang
Zhu Yujian, Prince of Tang
Zhu Yousong, Prince of Fu
Li Zicheng
Ma Shouying
Zhang Xianzhong
including Manchu, Mongol, and Han Bannermen
Han Green Standard Army defectors (after 1644)
varies Shun dynasty army varies between 60,000 and 100,000 men
Zhang Xianzhong's army - 100,000 men
Casualties and losses
varies varies unknown

The Manchu conquest of China, also known as the Ming-Qing transition was a period of conflict between the Qing Dynasty, established by Manchu clan Aisin Gioro in Manchuria (contemporary Northeastern China), and the Ming Dynasty of China in the south (various other regional or temporary powers were also associated with events, such as the short-lived Da Shun dynasty). Leading up to the Manchu conquest of China, 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. Many of the grievances dealt with conflicts against Yehe, which was a major Manchu clan, and Ming favoritism of Yehe. 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 force the Ming out of Liaoning in southern Manchuria.

At the same time, the Ming Dynasty was fighting for its survival against fiscal turmoil and peasant rebellions. On April 24, 1644, Beijing fell to a rebel army led by Shunzhi Emperor as Emperor of China.

The Kangxi Emperor ascended the throne in 1661, 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 founded the Kingdom of Tungning in Taiwan, a pro-Ming Dynasty state with a goal of reconquering China. However, the Kingdom of Tungning was defeated in the Battle of Penghu by Han Chinese admiral Shi Lang, who had also served under the Ming.


  • Jurchen expansion 1
  • The fall of the Ming and the Qing takeover 2
  • The conquest 3
    • Suppressing the bandits 3.1
    • Jiangnan 3.2
    • The Southern Ming 3.3
    • The northwest 3.4
    • Continuous campaigns against the Southern Ming 3.5
  • The Three Feudatories 4
  • Taiwan 5
  • Literature and thought 6
  • Aftermath 7
  • See also 8
  • Notes 9
  • Bibliography 10

Jurchen expansion

Battle of Ningyuan, where Nurhaci was injured in defeat.

Jianzhou Jurchen chief Nurhaci is retrospectively identified as the founder of the Qing dynasty. In 1616 he declared himself khagan. His unifying efforts gave the Jurchen the strength to assert themselves. In 1618 he proclaimed Seven Grievances against the Ming and the Ming General Li Yongfang surrendered the city of Fushun in what is now Liaoning province in China's northeast, after Nurhaci gave him an Aisin Gioro princess in marriage and a noble title. In a series of successful military campaigns in Liaodong and Liaoxi (east and west of the Liao River), the Jurchens seized a number of Ming cities including Shenyang, which they made into the capital of their newly founded "Later Jin" dynasty, named after a Jurchen polity that had ruled over north China several centuries earlier.

Under the inspirational leader Yuan Chonghuan, the Ming used western artillery to defeat the Jin forces at the Battle of Ningyuan in 1626. Nurhaci was injured and died soon afterwards, but the Ming failed to seize the chance to counter-attack.[1] The Jurchens' nemesis Yuan Chonghuan was soon purged in a political struggle, while under the leadership of the new khan Hung Taiji the Jurchens kept seizing Ming cities, defeated Joseon Korea, a crucial ally of the Ming, in 1627 and 1636, and raided deep into China in 1642 and 1643.

The fall of the Ming and the Qing takeover

Wu Sangui was a general of the Ming Dynasty, who later defected to the Qing Dynasty. However, his hopes to restore the former were dashed and rebelled against the Kangxi Emperor.

The Ming faced several famines, floods, 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. Many 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 that were ravaging northern China were dangerously approaching 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.[2] But it was too late: 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.[3] He was the last Ming emperor to reign in Beijing.

Soon after the emperor had called for help, powerful Ming general

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  • Elliott, Mark C. (2001). The Manchu Way: The Eight Banners and Ethnic Identity in Late Imperial China (illustrated, reprint ed.). Stanford University Press.  
  • Finnane, Antonia (1993), "Yangzhou: A Central Place in the Qing Empire", in Cooke Johnson, Linda, Cities of Jiangnan in Late Imperial China, Albany, NY: SUNY Press, pp. 117–50,  .
  • Fong, Grace S. [方秀潔] (2001), "Writing from a Side Room of Her Own: The Literary Vocation of Concubines in Ming-Qing China", in Hsiang Lectures on Chinese Poetry, Volume 1, Grace S. Fong, ed. (Montreal: Centre for East Asian Research, McGill University).
  • Hauer, Erich (2007). Corff, Oliver, ed. Handwörterbuch der Mandschusprache. Volume 12; Volume 15 of Darstellungen aus dem Gebiete der nichtchristlichen Religionsgeschichte (illustrated ed.). Otto Harrassowitz Verlag.  
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  • Rossabi, Morris (1979), "Muslim and Central Asian Revolts", in Spence, Jonathan D.; Wills, John E., Jr., From Ming to Ch'ing: Conquest, Region, and Continuity in Seventeenth-Century China, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, pp. 167–99,  .
  • Spence, Jonathan D. (2002), "The K'ang-hsi Reign", in Peterson, Willard J. (ed.), Cambridge History of China, Vol. 9, Part 1: The Ch'ing Dynasty to 1800, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 120–82,  .
  • Struve, Lynn (1988), "The Southern Ming", in Frederic W. Mote, Denis Twitchett, and John King Fairbank (eds.), Cambridge History of China, Volume 7, The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 641–725,  .
  • Sun Kang-i Chang [孫康宜]. (2001), "Gender and Canonicity: Ming-Qing Women Poets in the Eyes of the Male Literati", in Hsiang Lectures on Chinese Poetry, Volume 1, Grace S. Fong, ed. (Montreal: Centre for East Asian Research, McGill University).
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  • Wu, Shuhui (1995). Die Eroberung von Qinghai unter Berücksichtigung von Tibet und Khams 1717 - 1727: anhand der Throneingaben des Grossfeldherrn Nian Gengyao. Volume 2 of Tunguso Sibirica (reprint ed.). Otto Harrassowitz Verlag.  
  • Yu, Pauline [余寶琳] (2002). "Chinese Poetry and Its Institutions", in Hsiang Lectures on Chinese Poetry, Volume 2, Grace S. Fong, editor. (Montreal: Center for East Asian Research, McGill University).
  • Zhang, Hongsheng [張宏生] (2002). "Gong Dingzi and the Courtesan Gu Mei: Their Romance and the Revival of the Song Lyric in the Ming-Qing Transition", in Hsiang Lectures on Chinese Poetry, Volume 2, Grace S. Fong, editor. (Montreal: Center for East Asian Research, McGill University).
  • Zhao, Gang (January 2006). "Reinventing China Imperial Qing Ideology and the Rise of Modern Chinese National Identity in the Early Twentieth Century" 32 (Number 1). Sage Publications.   (abstract only without subscription.)


  1. ^ Wakeman 1975a, p. 78.
  2. ^ a b Struve 1988, p. 641.
  3. ^ Mote 1999, p. 809.
  4. ^ Wakeman 1985, p. 290.
  5. ^ a b Wakeman 1985, p. 296.
  6. ^ Wakeman 1985, pp. 305–6.
  7. ^ Wakeman 1985, p. 304.
  8. ^ Wakeman 1985, p. 304; Dennerline 2002, p. 81.
  9. ^ Wakeman 1985, p. 308.
  10. ^ Wakeman 1985, p. 310 (surrender to the Qing) and 311 (repeated charges).
  11. ^ Wakeman 1985, p. 311.
  12. ^ Wakeman 1985, pp. 311–12.
  13. ^ Wakeman 1985, p. 313; Mote 1999, p. 817.
  14. ^ Dai 2009, p. 15 ("mastermind"); Wakeman 1985, p. 893 ("principal architect").
  15. ^ Wakeman 1985, p. 317.
  16. ^ Wakeman 1985, pp. 482–83.
  17. ^ Wakeman 1985, p. 483.
  18. ^ Wakeman 1985, p. 501.
  19. ^ Wakeman 1985, pp. 501–06.
  20. ^ Wakeman 1985, p. 507.
  21. ^ a b c Dai 2009, p. 17.
  22. ^ Dai 2009, pp. 17–18.
  23. ^ Dai 2009, p. 18.
  24. ^ Struve 1988, p. 642.
  25. ^ Wakeman 1985, p. 346; Struve 1988, p. 644.
  26. ^ Dorgon's brother Dodo, who led the Qing army, received "the imperial command to conduct a southern expedition" (nan zheng 南征) on 1 April of that year (Wakeman 1985, p. 521). He set out from Xi'an on that very day (Struve 1988, p. 657). For examples of the factional struggles that weakened the Hongguang court, see Wakeman 1985, pp. 523–43.
  27. ^ Wakeman 1985, p. 522.
  28. ^ Struve 1988, p. 657.
  29. ^ Struve 1988, p. 657 (20 May, cannon fire, purpose of massacre); Finnane 1993, p. 131 ("brutal slaughter").
  30. ^ a b Struve 1988, p. 658.
  31. ^ Struve 1988, p. 660.
  32. ^ Struve 1988, p. 660 (capture of Suzhou and Hangzhou by early July 1645; new frontier); Wakeman 1985, p. 580 (capture of the emperor around 17 June, and later death in Beijing).
  33. ^ Wakeman 1985, p. 647; Struve 1988, p. 662. The citation is from Dennerline 2002, p. 87.
  34. ^ Kuhn 1990, p. 12.
  35. ^ Wakeman 1985, p. 647 ("From the Manchus' perspective, the command to cut one's hair or lose one's head not only brought rulers and subjects together into a single physical resemblance; it also provided them with a perfect loyalty test").
  36. ^ Wakeman 1985, pp. 648–49 (officials and literati) and 650 (common men). In the Classic of Filial Piety, Confucius is cited to say that "a person's body and hair, being gifts from one's parents, are not to be damaged: this is the beginning of filial piety" (身體髮膚,受之父母,不敢毀傷,孝之始也). Prior to the Qing dynasty, adult Han Chinese men customarily did not cut their hair, but instead wore it in the form of a top-knot.
  37. ^ Struve 1988, pp. 662–63 (for the citation); Wakeman 1975b, p. 56 ("the hair-cutting order, more than any other act, engendered the Kiangnan [Jiangnan] resistance of 1645"); Wakeman 1985, p. 650 ("the rulers' effort to make Manchus and Han one unified 'body' initially had the effect of unifying upper- and lower-class natives in central and south China against the interlopers").
  38. ^ Wakeman 1975b, p. 78.
  39. ^ Wakeman 1975b, p. 83.
  40. ^ Struve 1988, pp. 660 (date of the fall of Hangzhou) and 665 (9th-generation descendant, escape route to Fujian).
  41. ^ Struve 1988, pp. 666–67.
  42. ^ a b Struve 1988, p. 667.
  43. ^ Struve 1988, pp. 667–69 (for their failure to cooperate), 669-74 (for the deep financial and tactical problems that beset both regimes).
  44. ^ Struve 1988, pp. 670 (seizing land west of the Qiantang River) and 673 (defeating Longwu forces in Jiangxi).
  45. ^ Struve 1988, p. 674.
  46. ^ Struve 1988, p. 675.
  47. ^ Struve 1988, pp. 675–76.
  48. ^ a b Struve 1988, p. 676.
  49. ^ a b c Wakeman 1985, p. 737.
  50. ^ Wakeman 1985, p. 738.
  51. ^ Wakeman 1985, pp. 765–66.
  52. ^ a b Wakeman 1985, p. 767.
  53. ^ Wakeman 1985, pp. 767–68.
  54. ^ a b c Rossabi 1979, p. 191.
  55. ^ a b Larsen & Numata 1943, p. 572.
  56. ^ Rossabi 1979, p. 192.
  57. ^ a b Struve 1988, p. 704.
  58. ^ Wakeman 1985, p. 973, note 194.
  59. ^ a b c Dennerline 2002, p. 117.
  60. ^ Struve 1988, p. 710.
  61. ^ Spence 2002, p. 136.
  62. ^ a b Dennerline 2002, p. 118.
  63. ^ Wakeman 1985, pp. 1048–49.
  64. ^ Spence 2002, pp. 136–37.
  65. ^ Spence 2002, p. 146.
  66. ^ Clunas 2009, p. 163.
  67. ^ For example, see Fong 2001, Sun 2001, Yu 2002, and Zhang 2002, passim.
  68. ^ Mote (1999), p. 852–855.
  69. ^ Zhang 2002, p. 71.
  70. ^ Hauer 2007, p. 117.
  71. ^ Dvořák 1895, p. 80.
  72. ^ Wu 1995, p. 102.
  73. ^ Zhao 2006, pp. 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13, 14.
  74. ^ Dunnell 2004, p. 77.
  75. ^ Dunnell 2004, p. 83.
  76. ^ Elliott 2001, p. 503.
  77. ^ Dunnell 2004, pp. 76-77.
  78. ^ Cassel 2011, p. 205.
  79. ^ Cassel 2012, p. 205.
  80. ^ Cassel 2011, p. 44.
  81. ^ Cassel 2012, p. 44.
  82. ^ Perdue 2009, p. 218.
  83. ^ Ring & Salkin & La Boda 1996, p. 306.


See also

The Qing Dynasty had weakened after the mid-19th century with the growth of Anti-Qing sentiment among the populace, fueled by the idea that the Qing had inhibited Chinese industrialization, causing it to fall severely behind the West. The Wuchang Uprising of 1911 overthrew the Qing, and Puyi, the last reigning Manchu emperor, officially abdicated the following year. The new Chinese Republic was also established in the same year, ending the over two thousand years of imperial rule in Chinese history. In Guangzhou, the national monuments known as "The Muslim's Loyal Trio" are the tombs of Ming loyalist Muslims who were martyred while fighting in battle against the Qing in Guangzhou.[83]

In 1725 the Yongzheng Emperor bestowed the hereditary title of Marquis on a descendant of the Ming dynasty Imperial family, Zhu Zhiliang, who received a salary from the Qing government and whose duty was to perform rituals at the Ming tombs, and was also inducted the Chinese Plain White Banner in the Eight Banners. Later the Qianlong Emperor bestowed the title Marquis of Extended Grace posthumously on Zhu Zhuliang in 1750, and the title passed on through twelve generations of Ming descendants until the end of the Qing dynasty.

Kangxi's conquest of Mongolia completed his northern expedition. Before his death in 1722, he expanded his empire as far as the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. His successors campaigned further, taking over areas such as Qinghai and Xinjiang. By the end of the 18th century, the Qing Dynasty had reached its largest territorial extent, considered one of the largest empires ever in history. In addition, many neighboring countries, such as Korea and Vietnam, were listed as its tributary states.

Finally, Kangxi gambled on an invasion of the north. Galdan, leader of the Zunghar Khanate, prepared to unite the tribes of Mongolia to restore the Mongol Empire. The Chinese armies of 80,000 led by the Emperor Kangxi himself marched south of Ulaanbaatar to engage the Zunghars. In a brief engagement, the enemy units were pounded by cannon fire and routed. Galdan died one year later.

The Kangxi Emperor used the Zheng family's knowledge of sea warfare to seize the town of Albazin on the Amur River from Russia in 1685, giving the Manchus control of all the area south of the river. By 1689, a peace treaty (Treaty of Nerchinsk) had been successfully signed between the Qing and the Russian court, which would last for about two centuries.

The Kangxi Emperor in the traditional dress of a Manchu warrior.

When the Qing [82]

The Qing Dynasty in 1820.

Dulimbai Gurun is the Manchu name for China (中國, Zhongguo; "Middle Kingdom").[70][71][72] After conquering 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 Chinese, Manchu, and Mongol languages, and the term "Chinese people" (中國人 Zhongguo ren ; Manchu: Dulimbai gurun i niyalma) referred to all Han, Manchus, and Mongol subjects of the Qing.[73]


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" became a byword.

The defeat of the Ming dynasty posed practical and moral problems, especially for literati and officials. Confucian teachings emphasized Loyalty (忠 zhōng), but were good Confucians to be loyal to the fallen Ming or to the new power, the Qing? Some, like the painter Bada Shanren, a descendent of the Ming ruling family, became recluses. Others, like Kong Shangren, who claimed to be a descendent of Confucius, joined 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.[67] 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.[68] 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.[69]

Shitao (1642–1707), who was related to the Ming imperial family, was one of many artists and writers who refused to give their allegiance to the Qing. Art historian Craig Clunas suggests that Shitao used a poem inscribed on this "Self-Portrait Supervising the Planting of Pines" (1674) to allude to the restoration of the Ming dynasty.[66]

Literature and thought

The Kangxi Emperor, the one who had crushed the Three Feudatories' revolt, began his own campaigns to expand his empire. In 1683 he dispatched Shi Lang with a fleet of 300 ships to take Taiwan in 1683 from the wealthy Zheng family. The descendants of Koxinga did not stand a chance against the experienced Manchu troops.


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.

The Three Feudatories

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.[61] 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.[62] When the emperor heard of this sudden attack he is said to have slashed his throne with a sword in anger.[62] But the siege of Nanjing was relieved and Zheng Chenggong repelled, forcing Zheng to take refuge in the southeastern coastal province of Fujian.[63] 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.[64] 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.[65] The Ming dynasty Prince who accompanied Koxinga to Taiwan was the Prince of Ningjing Zhu Shugui.

Though the Qing under Dorgon's leadership had successfully pushed the Qing conquest of China.[60]

A map of southern China showing provincial boundaries in black, with a blue line running between several cities marked with a red dot.
The flight of the Yongli Emperor––the last sovereign of the Southern Ming dynasty––from 1647 to 1661. The provincial and national boundaries are those of the People's Republic of China.

Continuous campaigns against the Southern Ming

Late in 1646, forces assembled by a Muslim leader known in Chinese sources as Milayin (米喇印) revolted against Qing rule in Ganzhou (Gansu). He was soon joined by another Muslim named Ding Guodong (丁國棟).[54] Proclaiming that they wanted to restore the fallen Ming, they occupied a number of towns in Gansu, including the provincial capital Lanzhou.[54] 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.[54] To pacify the rebels, the Qing government quickly despatched Meng Qiaofang (孟喬芳), governor of Shaanxi, a former Ming official who had surrendered to the Qing in 1631.[55] Both Milayin and Ding Guodong were captured and killed in 1648,[55] and by 1650 the Muslim rebels had been crushed in campaigns that inflicted heavy casualties.[56] 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.

The northwest

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 (紹武) on 11 December 1646.[49] Short of official costumes, the court had to purchase robes from local theater troops.[49] On 24 December, Prince of Gui Zhu Youlang established the Yongli (永曆) regime in the same vicinity.[49] The two Ming regimes fought each other until 20 January 1647, when a small Qing force led by former Southern Ming commander Li Chengdong (李成東) captured Guangzhou, killing the Shaowu Emperor and sending the Yongli Emperor fleeing to Nanning in Guangxi.[50] In May 1648, however, Li Chengdong mutinied against the Qing, and the concurrent rebellion of another former Ming general in Jiangxi helped the Yongli regime to retake most of southern China.[51] 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.[52] The Yongli Emperor fled to Nanning and from there to Guizhou.[52] Finally on 24 November 1650, Qing forces led by Shang Kexi captured Guangzhou and massacred the city's population, killing as many as 70,000 people.[53]

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.[44] In May, they besieged Ganzhou, the last Ming bastion in Jiangxi.[45] In July, a new Southern Campaign led by Prince Bolo sent Prince Lu's Zhejiang regime into disarray and proceeded to attack the Longwu regime in Fujian.[46] 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.[47] Longwu and his empress were summarily executed in Tingzhou (western Fujian) on 6 October.[48] 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.[48]

Black-and-white print of a man with small eyes and a thin mustache wearing a robe, a fur hat, and a necklace made with round beads, sitting cross-legged on a three-level platform covered with a rug. Behind him and much smaller are eight men (four on each side) sitting in the same position wearing robes and round caps, as well as four standing men with similar garb (on the left).
Portrait of Three Feudatories who rebelled against the Qing in 1673.

Meanwhile the Southern Ming had not been eliminated. When Hangzhou fell to the Qing on 6 July 1645, 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.[40] 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").[41] The childless emperor adopted Zheng's eldest son and granted him the imperial surname.[42] "Koxinga," as this son is known to Westerners, is a distortion of the title "Lord of the Imperial Surname" (Guoxingye 國姓爺).[42] In the mean time 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.[43]

Photograph of the body of a black muzzle-loading cannon propped by two braces rest on a rectangular gray stand with two embedded little round lamps.
A cannon cast in 1650 by the Southern Ming. (From the Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence.)

The Southern Ming

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.[33] The punishment for non-compliance was death.[34] This policy of symbolic submission to the new dynasty helped the Manchus in telling friend from foe.[35] For Han officials and literati, however, 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."[36] Because it united Chinese of all social backgrounds into resistance against Qing rule, the haircutting command "broke the momentum of the Qing conquest."[37] The defiant population of Jiading and Songjiang was massacred by former Ming general Li Chengdong (李成東), respectively on August 24 and September 22.[38] 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 Ming defector Liu Liangzuo (劉良佐), 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.[39] Hundreds of thousands of people were killed before all of China was brought into compliance.

Several contingents of Qing forces converged on Yangzhou on 13 May 1645.[28] Shi Kefa's small force refused to surrender, but could not resist Dodo's artillery: on 20 May Qing cannon 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.[29] On 1 June Qing armies crossed the Yangzi River and easily took the garrison city of Zhenjiang, which protected access to Nanjing.[30] The Qing arrived at the gates of Nanjing a week later, but the Hongguang Emperor had already fled.[30] The city surrendered without a fight on 16 June after its last defenders had made Dodo promise he would not hurt the population.[31] 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.[32]

A black-and-white photograph from three-quarter back view of a man wearing a round cap and a long braided queue that reaches to the back of his right knee. His left foot is posed on the first step of a four-step wooden staircase. Bending forward to touch a cylindrical container from which smoke is rising, ahe is resting his left elbow on his folded left knee.
A man in Manchus.

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.[2] 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 (馬士英) 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.[24] The Prince was crowned as emperor on 19 June 1644 under the protection of Ma Shiying and his large war fleet.[25] He would reign under the era name "Hongguang" (弘光). The Hongguang regime was ridden with factional bickering that facilitated the Manchu conquest of Jiangnan, which was launched from Xi'an in April 1645.[26] Greatly aided by the surrender of Southern Ming commanders Li Chengdong (李成東) and Liu Liangzuo (劉良佐), 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.[27]

Portrait of Shi Kefa, who refused to surrender to the Qing in the defense of Yangzhou.


In early 1646 Dorgon sent two expeditions to Sichuan to try to destroy Zhang Xianzhong's regime: the first expedition did not reach Sichuan because it was caught up against remnants; the second one, under the direction of Hooge (the son of Hung Taiji who had lost the succession struggle of 1643) reached Sichuan in October 1646.[21] 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.[21] Before leaving, he ordered a massacre of the population of his capital Chengdu.[21] Zhang Xianzhong was killed in a battle against Qing forces near Xichong in central Sichuan on 1 February 1647.[22] 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.[23]

[20] Very soon after entering Beijing in June 1644, Dorgon despatched

Suppressing the bandits

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 conquered Shanxi and Shaanxi, then turned their eyes to the rich commercial and agricultural region of Jiangnan south of the lower Yangtze River.[14] 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.

The conquest

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.[10] Dorgon waited until both sides were weakened before ordering his cavalry to gallop around Wu's right wing to charge Li's left flank.[11] Li Zicheng's troops were quickly routed and fled back toward Beijing.[12] 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.[13]

[9] Meanwhile Wu Sangui's departure from the

A full face black-and-white portrait of a sitting man with a gaunt face, wearing a robe covered with intricate cloud and dragon patterns.
A portrait of Chongzhen Emperor to present the Qing as the avengers of the Ming and to conquer all of China instead of raiding for loot and slaves.[6]

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