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The Taiping Rebellion – Part II
Zhen Guofan

The Taiping Rebellion – Part II

The Taiping Rebellion should have ended the Manchu rule over China in 1860. But it didn't. The Qing Dynasty held on to power, through no effort on its part. Instead, the Qing retained power because other people helped it, specifically a Chinese official Zhen Goufan and the British government. Zhen Guofan In my previous post I talked about the battle of Battle of Palikao, in which an Anglo-French military expedition annihilated the elite Manchu-Mongol cavalry army just outside the walls of Beijing, killing 10,000 while losing less than 10 men. Following the battle, the Manchu Emperor, Xiangfeng, fled the capital secretly and holed up in an old hunting lodge 150 miles northeast of Beijing. He did nothing more for the rest of his short, miserable life. At this point, the…

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The Taiping Rebellion – Part 1
Beijing City Wall 1870

The Taiping Rebellion – Part 1

Recently, I have been reading about the civil war in China which lasted from 1850 till 1864. Professor Stephen R. Platt has written an important and very readable history of the later stages of the rebellion called Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom. The Taiping Rebellion plays an important role in the story of Qiao's Grand Courtyard and is one of the most important events in modern Chinese history. Beijing City Wall 1870 (close to what Nanjing looked like in 1860) In short, the Taiping rebellion started in the far south of China, fairly close to Hong Kong by a man named Hong Xiuquan, who, while he showed great promise as a scholar, failed to pass the Imperial exam after numerous attempts and despite his decades making a modest living as…

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