Dzungar–Qing Wars

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Dzungar–Qing Wars
Pacification of the Dzungars.jpg
The Dzungar army surrenders to the Qing Dynasty after Dawachi being captured in 1756 [1]

First (1687–1697): Qing conquest of Mongolia
Second (1720): Qing conquest of Tibet
Third (1723): Qing conquest of Qinghai


Fourth (1755): Qing conquest of the Dzungar Khanate and the creation of Xinjiang
Outer Mongolia, Tibet and Xinjiang added into the Qing Empire
Dzungar Khanate

Qing dynasty

Commanders and leaders
Galdan Boshugtu Khan
Tsewang Rabtan
Kangxi Emperor
Sun Ssu-k'o  [ zh ] [2] [3] [4]
Tüsheet Khan Chakhundorji
Abdullah Beg (額貝都拉)
Yongzheng Emperor
Yue Zhongqi [5]
Tsering  [ zh ]
Nian Gengyao
Qianlong Emperor
Emin Khoja  [ zh ]

The Dzungar–Qing Wars (Mongolian : Зүүнгар-Чин улсын дайн, simplified Chinese :准噶尔之役; traditional Chinese :準噶爾之役; pinyin :Zhǔngá'ěr zhī Yì) were a decades-long series of conflicts that pitted the Dzungar Khanate against the Qing dynasty of China and their Mongolian vassals. Fighting took place over a wide swath of Inner Asia, from present-day central and eastern Mongolia to Tibet, Qinghai, and Xinjiang regions of present-day China. Qing victories ultimately led to the incorporation of Outer Mongolia, Tibet and Xinjiang into the Qing Empire that was to last until the fall of the dynasty in 1911–1912, and the genocide of much of the Dzungar population in conquered areas.


After the collapse of the Yuan dynasty in 1368, China's Mongol rulers withdrew to Mongolia and became known as the Northern Yuan dynasty. Over time, the Mongol state disintegrated into a series of Khanates, ruled by various descendants of Genghis Khan. The Qing dynasty defeated the Inner Chahar Mongol leader Ligdan Khan and annexed Inner Mongolia. While the Eastern Mongols (Outer and Inner Mongols) were ruled by Chingisids, the Oirats were ruled by the Choros clan. The Dzungar Oirats under Erdeni Batur and Zaya Pandita held a pan-Oirat-Mongol conference in 1640 with all Oirat and Mongol tribes participating except the Inner Mongols under Qing rule. The conference ended in failure. By the 1650s, the Dzungar Khanate, an Oirat state centered in Dzungaria and western Mongolia, had risen to become the preeminent khanate in the region and was often in conflict with Khalkha Mongols, the remnants of the Northern Yuan dynasty, of eastern Mongolia. Upon assuming the throne after the death of his brother Sengge in 1670, Galdan Boshugtu Khan launched a series of successful campaigns to expand his territory as far as present-day eastern Kazakhstan, and from present-day northern Kyrgyzstan to southern Siberia. Through skillful diplomacy, Galdan maintained peaceful relations with the Qing dynasty while also establishing relations with Russia. However, when Galdan's brother Dorjijab was killed in a skirmish with troops loyal to the Khalkha khan in 1687, Galdan took the pretext to launch a full-scale invasion of eastern Mongolia. He destroyed several Khalkha tribes at the battle of Olgoi Nor (Olgoi Lake) in 1688, sending twenty thousand refugees fleeing south to Qing territory. [6]

The Khalkha rulers, defeated, fled to Hohhot and sought Qing assistance. [7] Meanwhile, the Qing had secured a peace treaty with the Cossacks on their northern border, who had previously been inclined to support Galdan. The Treaty of Nerchinsk prevented an alliance between Galdan and the Russians, leaving the Qing free to attack their Mongol rivals. [8] Fearing a united Mongol state ruled by the hostile Dzungars, the Qing now turned their powerful war machine on the Oirats. [9]

The Dzungars had conquered and subjugated the Uyghurs during the Dzungar conquest of Altishahr after being invited by the Afaqi Khoja to invade the Chingisid Chagatai ruled Yarkent Khanate. Heavy taxes were imposed upon the Uyghurs by the Dzungars, provoking resentment. [10] This led to uprisings and Uyghur rebels from Turfan and Kumul who were rebelling against Dzungar rule joined the Qing in their war against the Dzungars. The Yarkent Khanate under Muhammad Amin Khan presented tribute to the Qing dynasty twice to request aid against the Dzungar attack. [11]

The Dzungars used the Zamburak, camel mounted miniature cannons, in battle, notably at Ulan Butung. [12] Gunpowder weapons like guns and cannons were deployed by the Qing and the Dzungars at the same time against each other. [13]

First Dzungar-Qing War

First Dzungar – Qing War
Result Qing victory, Dzungar Khanate weakened, death of Galdan Boshugtu Khan.
Dzungar Khanate

Flag of the Qing Dynasty (1889-1912).svg  Qing dynasty

Commanders and leaders
Galdan Boshugtu Khan Kangxi Emperor
Abdullah Beg
20,000–30,000 [14] 100,000 [14]
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown

The First Dzungar–Qing War was a military conflict fought from 1687 to 1697 between the Dzungar Khanate and an alliance of the Qing dynasty and the northern Khalkhas, remnants of the Northern Yuan dynasty. The war resulted from a Dzungar attack on the Northern Yuan dynasty based in Outer Mongolia, who were heavily defeated in 1688. Their rulers and twenty thousand refugees fled south to the Qing dynasty, which feared the growing power of the Dzungar state. Motivated by the opportunity to gain control over Mongolia and by the threat posed to them by a strong, unified Mongol state such as the Oirats threatened to form, the Qing sent their army north to subdue the Dzungars in 1690.

Qing scouts attacked a Dzungar party north of the Great Wall. However, this proved to be the main Dzungar army, which destroyed the Qing detachment easily. [15] A large Qing army under Prince Fuquan advanced North into Inner Mongolia, hoping to trap and crush the mobile Dzungar army. However, they were constrained by bad weather and difficult terrain. It took some Qing troops twelve days to cross the Gobi Desert, and the horses were left exhausted. Running low on supplies, the Qing finally confronted the Dzungars at Ulan Butung in September 1690. Although outnumbered 5 to 1, the Dzungars formed a camel wall, beat back a pair of artillery-supported Qing assaults, and escaped into the hills. The Qing commander claimed victory, but his failure to completely destroy the Dzungar forces led to his dismissal and early retirement. [16] Galdan was left in control of Mongolia from the Selenga River in the north to Khalkhyn Gol in the south. [17]

A pause in the conflict ensued. The Khalkha rulers declared themselves Qing vassals at Dolon Nor (the site of Shangdu, the pleasure palace of the Yuan Emperors) in 1691, a politically decisive step that officially ended the last remnants of the Yuan dynasty. It also allowed the Qing to assume the mantle of the Genghisid khans, merging the Khalkha forces into the Qing army. [18] The Kangxi Emperor had now become determined to "exterminate" Galdan. Negotiations between the two sides bore little fruit. The Dzungars cast about for allies, making overtures to the Russians and various Mongol princes, but were rejected. [19] Kangxi set about preparing the complex logistics necessary to support a planned 1696 expedition. This included procuring 1,333 carts, each carrying 6 shi of grain. Three armies eventually advanced north in 1696. One, under the command of Fiyanggu, numbering 30,000 and to be reinforced with a further 10,000, was to trap Galdan, while Kangxi personally led 32,000 men, including 235 cannon on camelback. A third, numbering 10,000, halted further to the east and would play no part in the coming campaign. The Dzungar army, heavily outnumbered and weakened by the plague, was unable to offer serious resistance. Galdan's army attacked the western force at the Battle of Jao Modo in May 1696, but was narrowly - albeit decisively- defeated. The Dzungar army, bereft of artillery, suffered heavily from Chinese musketry and cannon fire, [20] eventually breaking. The battle ended in a victory for the Qing army, who captured 20,000 sheep and 40,000 cattle, and captured, killed or scattered all but 40-50 of the Dzungar army, effectively destroying them as a military force. Galdan himself had managed to escape from an enemy encirclement, thanks in part to a counterattack led by his wife, Queen Anu. [21] Galdan's wife was killed, and Galdan fled west to the Altai Mountains, where later he attempted to surrender to the Qing, but died of the plague [9] in 1697 with only a few loyal men at his side. [22]

After the war, a Qing garrison was stationed in the area of present-day Ulaanbaatar, and Khalkha Mongolia was placed under Qing rule. Outer Mongolia was effectively incorporated into the Qing Empire. On the other hand, Tsewang Rabtan, a long-time anti-Galdan Oirat chief, who had actually provided intelligence to the Qing [9] at several points during the war, succeeded Galdan as Khan of the Dzungars. While the Qing managed to sideline the Dzungar in the 1690s, they would not completely eradicate them until they defeated the Dzungars in subsequent wars several decades later.

Dzungar–Qing War in Tibet

7th Dalai Lama Pretender, Lha-bzang Khan LhaBzangKhan.jpg
7th Dalai Lama Pretender, Lha-bzang Khan

In 1642, Güshi Khan, founder of the Khoshut Khanate, overthrew the prince of Tsang and made the 5th Dalai Lama the highest spiritual and political authority in Tibet, [23] establishing the regime known as Ganden Phodrang. Tsewang Rabtan of the Dzungar Khanate invaded Tibet in 1717, deposed the pretender to the position of 7th Dalai Lama, Lha-bzang Khan, the last ruler of the Khoshut Khanate, and killed Lha-bzang Khan and his entire family. They also viciously destroyed a small force in the Battle of the Salween River which the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing dynasty had sent to clear traditional trade routes in 1718. [24] In response, an expedition sent by Kangxi Emperor, together with Tibetan forces under Polhané Sönam Topgyé of Tsang and Kangchennas (also spelled Gangchenney), the governor of Western Tibet, [25] [26] expelled the Dzungars from Tibet in 1720. This began the Qing rule of Tibet, which lasted until the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1912. The Han Chinese General Yue Zhongqi (a descendant of Yue Fei) conquered Tibet for the Qing during the Dzungar–Qing War. [27] [28] Jalangga, a Manchu Bannermen, succeeded the Han General Yue Zhongqi as commander in 1732. [29]

The Manchu Kangxi emperor incited anti-Muslim sentiment among the Mongols of Qinghai (Kokonor) in order to gain support against the Dzungar Oirat Mongol leader Galdan. Kangxi claimed that Chinese Muslims inside China such as Turkic Muslims in Qinghai (Kokonor) were plotting with Galdan, who he falsely claimed converted to Islam. Kangxi falsely claimed that Galdan had spurned and turned his back on Buddhism and the Dalai Lama and that he was plotting to install a Muslim as ruler of China after invading it in a conspiracy with Chinese Muslims. Kangxi also distrusted Muslims of Turfan and Hami. [30]

Third Dzungar–Qing War

In 1723, the Kangxi Emperor's successor, the Yongzheng Emperor, sent an army of 230,000 led by Nian Gengyao to quell a Dzungar uprising in Qinghai on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. Due to geography, the Qing army (although superior in numbers) was at first unable to engage their more mobile enemy. Eventually, they met the Dzungars and defeated them. This campaign cost the treasury at least eight million silver taels. Later in Yongzheng's reign, he sent a small army of 10,000 to fight the Dzungars again. However, that army was annihilated near the Khoton Lake in 1731 and the Qing Empire once again faced the danger of losing control of Mongolia. A Khalkha ally of the Qing Empire would finally defeat the Dzungars a year later in 1732 near the Erdene Zuu Monastery in Mongolia. The Qing then made peace with the Dzungar Khanate and decided the border between them.

The Oirats were fought by Yue Zhongqi in Ürümqi. [27] [28] [31] Yue Zhongqi lived at the Ji Xiaolan Residence.

Final conquest of the Dzungars

Map showing wars between Qing Dynasty and Dzungar Khanate Qing Dzungar wars.jpg
Map showing wars between Qing Dynasty and Dzungar Khanate

In 1752, Dawachi and the Khoit-Oirat prince Amursana competed for the title of Khan of the Dzungars. Amursana suffered several defeats at the hands of Dawachi and was thus forced to flee with his small army to the protection of the Qing imperial court. The Yongzheng Emperor's successor, the Qianlong Emperor, pledged his support to Amursana, who recognized Qing authority; among those who supported Amursana and the Chinese were the Khoja brothers Burhān al-Dīn  [ zh ] and Khwāja-i Jahān  [ zh ]. In 1755, Qianlong sent the Manchu general Zhaohui  [ zh ], who was aided by Amursana, Burhān al-Dīn and Khwāja-i Jahān, to lead a campaign against the Dzungars. After several skirmishes and small scale battles along the Ili River, the Qing army, led by Zhaohui, approached Ili (Gulja) and forced Dawachi to surrender. Qianlong appointed Amursana as the Khan of Khoid and one of four equal khans – much to the displeasure of Amursana, who wanted to be the Khan of the Dzungars.

Amursana now rallied the majority of the remaining Oirats to rebel against Qing authority. In 1758, General Zhaohui defeated the Dzungars in two battles: the Battle of Oroi-Jalatu and the Battle of Khurungui. In the first battle, Zhaohui attacked Amursana's camp at night; Amursana was able to fight on until Zhaohui received enough reinforcements to drive him away. Between the battles of Oroi-Jalatu and Khurungui, the Chinese under Prince Cabdan-jab defeated Amursana at the Battle of Khorgos (known in the Qianlong engravings as the "Victory of Khorgos"). At Mount Khurungui, Zhaohui defeated Amursana in a night attack on his camp after crossing a river and drove him back. To commemorate Zhaohui's two victories, Qianlong had the Puning Temple of Chengde constructed, home to the world's tallest wooden sculpture of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara and hence its alternate name, the 'Big Buddha Temple'. Afterwards, Huojisi  [ zh ] of Turfan submitted to the Qing Empire. After all of these battles, Amursana fled to Russia (where he died) while Chingünjav fled north to Darkhad but was captured at Wang Tolgoi and executed in Beijing.

See also

Related Research Articles

Dzungar Khanate Early modern khanate of Oirat Mongol origin

The Dzungar Khanate, also written as the Zunghar Khanate, was an Inner Asian khanate of Oirat Mongol origin. At its greatest extent, it covered an area from southern Siberia in the north to present-day Kyrgyzstan in the south, and from the Great Wall of China in the east to present-day Kazakhstan in the west. The core of the Dzungar Khanate is today part of northern Xinjiang, also called Dzungaria.


Oirats are the westernmost group of the Mongolic peoples whose ancestral home is in the Altai region of Siberia, Xinjiang and Western Mongolia.

The Ten Great Campaigns were a series of military campaigns launched by the Qing Empire of China in the mid–late 18th century during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor. They included three to enlarge the area of Qing control in Inner Asia: two against the Dzungars (1755–57) and the "pacification" of Xinjiang (1758–59). The other seven campaigns were more in the nature of police actions on frontiers already established: two wars to suppress the Gyalrong of Jinchuan, Sichuan, another to suppress the Taiwanese Aboriginals (1787–88), and four expeditions abroad against the Burmese (1765–69), the Vietnamese (1788–89), and the Gurkhas on the border between Tibet and Nepal (1790–92), with the last counting as two.

Galdan Boshugtu Khan Boshugtu Khan

Choros Erdeniin Galdan was a Dzungar-Oirat Khan of the Dzungar Khanate. As fourth son of Erdeni Batur, founder of the Dzungar Khanate, Galdan was a descendant of Esen Taishi, the powerful Oirat Khan of the Northern Yuan dynasty who united the western Mongols in the 15th century. Galdan's mother Yum Aga was a daughter of Güshi Khan, the first Khoshut-Oirat King of Tibet.

Mongolia under Qing rule

Mongolia under Qing rule was the rule of the Qing dynasty over the Mongolian steppe, including the Outer Mongolian 4 aimags and Inner Mongolian 6 leagues from the 17th century to the end of the dynasty. "Mongolia" here is understood in the broader historical sense. The last Mongol Khagan Ligden saw much of his power weakened in his quarrels with the Mongol tribes, was defeated by the Later Jin dynasty, and died soon afterwards. His son Ejei Khan gave Hong Taiji the imperial authority, ending the rule of Northern Yuan dynasty then centered in Inner Mongolia by 1635. However, the Khalkha Mongols in Outer Mongolia continued to rule until they were overrun by the Dzungar Khanate in 1690, and they submitted to the Qing dynasty in 1691.

Northern Yuan dynasty Former empire in East Asia

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The Battle of Ulan Butung was fought on 3 September 1690 between the forces of the Qing dynasty and those of the Dzungar Khanate. When attacked by the superior Qing army, the Dzungars formed a camel wall to defend their camp and defeated Qing assaults on their right flank, but were driven back on the left. They were able to withdraw into the wooded hills behind their camp in good order. The Qing commander, Fuquan, reported it as a victory, but was discredited by political opponents.

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Dzungar genocide

The Dzungar genocide was the mass extermination of the Mongol Dzungar people, at the hands of the Qing dynasty. The Qianlong Emperor ordered the genocide due to the rebellion in 1755 by Dzungar leader Amursana against Qing rule, after the dynasty first conquered the Dzungar Khanate with Amursana's support. The genocide was perpetrated by Manchu generals of the Qing army sent to crush the Dzungars, supported by Uyghur allies and vassals due to the Uyghur revolt against Dzungar rule.


Amursana was an 18th-century taishi or prince of the Khoit-Oirat tribe that ruled over parts of Dzungaria and Altishahr in present-day northwest China. Known as the last great Oirat hero, Amursana was the last of the Dzungar rulers. The defeat of his rebel forces by Qing dynasty Chinese armies in the late 1750s signaled the final extinction of Mongol influence and power in Inner Asia, ensured the incorporation of Mongol territory into the Qing Chinese Empire, and brought about the Dzungar genocide, the Qing Emperor's "final solution" to China's northwest frontier problems.

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Qing dynasty in Inner Asia Historical territories of the Manchu-led Qing empire

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Xinjiang under Qing rule Historical period

The Qing dynasty ruled over Xinjiang from the late 1750s to 1912. In the history of Xinjiang, the Qing rule was established in the final phase of the Dzungar–Qing Wars when the Dzungar Khanate was conquered by the Manchu-led Qing dynasty of China, and lasted until the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1912. The post of General of Ili was established to govern the whole of Xinjiang and reported to the Lifan Yuan, a Qing government agency that oversaw the empire's frontier regions. Xinjiang was turned into a province in 1884.

Lama Dorji, or Lama Darja was a mid-eighteenth century khan or ruler of the Dzungar Khanate, a confederation of Mongol tribes that ruled over most of present-day Xinjiang and part of eastern Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and southern Siberia. He was the eldest son of Galdan Tseren, Khong Tayiji of the Dzungar Khanate from 1727 until his death in 1745. Before his death, Galdan Tseren had designated his second son Tsewang Dorji Namjal to succeed him. However, a succession dispute soon erupted among Galdan Tseren's three sons.

Dawachi Khong Tayiji of the Dzungar Khanate

Dawachi was the last khan of the Dzungar Khanate from 1753 until his defeat at the hands of Qing and Mongol forces at Ili in 1755.


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