|Heavenly King of Great Peace|
|Taiping Heavenly King|
|Reign||11 January 1851 – 1 June 1864|
|Born||Hong Huoxiu (洪火秀)|
1 January 1814
Hua County, Guangdong, Qing China
|Died||1 June 1864 50) (aged|
Tianjing, Taiping Heavenly Kingdom
|Spouse||Lai Xiying (賴惜英) or Lai Lianying (賴蓮英)|
|House||House of Hong|
|Father||Hong Jingyang (洪鏡揚)|
|Mother||Madam Wang (王氏)|
|Chinese||洪 秀 全|
|Chinese||洪 仁 坤|
|Chinese||洪 火 秀|
Hong Xiuquan (1 January 1814 – 1 June 1864), born Hong Huoxiu and with the courtesy name Renkun, was a Hakka Chinese revolutionary who was the leader of the Taiping Rebellion against the Qing dynasty. He established the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom over varying portions of southern China, with himself as the "Heavenly King" and self-proclaimed younger brother of Jesus Christ.
Hong Xiuquan (洪秀全), born "Hong Huoxiu", was the third and youngest son of a Hakka family. Some sources claim his family was "well to do". He was born in Fuyuan Springs, Hua county (now part of Huadu District) in Canton (Guangzhou), Guangdong to Hong Jingyang, a farmer and elected headman, and Madam Wang. He and his family moved to Guanlubu Village shortly after his birth. Upon marrying his wife Lai Xiying, Hong received the courtesy name "Renkun." He was also the brother of Hong Xuanjiao, a woman who became the commander of the female battalion during the Taiping Rebellion.
Hong showed an interest in scholarship at an early age, so his family made financial sacrifices to provide a formal education for him, in the hope that he could one day complete all of the civil service examinations.Hong began studying at a primary school in his village at the age of five. He was able to recite the Four Books after five or six years. He then took the local xiucai preliminary civil service examinations and placed first. A few years later, he traveled to the nearby city of Guangzhou to take the imperial examinations. He was unsuccessful and, his parents being unable to afford to continue his education, he was forced to return to agricultural work. The next year, he accompanied a wealthy schoolmate elsewhere for a year of study and became a village schoolteacher upon his return.
In 1836, at the age of 22, Hong returned to Guangzhou to retake the imperial examinations.While in Guangzhou, Hong heard Edwin Stevens, a foreign missionary, and his interpreter preaching about Christianity. From them, Hong received a set of pamphlets entitled "Good Words for Exhorting the Age", which were written by Liang Fa, Stevens's assistant, and contained excerpts from the Bible along with homilies and other material prepared by Liang. Supposedly, Hong only briefly looked over these pamphlets and did not pay much attention to them at the time. Unsurprisingly, he again failed the imperial examinations, which had a pass rate of less than one percent.
In 1837, Hong attempted and failed the imperial examinations for a third time, leading to a nervous breakdown.He was delirious for days to the point that his family feared for his life. While convalescing, Hong dreamed of visiting Heaven, where he discovered that he possessed a celestial family distinct from his earthly family, which included a heavenly father, mother, elder brother, sister-in-law, wife, and son. His heavenly father, wearing a black dragon robe and high-brimmed hat with a long golden beard, lamented that men were worshiping demons rather than him, and presented Hong with a sword and golden seal with which to slay the demons infesting Heaven. Furthermore, he did so with the help of his celestial older-brother and a heavenly army. The father figure later informed Hong that his given name violated taboos and had to be changed, suggesting as one option the "Hong Xiuquan" moniker ultimately adopted by Hong. In later embellishments, Hong would declare that he also saw Confucius being punished by Hong's celestial father for leading the people astray. His acquaintances would later claim that after awakening from his dreams Hong became more careful, friendly, and open, while his pace became imposing and firm and his height and size increased. Hong stopped studying for the imperial examinations and sought work as a teacher. For the next several years Hong taught at several schools around the area of his hometown.
In 1843, Hong failed the imperial examinations for the fourth and final time. 1 meter (3.3 ft)) long and nine jin (about 4.5 kg), called the "demon-slaying swords" (斬妖劍), to be forged.It was only then, prompted by a visit by his cousin, that Hong took time to carefully examine the Christian pamphlets he had received. After reading these pamphlets, Hong came to believe that they had given him the key to interpreting his visions: his celestial father was God the Father (whom he identified with Shangdi from Chinese tradition), the elder brother that he had seen was Jesus Christ, and he had been directed to rid the world of demon worship. This interpretation led him to conclude that he was the literal son of God and younger brother to Jesus. In contrast to some of the later leaders of his movement, Hong appears to have genuinely believed in his ascent to Heaven and divine mission. After coming to this conclusion Hong began destroying idols and enthusiastically preaching his interpretation of Christianity. As a symbolic gesture to purge China of Confucianism, he and the cousin asked for two giant swords, three chi (
Hong began by burning all Confucian and Buddhist statues and books in his house, and began preaching to his community about his visions. Some of his earliest converts were relatives of his who had also failed their examinations and belonged to the Hakka minority, Feng Yunshan and Hong Rengan. 400 kilometers (250 mi) to the southwest to the village of Sigu, Guiping county, Guangxi, where distant relatives of Hong's resided, including two early converts who had returned home. It is in or near Sigu that Hong begins to draft "Exhortations to Worship the One True God", his first substantial work. In November 1844, after having preached in Guangxi for five months, Hong returned home without Feng and resumed his previous job as a village teacher, while continuing to write religious tracts.He collaborated with them to destroy holy statues in small villages, to the ire of local citizens and officials. Hong and his converts' acts were considered sacrilegious and they were persecuted by Confucians who forced them to leave their positions as village tutors. In April 1844, Hong, Feng Yunshan, and two other relatives of Hong left Hua county to travel and preach. They first journeyed to Guangzhou and preached in the outlying areas before heading northwest to White Tiger Village. There, Hong and Feng Yunshan parted ways before traveling some
In 1847, Hong Xiuquan was invited by a member of the Chinese Union to study with the American Southern Baptist missionary, Reverend Issachar Jacox Roberts. [ where? ] he eventually reached Thistle Mountain on 27 August 1847. There, he reunited with Feng and discovered the "Society of God-Worshipers" that Feng had founded.Hong accepted the invitation and traveled to Guangzhou with his cousin, Hong Rengan. Once there, Hong studied Karl Gützlaff's translations of the Old and New Testaments and requested to be baptized by Roberts. Roberts refused to do so, possibly due to Hong being tricked by the other converts into requesting monetary aid from Roberts. Hong left Guangzhou on 12 July 1847 to search for Feng Yunshan. Although robbed of all of his possessions, including his demon-slaying sword, by bandits in the town of Meizixun,
In January 1848, Feng Yunshan was arrested and banished to Guangdong, and Hong Xiuquan left for Guangdong shortly thereafter to once again reunite with Feng.In Feng and Hong's absence, Yang Xiuqing and Xiao Chaogui jointly emerged to lead the "God Worshipers" themselves. Both claimed to enter trances which allowed them to speak as a member of the Trinity; God the Father in the case of Yang and Jesus Christ in the case of Xiao. When Hong and Feng returned in the summer of 1849, they investigated Yang and Xiao's claims and declared them to be genuine. Hong ministered to the faithful in outdoor meetings strongly resembling the Baptist tent revivals he had witnessed with Issachar Roberts.
Most of Hong Xiuquan's knowledge of the scriptures came from the books known as "Good Words to Admonish the Age" written by the Chinese preacher Liang Fa, as well as a localized Bible translated into Chinese. Many Western missionaries grew jealous of Hong and his local ministry. These competing missionaries were fond of spreading defamatory rumors such as his "lack of baptism." (Hong and his cousin were in fact both baptized according to the way prescribed in the pamphlet "Good words to admonish the age").
In 1847, Hong began his translation and adaptation of the Bible, what came to be known as "Authorized Taiping Version of the Bible, or "The Taiping Bible", which he based on Gutzlaff's translation. He presented his followers with the Bible as a vision of the authentic religion that had existed in ancient China before it was wiped out by Confucius and the imperial system. The deity of the Old Testament punished evil nations and rewarded those who followed his commandments, even music, food, and marriage laws.
Hong made some minor changes in the text, such as correcting misprints and improving the prose style, but adapted the meaning elsewhere to fit his own theology and moral teachings. For instance, in Genesis 27:25 the Israelites did not drink wine, and in Genesis 38:16-26 he omitted the sexual relations between the father and his son's widow.Hong preached a mixture of communal utopianism, evangelism and oriental syncretism. While proclaiming sexual equality, the sect segregated men from women and encouraged all its followers to pay their assets into a communal treasury.
When Hong returned to Guangxi, he found that Feng Yunshan had accumulated a following of around 2,000 converts. Guangxi was a dangerous area at this time with many bandit groups based in the mountains and pirates on the rivers. Perhaps due to these more pressing concerns, the authorities were largely tolerant of Hong and his followers. However, the instability of the region meant that Hong's followers were inevitably drawn into conflict with other groups, not least because of their predominantly Hakka ethnicity. There are records of numerous incidents when local villages and clans, as well as groups of pirates and bandits, came into conflict with the authorities, and responded by fleeing to join Hong's movement. The rising tension between the sect and the authorities was probably the most important factor in Hong's eventual decision to rebel.
By 1850 Hong had between 10,000 and 30,000 followers. The authorities were alarmed at the growing size of the sect and ordered them to disperse. A local force was sent to attack them when they refused, but the imperial troops were routed and a deputy magistrate killed. A full-scale attack was launched by government forces in the first month of 1851, in what came to be known as the Jintian Uprising, named after the town of Jintian (present-day Guiping, Guangxi) where the sect was based. Hong's followers emerged victorious and beheaded the Manchu commander of the government army. Hong declared the founding of the "Heavenly Kingdom of Transcendent Peace" on 11 January 1851. Despite this evidence of planning, Hong and his followers faced immediate challenges. The local Green Standard Army outnumbered them ten to one, and had recruited the help of the river pirates to keep the rebellion contained to Jintian. After a month of preparation the rebels managed to break through the blockade and fight their way to the town of Yongan (not to be confused with Yong'an), which fell to them on 25 September 1851.
Hong and his troops remained in Yongan for three months, sustained by local landowners who were hostile to the Manchu-ruled Qing Dynasty. The imperial army regrouped and launched another attack on the rebels in Yongan. Having run out of gunpowder, Hong's followers fought their way out by sword, and made for the city of Guilin, to which they laid siege. However, the fortifications of Guilin proved too strong, and Hong and his followers eventually gave up and set out northwards, towards Hunan. Here, they encountered an elite militia created by a local member of the gentry specifically to put down peasant rebellions. The two forces fought at Soyi Ford on 10 June 1852 where the rebels were forced into retreat, and 20% of their troops were killed. However, in March 1853, Hong's forces managed to take Nanjing and turned it into the capital of their movement.
After establishing his capital at Nanjing Hong implemented an ambitious reform and modernization program. He created an elaborate civil bureaucracy, reformed the calendar used in his kingdom, outlawed opium use, and introduced a number of reforms designed to make women more socially equal to men.Hong ruled by making frequent proclamations from his Heavenly Palace, demanding strict compliance with various moral and religious rules. Most trade was suppressed, and some communal land ownership was introduced. Polygamy was forbidden and men and women were separated, although Hong and other leaders maintained groups of concubines.
Yang Xiuqing, also known as the "Eastern King", was a fellow Taiping leader who had directed successful military campaigns, and who often claimed to speak with the voice of God. Hong became increasingly suspicious of Yang's ambitions and his network of spies. In 1856, he and others in the Taiping élite had Yang and his family murdered in a purge that subsequently spun out of control, resulting in the further purge of its main perpetrator Wei Changhui.
Following a failed attempt by the Taiping rebels to take Shanghai in 1860, Qing government forces, aided by Western officers, slowly gained ground.
In the spring of 1864, Nanjing was besieged and dangerously low on food supplies.Hong's solution was to order his subjects to eat manna, which had been translated into Chinese as sweetened dew and a medicinal herb. Hong himself gathered weeds from the grounds of his palace, which he then ate. Hong fell ill in April 1864, possibly due to his ingestion of the weeds, and died on 1 June 1864. Although Hong likely died of his illness, suicide by poison has also been suggested. He was buried in a yellow-silk shroud without a coffin in the bare ground, per Taiping custom, near the former Ming Imperial Palace. He was succeeded by his teenage son, Hong Tianguifu.
On 30 July 1864, Qing forces exhumed, beheaded, and burned his body. His body was later exhumed on orders of Zeng Guofan to verify his death, and then cremated. Hong's ashes were later blasted out of a cannon in order to ensure that his remains have no resting place as eternal punishment for the uprising.
The following poem, titled Poem on Executing the Evil and Preserving the Righteous (斬邪留正詩), written in 1837 by Hong Xiuquan, illustrates his religious thinking and goal that later led to the establishment of the "Heavenly Kingdom of Taiping". Note that in the seventh line, the name of the then yet-to-come kingdom is mentioned.
Poem on Executing the Evil and Preserving the Righteous
In my hand I wield the Universe and the power to attack and kill,
I slay the evil, preserve the righteous, and relieve the people's suffering.
My eyes see through beyond the west, the north, the rivers, and the mountains,
My voice shakes the east, the south, the Sun, and the Moon.
The glorious sword of authority was given by the Lord,
Poems and books are evidences that praise Yahweh in front of Him.
Taiping [Perfect Peace] unifies the World of Light,
The domineering air will be joyous for myriads of millennia.
Views and opinions on Hong differ greatly. The Communists under Mao Zedong generally admired Hong Xiuquan and his movement as a legitimate peasant uprising that anticipated their own.Sun Yat-sen came from the same area as Hong and was said to have identified with Hong since his childhood days.
To honor his legacy, the People's Republic of China established a small museum in 1959, the "Hong Xiuquan's Former Residence Memorial Museum" (洪秀全故居紀念館), in his birthplace, where there is a longan tree planted by him. The museum's plate is written by the famous literary figure Guo Moruo (1892–1978). The residence and Book Chamber Building were renovated in 1961.
There has been an active academic debate on the degree to which Hong is similar or dissimilar to Falun Gong founder Li Hongzhi. Scholars that promote the opinion that a strong similarity exists between Li and Hong note that both rallied a large number of people behind a religious or spiritual cause in order to challenge the status quo. Scholars disputing a close relationship note that Li's political intentions are debatable.
The Taiping Rebellion, also known as the Taiping Civil War or the Taiping Revolution, was a massive rebellion or civil war that was waged in China from 1850 to 1864, between the Manchu Qing dynasty and the Hakka-led Taiping Heavenly Kingdom – though following the fall of Nanjing the last rebel army was not wiped out until 1871. After fighting the bloodiest civil war in world history, with 30 to 50 million dead, the established Qing government won decisively, although the outcome is considered a pyrrhic victory.
Tianjing (天京), romanized at the time as Tienking, was the name given to Nanjing when it served as the capital of Hong Xiuquan's Heavenly Kingdom from 1853 to 1864, amid the Qing Empire's Taiping Rebellion.
The Third Battle of Nanking was the last major engagement of the Taiping Rebellion, occurring in 1864 after the death of the king of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, Hong Xiuquan. There were probably more than a million troops in the battle. Zeng Guofan claimed that the Taiping army sustained 100,000 dead in the three-day clash. Nanking had been the capital of the Heavenly Kingdom and was known by the Taipings as Tianjing. This battle was the effective end of the Taiping army and Nanking was the last major Taiping city to fall back under Imperial control.
Hong Rengan was an important leader of the Taiping Rebellion. He was a distant cousin of the movement's founder and spiritual leader Hong Xiuquan. His position as the Prince Gan resembled the role of a Prime Minister. He is a noted figure in history because of the sweeping reforms attempted under his rule, and because of his popularity in the West.
Yang Xiuqing, was an organizer and commander-in-chief of the Taiping Rebellion.
The Jintian Uprising was an armed revolt formally declared by Hong Xiuquan on 11 January 1851 during the late Qing Dynasty. The uprising was named after the rebel base in Jintian, a town in Guangxi within present-day Guiping. It marked the beginning of the Taiping Rebellion.
Shi Dakai, born in Guigang, Guangxi, also known as Wing King or phonetically translated as Yi-Wang, was one of the most highly acclaimed leaders in the Taiping Rebellion and a poet.
Xiao Chaogui was an important leader during the early years of the Taiping Rebellion against the Qing dynasty of China. He was a sworn brother to Hong Xiuquan, the leader of the Taipings, and claimed to serve as a mouthpiece for Jesus Christ. Because of his importance to the rebellion, he was awarded the title of the "West King."
Feng Yunshan was the South King of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, a distant cousin and early accomplice of Hong Xiuquan, and an important leader during the Taiping Rebellion against the Qing government. He was one of the first Taipings to be baptized and established the first group of God Worshippers during the 1840s. He was killed during the initial stages of the rebellion, prior to the establishment of the Taiping's capital of Tianjing at Nanjing.
Wei Changhui was the North King of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom during the Taiping Rebellion.
Xiang was a place in Guangxi province where there was an idol to Gan. Feeling that Gan was an embodiment of immorality and other evils, Hong Xiuquan, Lu Liu and Feng Yunshan destroyed the idol and desecrated the temple to Gan in the 1840s.
Qin Rigang, né Qin Richang (秦日昌), was a Hakka military leader of the Taiping Rebellion, known during his military tenure as the King of Yen (燕王). He served under Hong Xiuquan's Taiping Administration and led Taiping forces to many military victories. He was executed by Hong Xiuquan in 1856 because he had killed the family and followers of Shi Dakai during the Tianjing Incident. Chen Yucheng and Li Xiucheng were trained and taught by Qin.
The Tianjing Incident occurred during the late Qing Dynasty from September 2 to October 1856. This was a major political internal conflict within the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom which took place in its capital city Tianjing. A few key leaders of the Taiping Rebellion were killed: the East King Yang Xiuqing, the North King Wei Changhui and the Yan King Qin Rigang. More than 27,000 other opposition rivals including soldiers perished in the conflict as well. The Tianjing Incident was said to be one of the factors which led to the eventual failure of the Taiping Rebellion, as well as the turning point in its fate.
Battle of Changzhou occurred during the Taiping Rebellion. It was won by the Qing dynasty, who regained control over all of Jiangsu.
The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, later shortened to Heavenly Kingdom or Heavenly Dynasty, was an unrecognized oppositional state in China and Chinese Christian theocratic absolute monarchy from 1851 to 1864, supporting the overthrow of the Qing dynasty by Hong Xiuquan and his followers. The unsuccessful war it waged against the Qing is known as the Taiping Rebellion. Its capital was at Tianjing.
The God Worshipping Society was a religious movement founded and led by Hong Xiuquan which drew on his own unique interpretation of Christianity and combined it with Chinese folk religion, faith in Shangdi, and other religious traditions. According to historical evidence, his first contact with Christian pamphlets occurred in 1836 when he directly received American Congregationalist missionary Edwin Stevens' personal copy of the Good Words to Admonish the Age. He only briefly looked over and did not carefully examine it. Subsequently, Hong had supposedly experienced mystical visions in the wake of his third failure of the imperial examinations in 1837 and after failing for a fourth time in 1843, he sat down to carefully examine the tracts with his distant cousin Feng Yunshan, believing that they were "the key to interpreting his visions" coming to the conclusion that he was "the son of God the Father and the younger brother of Jesus Christ who had been directed to rid the world of demon worship."
Fu Shanxiang was a Chinese scholar from Nanjing who became Chancellor under the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, which was nearly successful in its attempts to overthrow the Qing dynasty in the 1850s. Fu is known as the first female Zhuangyuan in Chinese history.
Hong Xuanjiao, was a Chinese female general and rebel leader during the Taiping Rebellion. She was the sister of the leader of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, Hong Xiuquan. She acted as co-commander of the Taiping forces during the civil war against the Imperial forces of the Qing dynasty. Xuanjiao and her brother, Xiuquan, established the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom over varying portions of southern China with himself as the "Heavenly King" and self-proclaimed younger brother of Jesus Christ
Hu Jiumei (1830–1856) was a Chinese rebel during the Taiping Rebellion. A leading follower of Hong Xiuquan, she was known as one of the "Three Hu's".
Jiang Zhongyuan, courtesy name Changrui, (常孺) was a scholar and soldier from Hunan who fought for the Qing and against the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom during the Taiping Rebellion.
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