|Chief Grand Councillor|
(as the Chief Grand Councillor since 1901)
|Grand Secretary of the Wenhua Hall|
2 February 1902 –11 April 1903
|Preceded by||Li Hongzhang|
|Grand Secretary of the Wenyuan Library|
22 June 1898 –2 February 1902
|Assistant Grand Secretary|
4 June 1896 –10 June 1898
|Viceroy of Zhili|
15 June 1898 –28 September 1898
|Preceded by||Wang Wenshao|
|Succeeded by||Yuan Shikai (acting)|
|Minister of War|
11 August 1895 –10 June 1898
|Minister of Works|
15 June 1878 –19 January 1879
|Born||6 April 1836|
|Died||11 April 1903 67) (aged|
Beijing, Qing China
|Posthumous name||Wenzhong (文忠)|
Ronglu (6 April 1836 – 11 April 1903), courtesy name Zhonghua, was a Manchu political and military leader of the late Qing dynasty. He was born in the Guwalgiya clan, which was under the Plain White Banner of the Manchu Eight Banners. Deeply favoured by Empress Dowager Cixi, he served in a number of important civil and military positions in the Qing government, including the Zongli Yamen, Grand Council, Grand Secretary, Viceroy of Zhili, Beiyang Trade Minister, Secretary of Defence, Nine Gates Infantry Commander, and Wuwei Corps Commander. He was also the maternal grandfather of Puyi, the last Emperor of China and the Qing dynasty.
Ronglu was born in the Manchu Guwalgiya clan, which was under the Plain White Banner of the Manchu Eight Banners. His grandfather, Tasiha (塔斯哈), served as an Imperial Resident in Kashgar. His father, Changshou (長壽), was a zongbing (總兵; a military commander).
Ronglu was a yinsheng (蔭生), a type of position awarded to civil service candidates who successfully gained admission to the Guozijian (Imperial Academy). He started his career in the Ministry of Works as a yuanwailang (員外郎; assistant director) and was tasked with constructing roads in Zhili Province.
In the early years of the Tongzhi Emperor's reign (early 1860s), he set up the Firearms Division and was rewarded with the position of a jingtang (京堂; fifth-grade magistrate). He was also appointed as a flank commander (翼長) and zhuancao dachen (專操大臣) before being transferred to be a zongbing (總兵) of the left flank. Through Wenxiang's recommendation, he became the Vice Secretary (侍郎) of the Ministry of Works. Later, he was reassigned to the Ministry of Revenue and concurrently appointed as Minister of the Imperial Household Department.
The Tongzhi Emperor died in 1875 and was succeeded by his cousin, the Guangxu Emperor. In the same year, Ronglu became an infantry commander (步軍統領). Three years later, he was reassigned to be a Left Censor-in-Chief (左都御史) and Secretary of Works. In 1878, Baoting (寶廷) wrote a memorial to the imperial court, pointing out that certain officials concurrently held too many appointments, hence Ronglu was relieved of his duties as Secretary of Works and Minister of the Imperial Household Department.
Ronglu was initially accused of accepting bribes and was demoted by two grades. He also offended Prince Chun, Baojun (寶鋆) and Shen Guifen (沈桂芬) and was forced to retire in early 1879. However, in 1891, he was restored to the civil service and appointed as General of Xi'an.
In 1894, Ronglu was recalled from Xi'an to the capital Beijing to attend Empress Dowager Cixi's birthday celebrations. He was appointed again as an infantry commander (步軍統領). During the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895, Ronglu, along with Prince Gong and Prince Qing, were in charge of military affairs. After the Qing and Japanese empires reached a peace settlement, Ronglu nominated Yuan Shikai to oversee the creation and training of the New Army.
In 1896, Ronglu was appointed as Secretary of Defence and Assistant Grand Secretary (協辦大學士). He also proposed transferring Dong Fuxiang and his Gansu Army to Beijing to defend the capital and enhance the training of the New Army.
In 1898, Ronglu was promoted to Grand Secretary (大學士) and subsequently assumed the following additional appointments: Viceroy of Zhili Province, Beiyang Trade Minister (北洋通商大臣), and Grand Secretary of Wenyuan Cabinet (文淵閣大學士) overseeing the Ministry of Justice. Around the time, a group of officials led by Kang Youwei and Tan Sitong planned to carry out a series of reforms and get rid of conservative elements in the government. The Guangxu Emperor supported the reformists. Yuan Shikai was summoned from Zhili Province to Beijing and appointed as a Vice Secretary (侍郎). Ronglu felt uneasy.
Acting on the advice of Yang Chongyi (楊崇伊), Empress Dowager Cixi interfered in the situation and launched the 1898 Coup against the reformists. Ronglu was appointed to the Grand Council and sided with the Empress Dowager in the coup. The reformists were defeated – six of their leaders (including Tan Sitong) were executed – and the Guangxu Emperor was placed under house arrest. After the coup, Ronglu was relieved of his appointments as Viceroy of Zhili Province and Beiyang Minister, and reappointed as Secretary of Defence to oversee the Beiyang Army.
In 1899, Ronglu was granted authority as Imperial Commissioner in charge of military training (練兵欽差大臣) and put in command of the military units led by Nie Shicheng, Dong Fuxiang, Song Qing and Yuan Shikai. He established the Wuwei Corps, composed of five divisions led by the four commanders and himself.
Around the time, Empress Dowager Cixi had the intention of deposing the Guangxu Emperor and replacing him with Prince Duan's son Puzhuan (溥僎; 1875–1920). Ronglu was initially undecided on this issue, but eventually he opposed the Empress Dowager's idea. She heeded his advice and designated Puzhuan as "First Prince" (大阿哥) instead.
In 1900, after the Boxer Rebellion had broken out, Prince Duan and others initially convinced Empress Dowager Cixi to support the Boxers to counter foreigners. Dong Fuxiang led his Gansu Army to attack the foreign legations in Beijing but was unable to conquer the legations despite a few months of siege. Ronglu was unable to stop him. Prince Duan and his followers continued to press the attacks against foreigners and kill any official in the imperial court who opposed them.
When Beijing fell to the forces of the Eight-Nation Alliance, Empress Dowager Cixi and the Guangxu Emperor fled to Xi'an. Ronglu requested to accompany them but was denied permission; instead, he was ordered to remain in Beijing.
Ronglu did not want to antagonise Empress Dowager Cixi, but was not sympathetic towards the Boxers. Like the leading governors in the south, he felt that it was foolish for the Qing Empire to take on all the eight foreign powers at once. When Dong Fuxiang's Gansu Army was eager to attack the legations, Ronglu made sure that the siege was not pressed home.The xenophobic Prince Duan, who was a close friend of Dong Fuxiang, wanted Dong's forces to be equipped with artillery to destroy the legations. Ronglu blocked the transfer of artillery to Dong Fuxiang, preventing him from destroying the legations. When artillery was finally supplied to the Qing imperial forces and Boxers, it was only done so in limited quantities.
Ronglu also kept Nie Shicheng from finding out about an imperial decree that ordered him to stop fighting the Boxers. Nie Shicheng continued to fight the Boxers and killed many of them. Ronglu also ordered Nie Shicheng to protect foreigners and protect the railway from attacks by the Boxers.Ronglu had effectively derailed Prince Duan's efforts to capture the legations, and as a result, saved the foreigners inside. He was shocked that he was not welcome after the war; however, the foreign powers did not demand that he, unlike Dong Fuxiang, be punished.
In 1901, Empress Dowager Cixi issued five imperial decrees. The first ordered Ronglu to "command various imperial forces, including the Beijing Field Force, the Hushenying, with cavalry and the Wuwei Corps, to suppress these rebels (Boxers), to intensify searching patrol; to arrest and execute immediately all criminals with weapons who advocate killing." The fourth decree ordered Ronglu to "send efficient troops of the Wuwei Corps swiftly, to the Beijing Legation Quarter, to protect all the diplomatic buildings."
In late 1900, Empress Dowager Cixi summoned Ronglu to Xi'an, where he was warmly received. He was awarded a yellow jacket, a two-eyed peacock feather, and a purple girdle. He escorted the Empress Dowager and the Guangxu Emperor back to the capital later.
In 1901, Ronglu was put in charge of the Ministry of Revenue. Later that year, he supported the reforms proposed by Liu Kunyi and Zhang Zhidong in their memorial titled Jiang Chu Hui Zou Bian Fa San Zhe (江楚會奏變法三折). In 1902, he was given additional honorary appointments as Crown Prince's Grand Protector (太子太保) and Grand Secretary of Wenhua Hall (文華殿大學士).
Ronglu died in 1903 and was posthumously granted the honorary appointment of Grand Tutor (太傅). He was also awarded the posthumous name "Wenzhong" (文忠) and posthumously enfeoffed as a first class baron (一等男爵).
Before Lady Yehenara (the future Empress Dowager Cixi) became a consort of the Xianfeng Emperor, Ronglu was allegedly in a romantic relationship with her.During Empress Dowager Cixi's tenure as regent of the Qing dynasty, Ronglu joined the Empress Dowager's conservative faction at the imperial court and opposed the Hundred Days' Reform in 1898. The Empress Dowager always remembered Ronglu's support for her, even when they were young, and rewarded him by allowing his only surviving child, his daughter Youlan, to marry into the imperial clan.
Through Youlan's marriage to Zaifeng (Prince Chun), Ronglu was the maternal grandfather of Puyi, the last emperor of the Qing dynasty.
Leo Genn portrayed Jung-lu (Ronglu) in the 1963 film 55 Days at Peking . Feng Shaofeng also portrayed Ronglu in the 2006 television series Sigh of His Highness .
Yuan Shikai was a Chinese military and government official who rose to power during the late Qing dynasty, becoming the Emperor of the Empire of China (1915–1916). He tried to save the dynasty with a number of modernization projects including bureaucratic, fiscal, judicial, educational, and other reforms, despite playing a key part in the failure of the Hundred Days' Reform. He established the first modern army and a more efficient provincial government in North China in the last years of the Qing dynasty before the abdication of the Xuantong Emperor, the last monarch of the Qing dynasty, in 1912. Through negotiation, he became the first President of the Republic of China in 1912. This army and bureaucratic control were the foundation of his autocratic rule. He was frustrated in a short-lived attempt to restore hereditary monarchy in China, with himself as the Hongxian Emperor. His death shortly after his abdication led to the fragmentation of the Chinese political system and the end of the Beiyang government as China's central authority.
The Boxer Rebellion, Boxer Uprising or Yihetuan Movement, was an armed and violent xenophobic, anti-Christian, and anti-imperialist insurrection in China between 1899 and 1901, towards the end of the Qing dynasty.
Empress Dowager Cixi was a Chinese empress dowager and regent who was the de facto supreme ruler of China in the late Qing dynasty for 47 years, from 1861 until her death in 1908. Of the Manchu Yehe Nara clan, she was elected as a concubine of the Xianfeng Emperor in her adolescence and gave birth to a son, Zaichun, in 1856. After the Xianfeng Emperor's death in 1861, the young boy became the Tongzhi Emperor, and she became the Empress Dowager. Cixi ousted a group of regents appointed by the late emperor and assumed regency, which she shared with Empress Dowager Ci'an. Cixi then consolidated control over the dynasty when she installed her nephew as the Guangxu Emperor at the death of the Tongzhi Emperor in 1875, contrary to the traditional rules of succession of the Qing dynasty that had ruled China since 1644.
The Guangxu Emperor, personal name Zaitian, was the tenth Emperor of the Qing dynasty, and the ninth Qing emperor to rule over China proper. His reign lasted from 1875 to 1908, but in practice he ruled, without Empress Dowager Cixi's influence, only from 1889 to 1898. He initiated the Hundred Days' Reform, but was abruptly stopped when the empress dowager launched a coup in 1898, after which he became powerless and was held under house arrest until his death. His era name, "Guangxu", means "glorious succession".
The Hundred Days' Reform or Wuxu Reform was a failed 103-day national, cultural, political, and educational reform movement that occurred from 11 June to 22 September 1898 in late Qing dynasty China. It was undertaken by the young Guangxu Emperor and his reform-minded supporters. Following the issuing of the reformative edicts, a coup d'état was perpetrated by powerful conservative opponents led by Empress Dowager Cixi.
Yixuan, formally known as Prince Chun, was an imperial prince of the Aisin Gioro clan and a statesman of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty in China. He was the father of the Guangxu Emperor, and the paternal grandfather of Puyi through his fifth son Zaifeng.
Zaifeng, formally known by his title Prince Chun, was a Manchu prince and regent of the late Qing dynasty. He was a son of Yixuan, the seventh son of the Daoguang Emperor, and the father of Puyi, the Last Emperor. He served as Prince-Regent from 1908 to 1911 during the reign of his son until the Qing dynasty was overthrown by the Xinhai Revolution in 1911.
Yikuang, formally known as Prince Qing, was a Manchu noble and politician of the Qing dynasty. He served as the first Prime Minister of the Imperial Cabinet, an office created in May 1911 to replace the Grand Council.
The Viceroy of Zhili, fully referred to in Chinese as the Governor-General of Zhili and Surrounding Areas Overseeing Military Affairs and Food Production, Manager of Waterways, Director of Civil Affairs, was one of eight regional Viceroys in China proper during the Qing dynasty. The Viceroy of Zhili was an important post because the province of Zhili, which literally means "directly ruled", was the area surrounding the imperial capital, Beijing. The administrative centre was in Tianjin even though the provincial capital was in Baoding. The Viceroy's duties as well as responsibilities have never been defined entirely. Generally speaking, the Viceroy oversaw the military and civil affairs of Zhili, Shandong and Henan provinces. The Viceroy of Zhili was also highly influential in imperial court politics.
Jingfen, of the Manchu Bordered Yellow Banner Yehe Nara clan, was the wife and empress consort of Zaitian, the Guangxu Emperor. She was Empress consort of Qing from 1889 until her husband's death in 1908, after which she was honoured as Empress Dowager Longyu. She was posthumously honoured with the title Empress Xiaodingjing.
The Grand Council or Junji Chu, officially the Banli Junji Shiwu Chu, was an important policy-making body of China during the Qing dynasty. It was established in 1733 by the Yongzheng Emperor. The council was originally in charge of military affairs, but gradually attained a more important role and eventually attained the role of a privy council, eclipsing the Grand Secretariat in function and importance, which is why it has become known as the "Grand Council" in English.
Zaize, born Zaijiao, courtesy name Yinping, was a Manchu noble of the Qing dynasty. He is best known for supporting reforms and advocating the adoption of a constitutional monarchy system in the final years of the Qing dynasty.
Zaiyi, better known by his title Prince Duan, was a Manchu prince and statesman of the late Qing dynasty. He is best known as one of the leaders of the Boxer Rebellion of 1899–1901.
Sigh of His Highness is a Chinese historical television series based on the life of Prince Gong, an influential Manchu prince and statesman of the late Qing dynasty. The series was directed by Li Wenlong and starred Chen Baoguo as Prince Gong. It was first broadcast on Sichuan TV in China in 2006.
Dong Fuxiang (1839–1908), courtesy name Xingwu (星五), was a Chinese military general who lived in the late Qing dynasty. He was born in the Western Chinese province of Gansu. He commanded an army of Hui soldiers, which included the later Ma clique generals Ma Anliang and Ma Fuxiang. According to the Western calendar, his birth date is in 1839.
The Gansu Braves or Gansu Army was a unit of 10,000 Chinese Muslim troops from the northwestern province of Kansu (Gansu) in the last decades the Qing dynasty (1644–1912). Loyal to the Qing, the Braves were recruited in 1895 to suppress a Muslim revolt in Gansu. Under the command of General Dong Fuxiang (1839–1908), they were transferred to the Beijing metropolitan area in 1898, where they officially became the Rear Division of the Wuwei Corps, a modern army that protected the imperial capital. The Gansu Army included Hui Muslims, Salar Muslims, Dongxiang Muslims, and Bonan Muslims.
The Imperial Decree on events leading to the signing of Boxer Protocol is an imperial decree issued by the government of the Qing dynasty in the name of the Guangxu Emperor, as an official imperial statement on historical events such as Boxer Rebellion, Eight-Nation Alliance and Battle of Peking and Siege of the International Legations, detailing instructions given to Prince Qing and Li Hongzhang as the full representatives of the imperial court in negotiating a peace treaty with the foreign powers, prior to the official signing of the Boxer Protocol on 7 September 1901. This Imperial Decree was officially issued in the name of the Guangxu Emperor, bearing his official Imperial Seal, who was in reality under house arrest, ordered by Empress Dowager Cixi at that time, as the full administrative power was in the hand of the Empress Dowager.
Zaixun, formally known as Prince Zhuang, was a Manchu prince of the Qing dynasty. He is best known for his involvement in the Boxer Rebellion.
The Wuwei Corps or Guards Army was a modernised army unit of the Qing dynasty. Made up of infantry, cavalry and artillery, it was formed in May or June 1899 and trained by western military advisers. The guard took responsibility for the security of Peking (Beijing) and the Forbidden City, with Ronglu as its supreme commander. This move was an attempt by the Qing imperial court to create a western-style army equipped with modern weaponry following the Qing Empire's defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War. Three out of the five divisions of the Wuwei Corps were disbanded after two years due to attrition caused by the Boxer Rebellion.
Duanfang, courtesy name Wuqiao, was a Manchu politician, educator and collector who lived in the late Qing dynasty. He was a member of the Tohoro clan and the Plain White Banner of the Eight Banners.