Taiping Rebellion

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The Taiping Rebellion occurred in China during the period of 1851 to 1864. The rebellion signified one of many attempts of militia groups attempting to over throw the Manchu ruled Qing Dynasty. Hong Xiquan, the leader of the rebellion succeeded in convert many millions of Chinese people, mostly of the Hakka class. The ability of Hong to convert so many followers is credited to the fact that the rebellion was based upon a millenarian, coming with the promise of Heaven on Earth.

Taiping means peace, or great peace. The followers were promised peace when they discovered their Heaven on Earth.


Hong Xiquan

A well-educated scholar from the northern farming regions of China, came from a family that sacrificed everything in order to provide for his education. He spent most of his first thirty years preparing for the imperial examination, which was the only way to ensure prosperity through employment of a member of the Hakka class.

Hong failed to achieve a passing grade on the examination three times. After the third, he suffered what is considered today a nervous breakdown. He began to experience delusional dreams where he met up with his heavenly father, mother and older brother. It was not until several years later that Hong made the association with Christianity, assuming himself to be the new Messiah and the brother of Jesus Christ.

In China

During the early years of the rebellion’s preparations, China was undergoing significant turmoil resulting from many natural disasters, and the economic destruction of their way of life as a result of the Qing leaders forming trade alliances with western powers, specifically Britain.

Military Efforts

The rebellion really began during 1840, when Hong officially converted the God Followers Society that he had formed during the early years into what he termed the Taiping Army. The army began its struggle in the province of Guangxi, assembling the army into a neatly defined organizational power reinforcing the discipline and leadership patterns that Hong put into place.

The first large battle of the rebellion was called the Jintian Uprising. It occurred on the side of a mountain leading to Jintian and ended with all of the Qing forces and their reinforcements being killed by an army that was protecting its leader. Hong Xiquan and his family were in the province at the time of the battle.

When the forces reached what Hong determined to be the Taiping city, the Nanjing province, 500,000 soldiers forced their way into the city and killing 50,000 members of the Qing forces and many thousand civilians in 1853. Hong declared himself absolute ruler.

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