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Nanjing Travel Guide

Nanjing Taiping Rebellion

It was a large-scale uprising against the Qing Empire of China during the mid-19th century (1850 to 1864), led by heterodox Christian Hong Xiuquan.

Taiping rebellion was one of the largest and bloodiest revolts of the world’s history originated by unprecedented natural disasters in China (severe droughts, famines, and floods), military defeats, territories conquered by Western forces, anti-Manchu feelings and weakness of the Qing government.

The leader of the rebellion, Hong Xiuquan had proclaimed himself as the younger brother of Jesus Christ -the new Messiah- by the late 1840’s. By 1951 he had founded the Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace (Taiping Tian Guo), when twenty thousand of his followers took the Jintian village in Guangxi Province, defeating the local Manchu army.
Nanjing Taiping Rebellion
The following years, the Hong’s militia conquered each villa of Hunan Province and by 1853, his forces of 800,000 soldiers captured Nanjing. Hong established the capital of his kingdom here and for a decade controlled important parts of the southern China, ruling about 40 million people.

However, bad planning expeditions to the north and east of the country (especially to Beijing) gradually made the original uprising ideal in a complete disaster.

The Taiping thought was based on the land socialization, suppression of private trade, the replacement of the Chinese religions by its form of Christianity and the outlawing of opium, alcohol and sexual discrimination; but past few years in power, it devolved into a general paranoia and extremism.

After a colossal conflict, Qing army finally defeat the Taipings aided by the military assistance of British and French. The consequent of the civil war was an estimated of 30 million dead due to struggle and posterior hunger, one of the highest of the human history.

Regardless of the catastrophic failure of the uprising, the episode has been considered as a predecessor of the Communism in China. Mao Zedong judged the Taipings as early valiant revolutionaries who tried to end the corrupt Chinese feudal system. The Cultural Revolution also imitated during 1960’s the fanatical rejection of Chinese Religion, particularly Confucianism.

Taiping Kingdom History Museum of Nanjing preserves relics from the Taiping era.


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