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The Jintian Uprising (金田起義) was formally declared by Hong Xiuquan, leader of the Taiping Rebellion, on January 11, 1851, during the late Manchu Qing Dynastymarker, in what is now Guiping City in eastern Guangxi province. January 11 (solar calendar) is the Hong's birthday (in lunar calendar).

By July 1850, Hong Xiuquan had over 20,000 followers and, in preparation for an uprising, they were organized into military formations and led by commanders with military ranks: An army marshal (Junshuai, 军帅) commanded five divisional marshals (Shishuai, 师帅) commanding a division each, each division consisting of five brigades, each commanded by a brigade marshal (Lushuai, 旅帅). Each brigade marshal (Lushuai, 旅帅) commanded five infantry chiefs (Zuzhang, 卒长), each of whom commanded four Liangsima (两司马), each Liangsima (两司马) commanding five Wuzhang (伍长), and each Wuzhang (伍长) leading 4 soldiers. The total number of officers and enlisted reached 13,155 by the end of July, and civilian ranks were also created to govern the remaining civilian followers. Because the Imperial Chinese army of Qing Dynastymarker in Guangxi was under strength (only around 30,000) and was extremely busy in suppressing the frequent uprisings of Tiandihui, Hong and his followers were able to build their forces unnoticed.

When Qing Dynastymarker finally noticed Hong and his followers, it was already too late. In late December 1850 the local commander of Imperial Chinese army at Xunzhou (浔州), Imperial General Li Dianyuan (李殿元), surrounded one of the Hong's residences at Huazhoushanren (花洲山人) village, Pingnan (平南) county, in an attempt to eradicate the rebels. However, Yang Xiuqing sent reinforcements from Jitian and defeated the government force, and Hong Xiuquan and his deputy Feng Yunshan safely returned to Jitian. Eager to avenge their previous defeat, the Imperial troops launched an offensive against Jintian on January 1, 1851, under the command of imperial general Zhou Fengqi (周凤歧) and his deputies Li Dianyuan (李殿元) and Yiketanbu (伊克坦布). However, the rebels were waiting for them and set up an ambush on the river banks at Cai (蔡) Village 4 - away from Jintian, and defeated the government forces, killing Yiketanbu (伊克坦布).

The two victories boosted the rebels' morale and on January 11, 1851, Hong and his lieutenants openly declared the uprising at Jintian. Three days later the rebels took Dahuangkuo (大湟江口) Town. As the rebels moved southeastward, Tiandihui rebels totaling more than 2,000 led by Luo Dagang (罗大纲) and Su Sanniang (苏三娘) joined Hong. In the meantime, the Qing Dynasty imperial special envoy Li Xingyuan (李星沅) ordered commander Xiang Rong (向荣) to lead 2,000 troops to attack the rebels with the help of an additional 1,000 reinforcement sent from Guizhoumarker. On February 18, 1851, Imperial general Xiang Rong (向荣) was joined by other government forces led by Li Nengchen (李能臣) and Zhou Fengqi (周凤歧), and the imperial troops attacked Dahuangkuo (大湟江口) Town simultaneously from east and west. However, the government forces entered minefields set up by the rebels and were attacked from behind by the ambush force of rebels, resulting in several hundred casualties; they were thus forced to stop their offensive and adopted a siege tactic instead.

The rebels withdrew under the cover of darkness in the night of March 10, 1851 toward Eastern Township (Dongxiang 东乡) of Wuxuan (武宣) County. The imperial troops gave chase but were once again ambushed and thus a stalemate was reached at the region of Sanlixu (三里圩). On March 23, 1851, Hong Xiuquan declared himself the celestial king at Eastern Township (Dongxiang 东乡). On April 3, 1851, Guangxi governor Zhou Tianjue (周天爵) and imperial general Xiang Rong (向荣) gathered over 6,000 troops to attack Eastern Township (Dongxiang 东乡) but was once again defeated by defending rebels. After suffering continual defeats, the imperial special envoy Li Xingyuan (李星沅) died on May 12, 1851. On May 16, 1851, rebels successfully broke out the siege and advanced toward Xiangzhou (象州). The imperial troops followed while the newly deployed imperial troops totalling over a thousand from Guangzhoumarker led by imperial general Wulantai (乌兰泰) were stationed at Beam Mountain Village (Liangshancun 梁山村), and imperial troops led by Xiang Rong (向荣) were deployed to the region of Border Ridge (Jieling 界岭) in order to block the rebels' path to the north.

Clashes were inevitable, and at the battle at Independent Turtle Ridge (Duaoling 独鳌岭) to the north of Beam Mountain Village (Liangshancun 梁山村), imperial general Wulantai (乌兰泰)'s force was badly mauled, but because the government forces held the geographical advantage, they were able to beat back the rebels' continuous attempt to break out. By early July, rebels were forced to withdraw from Xiangzhou (象州) to their original base in Zijing (紫荆) Mountain at Guiping (桂平). Although the rebels' northward expedition plan failed to materialize, they did succeed in attracting huge numbers of the lower class to join them and obtained a large amount of supplies. This marked the beginning of the Taiping Rebellion.

See also


Taiping Rebellion Museum

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