Taiping Rebellion

Taiping Rebellion, 1850–64, revolt against the Ch'ing (Manchu) dynasty of China. It was led by Hung Hsiu-ch'üan, a visionary from Guangdong who evolved a political creed and messianic religious ideology influenced by elements of Protestant Christianity. His object was to found a new dynasty, the Taiping [great peace]. Strong discontent with the corrupt and decaying Chinese government brought him many adherents, especially among the poorer classes, and the movement spread with great violence through the E Chang (Yangtze) valley. The rebels captured Nanjing in 1853 and made it their capital. The Western powers, particularly the British, who at first sympathized with the movement, soon realized that the Ch'ing dynasty might collapse and with it foreign trade. They offered military help and led the Ever-Victorious Army, which protected Shanghai from the Taipings. The Taipings, weakened by strategic blunders and internal dissension, were finally defeated by new provincial armies led by Tseng Kuo-fan and Li Hung-chang. Some 20 million people died in the uprising, which was filled with acts of barbarism on both sides.

See J. M. Callery and M. Yvan, History of the Insurrection in China (tr. 1853, repr. 1969); W. J. Hail, Tseng Kuo-fan and the Taiping Rebellion (1927, repr. 1964); E. P. Boardman, Christian Influence upon the Ideology of the Taiping Rebellion, 1851–1864 (1952); F. H. Michael, The Taiping Rebellion (3 vol., 1966–71); S. R. Platt, Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom (2012).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Taiping Rebellion: Selected full-text books and articles

Chinese Sources for the Taiping Rebellion, 1850-1864 By J. C. Cheng Hong Kong University Press, 1963
The Political History of China, 1840-1928 By Li Chien-Nung; Ssu-Yu Teng; Jeremy Ingalls D. Van Nostrand, 1956
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Two "The Taiping Rebellion"
The Taiping Ideology: Its Sources, Interpretations, and Influences By Vincent Y. C. Shih University of Washington Press, 1972
Rebellions and Revolutions: China from the 1800s to the 1980s By Jack Gray Oxford University Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "The Taiping Rebellion, 1850-1864"
The Chinese Revolution in Historical Perspective By John E. Schrecker Praeger, 2004
Librarian’s tip: "Massive Rebellion" begins on p. 122
Modern Chinese Warfare, 1795-1989 By Bruce A. Elleman Routledge, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "The Taiping Rebellion and the Arrow War"
Modernization and Revolution in China By June Grasso; Jay Corrin; Michael Kort M. E. Sharpe, 1991
Librarian’s tip: "The Taipings" begins on p. 45
The Search for Modern China By Jonathan D. Spence W. W. Norton, 1999 (2nd edition)
Women and Social Protest By Guida West; Rhoda Lois Blumberg Oxford University Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Women in the Taiping Movement in Nineteenth-Century China"
The Taiping Rebellion: History and Documents By Franz Michael University of Washington Press, vol.3, 1971
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