The Taiping Rebellion: Asian Studies Paper

Essay by LocoHoHigh School, 11th gradeA+, October 2006

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The Taiping Rebellion was one of the deadliest wars in recorded history. The war lasted from 1851 to 1865. It was between Imperial China and the force lead by Hong Xiuquan, a self-proclaimed mystic and Christian convert, who believed he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ and the new Messiah. Most sources estimate the total death toll at about twenty million.

Hong was the son of a poor farmer near Canton. He was a good student, but failed his civil service exams repeatedly. Once after he had failed, he overheard a Christian missionary talking and received some Christian readings. After failing his exam again, he had a nervous breakdown. It is said that he had several visions, such as an old man that told him people had began worshipping demons and he was appointed demon slayer. Hong believed that he old man in his visions was God, and that a younger man that had also visited him was Jesus Christ, his older brother.

Hong believed that he was sent by God to eradicate demons and demon worship, and that the Imperial rulers were the main spreaders of demon worship

Supporters of Hong joined him due to the lack of response by the ruling Quing dynasty to natural disasters, economic problems, and military defeats by Western powers. The first blood shed during the revolt occurred in the Guangxi province, in the south of China, in January 1851. Ten-thousand rebels defeated Imperial warriors in the town of Jintian. In August of the same year, Hong established the Heavenly Kingdom of Taiping and declared himself absolute ruler.

The kingdom enforced strict militarized rule on its citizens. Private property ownership was banned and all land was owned and given out by the state. The solar calendar was to be used in place of...