First Dzungar–Qing War

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First Dzungar - Qing War
The Qing army camps on the Kherlen River.
Date 1687-1697
Location Mongolia
Result Qing victory, Dzungar Khanate weakened, death of Galdan Boshugtu Khan.
Belligerents
Dzungar Khanate  Qing dynasty
*Northern Yuan dynasty (Vassal of the Qing)
*Kumul Khanate (Vassal of the Qing)
Commanders and leaders
Galdan Boshugtu Khan Kangxi Emperor
Chakhundorji Khan
Abdullah Beg
Strength
20,000- 30,000[1] 100,000[1]
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown

The First Dzungar–Qing War was a military conflict fought from 1687-1697 between the Dzungar Khanate and an alliance of the Qing dynasty and the Northern Yuan dynasty. The war resulted from a Dzungar attack on the Northern Yuan, who were heavily defeated. Their rulers fled south to the Qing dynasty, which feared a powerful Dzungar state. The Qing failed to defeat the Dzungars in an indecisive campaign, but were later able to trap the Dzungar army and defeat it at Jao Modo.

Background[edit]

After the collapse of the Yuan dynasty, the Mongol rulers of China had withdrawn into Mongolia itself. The Mongol state disintegrated into a series of Khanates, ruled by various descendants of the Genghisids. By the 1650s, the preeminent group had become the Oirat Dzungar Khanate, ruled by Galdan Boshugtu Khan. He began a series of successful campaigns to expand his territory, although relations with the Qing remained peaceful. However, when his brother was killed in a skirmish with the troops of a Khalka khan, Galdan took the pretext to launch a full-scale invasion of eastern Mongolia. He destroyed several Khalka tribes, sending twenty thousand refugees fleeing south for Qing territory.[2]

War[edit]

The Khalka rulers, defeated, fled to Hohhot and begged for Qing help.[3] Meanwhile, the Qing had secured a peace treaty with the Cossacks on their northern border, who had previously been inclined to support Galdan. The Treaty of Nerchinsk prevented an alliance between these two groups, leaving the Qing free to attack the Mongols.[4] A Qing-supported counterattack met the Dzungars at Olgoi Lake, but was defeated. Fearing a united Mongol state ruled by the hostile Dzungars, the Qing now turned their powerful war machine on the Oirats.[5]

Entry of the Qing[edit]

Qing scouts attacked a Dzungar party north of the Great Wall. However, this proved to be the main Dzungar army, which destroyed the Qing detachment easily.[6] A large Qing army under the Prince Fuquan advanced North into Inner Mongolia, hoping to trap and crush the mobile Dzungar army. However, they were constrained by bad weather and difficult terrain. It took some Qing troops twelve days to cross the Gobi Desert, and the horses were left exhausted. Running low on supplies, the Qing managed to catch the Dzungars at Ulan Butung. The Dzungars formed a camel wall, beat back a pair of artillery-supported Qing assaults, and escaped into the hills. The Qing commander called it a victory, but he was dismissed into retirement.[7] The Qing pursuit was hampered by exhausted men and animals, and the Dzungars escaped. Now thoroughly intimidated, Galdan swore never to attack the frontier again, and withdrew. However, Galdan was left in control of Mongolia from the Selenj River in the north to Khalkhyn gol in the south.[8]

A relatively uneventful period followed. The Khalka rulers declared themselves Qing vassals at Dolon Nor (the site of Xanadu, the pleasure palace of the Yuan Emperors) a politically decisive step that officially ended the last remnants of the Yuan dynasty. It also allowed the Qing to assume the mantle of the Genghisid khans, merging the Khalka forces into the Qing army.[9] The Kangxi Emperor had now become determined to "exterminate" (jiao) Galdan. Negotiations between the two sides bore little fruit. The Dzungars cast about for allies, making overtures to the Russians and various Mongol princes, but were refused.[10] Kangxi set about preparing the complex logistics necessary to support a planned 1696 expedition. This included procuring 1,333 carts, each carrying 6 shi of grain. Three armies eventually advanced north in 1696. One, under the command of Fiyanggu, numbering 30,000 and to be reinforced with a further 10,000, was to trap Galdan, while Kangxi personally led 32,000 men, including 235 cannon on camelback. A third, numbering 10,000, halted further to the east and would play no part in the coming campaign. The Dzungar army, heavily outnumbered and weakened by the plague, was unable to offer serious resistance. Galdan's army attacked the western force at Zuunmod, but lost the ensuing battle. The Dzungar army, bereft of artillery, suffered heavily from Chinese musketry and cannon fire,[11] eventually breaking. The battle ended in a victory for the Qing army, who captured 20,000 sheep and 40,000 cattle, and captured, killed or scattered all but 40-50 of the Dzungar army (although Galdan himself escaped), effectively destroying them as a military force. Galdan's wife was killed. He fled west, later attempted to surrender to the Qing, but died of the plague[5] with only a few men in the Altai Mountains.[12]

Aftermath[edit]

Tsewang Rabtan, an anti-Galdan Oirat chief, who had actually provided intelligence to the Qing[5] at several points during the war, succeeded Galdan as Khan of the Dzungars. The Qing failed to effectively curb Dzungar power, and would not until they defeated the Dzungars in a second war some years later. A Qing garrison was put in Ulaanbaatar, and Khalka Mongolia placed under Qing rule. This provided the foundation for the incorporation of Outer Mongolia into Manchu's Qing state.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b History of the Civilizations of Central Asia,Vadiam Mikhailovich Masson, pg. 148
  2. ^ Peter C. Perdue, China Marches West:The Qing Conquest of Central Asia, pg. 149
  3. ^ New Qing Imperial History:The Making of an Inner Asian Emire at Qing Chengde, Ruth W. Dunnell, Mark Elliot, James A. Millward, pg. 99
  4. ^ The Tea Road:China and Russia Meet Across the Steppe, pg. 106, Martha Avery
  5. ^ a b c The Sichuan Frontier and Tibet:Imperial Strategy in the Early Qing, 44,45, Yincong Dai
  6. ^ Peter C. Perdue, China Marches West:The Qing Conquest of Central Asia, 153
  7. ^ The Cambridge History of China, Willard J. Peterson, pg.154
  8. ^ Historical Dictionary of Mongolia, Alan Sanders, pg. 288, Scarecrow Press
  9. ^ J. Millward, Eurasian Crossroads:A history of Xinjiang, pg. 91
  10. ^ Peter C. Perdue, China Marches West:The Qing Conquest of Central Asia,177-180
  11. ^ Wars in the Age of Louis Xiv, 1650-1715, C.J.Nolan, p.g. 224
  12. ^ Peter C. Perdue, China Marches West:The Qing Conquest of Central Asia,148- 189