Li Xiucheng

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Li Xiucheng
Li Xiucheng
Nickname(s) Philanthropist
Born (1823-12-00)December 1823
Teng County, Guangxi, Qing Empire
Died 7 August 1864(1864-08-07) (aged 41)
Jiangning, Nanjing, Qing Empire
Allegiance Qing Empire (to 1849)
Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (to 1864)
Years of service 1852–1864
Rank Field Marshal

Eastern campaign

Western campaign

This is a Chinese name; the family name is Li.

Li Xiucheng (Chinese: 李秀成; pinyin: Lǐ Xiùchéng; 1823 – August 7, 1864) was a military commander during the Taiping Rebellion. He was born in a poor peasant family. He was known as the Loyal King (忠王) by the end of his life. This title was given because he refused the bribe from a Qing general officer to kill Hong Xiuquan, the founder and leader of the rebellion. As a general, he led Taiping forces to several victories. After his capture and interrogation at the third and final Battle in Nanjing in 1864, he was executed by Zeng Guofan. Li was the most important military leader of the rebel forces by the end of the Taiping Rebellion.

Notable victories against the Qing military forces[edit]

Second rout of the Jiangnan Army Group[edit]

Army Group Jiangnan (江南大營) was an important Qing army barracks in Nanjing. Forces led by Li Xiucheng besieged the barracks in an attempt to force its occupants to surrender. Li Xiucheng, besides; in the second encirclement, the Qing army commanded 200,000 soldiers to fight with Taiping forces from March 1858, but they were routed by Li Xiucheng in May 1860. After that, Li went on to occupy all of Jiangsu provinces except Shanghai.

Two attacks on Shanghai[edit]

Escaped from Suzhou[edit]

Li Xiucheng's palace in Suzhou is the only one from the Taiping Rebellion that exists today. In July 1863, Li ordered his daughter's husband, Tan Shaoguang, to capture Suzhou. But Li Hongzhang led the Huai Army combined by the "Ever Victorious Army," which, having been raised by an American named Frederick Townsend Ward, was placed under the command of Charles George Gordon. With this support, Li Hongzhang gained numerous victories leading to the surrender of Suzhou.

Determining battle: lead defend capital Nanjing[edit]

Chiang Donkey[edit]

The Chiang Donkey (蔣驢子) was Li Xiucheng's stable manager. Before the fall of Nanjing after three months in 1864, Li Xiucheng took his wealth, including much treasure, to Chiang Donkey and asked Chiang to take it out of Nanjing quickly and wait for Li Xiucheng somewhere. Chiang promised and took treasure by 20 horses and cows car, but Li was executed at last. Thus, Chiang Donkey became rich in Nanjing after the civil war.


Zhong Prince Li Xiucheng Describes Himself (《忠王李秀成自述》) is the autobiographical account of a prince of the Heavenly Kingdom written shortly before his execution.

Li's sword[edit]

When Li withdrew from Suzhou, his sword—the symbol of his power—was given to his young brother Li Shixian. Li Shixian took this sword but lost and was captured by Charles George Gordon in Liyang.

When Charles George Gordon came back to the UK with Li's sword, he gave it to Queen Victoria's cousin, chief commander of the military the Duke of Cambridge.

On 30 August 1961 a professor of history at the University of London discovered this sword. In 1981, this sword was returned to China and is currently stored in the National Museum of China.


Li Xiucheng had a son, Li Ronfar, and three daughters, whose husbands were Taiping generals including Tan Shaoguang and Chen Binwen.


Tiān Guó Zwi(天國志)