Ten Great Campaigns

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The Ten Great Campaigns (Chinese: 十全武功; pinyin: shí quán wǔ gōng) were a series of wars fought during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor, much celebrated in the official Qing dynasty annals. They included three to enlarge the area of Qing control in Central Asia: two against the Zunghars (1755–1757) and the pacification of Xinjiang (1758–1759). The other seven campaigns were more in the nature of police actions on frontiers already established – two wars to suppress the Jinchuan rebels in Sichuan, another to suppress rebels in Taiwan (1787–1788), and four expeditions abroad against the Burmese (1765–1769), the Vietnamese (1788–1789), and the warlike Gurkhas in Nepal on the border between Tibet and India (1790–1792), the last counting as two.

The Dzungars and pacification of Xinjiang (1755–1759)[edit]

First Campaign Against the Zunghars
Receiving the surrender of the Yili.jpg
Surrender of Dawachi Khan in 1755
Date 1755
Location Xinjiang
Result Qing victory
Belligerents
Qing dynasty Dzungar Khanate
Commanders and leaders
Qianlong
Bandi (Overall Command)
Zhao Hui (Assistant Commander)
Emin Khoja
Amursana
Burhān al-Dīn
Khwāja-i Jahān
Dawachi POW
Strength
9,000 Manchu Eight Bannermen
19,500 Inner Mongols
6,500 Outer Mongols
2,000 Zunghars
5,000 Uyghurs from Hami and Turfan
12,000 Chinese
20,000
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown

Of the ten campaigns, the final destruction of the Dzungars[1] was the most significant. The 1755 Pacification of Dzungaria (zh) and the later suppression of the Revolt of the Altishahr Khojas (zh) secured the northern and western boundaries of Xinjiang, eliminated rivalry for control over the Dalai Lama in Tibet, and thereby eliminated any rival influence in Mongolia. It also led to the pacification of the Islamicised, Turkic-speaking southern half of Xinjiang immediately thereafter.[2]

In 1752, Dawachi and the Khoit-Oirat prince Amursana competed for the title of Khan of the Dzungars. Dawachi defeated Amursana various times and gave him no chance to recover. Amursana was thus forced to flee with his small army to the Qing court. Qianlong pledged to support Amursana since Amursana accepted Qing authority; among those who supported Amursana and the Chinese were the Uyghur brothers Burhān al-Dīn (波羅尼都) and Khwāja-i Jahān (霍集占). In 1755, Qianlong sent Zhao Hui aided by Amursana, Burhān al-Dīn and Khwāja-i Jahān. After several skirmishes and small scale battles along the Ili River Zhao Hui was able to approach Ili (Gulja) and Dawachi surrendered. Qianlong made Amursana Khan of Khoit as one of four equal khans to the displeasure of Amursana, who wanted to be Khan of the Zunghars.

Second Campaign Against the Zunghars
Battle of Oroi-Jalatu.jpg
The Battle of Oroi-Jalatu in 1758, Zhao Hui ambushes Amursana at night.
Date 1756-1758
Location Xinjiang
Result Qing victory
Belligerents
Qing dynasty Dzungars loyal to Amursana
Commanders and leaders
Qianlong
Bandi  (1757) (Overall Command until death in battle)
Cäbdan-jab (Overall Command)
Zhao Hui (Assistant Commander)
Ayushi
Emin Khoja
Burhān al-Dīn
Khwāja-i Jahān
Amursana
Chingünjav  
Strength
10,000 Bannermen
5,000 Uyghurs from Turfan and Hami
Plus Zunghars
20,000 Dzungars
Casualties and losses
Unknown everyone defeated except for 50 men of Chingünjav who fled

In the summer of 1756 Amursana started a Dzungar revolt against the Chinese with the help of Chingünjav. The Qing dynasty reacted at the start of 1757 and sent Zhao Hui with support from Burhān al-Dīn and Khwāja-i Jahān. Among several battles, the most important ones were illustrated in the paintings of Qianlong. Zunghar leader Ayushi defected to the Chinese side and attacked the Zunghar camp at Gadan-Ola (Battle of Gadan-Ola). The great general Zhao Hui defeated the Dzungars in two battles: the Battle of Oroi-Jalatu (1758) and the Battle of Khurungui (1758). In the former battle Zhao Hui attacked Amursana's camp at night; Amursana was able to fight on until Zhao Hui received enough reinforcements to drive off Amursana. Between the time of Oroi-Jalatu and Khurungui, the Chinese under Prince Cabdan-jab defeated Amursana at the Battle of Khorgos (known in the Qianlong engravings as "The Victory of Khorgos"). At Mount Khurungui Zhao Hui defeated Amursana in a night attack on his camp after crossing a river and drove off Amursana. To commemorate the two victories of Zhao Hui, Qianlong had the Puning Temple of Chengde constructed, home to the world's tallest wooden sculpture of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara and hence its alternate name, the 'Big Buddha Temple'. Afterwards Huo Jisi of Turfan submitted to the Qing dynasty. After all of these battles, Amursana fled to Russia (where he died) and Chingünjav fled north to Darkhad but was captured at Wang Tolgoi and executed in Beijing.

Campaign in Altishahr (Pacification of Xinjiang)
The Great Victory at Qurman.jpg
The Battle of Qurman 1759, Fu De and Machang bring 600 troops to relieve Zhao Hui in Black River.
Date 1758-1759
Location Xinjiang
Result Qing victory
Belligerents
Qing dynasty Altishahri followers of the Khoja Brothers
Kyrgyzs
Zunghar rebels
Commanders and leaders
Qianlong
Zhao Hui (Overall Command)
Fu De (Assistant Commander)
Agui
Dou Bin
Rongbao
Zhanyinbao
Fulu
Shuhede
Ming Rui
Arigun
Machang
Namjil  
Yan Xiangshi
Yisamu
Duanjibu
Khoja Emin
Khoja Si Bek
Sultan Shah of Badakshan
Khwāja-i Jahān POW
Burhān al-Dīn POW
Strength
10,000 Bannermen
Uyghurs from Hami, Turfan and Badakshan
Plus Zunghars
30,000 Altishahr (Tarim Basin) Uyghurs
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown

After the second campaign against the Dzungars in 1758, two Altishahr nobles the Khoja brothers Burhān al-Dīn (Buranidun (zh)) and Khwāja-i Jahān ((Hojijan (zh)) began a revolt against the Qing dynasty. Aside from the remaining Dzunghars they were also joined by the Kyrgyz peoples and the Oases Turkic peoples (Uyghur) in Altishahr (Tarim Basin). After capturing several towns in Altishahr there were still two rebel fortresses at Yarkand and Kashgar at the end of 1758. Uyghur Muslims from Turfan and Hami including Emin Khoja and Khoja Si Bek stayed loyal to the Qing and helped the regime fight the Altishahri Uyghurs under Burhān al-Dīn and Khwāja-i Jahān. Zhao Hui unsuccessfully besieged Yarkand and fought an indecisive battle outside the city, this engagement is known as the Battle of Tonguzluq. He instead took other towns east of Yarkand but was forced to retreat, the Zunghar and Uyghur rebels laid siege to him at the Siege of Black River Fort (Kara Usu). In 1759, Zhao Hui sent for relief troops, 600 troops showed up and were under the overall command of generals Fu De and Machang with the 200 cavalry led by Namjil; other high-ranking officers included Arigun, Dou Bin, Duan Ji Bu, Fulu, Yan Xiangshi, Janggimboo, Yisamu, Agui and Shuhede. On February 3, 1759, over 5,000 enemy cavalry led by Burhān al-Dīn ambushed the 600 relief troops at the Battle of Qurman. The Uyghur and Zunghar cavalry were stopped by the Qing zamburak artillery camels, musketry and archers; Namjil and Machang led a cavalry charge on one of the flanks. It seems that Namjil was killed and Machang was unhorsed and fought well on foot with his bow. After a hard fought battle the Qing were victorious and attacked the Zunghar camp, causing the enemies besieging Black River to withdraw. After the victory at Qurman, the Qing overran the remaining rebel towns and Ming Rui led a detachment of cavalry and defeated Zunghar cavalry at the Battle of Qos-Qulaq. The Uyghurs retreated from Qos-Qulaq but were defeated by Zhao Hui and Fu De at the Battle of Arcul (Altishahr) on September 1, 1759, the rebels were again defeated at the Battle of Yesil Kol Nor. After these defeats Burhān al-Dīn and Khwāja-i Jahān fled with their small army of supporters to Badakshan. Sultan Shah promised to protect them but he contacted the Qing dynasty and promised to turn them over. The fleeing rebels came to Sultan Shah's capital and after some time he attacked them and after a quick battle captured them. When the Chinese came to Sultan Shah's capital he handed over the rebels that had fled from them and Sultan Shah submitted to Chinese authority.

Suppression of the Jinchuan hill peoples (1747–1749, 1771–1776)[edit]

First Campaign Against Jinchuan
Reconquer the little Goldstreamland.jpg
Depiction of Qing troops campaigning in the land of the Jinchuan "the Little Gold Stream"
Date 1747-1749
Location Sichuan
Result Qing victory
Belligerents
Qing dynasty Qing Empire Jinchuan tribes
Commanders and leaders
Qing dynasty Qianlong
Qing dynasty Zhang Kuangtsu (Overall Command)(Executed by Qianlong)
Qing dynasty No-ch'in (Assistant Commander)(Executed by Qianlong)
Qing dynasty Fuheng (Overall Command)
Qing dynasty Zhao Hui (Assistant Commander)
Slob Dpon
Tshe Dbang
Strength
Unknown Unknown
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown
Second Campaign Against Jinchuan
Conquest of the defence tower at the Luobowa mountain.jpg
Qing general Fuk'anggan assaults Luobowa mountain tower
Date 1771-1776
Location Sichuan
Result Qing victory
Belligerents
Qing dynasty Qing Empire Jinchuan tribes
Commanders and leaders
Qing dynasty Qianlong
Qing dynasty Agui (Overall Command)
Qing dynasty Fuk'anggan (Assistant Commander)
Qing dynasty Fu De (Executed by Qianlong in 1776)
Qing dynasty Wenfu  
Sonom
Senggesang
Strength
8,000 Unknown
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown

The suppression of the Jinchuan hill people was the costliest and most difficult, and also the most destructive. The Jinchuan (literally "Golden Stream") was northwest of Chengdu in western Sichuan. The tribal peoples there were related to the Tibetans of the Amdo. The first campaign in 1747–1749 was a simple affair; with little use of force the Manchu general induced the native chieftains to accept a peace plan, and departed.

Interethnic conflict brought the Manchus back after twenty years. The result was the Qing expeditionary force being forced to fight a protracted war of attrition costing the Qing treasury several times the amounts expended on the earlier conquests of the Zunghars and Xinjiang. The resisting tribes retreated to their stone towers and forts in steep mountains and could only be dislodged by cannon. The Manchu generals were ruthless in annihilating the rebellious tribes, then reorganised the region in a military prefecture and repopulated it with more cooperative inhabitants.[2] When victorious troops returned to Beijing, a celebratory hymn was sung in their honor. A Manchu version of the hymn was recorded by the Jesuit Amoit and sent to Paris.[3]

The Burmese Campaigns (1765–1769)[edit]

The Qianlong Emperor launched four invasions of Burma between 1765 and 1769. The war claimed the lives of over 70,000 Chinese soldiers and four commanders,[4] and is sometimes described as "the most disastrous frontier war that the Qing dynasty had ever waged",[5] and one that "assured Burmese independence and probably the independence of other states in Southeast Asia".[6] Burma's successful defense laid the foundation for the present-day boundary between the two countries.[4]

At first, Qianlong envisaged an easy war, and sent in only the Green Standard troops stationed in Yunnan. The Qing invasion came as the majority of Burmese forces were deployed in the Burmese invasion of Siam. Nonetheless, battle-hardened Burmese troops defeated the first two invasions of 1765 and 1766 at the border. The regional conflict now escalated to a major war that involved military maneuvers nationwide in both countries. The third invasion (1767–1768) led by the elite Manchu Bannermen nearly succeeded, penetrating deep into central Burma within a few days' march from the capital, Ava.[7] But the Bannermen of northern China could not cope with unfamiliar tropical terrains and lethal endemic diseases, and were driven back with heavy losses.[4] After the close-call, King Hsinbyushin redeployed most of the Burmese armies from Siam to the Chinese border. The fourth and largest invasion got bogged down at the frontier. With the Qing forces completely encircled, a truce was reached between the field commanders of the two sides in December 1769.[5][8]

The Qing kept a heavy military lineup in the border areas of Yunnan for about one decade in an attempt to wage another war while imposing a ban on inter-border trade for two decades. The Burmese too were preoccupied with another impending invasion by the Chinese, and kept a series of garrisons along the border. Twenty years later, Burma and China resumed a diplomatic relationship in 1790. To the Burmese the resumption was on equal terms. But Qianlong unilaterally interpreted the act as Burmese submission, and claimed victory.[5] Ironically, the main beneficiaries of this war were the Siamese. After having lost their capital Ayutthaya to the Burmese in 1767, they regrouped in the absence of large Burmese armies, and reclaimed their territories in the next two years.[7]

The Pacification of Taiwan (1786-1788)[edit]

Pacification of Taiwan
Crossing the ocean and triumphant return.jpg
The Return of the Qing fleet from Taiwan
Date 1786-1788
Location Taiwan
Result Qing victory
Belligerents
Qing dynasty Qing Empire Taiwanese Rebels
Commanders and leaders
Qing dynasty Qianlong
Qing dynasty Fuk'anggan
Lin Shuang-wen POW
Zhuang Datian Tianhui POW
Strength
3,000 police
10,000 troops sent to relieve Taiwan in 1786
20,000 troops brought by Fuk'anggan in 1788
300,000 rebels
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown

In 1786, Taiwan's Minister discovered and suppressed the Heaven and Earth Society, the members of Heaven and Earth Society had gathered Ming loyalist comrades, and their leader Lin Shuang-wen proclaimed himself king. Many important people took part in this revolt and the insurgents quickly rose to 50,000 people. In, less than a year the rebels occupied almost the entire part of southern Taiwan. Hearing that the rebels had occupied most of Taiwan, Qing troops were sent to suppress them in a hurry. The east insurgents defeated the poorly organized troops and they had to resist falling to the enemy. Finally, the Qing court sent General Fuk'anggan while Hai Lan, Counselor of the Police, deployed nearly 3,000 people to fight the insurgents. These new troops were well equipped, disciplined and had combat experience which proved enough to route the insurgents. The Ming loyalists had lost the war and their leaders and remaining rebels hid among the locals. Lin Shuang-wen and Zhuang Datian Tiandihui and other leaders had started a rebellion which at first was successful, and as many as 300,000 took part in the rebellion. The Qing general Fu Kang'an was sent to quell the rebellion with a force of 20,000 soldiers, which he accomplished. The campaign was relatively expensive for the Qing government, although leaders Lin Shuang-wen and Zhuang Datian were both captured. After the revolt ended, Qianlong was forced to rethink the method of government for Taiwan.

The Gurkha Campaigns (1788–1793)[edit]

Main article: Sino-Nepalese War
First Campaign Against Gurkhas
Capture of Camu.jpg
Fuk'anggan captures Camu from the Nepalese
Date 1788-1791
Location Tibet
Result Qing victory
Belligerents
Qing dynasty Qing Empire Pre 1962 Flag of Nepal.png Kingdom of Nepal
Commanders and leaders
Qing dynasty Qianlong
Qing dynasty Fuk'anggan
Pre 1962 Flag of Nepal.png Rana Bahadur Shah
Strength
10,000 10,000
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown
Second Campaign Against Gurkhas
Capture of Xiebulu.jpg
Fuk'anggan storms the fortress of Xiebulu
Date 1791-1793
Location Tibet, Nepal
Result Qing victory
Belligerents
Qing dynasty Qing Empire Pre 1962 Flag of Nepal.png Kingdom of Nepal
Commanders and leaders
Qing dynasty Qianlong
Qing dynasty Fuk'anggan
Pre 1962 Flag of Nepal.png Rana Bahadur Shah
Strength
70,000 20,000 - 30,000
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown

The Gurkha wars display the Qing court's continuing sensitivity to conditions in Tibet. The late 1760s saw the creation of a strong state in Nepal and the involvement in the region of a new foreign power, Britain, through their British East India Company. The rash Gurkha rulers of Nepal decided to invade southern Tibet in 1788. The two Manchu resident agents in Lhasa (Ambans) made no attempt at defense or resistance. Instead they took the child Panchen Lama to safety when the Nepalese troops came through and plundered the rich monastery at Shigatse on their way to Lhasa. Upon hearing of the first Nepalese incursions, the Qianlong Emperor commanded troops from Sichuan to proceed to Lhasa and restore order. By the time they reached southern Tibet, the Gurkhas had already withdrawn. This counted as the first of two wars with the Gurkhas.

In 1791 the Gurkhas returned in force. Qianlong urgently dispatched an army of 10,000 men. It was made up of around 6,000 Manchu and Mongol forces supplemented by tribal soldiers under the able general Fuk'anggan, with Hailancha as his deputy. They entered Tibet from Xining (Qinghai) in the north, shortening the march but making it in the dead of winter 1791–1792, crossing high mountain passes in deep snow and cold. They reached central Tibet in the summer of 1792 and within two or three months could report that they had won a decisive series of encounters that pushed the Gurkha armies across the crest of the Himalaya and back into the valley of Kathmandu. Fuk'anggan fought on into 1793, when he forced the battered Gurkhas to sign a treaty on Manchu terms which forced Gurkhas to pay tax every five years.[2]

The Campaign in Vietnam (1788–1789)[edit]

Campaign in Vietnam
Battle at the River Tho-xuong.jpg
Fuk'anggan defeats the Vietnamese at Tho-xuong River in 1788
Date 1788-1789
Location Vietnam
Result Tay Son victory
Belligerents
Qing dynasty Qing Empire
Lê dynasty
西山.png Tay Son dynasty
Commanders and leaders
Qing dynasty Qianlong
Qing dynasty Fuk'anggan (Overall Command)(recalled to China before New Year)
Qing dynasty Sun Shiyi (Assistant Commander)
Qing dynasty Xu Shiheng
Qing dynasty Zhang Zhaolong
Le Chieu Thong
Hoàng Phùng Nghĩa
西山.png Nguyễn Huệ
西山.png Phan Văn Lân
西山.png Ngô Văn Sở
西山.png Nguyễn Tăng Long
西山.png Đặng Xuân Bảo
西山.png Nguyễn Văn Lộc
西山.png Nguyễn Văn Tuyết
西山.png Đặng Tiến Đông
西山.png Phan Khải Đức
西山.png Nguyễn Văn Diễm
西山.png Nguyễn Văn Hòa
Strength
40,000 Qing troops
20,000 Lê dynasty supporters
50,000 regulars
20,000 newly recruited militia
Casualties and losses
30,000 10,000

For most of her history, the Vietnamese rulers sometimes recognized the Chinese Emperor as their feudal lord, while ruling independently in their own land. This had been the case throughout the reign of the Later Lê dynasty. This changed however when the brothers of Tây Sơn, leading a national uprising, defeated the feuding Trịnh and Nguyễn lords and overthrew the last Lê ruler, Emperor Lê Chiêu Thống.

Emperor Lê Chiêu Thống fled to China and appealed to Emperor Qianlong (Vietnamese: Càn Long) for help. In 1788 a large Qing army was sent south to restore Lê Mẫn Đế to the throne. They succeeded in taking Thăng Long (Hà Nội) and putting Emperor Chiêu Thống back on the throne, but many of his supporters were angered by their subservient position. Chiêu Thống was treated as a vassal king by Qianlong and all edicts had to be authorized by the Qing before becoming official. In any event, the situation did not last long as the Tây Sơn leader, Nguyễn Huệ, launched a surprise attack against the Qing forces while they were celebrating the Chinese New Year festival of the year 1789. The Chinese were unprepared but fought for five days before being defeated at Battle of Đống Đa. Chiêu Thống fled back to China as Nguyễn Huệ was proclaimed Emperor Quang Trung.[9] Although Nguyễn Huệ won this battle, he eventually submitted himself as vassal of Qing China and agreed to pay tribute annually.

The Campaigns in Perspective[edit]

In his later years, Qianlong referred to himself with the grandiose style name of "Old Man of the Ten Completed [Great Campaigns]" (十全老人). He also wrote an essay enumerating the victories in 1792 entitled "Record of Ten Completions" (十全记).[10]

The campaigns were major financial drain on Qing, costing more than 151 million taels of silver.[11]

  • The tribes at Jinchuan numbered less than 30,000 households and took five years to pacify.
  • Nearly 1.5 million piculs (1 picul = 100 catty) were transported for the Taiwan campaigns.
  • Instead of restoring Emperor Lê Mẫn Đế to the throne as the Vietnam campaign was intended, Qianlong ended up settling with the new Nguyen dynasty, and even arranging for imperial marriage between Qing and Nguyen.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Encyclopædia Britannica online entry on Kazakhstan, page 19 of 22". Britannica.com. 1991-12-16. Retrieved 2013-02-19. 
  2. ^ a b c F.W. Mote, Imperial China 900–1800 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), 936–939
  3. ^ "Manchu hymn chanted at the occasion of the victory over the Jinchuan Rebels". Manchu Studies Group. 2012-12-18. Retrieved 2013-02-19. 
  4. ^ a b c Charles Patterson Giersch (2006). Asian borderlands: the transformation of Qing China's Yunnan frontier. Harvard University Press. pp. 101–110. ISBN 0674021711. 
  5. ^ a b c Yingcong Dai (2004). "A Disguised Defeat: The Myanmar Campaign of the Qing Dynasty". Modern Asian Studies (Cambridge University Press): 145. 
  6. ^ Marvin C. Whiting (2002). Imperial Chinese Military History: 8000 BC – 1912 AD. iUniverse. pp. 480–481. ISBN 978-0-595-22134-9. 
  7. ^ a b DGE Hall (1960). Burma (3rd edition ed.). Hutchinson University Library. pp. 27–29. ISBN 978-1-4067-3503-1. 
  8. ^ GE Harvey (1925). History of Burma. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd. pp. 254–258. 
  9. ^ A History of Vietnam: From Hong Bang to Tu Duc, Chapter 6 The Nguyen Hue Epic, pages 153–159, by Oscar Chapuis, Greenwood Publishing Group (1995), ISBN 0-313-29622-7
  10. ^ Monarchy in the Emperor's Eyes: Image and Reality in the Ch`ien-lung Reign. by Harold L. Kahn, The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 31, No. 2 (Feb., 1972), pp. 393–394
  11. ^ Zhuang Jifa, Qing Gaozong Shiquan Wugong Yanjiu (Taipei, 1982), p.494. (庄吉发, 《清高宗十全武功研究》)