Jirgalang

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Prince Zhengxian of the First Rank
Prince Zheng of the First Rank
Prince Zheng of the First Rank
Reign 1636-1655
Predecessor None
Successor Jidu
Born 19 November 1599
Died 11 June 1655 (aged 55)
Full name
Aisin-Gioro Jirgalang
(愛新覺羅·濟爾哈朗)
Posthumous name
Prince Zhengxian of the First Rank
(鄭獻親王)
House Aisin Gioro
Father Šurhaci
Mother Lady Ula Nara
Jirgalang
Traditional Chinese 濟爾哈朗
Simplified Chinese 济尔哈朗

Jirgalang or Jirhalang (Manchu: Jirgalang.png19 November 1599 – June 11, 1655) was a Manchu noble, regent, and political and military leader of the early Qing dynasty. Born in the Aisin Gioro clan, he was the sixth son of Šurhaci, a younger brother of Nurhaci, the founder of the Qing dynasty. From 1638 to 1643, he took part in many military campaigns that helped bring down the fall of the Ming dynasty. After the death of Huangtaiji (Nurhaci's successor) in September 1643, Jirgalang became one of the young Shunzhi Emperor's two co-regents, but he soon yielded most political power to co-regent Dorgon in October 1644. Dorgon eventually purged him of his regent title in 1647. After Dorgon died in 1650, Jirgalang led an effort to clean the government of Dorgon's supporters. Jirgalang was one of ten "princes of the first rank" (和碩親王) whose descendants were made "iron-cap" princes (鐵帽子王), who had the right to transmit their princely titles to their direct male descendants perpetually.

Career before 1643[edit]

In 1627, Jirgalang took part in the first Manchu campaign against Korea under the command of his older brother Amin.[1] In 1630, when Amin was stripped of his titles for having failed to fight an army of the Ming dynasty, Huangtaiji gave Jirgalang control of the Bordered Blue Banner, which had been under Amin's command.[1] As one of "four senior beile" (the other three were Daišan, Manggūltai, and Huangtaiji himself), Jirgalang participated in many military campaigns against the Ming and the Chahar Mongols.[1] In 1636 he was granted the title "Prince Zheng of the First Rank", with rights of perpetual inheritance.[1] In 1642, Jirgalang led the siege of Jinzhou, an important Ming city in Liaodong that surrendered to Qing forces in April of that year after more than one year of resistance.[2]

Co-regency (1643-1647) and disgrace (1647-1650)[edit]

Flag of the Bordered Blue Banner, of which Jirgalang was given control in 1630.

While Dorgon was staying in Mukden, in November or December 1643 Jirgalang was sent to attack Shanhai Pass, a fortified Ming position that guarded access to the plain around Beijing.[3] In January or February 1644, Jirgalang requested that his name be placed after Dorgon's in all official communications.[3] On February 17, 1644, Jirgalang, who was a capable military leader but looked uninterested in managing state affairs, willingly yielded control of all official matters to Dorgon.[4] He was not present when Qing forces entered Beijing in early June 1644. In 1647 he was removed from his post of regent and replaced by Dorgon's brother Dodo.[5] Despite his removal, Jirgalang continued to serve as a military leader. In March 1648, Dorgon ordered the arrest of Jirgalang on various charges and had Jirgalang degraded from a qinwang (first-rank prince) to a junwang (second-rank prince).[6] Later in the same year, however, Jirgalang was sent to southern China to fight troops loyal to the Southern Ming. In early 1649, after one of his military victories, he ordered a six-day massacre of the inhabitants of the city of Xiangtan in present-day Hunan.[7] He returned victorious to Beijing in 1650 after having defeated the forces of the Yongli Emperor, the last ruler of the Southern Ming regime.[8]

The "Jirgalang faction" (1651-1655)[edit]

The group led by Jirgalang that historian Robert Oxnam has called the "Jirgalang faction" was composed of Manchu princes and nobles who had opposed Dorgon and who returned to power after the latter died on December 31, 1650.[9] Concerned that Dorgon's brother Ajige may try to succeed Dorgon, Jirgalang and his group arrested Ajige in early 1651.[10] Jirgalang remained a powerful figure at the Qing imperial court until his death in 1655.[11] The four future regents of the Kangxi Emperor - Oboi, Ebilun, Sonin, and Suksaha - were among his supporters.[12]

Death and posterity[edit]

Soon after Jirgalang died of illness on June 11, 1655,[13] his second son Jidu (simplified Chinese: 济度; traditional Chinese: 濟度; pinyin: Jìdù; 1633–1660) inherited his princely title, but the name of the princehood was changed from "Zheng" (鄭) to "Jian" (簡). The title "Prince Zheng" was re-established in 1778 when the Qianlong Emperor praised Jirgalang for his role in the Qing defeat of Ming and granted Jirgalang a place in the Imperial Ancestral Temple.[14]

Jirgalang's second son Jidu and Jidu's second son Labu (Chinese: 喇布; pinyin: Lăbù; d. 1681) participated in military campaigns in the second half of the Shunzhi Emperor's reign and the early reign of the Kangxi Emperor, notably against Koxinga and Wu Sangui.[15]

Jirgalang's 13th generation descendants Duanhua (Prince Zheng) and Sushun (Duanhua's younger brother) were politically active during the reign of the Xianfeng Emperor (r. 1851-1861). They were appointed as two of eight regents for the infant Tongzhi Emperor (r. 1862-1874), but were quickly overthrown in 1861 in the Xinyou Coup that brought Empress Dowager Cixi and the young emperor's uncle Prince Gong to power.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Kennedy (1943a): 397.
  2. ^ Wakeman (1985), 221-222.
  3. ^ a b Li Zhiting (2003): 368.
  4. ^ Wakeman (1985), vol. 1: 299.
  5. ^ Wakeman (1985), 874.
  6. ^ Wakeman (1985), 881.
  7. ^ Wakeman (1985), 767.
  8. ^ Wakeman (1985), 895.
  9. ^ Oxnam (1975): 47-49.
  10. ^ Fang (1943): 5; Wakeman (1985), 895.
  11. ^ Wakeman (1985), 928.
  12. ^ Oxnam (1975): 38.
  13. ^ Kennedy (1943a): 398.
  14. ^ Kennedy (1943a): 398; Kennedy (1943b): 214.
  15. ^ Kennedy (1943c): 397; Kennedy (1943d): 439.

References[edit]

  • Kennedy, George A. (1943a). "Jirgalang." In Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period (1644-1912), edited by Arthur W. Hummel, pp. 397–98. Washington: United States Government Printing Office.
  • Kennedy, George A. (1943b). "Daišan." In Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period (1644-1912), edited by Arthur W. Hummel, p. 214. Washington: United States Government Printing Office.
  • Kennedy, George A. (1943c). "Jidu." In Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period (1644-1912), edited by Arthur W. Hummel, p. 397. Washington: United States Government Printing Office.
  • Kennedy, George A. (1943d). "Labu." In Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period (1644-1912), edited by Arthur W. Hummel, p. 439-40. Washington: United States Government Printing Office.
  • Li Zhiting 李治亭 (editor in chief). (2003). Qingchao tongshi: Shunzhi juan 清朝通史: 順治卷 ["General History of the Qing dynasty: Shunzhi volume"]. Beijing: Zijincheng chubanshe.
  • Oxnam, Robert B. (1975). Ruling from Horseback: Manchu Politics in the Oboi Regency, 1661-1669. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
  • Wakeman, Frederic (1985). The Great Enterprise: The Manchu Reconstruction of Imperial Order in Seventeenth-Century China. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.