Mao Wenlong

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Mao Wenlong
General of the Ming dynasty
Born February 10, 1576
Died July 24, 1629 (aged 52–53)
Traditional Chinese 毛文龍
Simplified Chinese 毛文龙
Pinyin Máo Wénlóng
Wade–Giles Mao Wen-lung
Courtesy name Zhennan (Chinese: 振南; pinyin: Zhènnán; Wade–Giles: Chen-nan)
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Mao.

Mao Wenlong (1579–1629), courtesy name Zhennan, was a Chinese military general of the Ming dynasty. He is best known for commanding Ming forces in the naval battles against forces of the Manchu Qing dynasty in the Yellow Sea during the Qing conquest of the Ming. He was also known for excelling in artillery warfare and for successfully incorporating Western-style tactics into the Chinese military.

Early life[edit]

Mao was born in Hangzhou and worked as a fortuneteller in his youth. He joined the Ming military in northern Shanhaiguan around 1600.


Mao is sometimes blamed for the Manchu invasion of Korea. He was known for operating against the Manchu from bases within Korea, a Ming ally at that time. When the Manchus mounted a punitive expedition into Korea, Mao ordered a general retreat of all Chinese forces. This angered many Beijing merchants who had previously traded with the Korean peninsula.

Mao never dared to drag major Manchu cities into war even when there was a strategic advantage in doing so. In this way Mao was able to bring to bear the influence of many powerful Chinese officials against Yuan Chonghuan (1584–1630), a fellow Ming military commander.

Mao engaged in widespread smuggling using the Ming marine corps, contributing heavily to the booming economy of northern China. He was eventually caught for smuggling and executed by Yuan Chonghuan, a fellow military commander who had been conferred the imperial sword of absolute authority by the last Ming emperor.[1] It is believed that Mao's death led in part to an economic downturn in Ming China.

Further reading[edit]