The various regimes of the Southern Ming
|Status||Rump state of the Ming dynasty|
• Enthronement of the Hongguang Emperor
• Death of the Yongli Emperor
|Today part of||China|
The Southern Ming (Chinese: 南明; pinyin: Nán Míng), officially the Great Ming (Chinese: 大明; pinyin: Dà Míng), was a series of dynastic rump states ruled by the Zhu clan in southern China following the Ming dynasty's collapse in 1644. The Ming dynasty ended when Shun forces led by Li Zicheng captured Beijing and the last Ming emperor Chongzhen committed suicide. The Ming general Wu Sangui then opened the gates of the Shanhai Pass in the eastern section of the Great Wall to the multi-ethnic Qing banners, in hope of using them to annihilate the Shun forces. Ming loyalists fled to Nanjing, where they enthroned Zhu Yousong as the Hongguang Emperor, marking the start of the Southern Ming. The Nanjing regime lasted until 1645, when Qing forces captured Nanjing. Later, a series of pretenders held court in various southern Chinese cities.
The Nanjing regime lacked the resources to pay and supply its soldiers, who were left to live off the land and pillaged the countryside. The soldiers' behavior was so notorious that they were refused entry by those cities in a position to do so. Court official Shi Kefa obtained modern cannons and organized resistance at Yangzhou. The cannons mowed down a large number of Qing soldiers, but this only enraged those who survived. After the Yangzhou city fell in May 1645, the Manchus started a general massacre pillage and enslaved all the women and children in the notorious Yangzhou massacre. Nanjing captured promptly by Qing on June 6 and the Prince of Fu was taken to Beijing and executed in 1646.
The literati in the provinces responded to the news from Yangzhou and Nanjing with an outpouring of emotion. Some recruited their own militia and became resistance leaders. Shi was lionized and there was a wave of hopeless sacrifice by loyalists who vowed to erase the shame of Nanjing. By late 1646, the heroics had petered out and the Qing advance had resumed. Notable Ming pretenders held court in Fuzhou (1645–1646), Guangzhou (1646–1647), and Anlong (1652–1659). The Prince of Ningjing maintained a palace in the Kingdom of Tungning (based in modern-day Tainan, Taiwan) until 1683.
The end of the Ming and the subsequent Nanjing regime are depicted in Peach Blossom Fan, a classic of Chinese literature. The upheaval of this period, sometimes referred to as the Ming–Qing cataclysm, has been linked to a decline in global temperature known as the Little Ice Age. With agriculture devastated by a severe drought, there was manpower available for numerous rebel armies.
The fall of the Ming and the Qing conquest that followed was a period of catastrophic war and population decline in China, comparable to Europe's Thirty Years War (1618–1648). China experienced a period of extremely cold weather from the 1620s until the 1710s. Some modern scholars link the worldwide drop in temperature at this time to the Maunder Minimum, an extended period from 1645 to 1715 when sunspots were absent. Whatever the cause, the change in the climate reduced agricultural yields and cut state revenue. It also led to drought, which displaced many peasants. There were a series of peasant revolts in the late Ming, culminating in a revolt led by Li Zicheng which overthrew the dynasty in 1644.
Ming ideology emphasized authoritarian and centralized administration, referred to as "imperial supremacy" or huángjí. However, comprehensive central decision-making was beyond the technology of the time. The principle of uniformity meant that the lowest common denominator was often selected as the standard. The need to implement change on an empire-wide basis complicated any effort to reform the system, leaving administrators helpless to respond in an age of upheaval.
Civil servants were selected by an arduous examination system which tested knowledge of classic literature. While they might be adapt at citing precedents from the Zhou dynasty of righteous and unrighteous behavior, they were rarely as knowledgeable when it came to contemporary economic, social, or military matters. Unlike previous dynasties, the Ming had no prime minister. So when a young ruler retreated to the inner court to enjoy the company of his concubines, power devolved to the eunuchs. Only the eunuchs had access to the inner court, but the eunuch cliques were distrusted by the officials who were expected to carry out the emperor's decrees. Officials educated at the Donglin Academy were known for accusing the eunuchs and others of a lack of righteousness.
On April 24, 1644, Li's soldiers breached the walls of the Ming capital Beijing. The Chongzhen Emperor committed suicide the next day to avoid humiliation at their hands. Remnants of the Ming imperial family and some court ministers then sought refuge in the southern part of China and regrouped around Nanjing, the Ming auxiliary capital, south of the Yangtze River. Four different power groups thus emerged:
- The Great Shun (大順), led by Li Zicheng, ruled north of the Huai river.
- Zhang Xianzhong's Great Xi (大西) controlled Sichuan province.
- The Manchu-led Great Qing (大清) controlled the north-east area beyond Shanhai Pass, as well as many of the Mongol tribes.
- The remnants of the Ming dynasty could only survive south of the Huai River, known retroactively as the Southern Ming.
Ming loyalist Muslims in the Northwest
In 1644, Muslim Ming loyalists in Gansu led by Muslim leaders Milayin (米喇印) and Ding Guodong (丁國棟) led a revolt in 1646 against the Qing during the Milayin rebellion in order to drive the Qing out and restore the Ming Prince of Yanchang Zhu Shichuan (延長王朱識錛) to the throne as the emperor. The Muslim Ming loyalists were supported by Hami's Sultan Sa'id Baba(巴拜汗) and his son Prince Turumtay (土倫泰). The Muslim Ming loyalists were joined by Tibetans and Han Chinese in the revolt. After fierce fighting, and negotiations, a peace agreement was agreed on in 1649, and Milayan and Ding nominally pledged alleigance to the Qing and were given ranks as members of the Qing military. When other Ming loyalists in southern China made a resurgence and the Qing were forced to withdraw their forces from Gansu to fight them, Milayan and Ding once again took up arms and rebelled against the Qing. The Muslim Ming loyalists were then crushed by the Qing with 100,000 of them, including Milayin, Ding Guodong, and Turumtay killed in battle.
The Confucian Hui Muslim scholar Ma Zhu (1640–1710) served with the southern Ming loyalists against the Qing. Zhu Yu'ai, the Ming Prince Gui was accompanied by Hui refugees when he fled from Huguang to the Burmese border in Yunnan and as a mark of their defiance against the Qing and loyalty to the Ming, they changed their surname to "Ming".
The Nanjing court (1644–1645)
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When the news of the Chongzhen emperor's death reached Nanjing in May 1644, the fate of the heir apparent was still unknown. But court officials quickly agreed that an imperial figure was necessary to rally loyalist support. In early June, a caretaker government led by the Prince of Fu was created. By the time he arrived in the vicinity of Nanjing, the prince could already count on the support of both Ma Shiying and Shi Kefa. He entered the city on June 5 and accepted the title "protector of the state" the next day. Prodded by some court officials, the Prince of Fu immediately begin to consider ascending the throne. The prince had a problematic reputation in terms of Confucian morality, so some members of the Donglin faction suggested the Prince of Lu as an alternative. Other officials noted that the Prince of Fu, as next in line by blood, was clearly the safer choice. In any case, the so-called "righteousness" faction was not keen to risk a confrontation with Ma, who arrived in Nanjing with a large fleet on June 17. The Prince of Fu was crowned as the Hongguang emperor on June 19. It was decided that the next lunar year would be the first year of the Hongguang reign.
The Hongguang court proclaimed that its goal was "to ally with the Tartars to pacify the bandits," that is, to seek cooperation with Qing military forces in order to annihilate rebel peasant militia led by Li Zicheng and Zhang Xianzhong.
Because Ma was the emperor's main supporter, he started to monopolize the royal court's administration by reviving the functions of the remaining eunuchs. This resulted in rampant corruptions and illegal dealings. Moreover, Ma engaged in intense political bickering with Shi, who was affiliated with the Donglin movement.
In 1645, Zuo Liangyu, a former warlord and governor of Wuchang for the Hongguang regime, sent his troops towards Nanjing with the purpose of "clearing corrupt officials from the emperor's court." Seeing that this threat targeted him, Ma declared: "I and the emperor would rather die at the hand of the Great Qing, we will not die at the hand of Zuo Liangyu." By then, the Qing army had begun to move southwards: it had occupied Xuzhou and was preparing to cross the Huai River. Ma nonetheless ordered Shi to direct his riverine troops (which were positioned to counter the incoming Qing attack) against Zuo Liangyu.
This displacement of troops facilitated the Qing capture of Yangzhou. This resulted in the Yangzhou massacre and the death of Shi in May 1645. It also led directly to the demise of the Nanjing regime. After the Qing armies crossed the Yangtze River near Zhenjiang on June 1, the emperor fled Nanjing. Qing armies led by the Manchu prince Dodo immediately moved toward Nanjing, which surrendered without a fight on June 8, 1645. A detachment of Qing soldiers then captured the fleeing emperor on June 15, and he was brought back to Nanjing on June 18. The fallen emperor was later transported to Beijing, where he died the following year.
The official history, written under Qing sponsorship in the eighteenth century, blames Ma's lack of foresight, his hunger for power and money, and his thirst for private revenge for the fall of the Nanjing court.
The Fuzhou court (1645–1646)
In 1644, Zhu Yujian was a ninth-generation descendant of Zhu Yuanzhang who had been put under house arrest in 1636 by the Chongzhen emperor. He was pardoned and restored to his princely title by the Hongguang emperor. When Nanjing fell in June 1645, he was in Suzhou en route to his new fiefdom in Guangxi. When Hangzhou fell on July 6, he retreated up the Qiantang River and proceeded to Fujian from a land route that went through northeastern Jiangxi and mountainous areas in northern Fujian. Protected by General Zheng Hongkui, on July 10 he proclaimed his intention to become regent of the Ming dynasty, a title that he formally received on July 29, a few days after reaching Fuzhou. He was enthroned as emperor on August 18, 1645. Most Nanjing officials had surrendered to the Qing, but some followed the Prince of Tang in his flight to Fuzhou.
In Fuzhou, the Prince of Tang was under the protection of Zheng Zhilong, a Chinese sea trader with exceptional organizational skills who had surrendered to the Ming in 1628 and recently been made an earl by the Hongguang emperor. Zheng Zhilong and his Japanese wife Tagawa Matsu had a son, Zheng Sen. The pretender, who was childless, adopted Zheng Zhilong's eldest son Zheng Sen, granted him the imperial surname, and gave him a new personal name: Chenggong. The name Koxinga is derived of his title "lord of the imperial surname" (guóxìngyé).
In October 1645 the Longwu emperor heard that another Ming pretender, the Prince of Lu Zhu Yihai, had named himself regent in Zhejiang, and thus represented another center of loyalist resistance. But the two regimes failed to cooperate, making their chances of success even lower than they already were.
In February 1646, Qing armies seized land west of the Qiantang River from the Lu regime and defeated a ragtag force representing the Longwu emperor in northeastern Jiangxi. In May of that year Qing forces besieged Ganzhou, the last Ming bastion in Jiangxi. In July, a new Southern Campaign led by Manchu Prince Bolo sent the Zhejiang regime of Prince Lu into disarray and proceeded to attack the Longwu regime in Fujian. Zheng Zhilong, the Longwu emperor's main military defender, fled to the coast. On the pretext of relieving the siege of Ganzhou in southern Jiangxi, the Longwu court left their base in northeastern Fujian in late September 1646, but the Qing army caught up with them. Longwu and his empress were summarily executed in Tingzhou (western Fujian) on 6 October. After the fall of Fuzhou on 17 October, Zheng Zhilong defected to the Qing but his son Koxinga continued to resist.
Zheng Zhilong had connections in Japan and asked the Tokugawa Shogunate to intervene in the war on behalf of the Ming against the Qing. Huang Zhengming (黄徵明) carried Zheng Zhilong's messages to the Japanese Emperor and Tokugawa Shogun requesting military intervention against the Qing with more than 5,000 soldiers requests, and also permission for Shichizaemon, Koxinga's brother, to reunite with his mother along with 10 slaves and 10 girls to take care of her. The letters informed the Shogun on Koxinga's rise in the ranks of the Ming military and gifts were given with the letters.
Zheng Zhilong wrote "Grand Strategy for ordering the country". He argued that for the Southern Ming to retake the country, they should do it through regional military commanders all across China's provinces and not in a centralized fashion. This brought him at loggerheads with the Longwu Emperor. Famine also struck after drought and crops failed all along the southeastern coastal region. This led to outbreaks of banditry. Ports under Zheng Zhilong's control were running out of raw silk due to the Yangzi river delta under attack by the Qing. The Longwu emperor wanted the take over Huguang and Jiangxi provinces which were major producers of rice to help boost the southern Ming. Zhilong refused to expand out of Fujian to keep his control over the movement.
Zheng tried to solve the problem by extorting and taxation and then seeking aid from Tokugawa Japan. Sekisai Ugai said that Zheng Zhilong's brother had 1,000 musket armed Japanese mercenaries. The Tokugawa shogun received two requests for samurai mercenaries and weapons in Nagasaki in 1645–1646 from Zheng Zhilong. The Tokugawa Bakufu originally urged Japanese women who were married to Chinese men to leave Japan when they enacted the maritime ban (after which was passed, they would not be allowed to leave Japan), but many Japanese women who were married to Chinese men like Tagawa Matsu remained in Japan and did not leave when the ban was enacted. The Tokugawa allowed them to stay unlike how they violently ejected the Japanese wives and children of Europeans. After the ban was first passed five years elapsed until Zheng requested his Japanese wife Tagawa be allowed to come to China and they were unsure if they would let her come in violation of the maritime ban. The Tokugawa Shogunate decided to allow Tagawa Matsu, his Japanese wife to violate the ban, leave Japan and reunite with him in China. Zheng Zhilong and one of his underlings, Zhou Ghezhi, both had connections to daimyo and the bakufu after living in Japan. Zhou Hezhi sent a letter on the first request for help and the next one was sent to the Kyoto-based Japanese Emperor and the Edo-based Tokugawa Shogun along with gifts from Zheng Zhilong.
Zheng Zhilong informed the Tokugawa Bakufu on how his son Koxinga rose through the ranks of the Ming military and asked for ten slaves and ladies in waiting and Shichizaemon to be allowed to come to China from Japan to help take care of his wife Tagawa Matsu. Although the requests were rejected officially by the bakufu, many Japanese in the Tokugawa government privately supported going to war against the Manchus and support the Ming. Samurai and daimyo were to be subjected to full scale mobilization and attack routes along the coast of China were planned by the Tokugawa shogunate. It was the Qing takeover of Fuzhou in 1646 which caused the plans to be cancelled. Further requests came between 1645-1692. Food and financial shortage led to abandonment of the Jiangxi-Fujian and Zhejiang-Fujian mountain passes by Zheng Zhilong because he could not afford to pay salaries or feed his soldiers all over Fujian. His soldiers were sent to guard the coast. He started negotiations with the Qing and the Shunzhi Emperor officially appointed him as ruler over Guangdong, Fujian, and Zhejiang as "King of Three Provinces". However he asked Zhilong to come to Beijing to meet Shunzhi.
Zheng Zhilong refused to go because he most likely thought it was a trap. Zheng Zhilong commanded his army not to fight against the Qing as they took over Fuzhou after coming into Fujian in 1646. The Longwu emperor was either killed or escaped and was never again found as he tried to escape to Jiangxi. The Qing invited Zheng Zhilong to a banquet for negotiations. His son Koxinga and brother Zheng Hongkui cried and beseeched Zheng Zhilong not to go. He had 500 war junks and an army which he could still use to rule. They also knew of the queue order.
Tagawa Matsu was raped by the Manchus according to one account and she committed suicide. One confused Chinese account said that Koxinga cut out his mother's intestines and washed them, following the "barbarian" (Japanese) custom. This may have referred to sepukku. Koxinga referred to the queue order, saying "no person, wise or stupid, is willing to become a slave with a head that looks like a fly" and he wanted revenge against the Qing for the death of his mother. Koxinga was conflicted by filial piety and loyalty but never allowed himself to be used and used others. He gained control over thousands of men after originally having only 300. Koxinga's uncles Zheng Zhiwan and Zheng Hongkui pledged allegiance to him and his revenue came from the commercial network of his father Zheng Zhilong. He rallied in Anhai on the coast. Koxinga did not recognize the Prince of Lu as the Emperor and instead continued to use the reign title of the Longwu emperor in contrast to other coastal southeastern warlords. There was hostility between the prince of Lu and Longwu during their reigns and he did not want to have a powerful authority figure with him. He later pledged allegiance to the Yongli Emperor, Prince Zhu Youlang.
The Guangzhou court (1646–1647)
The Longwu Emperor's younger brother Zhu Yuyue, who had fled Fuzhou by sea, soon founded another Ming regime in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong Province, taking the reign title Shaowu (紹武) on 11 December 1646. Short of official costumes, the court had to purchase robes from local theater troupes. On 24 December, Prince of Gui Zhu Youlang established the Yongli (永曆) regime in the same vicinity. The two Ming regimes fought each other until 20 January 1647, when a small Qing force led by former Southern Ming commander Li Chengdong (李成棟) captured Guangzhou, killing the Shaowu Emperor and sending the Yongli emperor fleeing to Nanning in Guangxi.
Koxinga's goals were a Ming dynasty retaking control over China with himself as an autonomous feudal lord in control of Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Fujian on the coastal southeastern area. This may have been similar to the Tokugawa bakufu which controlled Japan while the emperor reigned and he was referred to as a feudatory by his followers and himself with the title "Generalissimo Who Summons and Quells" which was similar to the "barbarian-quelling generalissimo" title of the shogun. The Chinese mufu (tent government) was the model for the bakufu in Japan. Koxinga was an idealist who fought for restoring the Ming before 1651 but the disaster at Xiamen changed his tactics. Koxinga's uncles Zheng Hongkui and Zheng Zhiwan had allowed the Qing to attack and pillage Xiamen without a fight after the Qing threatened they would harm Zheng Zhilong and his family who were under house arrest in Beijing. This was directly disobeyed Koxinga's orders, while Koxinga was on his way to help the Yongli emperor. Because the uncles had their own command chain in their armies and they were of the older generation than Koxinga they decided they had the right to violate standing orders Koxinga's men forced him to turn back after they heard what happened to their homes and families in Xiamen so he returned. Zheng Zhiwan and his staff were executed by Koxinga and his own army absorbed Zhiwan's troops. Because Zheng Hongkui sided with Koxinga most of the time and was nice to him before he was not executed but he was scared and went into retirement, giving up control over his troops to Koxinga. He died in 1654 after living on an island for the rest of his life. Shi Lang had warned that Xiamen could be subjected to attack so Shi Lang's arrogance and habit of disobeying orders grew. Koxinga responded by jailing his brother, his father, and him on a ship in 1651 for violating orders. Shi Lang defected to the Qing after breaking out of the ship. Shi Lang's family was then executed by Koxinga. Koxinga then started the build up his organization and strengthening it and going through formal rituals to pay allegiance to the Yongli Emperor. Koxinga's underlings were people who used to work for his father and his family. They were very experienced at trading and sailing and familiar with the inlets and harbors of the coast of Minnan where they grew up and were merchants and military men. One of them was a pirate partner of Zhilong, Hong Xu. Wang Zhongxiao and Li Maochun, who were gentry of Minnan, and Xu Fuyuan, a bureaucrat in the Ming government were among the number of people in Koxinga's organization. Prince of Ningjing Zhu Shugui, the prince of Lu and other Ming princes came in 1652 with Zhang Huangyan (張煌言) and Zhang Mingzhen (張名振), part of the anti-Qing resistance. A separate command chain was kept by Zhang Huangyan and Zhang Mingzhen and the military men and merchants were looked down upon by the elites. There were regional rivalries between Koxinga's Minnan followers and the Zhejiang followers of the two Zhangs.
Shi Lang was known for his attitude and refusal to obey orders.
The Prince of Lu was also treated as their real ruler by the Zhejiang gentry leaders while Yongli was officially regarded as their emperor. In 1652 the Prince of Lu gave up his titles under Koxinga's pressure. Koxinga sent him to Penghu and did not reinstate his titles in 1659 when the Yongli emperor ordered that they be. The Tingzhou Hakka Liu Guoxuan, former Zhangzhou vice-garrison commander for the Qing, and the former Taizhou military commander for the Qing, northern Chinese Ma Xin (馬信) defected to Koxinga's side. They rose to high ranks under Koxinga over his own Minnanese people because Koxinga held all power over them since they had no local base because they could not speak the dialects of coastal Fujian, where they were not born in. They were familiar with infantry war on land and knew how to fight the Qing. Most of his labor, taxpayers, sailors, and infantry troops were local Fujian coastal people. The Qing and Ming dynasty were based on the continent and stymied the activities of the coast while shipbuilding, cash cropping, sea trade, salt, and fishing were stimulated by Koxinga's rule. Koxinga, from his Kinmen (Quemoy) and Xiamen island bases, went on the offensive, killing Zhejiang and Fujiang Qing governor-general Chen Jin, blockading Quanzhou, and taking over most of Quanzhou and Zhangzhou's counties in 1652. He controlled crucial coastal strips and islands on the Guangdong, Fujian, and Zhejiang coast where maritime trade occurred. The Yongli court was earlier regarded as more threatening by the Qing but now their attention was turned to the southeast coast by Koxinga's victories. The Qing were in no way ready to build a navy because of a lack of money and time. The Shunzhi emperor was more open to negotiations after regent Dorgon died in 1652. A ceasefire was issued by Shunzhi in 1653 after negotiations were started. He then sent Koxinga edicts.
The Qing used Zheng Zhilong to send messages to his son and monitored the communications during negotiations. Koxinga rejected offers by the Qing, saying to his father "since my father has erred in front, how can I follow your footsteps?" The Qing offered him the status of Geng Jimao and Shang Kexi's Guangdong feudatories. He had to pay customs duties to the Qing while maintaining control of his maritime trading organization, the Qing would appoint civil officials in the four prefectures of Huizhou, Chaozhou, Quanzhou, and Zhangzhou which he would take control of while he would still command his army. The Qing ordered him to adopt the queue if he wanted to receive this deal. Adopting the queue could trigger revolt in his army if he conceded. Koxinga rejected the queue order and said that he would accept the same status of Korea, maintaining their hair and clothing and to "adopt the Qing calendar ... if not for the sake of the land and its mortals, then to bend on behalf of my father." if the Qing wanted him to agree to the 4 prefectures deal. Koxinga also said that if the Qing gave him what they offered to his father, total control of Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Fujian, he would agree to adopt the queue. Negotiations were then terminated by the Qing after this counter-offer was rejected. European clothes were worn by Ma Xin when he fought. Koxinga held horseback riding and archery practice for coastal troops and naval practice for inland troops during training when they were not fighting. Confucian education and a stipend were provided for family of officers who died by the "Hall for Nourishing Descendants" in Xiamen. Koxinga implemented severe punishments and discipline for disobeying orders and other wrongs, like beatings, poisoning, forced suicide, and decapitation. If one of his underlings won a battle after they were given a suspended death sentence it could be lifted. There were also rewards which led to good battlefield performance. There was a dearth of food supply. Families of gentry, Ming princes, soldiers, and officers not engaged in work numbered 300,000 which he had to support with food. 1,500 soldiers in one southern Fujian town put a strain on food supply. They tried to solve the problem by looting Qing controlled prefectures for grain and raided Zhejiang, Guangdong, and Fujian 44 times in 1649-1660. Zheng forbade rape of women and said the rich should be plundered first by his soldiers. "Voluntary offers", "donations" and bullion and grain tax were extracted from people he ruled by Koxinga. The payments were taken to Xiamen via Haicheng port. 750,000 taels were paid by Quanzhou while 1,080,000 tales were paid by Zhangzhou in 1654. In Quanzhou and Zhangzhou his own fields were subject to intensified farming and in eastern Guangdong more farms were started by his soldiers. Koxinga seized more land during negotiations through military force and talks to take over independent militias and more land surrounding Kinmen (Quemoy) and Xiamen. Administrative government offices were founded in 1654 by Koxinga. He officially titled them as Ming extensions but he also created new offices or changed the functions of offices. His headquarters was based in Siming, the new name for Xiamen. The Zheng organization started the Six offices as a regional variation of the central Ming Six Boards with the Yongli emperor's permission, they were personnel, military, revenue, punishment, rites, and works. Yongli court held civil service exams in southwest China where Koxinga sent students to after they were educated at his Xiamen-based Confucian academy. 200 junks in the Western Sea Fleet and Eastern See Fleet reported to the 5 Sea firms, trust, wisdom, propriety, righteousness, benevolence, reporting to the 5 mountain firms, earth, fire, water, wood, gold, reporting to the warehouse for nourishing the country, which reported to the Celestial Pier (Koxinga himself) or his generals and relatives who reported to the revenue office. Pass system was under the warehouse for benefiting the people which reported to private merchants which reported to the revenue office. Officials and gentry made up the workers in most offices which were only symbolic since Koxinga's forces mostly engaged in military occupation. Koxinga's mercantile followers and family made up the Revenue and Military offices. Trade and economic activity was controlled by the Revenue Office. Koxinga had 10 firms which sold and purchased products for his Celestial Pier company, which relied on funding from silver deposits with interest from the Warehouse for Nourishing the Country. In Qing areas there were branch offices conducting trade for Koxinga's 5 Mountain Firms. One branch office was in Beijing, and Nanjing and Suzhou had the other 3 which were run by assistant managers, reporting to Zeng Dinglao (曾定老), chief manager at its Hangzhou headquarters. They pretended to be normal stores which trading foreign products and sending to Xiamen porcelain and silk while in Qing controlled areas. Zheng organization used gold plated bronze tallies and flag tokens for its spies, using both Buddhist monks and merchants in these firms for its spying activities. They reported on army movements by the Qing.
The Ming regarded there to be two oceans, the Western Ocean and Eastern Ocean. Koxinga's firms had a fleet for each ocean made out of 60 ships, 12 junks per the 5 firms. Southeast Asia, Cambodia, Batavia, and Siam were traded with the Western Ocean Fleet, and Philippines, Dutch Taiwan, and Japan were traded with the Eastern Ocean Fleet. The junks operated in defensive quads of 5 or 4 and had cannons for defense. They two different fleets sometimes overlapped when going back. Koxinga's relative Zheng Tai owned the Dongli firm while leader of the Revenue office after 1657 and his predecessors Hong Xu had the Xuyuan firm. Thousands of silver tales annually were gained through trade by Chen Yonghua. Koxinga also employed official merchants who worked for him like Zheng Tai, an adopted son of his family.
Travel distance and vessel size were factors in the price of Koxinga's permits which he sold to people who wanted to engage in overseas commerce like when Zheng Zhilong ruled. Private loans ere given out by the Xiamen Warehouse for Benefiting the People. The 5 Sea Firms lent out ships for rent and Zheng agents also provided cargo space on their ships for a fee to private merchants. Japan bound Zheng Tai's dongli vessels also carried Celestial Pier products from Koxinga. Private businesses were also engaged in by official merchants. There was a major Southeast Asia and Japan based diaspora of Chinese with Ming loyalists and traders among them. There were official representatives of Koxinga, agents, and private traders among them. They sold permits and bought products for Koxinga and communicated between the European rulers of the colonies and Koxinga. The Revenue Office received reports from the family and patronage networks which synthesized them with the traditional bureaucracy of China.
Koxinga created an economic unity of Chinese in Southeast Asia, Japan, and in the Qing. His 5 sea firms used its navy to escort merchants who bought his permits to avoid Dutch attacks on their ships. In China their relatives would be punished and fined if they were trading without a permit from Koxinga. Chinese merchants at ports overseas paid fees and bought licenses from his agents. There were some ships outside of his control like northern Chinese ships, Chinese, Macanese, and Portuguese in Macao, and Guangzhou based ships of Geng Jimao and Shang Kexi, feudatories of the Qing. The Japanese market and East Asian trade saw a struggle between the Dutch East India Company and Zheng organization. Japanese merchants were allowed to buy silk directly after the silk allotment guild was ended by the bakufu in 1655 
In 1650-1662 Nagasaki annually received 50 Chinese ships most of which bought Koxinga passes or were his ships. They sold books, medicine, porcelain, textiles, gold, and silk. Koxinga brought animal hides from Southeast Asia, and gold and silk from Quang Nam Nguyen lord Vietnam and Tonkin Trinh Lord Vietnam. 1,563,259 silver taels worth of products were imported every year by Japan from Koxinga. Yongli coins and weapons required copper which Koxinga imported from Japan. He also imported resin, tar, cannons, muskets, armor, swords, knives, with the majority of imports at 70% being silver. 1,513,93 taels were profit out of the 2,350,386 taels Koxinga got from trading with Japan. Most of the Japanese products were used for his military or currency. They were also exported to Vietnam's civil war in Quang Nam and Tonkin. The Dutch tried to get a Chinese coastal base but could not, trying to get Chinese silk for themselves. The Zheng had a monopoly on Chinese silk and sold it had high prices to the Dutch. The Dutch got Tonkin slik by allying with the Trinh lords against the Nguyen Lords but it was not of consistent quality.
The Dutch Bengal factory found Bengali white silk and started export to Japan in 1655. However the Chinese silk always outsold it and Koxinga's revenue was more than half of the 708,564 tales worth of products the Dutch sold in Japan annually. Dutch Taiwan exchanged silver for gold from China brought by Zheng junks. Cloth and slik from India were bought with this gold by the Dutch. Spanish Manila used American silver to buy porcelain and slik from the Zheng which were taken to the Americas and the Philippines. Dutch were not allowed to trade in Manila. The Zheng sent the silver to China or to buy products in Taiwan, Philippines, Southeast Asian islands, Vietnam, Cambodian and Siam. Timber and rice were bought by the Zheng and so were rhinoceros horns, ivory, and sappanwood to be brought to Japan and China, while deerskins, spices, pepper, and sugar were bought by both the Dutch and Zheng. The Western Ocean received 20 or 16 vessels by the Zheng each year.
In Siam Muslim merchants started trading with Koxinga.
Violent Dutch efforts to try to undercut Zheng's organization were countered by Koxinga with alliances and diplomacy. The violence of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) was dampened by the laws of Tokugawa Japan. A new system of diplomatic relations was implemented by Koxinga with modifications to the tributary system used by Ming China. Japan and other maritime states with relations with Zheng organization were not previously part of the Ming system. He used "mutual dispatch of embassies according to a calendar of diplomatic ritual, cordial encounters, and equivalent treatment of these foreign rulers through regulation and practice." sizing up relations by power and status. Since the Yongli Emperor was the Zheng's overlord the Zheng organization itself could have equal diplomatic relations unlike the Ming with its tributary system placing itself at the top. Enemy states were treated as vassals as an insult by Koxinga in preparation for war. The Tokugawa Shogun Ietsuna received a diplomatic message of congratulations from Koxinga in 1651. The Zheng organization allied with Shogun Ietsuna. They were familiar with Japanese rules and were a united bloc of Chinese merchants under one leader. They served to balance against the Dutch. The Tokugawa bakufu gave asylum to Ming refugees, and allowed into Nagasaki to trade "only those Chinese merchants under anti-[Qing] auspices" after the Manchu invasion since the majority of Japanese were pro-Ming and supported Koxinga. A fake uncle-nephew protocol was used by Ietsuna according to Chinese accounts with Koxinga.
Xiamen received the money from permits sold in Japan. To make it so he would take most of the trade he sold a maximum annually of 10 new permits. Payment of permits was enforced by Japanese Nagasaki magistrates. Zheng agents received custody of Wang Yunsheng after he tried using a 10 year old expired permit in Nagasaki in 1653. Wang was pardoned by Koxinga after Koxinga's brother Shichizaemon asked him to. The Japanese bakufu helped protect the Zheng network from Dutch violence through its law. Japanese Nagasaki magistrates received cases involving Dutch attacks on Koxinga ships, with Koxinga receiving help from his brother Shichizaemon in filing the cases. At the Malay peninsula around Johor, Chen Zhenguan, a Zheng agent whose junk was headed to Japan, was attacked by several Dutch ships in June 1657. The Dutch were heading for Taiwan with Chen's crew as prisoners but the Dutch ship Urk was blown to Kyushu in Japan by a storm. The Chinese sprang out and filed a case at the magistrates in Nagasaki on 23 August to the bakufu in Edo. They won the case and Japan threatened to kick out the Dutch if they attacked Japan bound junks and forced the Dutch to pay compensation to Chen. 20,000 silver tael payment was ordered by Japan to be paid to Chen by the Dutch in 1661. The Revenue Officer in Xiamen after 1657 was Zheng Tai, who also had been to Nagasaki and dealt with commerce related to Japan.
Zheng Tai had a network of trading links with Nagaski officials including the hereditary city elders who led the municipal corporation. The Nagasaki Chinese community was run by the Japanese and Zheng organization and the Chinese Interpreter's Office, made out of Chinese in Nagasaki who used Japanese names, developed close ties with Koxinga and Zheng Tai and helped bring their cause to the magistrates and elders. 300,000 silver tales were deposited with them by Zheng Tai. Japanese based Ming loyalists like Buddhist monk Yinyuan (隱元), militia leader Lin Huanguan, former military governor Li Feng, and Zhu Shunshui, a Confucian scholar, developed links with Koxinga and they could communicate with Japanese officials for him.
The Tokugawa Bakufu made exceptions for the Zheng family, allowing them to import war materials and weapons from Japan which was officially banned by law. 3 requests for direct Japanese military intervention were asked by Koxinga from 1647 whenever he faced major difficulties. In 1646 when Zheng Zhilong first asked for Japanese intervention, the Satsuma and Mito daimyo were the biggest supporters of going to war against the Qing. Zhu Shunshui was asked to get "troops of any size from the daimyo of Japan." by Koxinga as he tried to enlist Japanese to fight in his army. The Japanese diaspora in Southeast Asia was also targeted for recruitment by Zhu. Koxinga was joined by Japanese Samurai according to Nippon kisshi by Ishihara. Gazettes in Nagasaki and a Ryukyu mission in 1649 coastal Fujian's islands had Japanese overseas communities. They celebrated New Year with doorsteps covered in bamboo and pine and wore kimonos in accordance with Japanese culture. Many of these could have been Japanese merchants and mercenaries from Southeast Asia. Zheng Zhilong received a letter in 1653 from Koxinga who said that he received "troops from foreign countries like Japan and Cambodia to aid the cause of righteousness." Zheng Zhilong received a letter in 1653 from Koxinga who said that he received "troops from foreign countries like Japan and Cambodia to aid the cause of righteousness." Japanese rōnin samurai from Japan itself may have joined Koxinga via Zhu. It was said he "had been borrowing troops from Japan for a long time." in 1667 when Korean officials interviewed a Zheng merchant whose ship ran aground. Zheng Zhilong and his son Koxinga had special forces called "iron men" soldiers said to be based on Samurai in which Japanese enlisted in when they came to China. Japanese weapons and tactics were spread by Japanese samurai and there were 5,000-8,000 troops in the Iron men but most of them were most likely Chinese. Every unit used one weapon and had a different animal represented on their flag. There were only tiny mouth and eyes holes on their heavily decorated armor. These iron men terrified the Manchus in battle.
An official working for the Zheng declared "the ties between us are like those of one family", "the subjects of Japan are like our subjects". Shichizaemon and Koxinga both having a Japanese samurai mother made them subjects of Japan and they were dealt with as governing stateless foreigners and as vassals. The Zheng's ambassador and agent in Nagasaki was Shichizaemon. The Motohakatacho district was where he lived. Shichizaemon's descendants still lived in Nagasaki as of 1895.
Koxinga had 9 companies called "Heaven's Soldiers" according to Terao.
Tokugawa Ieyasu gave titles to tile makers and artisans of Chinese origin to bring them to Japan. There were 2,000 Chinese in Nagasaki in 1618. Only Chinese merchants who wore their hair "Chinese style" were allowed to trade with Japan, with anyone who wore their hair the queue banned in 1646 as a sign of support for the Ming by the Tokugawa Shogunate. Japanese imports of sugar and silk paid for the military expenses of the Zheng.
The Tokugawa Shogun had the Southern Ming, Zheng Zhilong and Koxinga's official requests for Japanese military intervention compiled by Hayashi Razan. The Japanese viewed the Manchus as "barbarians", calling them "upstarts from a small territory known even there as the land of the northern barbarians" which was the view of most Japanese, and the book "Metamorphosis from civilized to barbarian" 華夷變態 was written about the Qing conquest by Hayashi Gaho, son of Hayashi Razan.
The Nanning court (1646–1662)
Li Chengdong suppressed more loyalist resistance in Guangdong in 1647, but mutinied against the Qing in May 1648 because he resented having been named only regional commander of the province he had conquered. The concurrent rebellion of another former Ming general in Jiangxi helped the Yongli regime to retake most of southern China, leaving the Qing in control of only a few enclaves in Guangdong and southern Jiangxi. But this resurgence of loyalist hopes was short-lived. New Qing armies managed to reconquer the central provinces of Huguang (present-day Hubei and Hunan), Jiangxi, and Guangdong in 1649 and 1650. The Yongli emperor fled to Nanning and from there to Guizhou. On 24 November 1650, Qing forces led by Shang Kexi––the father of one of the "Three Feudatories" who would rebel against the Qing in 1673––captured Guangzhou after a ten-month siege and massacred the city's population, killing as many as 70,000 people.
Though the Qing under the leadership of Prince Regent Dorgon (1612–1650) had successfully pushed the Southern Ming deep into southern China, Ming loyalism was not dead yet. In early August 1652, Li Dingguo, who had served as general in Sichuan under bandit king Zhang Xianzhong (d. 1647) and was now protecting the Yongli emperor, retook Guilin (Guangxi province) from the Qing. Within a month, most of the commanders who had been supporting the Qing in Guangxi reverted to the Ming side. Despite occasionally successful military campaigns in Huguang and Guangdong in the next two years, Li failed to retake important cities.
In 1653, the Qing court put Hong Chengchou in charge of retaking the southwest. Headquartered in Changsha (in what is now Hunan province), he patiently built up his forces; only in late 1658 did well-fed and well-supplied Qing troops mount a multipronged campaign to take Guizhou and Yunnan. In late January 1659, a Qing army led by Manchu prince Doni took the capital of Yunnan, sending the Yongli emperor fleeing into nearby Burma, which was then ruled by King Pindale Min of the Toungoo dynasty. The last sovereign of the Southern Ming stayed there until 1662, when he was captured and executed by Wu Sangui, whose surrender to the Qing in April 1644 had allowed Dorgon to start the Qing conquest of Ming.
In the eleventh year of Yongli, various anti-Qing military commanders gathered in Fujian to select a northern expedition target. Koxinga chose Nanjing, which was Hongwu emperor's choice of a state capital, which would naturally have a large anti-Qing population. Nanjing was also an important strategic location. On the fifth month and the twelve year of Yongli, Koxinga led an army of 100,000 soldiers and 290 warships to attack Nanjing, leaving a small military force for the defence of Xiamen
Despite capturing many counties in his initial attack due to surprise and having the initiative, Koxinga announced the final battle in Nanjing ahead of time giving plenty of time for the Qing to prepare because he wanted a decisive, single grand showdown like his father succsfully did against the Dutch at the Battle of Liaoluo Bay, throwing away the surprise and initiative which led to its failure. Koxinga's attack on Qing held Nanjing which would interrupt the supply route of the Grand Canal leading to possible starvation in Beijing caused such fear that the Manchus (Tartares) considered returning to Manchuria (Tartary) and abandoning China according to a 1671 account by a French missionary. The commoners and officials in Beijing and Nanjing were waiting to support whichever side won. An official from Qing Beijing sent letters to family and another official in Nanjing, telling them all communication and news from Nanjing to Beijing had been cut off, that the Qing were considering abandoning Beijing and moving their capital far away to a remote location for safety since Koxinga's iron troops were rumored to be invincible. The letter said it reflected the grim situation being felt in Qing Beijing. The official told his children in Nanjing to prepare to defect to Koxinga which he himself was preparing to do. Koxinga's forces intercepted these letters and after reading them Koxinga may have started to regret his deliberate delays allowing the Qing to prepare for a final massive battle instead of swiftly attacking Nanjing. Koxinga's military force went through Zhejiang, Pingyang, Ruian, Wenzhou, and Zhoushan, joining forces with another military commander Zhang Huanyan. On the ninth day of the eight month, near Yangsan Island a hurricane caused massive damage to the fleet, resulting in the loss of 8,000 personnel, sinking of 40 warships, and various degree of damage to all the ships. Koxinga called a temporary halt to the military advance and ordered repairs and refurbishing of the fleet, waiting for the right moment to attack. The Qing governor called for the strengthening of its defence surrounding Chongmin Island, Mount Fu, Quanzhou, and Zhengjiang by laying a long iron chain across the river, and building wooden rafts stationed with soldiers and cannons. Koxinga ordered soldiers to cut the iron chain by axes, and to set fire to the enemy's wooden rafts. When Koxinga joined forces with Zhang Huanyan at the Yangtze River, the defending forces' resistance was minimal and soon Nanjing was encroached.
However, he had fallen into the Qing trap and ambush, a number of his generals perished on the battlefield. Koxinga's Ming loyalists fought against a majority Han Chinese Bannermen Qing army when attacking Nanjing. The siege lasted almost three weeks, beginning on August 24. Koxinga's forces were unable to maintain a complete encirclement, which enabled the city to obtain supplies and even reinforcements—though cavalry attacks by the city's forces were successful even before reinforcements arrived. Koxinga's forces were defeated and "slipped back" (Wakeman's phrase) to the ships which had brought them. After suffering a humiliating defeat at Nanjing, Koxinga eventually decided to retreat back to Xiamen. Chinese historians concluded that the battle of Nanjing was of the utmost importance in the life of Koxinga, since it seriously undermined his grand anti-Qing ambitions.
Koxinga then decided to take Taiwan from the Dutch. He launched the Siege of Fort Zeelandia, defeating the Dutch and driving them out of Taiwan. He then established the Kingdom of Tungning on the site of the former Dutch colony. The Ming dynasty Princes who accompanied Koxinga to Taiwan were the Prince of Ningjing Zhu Shugui and Prince Zhu Hónghuán 朱弘桓, son of Zhu Yihai. Zhu Shugui was acting in the name of the dead Yongli Emperor.
Koxinga's son Zheng Jing continued the war against the Qing. Both Japanese and Chinese were found in 1670 on Cheju after their junk got stranded, which was headed to Nagasaki and belonged to the Zheng. Since the Japanese Tokugawa bakufu strictly enforced the closed country policy through using searches and intense scrutiny on ships in Nagasaki, it seems that the Tokugawa Bakufu was allowing Japanese individuals to join the Zheng and fight for them against the Qing. The Tokugawa Bakufu let wandering Japanese fighters join the Zheng to let off steam and avoid them plaguing Japan, they were afraid that daimyo entering the war on the Zheng's side would give them power and at the same time they were worried about fighting face to face against Manchus and there was massive danger involved in engaging in a war on the continent and mobilizing Japan for total war. The anti-Dutch Vietnamese Nguyen lord agreed to trade with Zheng to gain money to fight against the Dutch and their rival Trinh Lords in Tonkin, who were allies of the Dutch. Zheng also traded with the Trinh Lords which helped squeeze the Dutch out.
The Qing demanded that Zheng Jing adopt the queue and abandon his island bases in exchange for negotiations. Zheng Jing indicated that he wanted to build a new China upon Taiwan and the seas and leave the mainland to the Qing, it was said "the Great Ming has settled among the waves . . . and administers a separate land from the Qing." by a Zheng merchant Chen De to Korean officials in 1667. They were given a feast by the Koreans.
Zheng Tai defected to the Qing and started a dispute against Zheng Jing and Shichizaemon over the Nagasaki Chinese Interpreter's Office silver deposit of 3000,000 taels. During the revolt of the three feudatories, Zheng Jing launched a new offensive against the Qing and retook land in Fujian. Zheng Tai's relatives in Beijing re-defected to Zheng Jing's side and after Zheng Jing restarted his anti-Qing activities, the Tokugawa renewed trade and solved the silver dispute between Zheng Tai and Zheng Jing, handing over the silver to Zheng Jing. Japanese samurai joining the Zheng were hosted on one of Keelung's islands in northern Taiwan, and from Nagasaki, more weapons, swords and cannons were bought by the Zheng.
Koxinga's grandson Zheng Keshuang (鄭克塽) surrendered to the Qing dynasty in 1683 and was rewarded by the Kangxi Emperor with the title "Duke of Haicheng" (海澄公) and he and his soldiers were inducted into the Eight Banners. The Qing sent the 17 Ming princes still living on Taiwan back to mainland China where they spent the rest of their lives.
- Ming dynasty
- List of Southern Ming emperors
- History of Taiwan
- Iquan's Party
- Empress Dowager Ma (Southern Ming)
- See The Oxford History of Historical Writing: 1400–1800 (2011) by Jose Rabasa, p. 37.
- It was projected that 7 million taels would be required to fund military activity alone. Revenue of 6 million taels was anticipated based on normal receipts from the areas under Nanjing's control. Severe drought, rebellion, and unsettled conditions combined to ensure that actual revenue was only a fraction of this amount. (The Cambridge History of China: The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, pt. 1, p. 645).
- Wakeman, Volume 1, p. 354.
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- Struve 1988, p. 642. The prince was a grandson of the Wanli emperor (r. 1573–1620). Wanli's attempt to name Yousong's father as heir apparent had been thwarted by supporters of the Donglin movement because Yousong's father was not Wanli's eldest son. Although this was three generations earlier, Donglin officials in Nanjing nonetheless feared that the prince might retaliate against them.
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- Struve 1988, pp. 667–69 (for their failure to cooperate), 669–74 (for the deep financial and tactical problems that beset both regimes).
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