Image of the Battle of Anqing (1861)
|Taiping Heavenly Kingdom|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
|145,000 killed||243,000 killed|
|Total dead: 20 - 30 million dead (best estimate).|
The Taiping Rebellion or Taiping Civil War (simplified Chinese: 太平天国运动; traditional Chinese: 太平天國運動; pinyin: Taìpíng Tīanguó Yùndòng, literally "Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Movement") was a massive rebellion or civil war in China that lasted from 1850 to 1864, which was fought between the established Manchu-led Qing dynasty and the Christian millenarian movement of the Heavenly Kingdom of Peace. The Taiping Rebellion began in the southwestern province of Guangxi when local officials launched a campaign of persecution against a Christian sect known as the God Worshipping Society led by Hong Xiuquan, who believed himself to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ. The war was mostly fought in the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, and Hubei, but over 14 years of war, the Taiping Army had marched through every regularized province of China proper except Gansu. The war was the largest in China since the Qing conquest in 1644, and ranks as one of the bloodiest wars in human history, the bloodiest civil war, and the largest conflict of the nineteenth century with estimates of war dead ranging from 20 to 70 million dead, as well as millions more displaced.
Hostilities began on January 1, 1851 when the Qing Green Standard Army launched an attack against the God Worshipping Society at the town of Jintian, Guangxi. Hong declared himself the Heavenly King of the Heavenly Kingdom of Peace (or Taiping Heavenly Kingdom), from which the term Taipings has often been applied to them in the English language. The Taipings began marching north in September 1851 to escape Qing forces closing in on them. On March 19, 1853, the Taipings captured the city of Nanjing and Hong declared it the Heavenly Capital of his kingdom.
For a decade, the Taiping occupied and fought across much of the mid and lower Yangzi valley, some of the wealthiest and most productive lands in the Qing empire. The Taiping nearly managed to capture the Qing capital of Beijing with a northern expedition launched in May 1853, and were quite successful in capturing large parts of Anhui, Jiangxi, and Hubei provinces with a western expedition launched in June 1853. Qing imperial troops proved to be largely ineffective in halting Taiping advances, focusing on a perpetually stalemated siege of Nanjing. In Hunan Province, a local irregular army, called the Xiang Army or Hunan Army, under the personal leadership of Zeng Guofan, became the main armed force fighting for the Qing against the Taiping. Zeng’s Xiang Army proved effective in gradually turning back the Taiping advance in the western theater of the war.
In 1856, the Taiping were weakened after infighting after an attempted coup led by the East King, Yang Xiuqing. During this time, the Xiang Army managed to gradually retake much of Hubei and Jiangxi province. In May 1860, the Taiping defeated the imperial forces that had been besieging Nanjing since 1853, eliminating imperial forces from the region and opening the way for a successful invasion of southern Jiangsu and Zhejiang province, the wealthiest region of the Qing Empire. While Taiping forces were preoccupied in Jiangsu, Zeng’s forces moved down the Yangzi River capturing Anqing on September 5, 1861.
In May 1862, the Xiang Army began directly sieging Nanjing and managed to hold firm despite numerous attempts by the Taiping Army to dislodge them with superior numbers. Hong died on June 1, 1864, and Nanjing fell shortly after on July 19. After the fall of Nanjing, Zeng Guofan and many of his protégées, such as Li Hongzhang and Zuo Zongtang, were celebrated as saviors of the Qing empire and were some of the most powerful men in late-nineteenth century China. A small remainder of loyal Taiping forces continued to fight in northern Zhejiang, rallying behind Hong’s teenage son Tianguifu, but after Tianguifu’s capture on October 25, 1864, Taiping resistance was gradually pushed into the highlands of Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Fujian, and finally Guangdong, where the last Taiping loyalist, Wang Haiyang, was defeated in January 29, 1866.
- 1 Nomenclature
- 2 History
- 3 Taiping Heavenly Kingdom's policies
- 4 Military
- 5 Total war
- 6 In popular culture
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
- 10 External links
In modern Chinese, the Taiping Civil War is often referred to as the Movement of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, reflecting both a Nationalist and Communist point of view that the Taiping represented a popular ideological movement of either Han nationalism or proto-communist values. In the nineteenth century, the Qing did not directly name the conflict as a civil war or movement, since that would lend the Taiping credibility, but instead referred to the tumultuous civil war as a period of chaos (乱), rebellion (逆), or military ascendency (军兴). The Qing referred to the Taiping as Yue Bandits (粤匪 or 粤贼) in official sources, a reference to their origins in the southeastern province of Guangdong. At other times, it was referred to as the Hong-Yang Rebellion (洪杨之乱), pointing out the two most prominent leaders of the Taiping, Hong Xiuquan and Yang Xiuqing, and was also referred to them more dismissively as the Red Sheep Rebellion (红羊之乱), because Hong-Yang sounds like Red Sheep in Chinese. More colloquially, Chinese in the nineteenth century called the Taiping with some variant of Long-Hairs (长毛鬼、长髪鬼、髪逆、髪贼), because the Taiping did not shave their foreheads and braid their hair into a queue as Qing subjects were obligated to do, allowing their hair to grow long.
Little is known about how the Taiping referred to the war they found, but the Taiping often referred to the Qing in general and Manchus in particular as some variant of demons or monsters (妖), reflecting Hong’s proclamation that they were fighting a holy war to rid the world of demons and establish paradise on earth.
In English, the Heavenly Kingdom of Peace has often been shortened to simply the Taipings, from the word “Peace” in the Heavenly Kingdom of Peace, but this was never a term the Taipings or their enemies used to refer to them. In the Nineteenth Century, Western observers, depending on their ideological position, either referred to the Taiping as the “revolutionaries,” “insurgents,” or “rebels.” The conflict in general has been called by many Western historians as the Taiping Rebellion. Recently, scholars of the period, such as Tobie Meyer-Fong and Stephen Platt, have argued that the term Taiping Rebellion is biased in its view of the war, because it insinuates that the Qing were the legitimate government fighting against illegitimate Taiping rebels, denying historical contingency, experience, and values of historical neutrality. They argue, instead, that the conflict should be called a civil war. This argument has quickly gained traction among numerous Western historians of China, leading many to now refer to the conflict as the Taiping Civil War, but the term Taiping Rebellion is still also widely used.
China, while under the Qing dynasty in the mid-19th century, suffered a series of natural disasters, economic problems, and defeats at the hands of the Western powers; in particular, the humiliating defeat in 1842 by the British Empire in the First Opium War. The Qing government, led by ethnic Manchus, was seen by much of the Chinese population, comprising mainly Han Chinese, as an ineffective and corrupt regime. Anti-Manchu sentiments were strongest in southern China among the labouring classes, who felt so disaffected by Qing rule that they flocked to join Hong Xiuquan, a charismatic member of the Hakka community, a Han Chinese subgroup that inhabited southern China.
In 1837, Hong Xiuquan failed to become a successful candidate in the imperial examination again after having attempted it several times, and was consequently denied access to join the ranks of the scholar-officials in the civil service. He fell sick and was bedridden for several days until he recovered. After reading a pamphlet he received a year before from a Protestant Christian missionary, Hong claimed that his illness was a vision to the effect that he was the younger brother of Jesus, who was sent to rid China of the "devils", including the corrupt Qing government and Confucian teachings. He felt that it was his duty to spread his interpretation of Christianity and overthrow the Qing dynasty. One of Hong's associates, Yang Xiuqing, who was formerly a firewood merchant from Guangxi, claimed to be able to act as the voice of God. Issachar Jacox Roberts, an American Baptist missionary, became a teacher and adviser to Hong.
In 1843, Hong and his associates founded the God Worshipping Society, a heterodox Christian sect, and used it to spread their ideas and attract followers. The sect increased its power initially by suppressing groups of bandits and pirates in southern China in the late 1840s. However, over time, persecution by Qing authorities caused the movement to evolve into a guerrilla rebellion and subsequently a widespread civil war.
The revolt began in Guangxi. In early January 1851, after a previous small-scale battle resulting in a rebel victory in late December 1850, a 10,000-strong rebel army organised by Feng Yunshan and Wei Changhui routed Qing forces stationed in Jintian (present-day Guiping, Guangxi). Taiping forces successfully repulsed an attempted imperial reprisal against the Jintian Uprising. The two Opium Wars greatly influenced[how?] the Taiping movement.
In 1853, Hong Xiuquan withdrew from active control of policies and administration, ruling exclusively by written proclamations that often had religious content. Hong disagreed with Yang Xiuqing in certain matters of policy and became increasingly suspicious of Yang's ambitions, his extensive network of spies and his declarations when "speaking as God". Yang and his family were put to death by Hong's followers in 1856, followed by the killing of members within the Taiping community who were loyal to Yang.
With their leader largely out of the picture, Taiping delegates tried to widen their popular support with the Chinese middle classes and forge alliances with European powers, but failed on both counts. The Europeans decided to stay neutral. Inside China, the rebellion faced resistance from the traditionalist middle class because of the rebels' hostility to Chinese customs and Confucian values. The land-owning upper class, unsettled by the Taipings' peasant mannerisms and their policy of strict separation of the sexes, even for married couples, sided with government forces and their Western allies.
In 1859, Hong Rengan, Hong Xiuquan's cousin, joined the Taiping forces in Nanjing and was given considerable power by Hong Xiuquan. He developed an ambitious plan to expand the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom's boundaries. In 1860, the Taiping rebels were successful in taking Hangzhou and Suzhou to the east (see Second rout of the Jiangnan Daying), but failed to take Shanghai, which marked the beginning of the decline of the kingdom.
Fall of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom
An attempt to take Shanghai in August 1860 was repulsed by an army of Qing troops and European officers under the command of Frederick Townsend Ward. This army would later become the "Ever Victorious Army", a Qing military force that would later be commanded by Charles George Gordon and be instrumental in the defeat of the Taiping rebels. The Ever-Victorious Army repulsed another attack on Shanghai in 1862 and helped to defend other treaty ports such as Ningbo. They also aided imperial troops in reconquering Taiping strongholds along the Yangtze River.
Qing forces were reorganised under the command of Zeng Guofan, Zuo Zongtang and Li Hongzhang, and the Qing reconquest began in earnest. By early 1864, Qing control in most areas was reestablished.
Hong Xiuquan declared that God would defend Nanjing, but in June 1864, with Qing forces approaching, he died of food poisoning as a consequence of eating wild vegetables when the city ran low on food supplies. He was sick for 20 days before succumbing and a few days after his death Qing forces took the city. His body was buried in the former Ming Imperial Palace, and was later exhumed on orders of Zeng Guofan to verify his death, and then cremated. Hong's ashes were later blasted out of a cannon in order to ensure that his remains have no resting place as eternal punishment for the uprising.
Four months before the fall of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, Hong Xiuquan abdicated in favor of Hong Tianguifu, his eldest son, who was 15 years old. The younger Hong was inexperienced and powerless, so the kingdom was quickly destroyed when Nanjing fell in July 1864 to the imperial armies after protracted street-by-street fighting. Most of the Taiping princes were executed by Qing forces in Nanjing.
Although the fall of Nanjing in 1864 marked the destruction of the Taiping regime, the fight was not yet over. There were still several hundred thousand Taiping rebel troops continuing the fight, with more than a quarter-million Taiping rebels fighting in the border regions of Jiangxi and Fujian alone. It was not until August 1871 that the last Taiping rebel army led by Shi Dakai's commander, Li Fuzhong (李福忠), was completely wiped out by government forces in the border region of Hunan, Guizhou and Guangxi.
In 1865, Liu Yongfu escaped in command of a splinter group known as the Black Flag Army (Chinese: 黑旗军; pinyin: Hēiqí Jūn; Vietnamese: Quân cờ đen), which recruited mainly soldiers of ethnic Zhuang background, and exited Guangxi into Upper Tonkin in the Empire of Annam, where his forces engaged the French. He later became the second and last leader of the short-lived Republic of Formosa (5 June–21 October 1895).
Other "Flag Gangs" armed with the latest in weapons, disintegrated into bandit groups that plundered remnants of the Lan Xang kingdom, and then were engaged by incompetent forces of King Rama V (r. 1868–1910) until 1890, when the last of the groups eventually disbanded. Their victims did not know where the bandits had come from and, as they were plundering Buddhist temples, confused them with Chinese Muslims from Yunnan called Hui in Mandarin and Haw in the Lao language (Thai: ฮ่อ,) which resulted in the protracted series of conflicts being misnamed the Haw wars.
With no reliable census at the time, estimates are necessarily based on projections, but the most widely cited sources put the total number of deaths during the 15 years of the rebellion at about 20–30 million civilians and soldiers.  Most of the deaths were attributed to plague and famine. At the Third Battle of Nanking in 1864, more than 100,000 were killed in three days.
The rebellion happened at roughly the same time as the American Civil War. Although almost certainly the largest civil war of the 19th century (in terms of numbers under arms), it is debatable whether the Taiping Rebellion involved more soldiers than the Napoleonic Wars earlier in the century.
The Nian Rebellion (1853–68), and several Muslim rebellions in the southwest (Panthay Rebellion, 1855–73) and the northwest (Dungan revolt, 1862–77) continued to pose considerable problems for the Qing dynasty.
Du Wenxiu, who led the Panthay Rebellion, was in contact with the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. He was not aiming his rebellion at Han Chinese, but was anti-Qing and wanted to destroy the Manchu government. Du's forces led multiple non-Muslim forces, including Han Chinese, Li, Bai, and Hani peoples. They were assisted by non-Muslim Shan and Kakhyen and other hill tribes in the revolt.
The other Muslim rebellion, the Dungan revolt was the reverse: it was not aimed at overthrowing the Qing dynasty since its leader Ma Hualong accepted an imperial title. Rather, it erupted due to intersectional fighting between Muslim factions and Han Chinese. Various groups fought each other during the Dungan revolt without any coherent goal. According to modern researchers, the Dungan rebellion began in 1862 not as a planned uprising but as a coalescence of many local brawls and riots triggered by trivial causes, among these were false rumours that the Hui Muslims were aiding the Taiping rebels. However, the Hui Ma Xiaoshi claimed that the Shaanxi Muslim rebellion was connected to the Taiping.
Taiping Heavenly Kingdom's policies
The rebels announced social reforms, including strict separation of the sexes, abolition of foot binding, land socialisation, and "suppression" of private trade. In religion, the Kingdom tried to replace Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion with a form of Christianity, holding that Hong Xiuquan was the younger brother of Jesus. Troops were nicknamed "long hair", because they sported a traditional Confucian hairstyle that was different from the queue, which was customary in the Qing dynasty. The Qing government referred to them in official documents as the "hair rebels" (simplified Chinese: 发贼; traditional Chinese: 髮賊; pinyin: fàzéi).
Within the land it controlled, the Taiping Heavenly Army established a theocratic and highly militarised rule. However, the rule was remarkably ineffective, haphazard and brutal; all efforts were concentrated on the army, and civil administration was non-existent. Rule was established in the major cities and the land outside the urban areas was little regarded.
Even though polygamy was banned, Hong Xiuquan had numerous concubines and frequently mistreated them. Many high-ranking Taiping officials kept concubines as a matter of prerogative, and lived as de facto kings.
The Taiping army was the rebellion's key strength. It was marked by a high level of discipline and fanaticism. They typically wore a uniform of red jackets with blue trousers, and grew their hair long so in China they were nicknamed "long hair". The large numbers of women serving in the Taiping army also distinguished it from other 19th-century armies.
Combat was always bloody and extremely brutal, with little artillery but huge forces equipped with small arms. The Taiping army's main strategy of conquest was to take major cities, consolidate their hold on the cities, then march out into the surrounding countryside to recruit local farmers and battle government forces. Estimates of the overall size of the Taiping army are around 500,000 soldiers.
The organisation of a Taiping army corps was thus:
- 1 general
- 5 colonels
- 25 captains
- 125 lieutenants
- 500 sergeants
- 2,500 corporals
- 10,000 infantry
These corps were placed into armies of varying sizes. In addition to the main Taiping forces organised along the above lines, there were also thousands of pro-Taiping groups fielding their own forces of irregulars.
Ethnic structure of the army
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (March 2013)|
Ethnically, the Taiping army was formed at the outset largely from these groups: the Hakka, a Han Chinese subgroup, the Cantonese, local residents of Guangdong province and the Zhuang (a non-Han ethnic group), which were minority groups as compared to the Han Chinese subgroups that form dominant regional majorities across south China. It is no coincidence that Hong Xiuquan and the other Taiping royals were Hakka.
As a Han subgroup, the Hakka were frequently marginalised economically and politically, having migrated to the regions they inhabit only after other Han groups were already established there. For example, when the Hakka settled in Guangdong and parts of Guangxi, speakers of Yue Chinese (Cantonese) were already the dominant regional Han group there and had been for some time, just as speakers of various dialects of Min are locally dominant in Fujian province. The Hakka settled throughout southern China and beyond, but as latecomers they generally had to establish their communities on rugged, less fertile land scattered on the fringe of the local majority group's settlements. As their name ("guest households") suggests, the Hakka were generally treated as migrant newcomers, often subject to hostility and derision from local majority Han populations. Consequently, the Hakka, to a greater extent than other Han Chinese, have been historically associated with popular unrest and rebellion.
The other significant ethnic group in the Taiping army were the Zhuang, an indigenous people of Tai origin and China's largest non-Han ethnic minority group. Over the centuries Zhuang communities had been adopting Han Chinese culture. This was possible because Han culture in the region accommodates a great deal of linguistic diversity, so the Zhuang could be absorbed as if the Zhuang language were just another Han Chinese dialect (which it is not). As Zhuang communities were integrating with the Han at different rates, a certain amount of friction between Han and Zhuang was inevitable, with Zhuang unrest on occasion leading to armed uprisings. The second tier of the Taiping army was an ethnic mix that included many Zhuang. Prominent at this level was Shi Dakai, who was half-Hakka, half-Zhuang and spoke both languages fluently, making him quite a rare asset to the Taiping leadership.
In the later stages of the Taiping Rebellion, the number of Han Chinese in the army from Han groups other than the Hakka increased substantially. However, the Hakka and the Zhuang (who constituted as much as 25% of the Taiping Army), as well as other non-Han ethnic minority groups (many of them of Tai origin related to the Zhuang), continued to feature prominently in the rebellion throughout its duration, with virtually no leaders emerging from any Han Chinese group other than the Hakka.
Social structure of the Taiping Army
Socially and economically, the Taiping rebels came almost exclusively from the lowest classes. Many of the southern Taiping troops were former miners, especially those coming from the Zhuang. Very few Taiping rebels, even in the leadership caste, came from the imperial bureaucracy. Almost none were landlords and in occupied territories landlords were often executed.
Opposing the rebellion was an imperial army with a size over a million regulars with unknown thousands of regional militias and foreign mercenaries operating in support. Among the imperial forces was the elite Ever Victorious Army, consisting of Chinese soldiers led by a European officer corps (see Frederick Townsend Ward and Charles Gordon), backed by British arms companies like Willoughbe & Ponsonby. A particularly famous imperial force was Zeng Guofan's Xiang Army.
Although keeping accurate records was something imperial China traditionally did very well, the decentralised nature of the imperial war effort (relying on regional forces) and the fact that the war was a civil war and therefore very chaotic meant that reliable figures are impossible to find. The destruction of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom also meant that any records it possessed were destroyed.
The organisation of the Qing Imperial Army was thus:
- Eight Banners Army: 250,000 soldiers
- Green Standard Army: ~610,000 soldiers
- Xiang (Hunan) Army: 130,000 soldiers
- Huai (Anhui) Army: 70,000 soldiers
- Chu Army: 40,000 soldiers
- Ever Victorious Army: 5,000 soldiers
- Village Militias: unknown thousands
The Taiping Rebellion was a total war. Almost every citizen of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom was given military training and conscripted into the army to fight against Qing imperial forces.
During this conflict both sides tried to deprive each other of resources to continue the war and it became standard practice to destroy agricultural areas, butcher the population of cities and in general exact a brutal price from captured enemy lands in order to drastically weaken the opposition's war effort. This war was total in the sense that civilians on both sides participated to a significant extent in the war effort and in the sense that armies on both sides waged war on the civilian population as well as military forces.
This resulted in massive civilian death toll with some 600 towns destroyed and other bloody policies resulting. Since the rebellion began in Guangxi, Qing forces allowed no rebels speaking its dialect to surrender. Reportedly in the province of Guangdong, it is written that 1,000,000 were executed. After the surrender of the Hakkas, the Chinese authorities committed a genocide against the Hakkas, executing at least 30,000 Hakkas each day during the height of operation. These policies of mass civilian murder occurred elsewhere including in Anhui, and Nanjing.
In popular culture
The Taiping Rebellion has been referenced in many different artistic mediums. For instance in novel form Robert Elegant's 1983 book Mandarin depicts the time of the Taiping Rebellion from the unusual point of view of a Jewish family living in Shanghai at the time. In Flashman and the Dragon the fictional Harry Paget Flashman recounts his adventures during the Second Opium War and the Taiping Rebellion. Lisa See's novel Snow Flower and the Secret Fan takes place in China during the reign of the Xianfeng Emperor; the title character is married to a man who lives in Jintian and the characters get caught up in the revolution. Amy Tan's novel The Hundred Secret Senses takes place in part during the time of the Taiping Rebellion. Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom by Katherine Paterson is a young adult novel set during the Taiping Rebellion.
The civil war has also been documented in various television shows and films. In 2000, CCTV produced The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, a 46 episode television series about the Taiping Rebellion. In 1988, Hong Kong's TVB produced Twilight of a Nation, a 45 episode television drama about the Taiping Rebellion. The Warlords is a 2007 historical film set in the 1860s concerning the Taiping Rebellion showing that General Pang Qinyun, leader of the Shan Regiment, is the man responsible for the capture of Suzhou and Nanjing.
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- Heath, pp. 11–16
- Heath, p. 4
- Stephen R. Platt. Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War. (New York: Knopf, 2012). ISBN 9780307271730), p. xxiii.
- Cao, Shuji (2001). Zhongguo Renkou Shi [A History of China's Population]. Shanghai: Fudan Daxue Chubanshe. pp. 455. and 509.
- Meyer-Fong, Tobie (2013). What Remains: Coming to Terms with Civil War in Nineteenth Century China. Stanford: Stanford University Press. pp. 11–12. ISBN 9780804792066.
- Spence, Jonathan D. (1996). God's Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. pp. 115–116, 160–163, 181–182. ISBN 0-393-31556-8.
- "Hakka", Encyclopædia Britannica Online, accessed 31 March 2011.
- Jonathan Spence, God's Chinese Son, pp. 97–99.
- Teng, Yuah Chung "Reverend Issachar Jacox Roberts and the Taiping Rebellion" The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol 23, No. 1 (Nov 1963), pp. 55–67
- Spence 1996, p. 243
- Richard J. Smith, Mercenaries and Mandarins: The Ever-Victorious Army in Nineteenth Century China (Millwood, N.Y.: KTO Press, 1978), passim.
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- "Necrometrics." Nineteenth Century Death Tolls cites a number of sources, somesome of which are reliable.
- Michael Dillon (1999). China's Muslim Hui community: migration, settlement and sects. Richmond: Curzon Press. p. 59. ISBN 0-7007-1026-4. Retrieved 2010-06-28.
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- Sir H. A. R. Gibb (1954). Encyclopedia of Islam, Volumes 1–5. Brill Archive. p. 849. ISBN 90-04-07164-4. Retrieved 2011-03-26.
- 史式: 让太平天国恢复本来面目- 中国报道周刊
- Ramsey, Robert, S. (1987). The Languages of China. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. pp. 167, 232–236. ISBN 0-691-06694-9.
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- Purcell, Victor. CHINA. London: Ernest Benn, 1962. p. 168
- Ho Ping-ti. STUDIES ON THE POPULATION OF CHINA, 1368–1953. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1959. p. 237
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- The Hakka Odyssey & their Taiwan homeland - Page 120 Clyde Kiang - 1992
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- Chesneaux, Jean. PEASANT REVOLTS IN CHINA, 1840–1949. Translated by C. A. Curwen. New York: W. W. Norton, 1973. p. 40
- Pelissier, Roger. THE AWAKENING OF CHINA: 1793–1949. Edited and Translated by Martin Kieffer. New York: Putnam, 1967. p. 109
Contemporaneous foreign accounts
- Lindley, Augustus, Ti-ping Tien-Kwoh: The History of the Ti-Ping Revolution (1866, reprinted 1970) OCLC 3467844 Google books access
- Hsiu-ch°êng Li, translator, The Autobiography of the Chung-Wang (Confession of the Loyal Prince) (reprinted 1970) ISBN 978-0-275-02723-0
- Thomas Taylor Meadows, The Chinese and Their Rebellions, Viewed in Connection with Their National Philosophy, Ethics, Legislation, and Administration. To Which Is Added, an Essay on Civilization and Its Present State in the East and West. (London: Smith, Elder; Bombay: Smith, Taylor, 1856). American Libraries eBook text
- Brine, Lindesay, The Taeping rebellion in China (London: J. Murray, 1862)
- Franz H. Michael, ed.The Taiping Rebellion: History and Documents (Seattle,: University of Washington Press, 1966). 3 vols. Volumes two and three select and translate basic documents.
Modern monographs and surveys
- Jonathan Spence, God's Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan (1996) ISBN 0-393-03844-0
- Jonathan D. Spence The Search for Modern China. New York: Norton (1999). Standard textbook.
- Jack Gray, Rebellions and Revolutions: China from the 1800s to the 1980s (1990), ISBN 0-19-821576-2
- Ian Heath. The Taiping Rebellion, 1851–1866. London ; Long Island City: Osprey, Osprey Military Men-at-Arms Series, 1994. ISBN 1-85532-346-X (pbk.) Emphasis on the military history.
- Immanuel C. Y. Hsu, The Rise of Modern China (1999), ISBN 0-19-512504-5. Standard textbook.
- Youwen Jian, The Taiping Revolutionary Movement (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973). Translated and condensed from the author's publications in Chinese; especially strong on the military campaigns, based on the author's wide travels in China in the 1920s and 1930s.
- Philip A. Kuhn, Rebellion and Its Enemies in Late Imperial China; Militarization and Social Structure, 1796–1864 (Cambridge, Mass.,: Harvard University Press, 1970). Influential analysis of the rise of rebellion and the organization of its suppression.
- Philip A. Kuhn, "The Taiping Rebellion," in John K. Fairbank, ed., Cambridge History of China Vol Ten Pt One (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ Press, 1970): 264–350.
- Tobie S. Meyer-Fong. What Remains: Coming to Terms with Civil War in 19th Century China. (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013). ISBN 9780804754255. A study of the victims, their experience of the war, and the memorialization of the war.
- Stephen R. Platt. Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War. New York: Knopf, 2012. ISBN 978-0-307-27173-0. Detailed narrative analysis.
- Thomas H. Reilly, The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom: Rebellion and the Blasphemy of Empire (2004) ISBN 0-295-98430-9. Focuses on the religious basis of the rebellion.
- Caleb Carr, The Devil Soldier: The Story of Frederick Townsend Ward (1994) ISBN 0679411143.
- Rudolf G. Wagner. Reenacting the Heavenly Vision: The Role of Religion in the Taiping Rebellion. (Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley, China Research Monograph 25, 1982). ISBN 0912966602.
- Mary Clabaugh Wright. The Last Stand of Chinese Conservatism: The T'ung-Chih Restoration, 1862–1874. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1957; rpr. 1974 ISBN 0804704767. Account of the Han Chinese/ Manchu coalition which revived the dynasty and defeated the Taipings.
- Hosea Ballou Morse, In the Days of the Taipings, Being the Recollections of Ting Kienchang, Otherwise Meisun, Sometime Scoutmaster and Captain in the Ever-Victorious Army and Interpreter-in-Chief to General Ward and General Gordon (Salem, MA: The Essex institute, 1927; Reprinted: San Francisco: Chinese Materials Center, 1974).
- George Macdonald Fraser. Flashman and the Dragon. New York: Knopf, 1986. ISBN 0394553578. A volume in The Flashman Papers series.
|Library resources about
- Taiping Rebellion.com Narrative history, with many illustrations, a Timeline, and a detailed Map of the Rebellion.
- The Land System of the Heavenly Kingdom Document of 1853. (Chinese Cultural Studies Brooklyn College)
- The Taiping Rebellion [BBC] Discussion with Rana Mitter, University of Oxford; Frances Wood British Library; and Julia Lovell, University of London.