Miao Rebellion 1735–1736

[ 1735 - 1736 ]

The Miao Rebellion of 1735-36 was an uprising of autochthonous people from southwest China (called by the Chinese "Miao", but including more than the antecedents of today's Miao national minority). The uprising was the greatest of several rebellions of 1720-30. against the Chinese Empire. They were all caused by the encroachment of the Han Chinese on their territories and abuses by the imperial administration.

Since the Ming dynasty southwestern China (Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi) were within the Chinese empire, but the state control of these territories was weak. Yongzheng emperor decided to strengthen it, replacing local, semi-independent chieftains, called tusi, with regular Chinese administration. To achieve this goal, Manchu prince Ortai led several war campaigns into the area, pacifying them between 1726-32. However, military control did not stop the official abuse and extortion, suppressing only the reaction against them.

By 1735 misrule and extortion proved too much and the local people rose to fight. Some of them were desperate enough as to kill their wives and children before joining the rebellion, this way burning all the bridges behind them. The uprising started in Taigong, then covering the area of Liping and Duyun. Local Chinese administration, unable to cope with the rebels, suggested making a kind of agreement with them, but new emperor, Qianlong, recalled the previous commanders and appointed general Zhang Guangsi, experienced Ortai's officer, to quell the rebellion. The uprising was bloodily suppressed, the last rebels doggedly fighting at Niupidajing. Altogether Chinese armies destroyed ca. 1200 Miao's forts and killed over 18 thousands warriors.

The campaign lasted from February till November 1736. Zhang, meanwhile appointed general governor of Guizhou, started to build roads, strengthening the garrisons and opening the mines, to enhance both the imperial control and the economics of the region.

The suppression of the revolt granted the area half a century of peace, but the deep causes of unrest remained unchanged and the tensions grew again, until Miaos rebelled anew in 1795.

Belligerents Initiation Date Termination Date
Qing Dynasty and Miao people 1735 1736 View

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