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Osprey Men-at-Arms 275 : The Taiping Rebellion 1851-1866

The Taiping Rebellion was the first, and most dangerous of a spate of insurrections against the ailing government of China in the mid 19th century. The Taiping movement began as the Pai Shang-ti Hui (the Society of God-Worshippers), founded in Kwangsi province in 1846 by Hung Hsiu-ch'uan. A sickly individual of questionable sanity. Hung had become subject to visions which, having read a small amount of Christian literature, he chose to interpret as demonstrating that he was Jesus Christ's 'Divine Younger Brother', with God's mandate to govern China. Hostilities between the God-Worshippers and local militia units broke out in October 1850, when the former took sides with the relatively newly-arrived Hakka people of Kwangtung and Kwangsi provinces (Hung was himself a Hakka) in a land-war with the Pen-ti population. Early successes in this local war, combined with an unsuccessful Imperialist attempt to destroy the God-Worshippers' camp at Chin-t'ien as a centre of local banditry, led to Hung's proclamation in January 1851 of his T'ai-p'ing T'ien-Kuo or Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace, with himself as T'ien Wang (Heavenly King), plunging China into a civil war. Ian Heath examines the organisation, dress and weapons of forces on both sides of the Taiping Rebellion - a conflict which saw the involvement of around 10 million troops during 15 years of conflict; as many as 600 cities change hands time and time again; and 20-30 million deaths. Illustrations by Michael Perry.

    Contents
  • The Taiping Rebellion 1851-66
  • Military Organisation
  • The Imperialists
  • Dress and Weapons
  • Artillery
  • Flags
  • The Ever-Victorious Army
  • Other 'Disciplined Chinese' Units
  • Anglo-French Involvement
  • Chinese Tactics
  • The Plates

 

Osprey Men-at-Arms


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