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Why did the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Movement immediately follow the Opium War?
Fun history2016-10-13 20:44:09 Hong Xiuquan Daoguang Zeng Guofan

In 1851, the aftermath of the Opium War had just subsided, and a force of the people had launched an uprising after a long period of preparation. The uprising was the Jintian uprising led by Hong Xiuquan , and a 14-year riot started. When many people comment on the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Movement, they believe that the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Movement is actually the echo of the Opium War. In fact, everything happens for its own cause and effect. The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom was not initiated for no reason . Such a large-scale campaign cannot be launched without the slogans of several folk leaders. So, why did the Taiping War break out immediately after the Opium War? The turmoil that finally ran out of China ’s national strength was brought up after a long-term brewing of social reality and Hong Xiuquan ’s confusion and incitement. The profound reason should start from the social background at that time.

1. The outflow of large amounts of silver has caused the devaluation of the currency

At the beginning of the 18th century, the opium trade had not yet reached a raging level. At that time, Chinese exports of tea, porcelain, silk and other commodities to the West could be exchanged for a large amount of silver. A large amount of foreign exchange flows into China every year, and the money is between 2 million and 3 million. The British certainly won't let China get this cheap. At the end of the reign of Jiaqing Emperor , China's opium smuggling began to rise year by year. By 1838, as many as 40,000 cases of opium flowed into China each year. Next was Lin Zexu 's smoking ban and the Opium War that wiped the face of the Qing Dynasty. In fact, the 21 million indemnities were not a big problem for the Qing Dynasty at the time. The fatal thing was opium.

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Since China no longer bans opium, the number of opium entering China increased to 50,000 cases per year after the war. These opiums take away more than 10 million silver from China every year. This is how the Qing Dynasty was gradually drained by the powers. The large outflow of silver caused the depreciation of copper coins. In 1839, one or two silvers could be exchanged for 1,600 copper coins; but in 1850, one or two silvers could be exchanged for 200 copper coins. The court levied taxes only silver and no copper coins, and farmers only had copper coins without silver, so they had to choose helpless exchange. After this entry and exit, the burden on farmers has increased by a third. Later, Zeng Guofan, who was responsible for suppressing the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, wrote in his diary: "In the past, I sold three buckets of rice and lost less than one acre; today I sold six buckets of rice and lost one acre but not enough." It is strange that farmers do not resist.

2. Serious land mergers

At that time, peasants did not have much land, and most of the land was in the hands of the landlords. The folk songs of that year fully illustrate the problem: "The peasants have three knives on their backs, they are hard-working, the rent is heavy, and the money is high." It is also necessary to pay the rent prescribed by the landlord. In the disaster year, the farmers themselves were not full enough to pay taxes and rents. In order to complete their own collection tasks, local officials sent out escorts to pursue them. In response to this situation, Zeng Guofan also has a record: "Four force battles, four days and nights of pursuit, full of whip, full of flesh and blood."

The landlords' methods are even more ruthless. They will calculate the profit of the rents owed by the peasants. The final figure is several times the original number. There are also reasons why the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom Movement happened in Guangxi. Guangxi has more mountainous land and less arable land, and it is impossible for everyone to cultivate. In Jintian Village, where the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom revolted, there were 750 acres of cultivated land, of which 662 acres were occupied by the landowners. Under such circumstances, the lives of farmers can be imagined. This situation is not only in Guangxi, but it is almost the same in most parts of China. Some areas are even more serious.

3. Natural disasters continue to cause peasant riots

For ten years after the Opium War, God didn't help. Floods, droughts and locusts have continued to occur in China, and the burden on farmers has become even heavier. Many farmers were overwhelmed and began to flee, becoming beggars and refugees, and some were bought as slaves in America and Australia. In the 8 years from 1842 to 1850, there were 110 peasant uprisings in the Qing Dynasty, with Guangxi being the most intense. In 1848, peasant uprisings broke out in more than half of the prefectures and counties in Guangxi. However, due to lack of cooperation and fighting on their own, they were finally suppressed and comforted by the Qing court. This also provides a case for Hong Xiuquan who is currently active. He cannot do it alone but needs to join forces.

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There are also profound reasons why Hong Xiuquan chose Guangxi.

Hong Xiuquan was originally active in Guangdong, but Guangdong opened its ports early and had a long history of foreign exchanges. The local people's culture was very good, so Hong Xiuquan did not have the level to implement incitement and instigation, so Hong Xiuquan went to Guangxi. Because of its geographical location, this area is relatively closed, and the local people do not have sufficient knowledge of the West, and there are many ethnic minorities in Guangxi, the contradictions are more complicated, and the struggle is more fierce. Emotions to incite. So Hong Xiuquan pulled up his team in this way, and when the slow-moving Qing court learned of this power, Hong Xiuquan was already big. Hong Xiuquan did it himself before the Qing dynasty was ready to siege him, so this turmoil inevitably swept the Central Plains.

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