cafe aman istanbul - gülbahar
Calzaturificio di Varese (Advertisement for a shoe factory in Varese) Late 19th-Early 20th C. Leopoldo S. Metlicovitz 1868-1944. Color Lithograph on Vellum
The Taiping Rebellion Part IV —- Total War
After organizing the Taiping Rebellion into a new state called the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, it was finally time for Hong Xiquan to complete his mission of overthrowing the Qing Empire and installing his new Christian Kingdom in China. The Heavenly Kingdom had grown strong, with an army of over 500,000 soldiers at the ready. In 1853 a bold new offensive began with the aim of capturing Beijing, the capital of the empire. An army of 70,000 marched north towards Beijing. The capture of Beijing, which located hundreds of miles north behind enemy line, was an ambitious goal. In fact it was too ambitious. The army, mostly made of people who were born and raised in southern China, were not used to the colder weather of the north. Many Taiping soldiers died of hypothermia or suffered frostbite. Without proper supply routes, the army had to rely on foraging and pillaging for food. It was not long before the army began to suffer from starvation and disease. The Northern Expedition came within 100 miles of Beijing in 1854. At Lianzhen they set up quarters to rest during the winter. This was a big mistake, as Qing forces quickly surrounded the camp, trapping everyone inside. Rather than destroying the Taiping army in a battle, Qing forces came up with a brilliant plan. They built a series of levees and dams which diverted the Grand Canal toward the camp. When they released the dam the entire Taiping camp was flooded in a great deluge. Qing forces then stormed the camp and finished off the remaining Taiping forces.
After the defeat of the Taiping army in 1854, it became apparent that overthrowing the Manchu Emperor was not going to be an easy task. The Taiping Army was new, led by inexperienced officers and likewise inexperienced soldiers. The Qing Imperial Army was strong, but hampered but numerous other rebellions throughout China, and also dealing with a war with Britain (2nd Opium War). When two side are equal in strength the result is usually a long war of attrition. It was during this phase of the rebellion that the war would become especially bloody. Unable to conclusively defeat each other, both sides resorted to attacking each others civilians. Taiping forces conducted large raids into China, wantonly destroying all crops, farms, towns, villages, and cities in its way. As a result China fell under the grip of a terrible famine which led to the starvation of millions of people. In turn, the Qing adopted a policy of no quarter against the rebels. Captured Taiping rebels were immediately executed, Taiping friendly towns and cities were razed, farms and other sources of food were likewise destroyed. As a result of the Taiping Rebellion 600 cities across China were destroyed in the mayhem. Most of the 20-30 million deaths attributed to the rebellion were not from combat, but plague and famine the resulted from total war.