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The White Lotus Rebellion (Chinese: pinyin: Chuān chŭ bái lián jiào , 1796-1804) was a Chinese anti-Manchu uprising that occurred during the Qing Dynasty. It broke out in 1796 among impoverished settlers in the mountainous region that separates Sichuan province from Hubei and Shaanxi provinces. It apparently began as a tax protest led by the White Lotus Society, a secret religious society that forecast the advent of Maitreya, advocated restoration of the native Chinese Ming Dynasty, and promised personal salvation to its followers.

At first the Qing administration, under the control of Heshen, sent inadequate and inefficient imperial forces to suppress the ill-organized rebels. On assuming effective power in 1799, however, the Jiaqing Emperor (reigned 1796-1820) overthrew the Heshen clique and gave support to the efforts of the more vigorous Manchu commanders as a way of restoring discipline and morale. A systematic program of pacification followed in which the populace was resettled in hundreds of stockaded villages and organized into militia. In its last stage, the Qing suppression policy combined pursuit and extermination of rebel guerrilla bands with a program of amnesty for deserters. Although the Manchu finally crushed the rebellion in 1804, the myth of the military invincibility of the Manchus was shattered, perhaps contributing to the greater frequency of rebellions in the 19th century.

The Rebellion caused the deaths of some 16 million people.

Leaders

Zeng Guofan study

After 48 years, official Zeng Guofan studied and was inspired by the dynasty's methods during the White Lotus Rebellion while considering ways to defeat the Taiping movement.

Sources








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