How Many People Died in the Taiping Rebellion?

March 18, 2024

How many people died in the taiping rebellion?

The Taiping Rebellion, which took place between 1837 and 1860, was one of the deadliest civil wars in history. By some estimates, the Taiping Tianguo, a coalition of mercantile Han Chinese and ethnic Hakka, killed between 20 million and 95 million people. It was also the biggest conflict in the 19th century in terms of total deaths, rivalling even World War I.

Led by Hong Xiuquan, the rebels established their Heavenly Kingdom centred in Nanjing and ultimately seized control of much of southern China, ruling 30 million people at its peak. Their revolutionary agenda was to replace Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion with their syncretic form of Christianity, as well as upend the country’s social order.

A key aspect of the Taiping army was its high level of discipline and fanaticism. Their soldiers wore uniforms of red jackets and blue trousers, and they grew their hair long. This gave them a distinctive look, and earned the nickname of ‘long hairs’ (). In addition, they had a large number of women in their ranks.

The Qing government, led by Ma Xinyi, eventually crushed the Taiping revolt. Battles were brutal, with little artillery and huge forces using hand-held guns. The Qing Green Standard Army was made up of hardened troops who had been through previous wars. Unlike the Taiping army, which was mostly composed of peasants, the Green Standard Army was able to withstand the enemy’s attack.

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