Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Taiping Rebellion

So I went to Wikipedia this morning to look up General Tso - my curiosity had to be appeased since for years I've wondered who this mysterious general was after whom the crunchy, deep-fried faux Chinese dish is named. This search not only answered my question (he was a military leader during the Taiping Rebellion), but also led me to learn a bit about the Taiping Rebellion (I really know very little about Chinese history).

The Taiping Rebellion was a civil war from 1851-1864 in which 20-30 million people were killed.

This is quite shocking. The thought that a civil war in the 19th century could kill that many people blows my mind.

The civil war also involves Hong Xiuquan, a very theologically confused heretical Christian mystic convert who thought he was the new Messiah and younger brother of Jesus. This makes for one hell of a story. Also, apparently the Taiping Rebellion fostered the creation of Mahjong. Go figure.

I'm suddenly motivated to learn more about Chinese history. The Western world just can't compete with stories like this.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are interested in anachronological history, watch this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxer_Rebellion

3:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruce Cumings's book Korea's Place In The Sun is the best single volume on Korean history and well worth the read for Cumings's style. The Thai also have a very interesting history; they are as old as the Chinese and Koreans.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's important for people to understand that China is very old. It's a very old country, you see. And it's important for us to work together with the Chinese to spread the values of freedom and democracy that we both share, and we are every day. I will do my best to explain our foreign policy. On the one hand, it's tough when it needs to be. On the other hand, it's compassionate. You know, people say what they want to say. But leadership requires making hard choices based upon principle and standing by the decisions you make. And that's how I'm going to continue to lead my country. China is a very large country, as well. I should mention that too: it's big by Texan standards.

12:41 PM  

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