The Qing Empire which existed from 1644 through to 1912 was the last grand dynastic empire to rule China. It is also known as the Manchu dynasty, Great Qing or the Empire of the Great Qing. The Ming dynasty preceded it and it was the Republic of China succeeded it. The multi-cultural empire of the Qing lasted for close to three centuries and it formed territorial base for what today is known as modern Chinese nation. Formation of Manchu state
The Han Chinese who form the largest section of the Chinese population were not the ones responsible for founding the Qing dynasty. Rather, it was founded by semi-sedentary people who are known as the Jurchen. They were a Tungusic people living around the region and who now comprise the provinces of Heilongjiang and Jilin.
Nurhachi who was a chieftain of the minor Jurchen tribe was the one who founded what came to be referred to as the Manchu state in the early 17th century. Originally, Nurhachi was a vassal of Ming emperors and in 1582, he embarked on an intertribal; feud that escalated into a major campaign aimed at unifying the tribes living nearby. By 1616, he had successfully consolidated Jianzhou and proclaimed himself Khan of the Great Jin. This was in reference to previous Jurchen dynasty.
Two years after the incidence, Nurhachi made an announcement of the ‘Seven Grievances’ and renounced openly sovereignty of the Ming overlordship in a bid to complete unification of Jurchen tribes that were still allied to the Ming Emperor. He relocated from the capital Hetu Ala after a couple of successful battles to captured Ming cities that were successful in Liaodong province. First in 1621 he settled at Liaoyang then later in 1625 at Shenyang (Mukden).
Nurhachi enjoyed a series of military successes however they came to an end in 1626 January when he was defeated by Yuan Chonghuan while he laid siege to Ningyuan. A couple of months later, he died and was succeeded by his 8th son Hong Taiji, who emerged after a political tousle against other contenders as the new Khan.
Claim of Mandate of Heaven
In 1643, Hong Taiji died suddenly without leaving any designated heir. Traditionally, the Jurchens had elected their leader through a council of nobles. The Qing state did not have a clear succession system in place until Kangxi Emperor Reign.
At that time, the leading contenders were Taijis oldest son Hooge and his half brother Dorgon. A compromise candidate who was Taiji’s 5 year old son was selected and installed as the Shunzhi Emperor with Dorgon as the regent and de-facto leader of Manchu nation.
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