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|Khan of Later Jin|
|Reign||17 February 1616 – 30 September 1626|
Aisin Gioro Nurhaci|
8 April 1559
(嘉靖三十八年 二月 二十一日)
30 September 1626 (aged 67)|
(天命十一年 八月 十一日)
Aiji Fort, Later Jin
Lady Yehe Nara
(m. 1588; d. 1603)
Lady Ula Nara (m. 1601–1626)
Nurhaci (8 April 1559 – 30 September 1626) was a Jurchen chieftain of Jianzhou, a vassal of Ming, who rose to prominence in the late 16th century in Manchuria. Nurhaci was part of the Aisin Gioro clan, and reigned from 1616 to his death in September 1626.
Nurhaci reorganised and united various Jurchen tribes (the later "Manchu"), consolidated the Eight Banners military system, and eventually launched attacks on Ming China and Joseon Korea. His conquest of Ming China's northeastern Liaodong province laid the groundwork for the conquest of the rest of China by his descendants, who founded the Qing dynasty in 1644. He is also generally credited with ordering the creation of a new written script for the Manchu language based on the Mongolian vertical script.
Name and titles
Nurhaci is written as ᠨᡠᡵᡤᠠᠴᡳ in Manchu language. Some suggests that the meaning of the name in the Manchu language is "the skin of a wild boar". Regarded as the founding father of the Qing dynasty, he is given the customary temple name of Taizu, which is traditionally assigned to founders of dynasties. His name is also alternatively spelled Nurgaci, Nurhachi, or Nu-er-ha-chi (the last of these simply the transcription of the Chinese characters used to write his name).
Nurhaci was the last chieftain of the Jianzhou Jurchens and First Khan of the Later Jin dynasty. His title in Manchu as Khan was ᡤᡝᡵᡝᠨ
ᡥᠠᠨ Geren Gurun-be Ujire Genggiyen Han ("Brilliant Khan Who Benefits All Nations"). His regnal name was Tianming (Chinese: 天命; Wade–Giles: T'ien-ming; Manchu:ᠠᠪᡴᠠᡳ
ᡶᡠᠯᡳᠩᡤᠠ Abkai Fulingga), in Mongolian Тэнгэрийн сүлдэт Tengri-yin Süldetü. It means "The Emperor of Heaven's Mandate." He was given a posthumous name in 1736 (see infobox), the shortened form of which was "Emperor Gao" (Wade–Giles: Emperor Kao; Chinese: 高皇帝, Manchu:ᠠᠪᡴᠠᡳ
ᡶᡠᠯᡳᠩᡤᠠ Dergi Hūwangdi)
Nurhaci was born on 8 April 1559. Being a member of the Gioro clan of the Suksuhu River tribe, Nurhaci also claimed descent from Mentemu, a Jurchen headman who lived some two centuries earlier. According to Chinese sources, the young man grew up as a soldier in the household of the Ming dynasty general Li Chengliang in Fushun, where he learned Chinese. He named his clan Aisin Gioro around 1612, when he formally ascended the throne as the Khan of the Later Jin dynasty.
In 1582, Nurhaci's father Taksi and grandfather Giocangga were killed in an attack on Gure (now a village in Xinbin Manchu Autonomous County) by a rival Jurchen chieftain, Nikan Wailan ("Nikan Wailan" means "secretary of Han Chinese" in the Jurchen language, thus his existence is suspected by some historians.) while being led by Li Chengliang. The following year, Nurhaci began to unify the Jurchen bands around his area.
In 1584, when Nurhaci was 25, he attacked Nikan Wailan at Turun (today a village in Xinbin too) to avenge the deaths of his father and grandfather, who are said to have left him nothing but thirteen suits of armor. Nikan Wailan fled away to Erhun, which Nurhaci attacked again in 1587. Nikan Wailan this time fled to Li Chengliang's territory. Later, as a way to build relationship, Li gave Nikan Wailan to Nurhaci, who beheaded Nikan Wailan immediately. With Li's support, Nurhaci gradually grew his strength in the following years.
Unifying the Jurchen tribes
In 1593, the Yehe called upon a coalition of nine tribes: the Hada, Ula, Hoifa, Khorchin Mongols, Sibe, Guwalca, Jušeri, Neyen, and the Yehe themselves to attack the Jianzhou Jurchens. They were defeated at the Battle of Gure and Nurhaci emerged victorious.
From 1599 to 1618, Nurhaci set out on a campaign against the four Hulun tribes. He began by attacking the Hada in 1599 and conquering them in 1603. Then in 1607, Hoifa was also conquered with the death of its beile Baindari, followed by an expedition against Ula and its beile Bujantai in 1613, and finally the Yehe and its beile Gintaisi at the Battle of Sarhu in 1619.
In 1606, he was granted the title of Kundulun Khan by the Mongols.
In 1616, Nurhaci declared himself Khan and founded the Jin dynasty (aisin gurun), often called the Later Jin in reference to the legacy of the earlier Jurchen Jin dynasty of the 12th century. He constructed a palace at Mukden (present-day Shenyang, Liaoning). The "Later Jin" was renamed to "Qing" by his son Hong Taiji after his death in 1626, however Nurhaci is usually referred to as the founder of the Qing dynasty.
Nurhaci chose to variously emphasize either differences or similarities in lifestyles with other peoples like the Mongols for political reasons. Nurhaci said to the Mongols that "The languages of the Chinese and Koreans are different, but their clothing and way of life is the same. It is the same with us Manchus (Jurchen) and Mongols. Our languages are different, but our clothing and way of life is the same." Later Nurhaci indicated that the bond with the Mongols was not based in any real shared culture, rather it was for pragmatic reasons of "mutual opportunism", when he said to the Mongols: "You Mongols raise livestock, eat meat and wear pelts. My people till the fields and live on grain. We two are not one country and we have different languages."
Challenging Ming China
In 1618, Nurhaci commissioned a document entitled the Seven Grievances in which he enumerated seven problems with Ming rule and began to rebel against the domination of the Ming dynasty. A majority of the grievances dealt with conflicts against Yehe, and Ming favouritism of Yehe.
Nurhaci led many successful engagements against the Ming Chinese, the Koreans, the Mongols, and other Jurchen clans, greatly enlarging the territory under his control.
Defectors from the Ming side played a massive role in the Qing conquest of the Ming. Ming generals who defected to the Manchus were often married to women from the Aisin Gioro clan while lower-ranked defectors were given non-imperial Manchu women as wives. Nurhaci arranged for a marriage between one of his granddaughters and the Ming general Li Yongfang (李永芳) after Li surrendered Fushun in Liaoning to the Manchus in 1618 as the result of the Battle of Fushun. His son Abatai's daughter was married to Li Yongfang. The offspring of Li received the "Third Class Viscount" (三等子爵; sān děng zǐjué) title. Li Yongfang was the great great great grandfather of Li Shiyao 李侍堯.
The Han prisoner of war Gong Zhenglu (Onoi) was appointed to instruct Nurhaci's sons and received gifts of slaves, wives, and a domicile from Nurhaci after Nurhaci rejected offers of payment to release him back to his relatives.
Nurhaci had treated Han in Liaodong differently according to how much grain they had, those with less than 5 to 7 sin were treated like chattel while those with more than that amount were rewarded with property. Due to a revolt by Han in Liaodong in 1623, Nurhachi, who previously gave concessions to conquered Han subjects in Liaodong, turned against them and ordered that they no longer be trusted and enacted discriminatory policies and killings against them, while ordering that Han who assimilated to the Jurchen (in Jilin) before 1619 be treated equally as Jurchens were and not like the conquered Han in Liaodong.
By May 1621, Nurhaci had conquered the cities of Liaoyang and Shenyang. In April 1625, he designated Shenyang the new capital city, which would hold that status until the Qing conquest of the Ming in 1644.
Finally in 1626, Nurhaci suffered the first serious military defeat of his life at the hands of the Ming general Yuan Chonghuan. Nurhaci was wounded by the Portuguese-made cannons in Yuan's army at the Battle of Ningyuan. Unable to recover either physically or mentally, he died two days later in Aiji Fort (靉雞堡; in present-day Da'aijinbao Village, Dijia Township, Yuhong District, Shenyang) on 30 September at the age of 67. His tomb, Fu Mausoleum (Chinese: 福陵; pinyin: Fúlíng), is located east of Shenyang.
The first Manchu translations of Chinese works were the Six Secret Teachings (六韜), Sushu 素書, and Three Strategies of Huang Shigong (三略), all Chinese military texts dedicated to the arts of war due to the Manchu interests in the topic, like Sun-Tzu's work The Art of War. The military related texts which were translated into Manchu from Chinese were translated by Dahai.
Manchu translations of Chinese texts included the Ming penal code and military texts were performed by Dahai. These translations were requested of Dahai by Nurhaci. The military text Wuzi was translated into Manchu along with The Art of War.
Chinese history, Chinese law, and Chinese military theory classical texts were translated into Manchu during the rule of Hong Taiji in Mukden (now Shenyang), with the Manchus placing significance upon military and governance related Chinese texts. A Manchu translation was made of the military-themed novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Chinese literature, military theory and legal texts were translated into Manchu by Dahai and Erdeni. The translations were ordered in 1629.
The translation of the military texts Sushu and Three Strategies of Huang Shigong, and the Da Ming Huidian (大明會典) done by Dahai was ordered by Nurhaci. While it was mainly administrative and ethical guidance which made up most of the Three Strategies of Huang Shigong and the Sushu, military science was indeed found in the Six Secret Teachings and Chinese military manuals were eagerly translated by the Manchus. They were also attracted to the military content in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which is why it was translated. The Art of War was translated into Manchu as ᠴᠣᠣᡥᠠᡳ
ᡤᡳᠰᡠᡵᡝᠩᡤᡝ Abkai: qoohai baita be gisurengge, Möllendorff: coohai baita be gisurengge, Discourse on the art of War. Another later Manchu translation was made by Aisin Gioro Qiying.
Among the most lasting contributions Nurhaci left his descendants was the establishment of the Eight Banners, which would eventually form the backbone of the military that dominated the Qing Empire. The status of Banners did not change much over the course of Nurhaci's lifetime, nor in subsequent reigns, remaining mostly under the control of the royal family. The two elite Yellow Banners were consistently under Nurhaci's control. The two Blue Banners were controlled by Nurhaci's brother Šurhaci until he died, at which point the Blue Banners were given to Šurhaci's two sons, Chiurhala and Amin. Nurhaci's eldest son, Cuyen, controlled the White Banner for most of his father's reign until he rebelled. Then the Bordered White Banner was given to Nurhaci's grandson and the Plain White was given to his eighth son and heir, Hong Taiji. However, by the end of Nurhaci's reign, Hong Taiji controlled both White Banners. Finally, the Red Banner was run by Nurhaci's second son Daišan. Later in Nurhaci's reign, the Bordered Red Banner was handed down to his son. Daišan and his son would continue holding the two Red Banners well into the end of Hong Taiji's reign.
The details of Hong Taiji's succession as the Khan of the Later Jin dynasty are unclear. When he died in late 1626, Nurhaci did not designate an heir; instead he encouraged his sons to rule collegially. Three of his sons and a nephew were the "four senior beiles": Daišan (43 years old), Amin (son of Nurhaci's brother Šurhaci; 40 or 41), Manggūltai (38 or 39), and Hong Taiji himself (33). On the day after Nurhaci's death, they coerced his primary consort Lady Abahai (1590–1626)––who had borne him three sons: Ajige, Dorgon, and Dodo––to commit suicide to accompany him in death. This gesture has made some historians suspect that Nurhaci had in fact named the fifteen-year-old Dorgon as a successor, with Daišan as regent. By forcing Dorgon's mother to kill herself, the princes removed a strong base of support for Dorgon. The reason such intrigue was necessary is that Nurhaci had left the two elite Yellow Banners to Dorgon and Dodo, who were the sons of Lady Abahai. Hong Taiji exchanged control of his two White Banners for that of the two Yellow Banners, shifting their influence and power from his young brothers onto himself.
According to Hong Taiji's later recollections, Amin and the other beile were willing to accept Hong Taiji as Khan, but Amin then would have wanted to leave with his Bordered Blue Banner, threatening to dissolve Nurhaci's unification of the Jurchens. Eventually the older Daišan worked out a compromise that allowed Hong Taiji as the Khan, but almost equal to the other three senior beiles. Hong Taiji would eventually find ways to become the undisputed leader.
Information concerning Nurhaci can be found in later, propagandistic works such as the Manchu Veritable Records (Chinese: 滿洲實錄; pinyin: Mǎnzhōu Shílù; Manchu:ᠮᠠᠨᠵᡠ ᡳ
ᡴᠣᠣᠯᡳ, Mölendroff: manju-i yargiyan kooli). Good contemporary sources are also available. For instance, much material concerning Nurhaci's rise is preserved within Korean sources such as the Veritable Records of the Joseon Dynasty (Chinese: 朝鮮王朝實錄), especially the Seonjo Sillok and the Gwanghaegun Ilgi. Indeed, the record of Sin Chung-il's trip to Jianzhou is preserved in the Seonjo Sillok.
The Jiu Manzhou Dang from Nurhaci's reign also survives. A revised transcription of these records (with the dots and circles added to the script) was commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor. This has been translated into Japanese under the title Manbun roto, and Chinese, under the title Manwen Laodang (Chinese: 满文老檔). A project is currently under way at Harvard University to translate them into English, as The Old Manchu Chronicles.
In popular culture
In the opening scene of the 1984 film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones trades the remains of Nurhaci (contained in a small, ornate jade urn) for a diamond owned by Shanghai mobster Lao Che.
The genus Nurhachius, a pterodactyloid pterosaur, is named after Nurhaci.
- Taksi (顯祖 塔克世; 1543–1583)
- Posthumous empress Hitara (宣皇后 喜塔臘額穆齊; d. 1569), personal name Emeci
- Consorts and Issue:
- First rank consort Tunggiya (元妃 佟佳哈哈納扎青; 1560–1592), personal name Hahana-Jacing
- First rank consort Fuca (繼妃 富察袞代; d. 1620), personal name Gundei
- Manggūltai (貝勒 莽古爾泰; 1587 – 11 January 1633)
- Lady Aisin-Gioro (莽古濟; 1590–1635), personal name Mangguji
- Degelei (貝勒 德格類; 10 January 1597 – 11 November 1635)
- Posthumous empress Yehe-Nara (孝慈高皇后 葉赫那拉孟古哲哲; 1575 – 31 October 1603), personal name Monggo-Jerjer
- Hong-Taiji (太宗 皇太極; 28 November 1592 – 21 September 1643)
- First rank consort Ula-Nara (大妃 烏拉那拉阿巴亥; 1590 – 1 October 1626), personal name Abahai
- Fourth rank consort Borjigit (壽康妃 博爾濟吉特氏; 1599 – 21 January 1666)
- Lady Irgen-Gioro (側福晉 伊爾根覺羅氏)
- Princess (和碩公主 顏哲; 1587–1646), personal name Yanzhe
- Abatai (饒余敏郡王 阿巴泰; 1589 – 10 May 1646)
- Lady Yehe-Nara (側福晉 葉赫那拉氏)
- Princess (和碩公主 松古圖; 28 December 1612 – 1646), personal name Songgutu
- Lady Joogiya (庶福晉 兆佳氏)
- Abai (鎮國勤敏公 阿拜; 8 September 1585 – 14 March 1648)
- Lady Niohuru (庶福晉 鈕祜祿氏)
- Tangguldai (鎮國克潔將軍 湯古代; 24 December 1585 – 3 November 1640)
- Tabai (輔國愨厚公 塔拜; 2 April 1589 – 6 September 1639)
- Lady Giyamuhut-Gioro (庶福晉 嘉穆瑚覺羅真哥), personal name Zhenge
- Babutai (鎮國恪僖公 巴布泰; 13 December 1592 – 27 February 1655)
- Princess (和碩公主 穆庫什; 1595–1659), personal name Mukushen
- Babuhai (鎮國將軍 巴布海; 15 January 1597 – 1643)
- Lady Aisin-Gioro (1597–1613)
- Lady Aisin-Gioro (1600–1646)
- Lady Irgen-Gioro (庶福晉 伊爾根覺羅氏)
- Lady (鄉君; 8 April 1604 – 1685)
- Lady Silin-Gioro (庶福晉 西林覺羅氏)
- Laimbu (輔國介直公 賴慕布; 26 January 1612 – 23 June 1646)
- Fiyanggu (費揚果; 1620–1640)
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NurhaciBorn: 1558 Died: 30 September 1626
| Chieftain of the Jianzhou Jurchens
| Khan of Later Jin|