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Timeline of the Ming & Qing Palace Events

Introductory Matters
In this imperial chronology, each year is listed according to the Chinese lunar calendar with traditional notations for each year (e.g., jiashen) followed by the internationally recognized Gregorian calendar year (e.g., 1644) that approximately corresponds to the given lunar year. Information on the imperial reign is listed with each calendar year. Specific events are listed after a title denoting the lunar month (e.g., 1st Month) in which they occurred.
  Ages of historical figures are given as traditionally calculated by the Chinese lunar calendar. This traditional way of counting a person's age uses the word sui (year of age). The word conveys how many lunar years—even if only for a few days or months—an individual has experienced in life.
  Chinese names are shown in the conventional Chinese order with the surname (family name) followed by the given name. When possible, Manchu names are rendered according to the Möllendorff system of transliteration (Romanization). If the original Manchu name is unknown, the name is shown with a hyphenated version of the transliterated Chinese name. Some Jurchen and Manchu figures are more commonly known by their Chinese names; in those cases, the Chinese name is used. Official titles and imperial institutions are rendered according to Charles O. Hucker's A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China (Stanford, 1985) when possible.
 
The Reign of the Shunzhi Emperor (approx. 1644-1661)
 
Guiwei Year (approx. 1643)
Latter Jin Dynasty (Qing Dynasty): Chongde Reign, 8th Year 
Ming Dynasty: Chongzhen Reign, 16th Year
 
1st Month:
Hong Taiji falls ill and commands high nobles and officials—ranging from regional princes (namely, the highest ranked imperial sons) to vice commanders-in-chief of the Eight Banners—to sacrifice at the shamanic shrine.
 
8th Month:
Hong Taiji dies free of disease on his bed in the Palace of Pure Tranquility (Qingning gong). Daišan, the Prince of Li along with the host of princes and civil and martial officials convene and decide to crown the ninth imperial son, Fulin, as his successor. With Jirgalang, the Prince of Zheng and Dorgon, the Prince of Rui assisting with court affairs, the next year is established as the first year of the Shunzhi reign. Fulin ascends the throne as the Shunzhi Emperor in the Hall of Eminent Authority (Dazheng dian).
 
9th Month:
Hong Taiji is buried at the Zhao Tomb in Shengjing (present-day Shenyang). 
 
10th Month:
Hong Taiji is given his honorific posthumous titles and his temple name, Taizong (lit. "Great Ancestor").
 
Jiashen Year (approx. 1644)
Shunzhi Reign, 1st Year

1st Month:
The Shunzhi Emperor receives congratulations in the Hall of Great Administration (Dazheng dian, also known as the Hall of Honest Reverence, Dugong dian). The Prince of Li, Daišan, is ordered to refrain from attending the ceremony. The Prince of Zheng, Jirgalang, informs all of the officials to report to the Prince of Rui, and he considers himself as second to the Prince of Rui.
 
2nd Month:
Lady Borjigit, the great consort (tai fei), is buried at Fuling. The late Lady Fuca, the wife of Nurhaci who was ordered to commit suicide, is buried outside the mausoleum complex. 
 
3rd Month:
Grand Secretary Hife of the Hešeri clan and other scholars compile The History of the Liao, The History of the Jin, and The History of the Yuan
Li Zicheng attacks Beijing. The Chongzhen Emperor of the Ming hangs himself.
 
4th Month:
Banner Commander (Manchu: gūsai ejen) He-luo-hui accuses the Prince of Su, Hooge, of lawlessness and demands that he be demoted as a commoner. Abatai, the Abundant Prince (Manchu, doroi bayan beile, a prince of the blood of the third degree), is granted the advanced title of abundant commandery prince (junwang, prince of the blood of the second degree). Grand Secretary Fan Wencheng instructs the Prince of Rui, Dorgon, to subdue China proper. He begins the army’s southern campaign with sacrifices to the deceased progenitors Nurhaci and Hong Taiji during an ancestral worship ceremony. The Shunzhi Emperor names Dorgon as acting general-in-chief and issues him an imperial seal for expediency. 
Li Zicheng pronounces himself as emperor and his Great Shun army burns down the Ming palace halls upon and withdraws from Beijing. The Manchu army defeats Li Zicheng’s army—led by Tang Tong—in the Battle at Yipianshi (near the Shanhai Pass) and eliminate the major obstacles to the Manchu conquest of the territory south of the Great Wall. The Ming commander Wu Sangui surrenders to the Manchu victors and is enfeoffed as the Prince Pacifier of the West  (Pingxi wang). 
 
5th Month:
Dorgon leads the army to Yanjing (present-day Beijing). The grand host of Ming civil and military officials of all ranks and commoners of all sectors of society welcome the Manchu army into the city. Dorgon enters the imperial city and begins administrative operations in the Hall of Martial Valor (Wuying dian), which was spared from the disastrous fires. He commands all officials, military officers, and commoners to commence the imperial mourning rites for the deceased Ming emperor. He commands the ministers and officials in the Grand Secretariat, Ministries, and Censorate to maintain their posts and work in conjunction with the Manchu system. The following imperial consorts are buried according to protocol: Lady Zhou, a consort, Empress Zhuanglie; Lady Yuan; Lady Zhang, Empress Xizong; and Lady Liu, the consort of the Wanli Emperor (Shenzong). The Prince of Fu (Ming), Zhu Yousong, relocates to the Jiangnan region and establishes his insurgent reign as the Hongguang Emperor (r. 1644-1645) of the Southern Ming dynasty. He names Shi Kefa as his grand secretary and establishes his base at Yangzhou.
 
6th Month:
Dorgon and the imperial princes, noble princes, and ministers decide to relocate the capital to Yanjing (present-day Beijing). Bulwark Duke Tun-qi-ka, Hoto, Banner Commander He-luo-hui embark for Shengjing (present-day Shenyang) to receive the imperial entourage. The memorial tablet (shenzhu) of the Hongwu Emperor (Ming) is moved to the Temple of Rulers of Successive Dynasties. Dorgon demands that all official seals should be inscribed with Manchu scripts alongside the original scripts.
 
7th Month:
The calendric system is established using the Temporal Model Calendar (Shixian li). On the occasion of the capital’s relocation, sacrifices are made to Heaven and at the mausoleums of deceased emperors. Due to military urgency, Dorgon orders officials to temporarily don Ming attire. 
Former Ming official posts associated with the Chang Tomb and the other imperial mausolseums are established. In an official letter, Dorgon calls upon Shi Kefa to persuade the Southern Ming emperor to surrender. Shi Kefa ardently refuses. The reconstruction of the Hall of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing gong) begins.
 
8th Month:
The Shunzhi Emperor and his entourage arrive at Guangning. He grants imperial sacrificial land to the families charged with guarding the thirteen imperial mausoleums and prohibits the gathering of firewood and the grazing of flocks.
 
9th Month:
An imperial shamanic shrine (Manchu tangse, Chinese tangzi) is built southeast of the Forbidden City. The Shunzhi Emperor arrives at Tongzhou to the east of the capital city. Dorgon leads the imperial princes, noble princes, and civil and military ministers to receive the emperor. The Shunzhi Emperor enters the palace through the Gate of the Midday Sun (Zhengyang men, which is also known as the Front Gate or Qian men). Musical arrangements used at national sacrificial ceremonies are initially established. The memorial tablets of Nurhaci, Empress Xiaoci, and Hong Taiji are placed in the Imperial Ancestral Temple (Tai miao).
 
10th Month:
The Shunzhi Emperor personally conducts sacrifices to Heaven and Earth at the Temple of Heaven in the southern outskirts of the city. He dispatches officials to make sacrifices at the Imperial Ancestral Temple and Altar of Land and Grain. Due to the unrivaled merits of Dorgon, the Prince of Rui, the emperor orders the Ministry of Rites to erect a stele in his honor. Hong Taiji is given his posthumous title and sacrifices are conducted at the Temple of Heaven and Altar of Land and Grain.
The Shunzhi Emperor holds his ascension ceremony at the Gate of Imperial Supremacy (Huangji men, later called the Gate of Supreme Harmony, Taihe men). His reign is decreed throughout the empire, and a magnanimous amnesty is granted to all. Dorgon, the enfeoffed Prince of Rui, is promoted as the uncle regent prince. Jirgalang, the enfeoffed Prince of Zheng, is named the loyal bulwark prince. Commandery Prince Ajige is named as the enfeoffed Prince of Ying. Commandery Prince Dodo is promoted as the enfeoffed Prince of Yu. Hooge is reinstated as the enfeoffed Prince of Su. 
The annual monetary allotments of imperial princes and noble princes are set. Regulations for residence and attire are determined for the regent prince, imperial princes, and noble princes. The organization of the imperial retinue is determined. The shamanic rituals in the Palace of Earthly Tranquility (Kunning gong) are established after those in the Palace of Pure Tranquility (Qingning gong) in Shengjing (present-day Shenyang). Musical arrangements for court audiences are established. Ceremonies for the congratulatory feast with the host of ministers are established. Eunuchs are prohibited from attending.
 
11th Month:
The Manchu director of studies and instructors are appointed for the Directorate of Education. Sons and grandsons of officials with the desire to study the Manchu language and the Han Chinese language do so at the Directorate of Education. The caretakers of the Ming dynasty Ding Tomb are dismissed. Two eunuchs are stationed at the remaining twelve mausoleums to make seasonal offerings. The emperor presides over his first sacrifice to Heaven at the Round Mound Altar.
 
12th Month:
Items from the Ming imperial treasury are distributed as gifts among the generals and soldiers of the Manchu Eight Banners and Mongolian officials. Hong Taiji’s sixth daughter—an imperial Manchu princess—is married to Kua-zha, the son of the Banner Commander Ašan.
After the victories beyond the Shanhai Pass, He-luo-hui and Gong-a-dai are sent separately to make offerings at the Fu Tomb and Zhao Tomb.
The case of the imposter Ming prince leads to the death of fifteen of the people involved.
The first large-scale “land enclosure” (quandi or quanzhan, a practiced that entailed the eviction of farmers and bestowal of the land to military officers and other officials) is conducted after entering the Shanhai Pass. 
 
Yiyou Year (approx. 1645)
Shunzhi Reign, 2nd Year

1st Month:
The Abundant Prince, Abatai, is ordered to serve as commander-in-chief and replace Hooge in the conquest of Shandong. Hong Taiji’s seventh daughter—an imperial Manchu princess—is married to La-ma-si, the son of Grand Minister E-qi-er-sang. Fangshan County is ordered to offer livestock for sacrifices at the mausoleums of the emperors Taizu and Taizong of the Jurchen Jin dynasty.
 
2nd Month:
The compilation of the Legal Codex of the Qing Dynasty (Lüli) begins. Dodo, the Prince of Yu, is commanded to lead troops to the Jiangnan region. 
Ajige, the Prince of Ying, leads a punitive expedition against Li Zicheng. 
 
3rd Month:
Sacrifices for Taizu, the founding emperor of the Liao dynasty; Shizong, emperor of the Jurchen Jin dynasty; and the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty are initiated. Appointments are determined for which grand ministers will co-preside over the sacrifices.
 
4th Month:
The eunuch Wang Cheng’en, who committed suicide with the Chongzhen Emperor, is buried near the Ming imperial mausoleum in a sacrificial plot of land with a memorial stele.
Dodo, the Prince of Yu, reaches Yangzhou with the troops under his command. 
Shi Kefa of the Southern Ming dynasty is ordered to surrender. He refuses and is killed. The Qing army massacres the city’s populace for ten days. (Historians know this massacre as the “Ten Days at Yangzhou”.)
Hong Taiji’s eighth daughter—an imperial Manchu princess—is married to Ba-ya-si-hu-lang, son of the Khorchin Mongol prince Ba-da-li.
The triennial official provincial-level military test is conducted for the first time.
 
5th Month:
Grand Secretaries Feng Quan, Hong Chengchou, Li Jiantai, Fan Wencheng, Gang-lin (of the Gūwalgiya clan), and Qi-chong-ge (of the Usu clan) of the Three Palace Academies compile the History of the Ming (Ming shi). By written command, all officials from princes on down are given allotments of ice.
Dodo reaches Nanjing. Zhu Yousong, the Ming Prince of Fu, and his grand secretary escape to Taiping.
Zhao Zhilong the Earl of Xi, Grand Secretary Wang Duo, and Minister of Rites Qian Qianyi surrender the city.
Manchu boys are ordered to study. They are to undergo examinations at the Directorate of Education on the first day of the tenth lunar month. 
Every five days during the spring and fall are allotted for archery exercises.
Formalities concerning the uncle regent prince are established. All related documents are to read “Imperial Uncle Regent Prince”.
The Empress Tax is terminated. The Rice and Grain Office (Mimai yuan) at the Chongwen Gate (lit. "Revering Civility Gate") is abolished.
The victory in the Jiangnan region is declared throughout the empire. The reconstruction of the Hall of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing gong) is completed. Renovations of the three grand halls of the Forbidden City commence.
The Hair-Shaving Order (also known as the Queue Order) is decreed and strictly enforced among the Han Chinese and certain vassal minority tribes.
The consort dowager dies.
The imperial court issues the following edict, “The original intention of the rise of the Qing Army was not to overtake this land but to maintain peaceful relations with the Ming Empire. Due to the rise of Li Zicheng’s army, the Ming throne has been vanquished. The Qing Army has led the Manchu people beyond the Shanhai Pass and abolished all animosity caused by Ming rule…" (This edict was intended to settle anti-Manchu sentiments among Han peoples. Moreover, in order to attract Han scholars, provincial examinations were scheduled in the Jiangnan region during the tenth month.)
An honorary title for Confucius is proclaimed noting his status as the foremost and most-eminent sage. Dorgon personally pays homage at the Confucian Temple.
 
6th Month (Intercalary):
Li Zicheng flees to Mount Jiugong in Hubei Province and hangs himself.
Insignia is determined for the headwear of all officials from ministers and princes on down, government students, and esteemed elders.
Strict prohibitions are decreed against directly accusations against officials and sectarian strife.
Rankings for Manchu civil and martial officials are established.
Insignia is determined for the headwear of various princes and noblemen.
The Ming dynasty Prince of Tang, Zhu Yujian, establishes his reign of resistance as the Longwu Emperor in Fujian. The Ming dynasty Prince of Lu, Zhu Yihai, establishes an regent regime of resistance in Shaoxing.
 
7th Month:
Offerings are presented at the Imperial Ancestral Temple. Records consisting of bundled tablets of jade inscribed with the honorific, posthumous names of Nurhaci, Empress Xiaoci, and Hong Taiji and their respective jade seals are placed in the Imperial Ancestral Temple. Four eunuchs are selected as caretakers of the mausoleum of the Ming dynasty’s founding emperor (Taizu), and 2,000 qing (1 qing represents approx. 6.7 hectares) of land is allocated for the mausoleum area.
Troops and commoners throughout the empire are forbidden to disobey the official regulations for dress and headwear.
The Qing army reaches Jiading (north of present-day Shanghai) and carry out three large-scale massacres. (Historians later call these massacres the “Three Massacres of Jiading”.)
 
8th Month:
Ajige, the Prince of Ying, is demoted back down to the rank of commandery prince due to particular infractions when dispatching troops. Oboi and others receive various punishments based on their respective infractions.
 
10th Month:
Dodo, the Prince of Yu, returns victoriously from battle. The Shunzhi Emperor personally receives him with adulation and rewards in the South Garden (Nan yuan) in recognition of his service.
Hong Taiji’s second daughter—an imperial Manchu princess—is married to Abunai, the son of the khan of the Chahars. Dodo is granted “Virtuous” as an additional title.
 
12th Month:
Statues concerning court ceremonies are revised. Eunuchs are banned from participating in court affairs.

Bingxu Year (approx. 1646)
Shunzhi Reign, 3rd Year
 
1st Month:
Hooge, the Prince of Su, is named as the General-in-chief of Pacifying Distant Regions (jingyuan dajiangjun) and leads troops on a western campaign to conquer Sichuan.
Revisions are made to regulations regarding officials’ salaries. The highest-ranked regent prince is to receive 2,000 taels of silver, and the lowest ranked soldier in the Cavalry Brigade is to receive 30 taels of silver.
Zheng Chenggong leads a revolt against the Qing in Fujian.
 
2nd Month:
Provincial governors in the Jiangnan region are discharged. One Manchu and one Han vice-minister from the Ministry of Revenue, Ministry of War, and Ministry of Works are stationed in Jiangning (present-day Nanjing) to conduct official ministerial duties.
 
3rd Month:
The translation of The Precious Instructions of the Hongwu Emperor (Hongwu baoxun) from Han Chinese to Manchu is completed. 
Fu Yijian and other metropolitan graduates receive different official designations. The Abundant Commandery Prince, Abatai, dies.
 
4th Month:
Regent Prince Dorgon instructs all princes and ministers to stop submitting memorials (called qiben).
Repairs are made on the Confucian Temple in Shengjing (present-day Shenyang).
 
5th Month:
Dorgon, the Prince of Rui, stores official imperial seals and other official accoutrements in his personal residence for bureaucratic convenience.
Prohibitions against the flight of slaves are reiterated in fugitive laws.
 
10th Month:
Dodo, the Virtuous Prince of Yu, victoriously returns from battle. The emperor greets and rewards him in the outskirts of the capital city.
Repairs on the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe dian) and the Hall of Central Harmony (Zhonghe dian) are complete.
Formalities for civil and military officials upon receiving or bidding farewell to the emperor are established.
 
11th Month:
Zhu Yu, the Prince of Tang (Ming dynasty), establishes his Shaoxing reign in Guangzhou.
Zhu Youlang, the Prince of Gui (Ming dynasty), establishes his Yongli reign in Zhaoqing, Guangdong Province.
 
12th Month:
Repairs on the Palace of Proper Cultivation (Weiyu gong, another name for the Hall of Preserving Harmony, or Baohe dian) are completed.
Etiquette is established for when princes enter the court and alight from sedans and seating arrangements at court.
While at sea, Zheng Chenggong rallies troops to rebel against the Qing dynasty.
 
Dinghai Year (approx. 1647)
Shunzhi Reign, 4th Year

1st Month:
Jirgalang, the Prince of Zheng, illicitly ornaments his personal residence with unauthorized bronze lions and cranes. For this infraction, he is fined 2,000 taels of silver.
Regulations for the sons (born of primary wives) of noble princes are established. Their annual monetary allocations are set according to those of commandery princes, and their ceremonial rites are modeled after imperial princes.
 
3rd Month:
Lü Gong and other metropolitan graduates with honors are designated with varied official occupations. In the capital, third-rank officials on up, including supervisors (du, ti), provincial governors (fu), and regional commanders (zhen, or zongbing) are required to send one son to serve in the imperial guard. Officials without sons are required to send a younger brother or nephew in place of a son.
Orders are issued to maintain the practice of offering raw meat at imperial sacrifices.
The Legal Codex for the Qing Dynasty (Daqing lü) is completed.
The practice of “enclosing” (called quandi or quanzhan) land is abolished. (This practice entailed the eviction of farmers and bestowal of the land to military and other officials.)
 
7th Month:
Dodo, the Virtuous Prince of Yu, is granted the additional title of Uncle Regent. The Hall of Archery (She dian or Jian ting) is built outside the Left-wing Gate (Zuoyi men, located on the east side of the court in front of the Hall of Supreme Harmony, Taihe dian).
Dorgon relieves Jirgalang, the Prince of Zheng, from his post at court. He only allows Dodo, the Prince of Yu, to participate in court affairs.
The Shunzhi Emperor travels to the borderlands to conduct military inspections.
 
10th Month:
The rankings of members in the imperial procession guard (luanyi wei) are revised. Each official is reduced in rank by one level.
 
12th Month:
The Ministry of Rites announces a newly established dress code.
The etiquette requiring regent princes to kneel before the emperor is abolished.
This year, territory around the capital is “enclosed” (called quandi or quanzhan, a practice that entailed the eviction of farmers and bestowal of the land to military and other officials.)
 
Wuzi Year (approx. 1648)
Shunzhi Reign, 5th Year

1st Month:
Commandery Prince of Amplified Joy Luo-luo-hong dies in battle. Hooge, the Prince of Su, returns victoriously, yet mournfully, with the army. The palace court adjourns for three days of mourning.
 
3rd Month:
Jirgalang, the Prince of Zheng, is demoted to the rank of commandery prince due to certain crimes. Hooge, the Prince of Su, is charged with crimes deserving the death penalty. The Shunzhi Emperor pardons him and orders house arrest. A basis is sought for him to die of rage in his place of imprisonment.
 
4th Month (Intercalary):
Jirgalang is reinstated as the enfeoffed Prince of Zheng.
 
6th Month:
The Imperial Ancestral Temple (Tai miao) is completed.

7th Month:
Initial Han ministers for each of the Six Ministries are appointed. The left censors-in-chief (one Manchu and one Han) are appointed for the Censorate. The amount of gold articles used by imperial princes, noble princes, princesses, and imperial clanswomen is determined.
 
8th Month:
Manchu and Han officials and commoners are permitted to intermarry. 

11th Month:
Sacrifices to Heaven are conducted at the Round Mound Altar. Additional offerings are presented in honor of the late Nurhaci. The four preceding ancestors before Nurhaci are honored as emperors. Honorific documents regarding their imperial assumption and associated imperial seals are placed in the Imperial Ancestral Temple (Tai miao).
 
Jichou Year (approx. 1649)
Shunzhi Reign, 6th Year

1st  Month:
Official rankings for the Three Palace Academies are established.
 
3rd Month:
Dodo, the Regent Prince of Yu, dies. Regent Prince Dorgon, who is at the Juyong Pass conducting military affairs, returns to the capital to mourn.
 
4th Month:
The empress dowager, née Borjigit (the empress of Hong Taiji), dies.
 
6th Month:
Ajige, the Prince of Ying, vies for power with Regent Prince Dorgon for the title of Uncle Prince. He accuses Dorgon of crimes of presumptive arrogance and impeding ministerial operations.
 
12th Month:
Dorgon’s primary wife dies. He orders officers from company commanders on up from two Banners and their wives to don white mourning garb. He also orders officers from company commanders on up from six of the Eight Banners to remove the tassels from their headwear.
 
Gengyin Year (approx. 1650)
Shunzhi Reign, 7th Year

1st Month:
Dorgon marries the wife of Hooge, the Prince of Su.
 
2nd Month:
The empress dowager, née Borjigit, is given her posthumous honorific title and buried at the Zhao Tomb in Shengjing (present-day Shenyang) with Hong Taiji.
 
5th Month:
Dorgon personally receives a Joseon Korean princess at Mount Lian (Lianshan in present-day Liaoning Province) and takes her hand in marriage.
 
7th Month:
The Shunzhi Emperor personally visits Dorgon’s private residence. 
 
11th Month:
Regent Prince Dorgon falls ill and undertakes a hunting expedition in the borderlands.
 
12th Month:
On the ninth day of the month, Regent Prince Dorgon dies in Kharahotun (near present-day Chengde, Hebei Province). The Shunzhi Emperor personally presides over burial rites in the outskirts of the capital. Officials and commoners don mourning garb. The official imperial seals and accoutrements for official documentation are gathered and placed back in the imperial treasury. Dorgon is posthumously honored with the imperial title Chengzong (lit. “Consummate Ancestor”).
Ajige, the Prince of Ying, is charged with crimes. 
The Shunzhi Emperor begins to personally administrate imperial affairs and rule the empire.
 
Xinmao Year (approx. 1651)
Shunzhi Reign, 8th Year

1st Month:
Ajige, the Prince of Ying, is placed under house arrest for treasonous plots.
On the tenth day, the Ministry of Rites conducts ceremonies to mark the beginning of the Shunzhi Emperor’s personal administration of the empire. On the twelfth day, the Shunzhi Emperor formally begins to personally administer his dominion from the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe dian).
On the seventeenth day, the daughter of Wu-ke-shan—the Prince of Zhuo-li-ke-tu—is betrothed to the emperor. The grand wedding is planned for the following month. Wu-ke-shan plans to send his daughter to the capital; the emperor prohibits this action.
At the Linqing kilns (in today’s Shandong province), the production of bricks for palace use is halted.
Dorgon is posthumously honored as an emperor, and his memorial plaque is placed in the Qing Imperial Ancestral Temple. 
The Three Palace Academies are relocated to inside the Forbidden City.
On the twenty-third day, the dress code for the empress dowager, the empress, and concubines is established. 

2nd Month:
The deceased empress dowager is given her posthumous honorific title.
For the first time Suksaha, Jandai, and Mucilun accuse the deceased Regent Prince Dorgon of defying the rites. Dorgon’s residence is searched, and his property is conf