The Reign of the Tiancong-Chongde Emperor (Hong Taiji) (approx. 1627-1643)
Dingmao Year (approx. 1627)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tiancong Reign, 1st Year
Ming Dynasty: Tianqi Reign, 7th Year
Hong Taiji sends troops to Korea and sends an embassy to Regional Commander Yuan Chonghuan of the Ming army at Ningyuan to negotiate peace.
Hong Taiji personally commands his troops in an attack against the Ming army. He is defeated at Jinzhou and retreats.
Wuchen Year (approx. 1628)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tiancong Reign, 2nd Year
Ming Dynasty: Chongzhen Reign, 1st Year
Hong Taiji returns victoriously from the invasion of Korea, raises banners, and worships Heaven. This establishes the practice of making offerings and raising banners upon victorious returns from battle. Dorgon and Dodo both receive honorary titles for their efforts in securing victory in battle. Dorgon receives the title Sagacious Commander (Manchu mergen daicing), and Dodo is named Bold General (Manchu erke cuhur).
Jisi Year (approx. 1629)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tiancong Reign, 3rd Year
Ming Dynasty: Chongzhen Reign, 2nd Year
The late Empress Xiaoci is relocated and reinterred with Nurhaci at the Fu Tomb (lit. "Blessed Tomb") near Shengjing (present-day Shenyang). The late Lady Fuca is also buried.
In order to manifest the legitimate rule of the new dynasty, scribal offices are established for the translation of legal documents of previous dynasties. This organization provides a basis to analyze the success and failure of previous emperors and record state affairs.
Hong Taiji personally leads troops on a circuitous route through Inner Mongolia to invade territory south of the Great Wall. He attacks the Ming defense, sows dissension among his enemies, and eliminates the Ming commander Yuan Chonghuan—who had been a grave affliction on the Latter Jin.
Leading his troops on their return east to Latter Jin territory, Hong Taiji conquers four cities, including Yongping, inside Ming territory.
Gengwu Year (approx. 1630)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tiancong Reign, 4th Year
Ming Dynasty: Chongzhen Reign, 3rd Year
Under the direction of Amin—one of the original Four Great Princes, along with Hong Taiji, under Nurhaci—the four cities are lost and return to Ming control. Hong Taiji's court brings sixteen criminal charges against the failed Amin and sentences him to death. Hong Taiji issues a pardon, and the punishment is mitigated to imprisonment.
Xinwei Year (approx. 1631)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tiancong Reign, 5th Year
Ming Dynasty: Chongzhen Reign, 4th Year
Daišan and Manggūltai—two of the original Four Great Princes, along with Hong Taiji and Amin—as well as the other princes and ministers are requested to present their honest assessment of affairs.
The practice of inheriting official posts is established.
The Six Ministries (Liu bu) are inaugurated.
Manggūltai aggressively brandishes his blade and condemns the Hong Taiji court. He is stripped of his title as one of the Four Great Princes, and he is relieved of his command of five banner companies (Manchu niru). He is relegated to an ordinary prince (beile).
11th Month (Intercalary):
Ordinances are decreed for boys under the age of fifteen and at least eight years old to receive compulsory education.
Ning Wanwo appoints speaking officials (yanguan) with specific accoutrements and uniforms; Hong Taiji approves. According to Li Bolong, the vice minister of the Ministry of Rites, the configuration of salutes at the new year audience for paying homage is reformed.
Renshen Year (approx. 1632)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tiancong Reign, 6th Year
Ming Dynasty: Chongzhen Reign, 5th Year
The old practice of Hong Taiji being seated with the three other Great Princes is abolished, and the ruler sits alone to the south flanked by the other princes.
Hong Taiji's ceremonial entourage is established. He visits the mausoleum of his father, Nurhaci, paying homage and offering sacrifices.
Rules for accusing and bringing charges against noble princes and standards for determining the accuracy of reports and the severity of crimes are established. Younger boys and men are not permitted to accuse their fathers and elder brothers, nor wives their husbands. Burial rites for princes and ministers are instituted.
Hong Taiji personally leads the invasion of Mongolia.
The designs for court robes and ordinary dress are established. Manggūltai, the third Great Prince, dies.
Guiyou Year (approx. 1633)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tiancong Reign, 7th Year
Ming Dynasty: Chongzhen Reign, 6th Year
Hong Taiji's court decrees all officials and the populace to adhere to the ordained dress code.
Hong Taiji leads the princes in overseeing and exhorting the army during marching and drills, thus initiating the practice of grand military inspection parades.
Jiaxu Year (approx. 1634)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tiancong Reign, 8th Year
Ming Dynasty: Chongzhen Reign, 7th Year
Hong Taiji decrees the six generations of the Rising Progenitor's (Xingzu, Nurhaci's great-grandfather) offspring are to be free from corvee.
The main hall of Nurhaci's mausoleum is built. Pine trees are planted around the grounds, and stone sculptures of beasts are sited in ritual array.
Company Commander Liu Xuecheng suggests the building of temples (jiao miao, for sacrifices to Heaven, Earth, and ancestors) in the outskirts of the city. Hong Taiji, unsure about the will of Heaven, does not dare to act and dismisses the proposal.
This year, ceremonial and musical rites for shamanic sacrifices (in the tangse, Chinese tangzi, or traditional space for shamanic worship) to Heaven upon beginning military campaigns are established. Musical rites for the new year homage audience. Hong Taiji takes Hai-lan-zhu—another daughter of Zhai-sang the Khorchin-Borjigin Mongol prince (beile)—as his wife. She is later named as a chamber consort (chenfei).
Yihai Year (approx. 1635)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tiancong Reign, 9th Year
Ming Dynasty: Chongzhen Reign, 8th Year
Hong Taiji declares the sons of his secondary consorts as imperial princes (Manchu age), while the sons of the six progenitors are to be known as Gioro and designated by the fastening of a red string.
Chahar Mongol Ligdan Khan's wife and sons surrender and offer the Yuan dynasty's Heirloom Seal of the Realm (Chuanguo yuxi) as tribute. The tribe is annihilated.
Illustrations for the Manchu Veritable Records (Manzhou shilu) are prepared.
Hong Taiji takes Ligdan Khan's wives and concubines for his own harem, including the Mongol leader's pure consort (shufei) and honored consort (guifei). Great Prince Daišan is punished for crimes.
Leng-seng-ji, the servant of Princess Manggūji of the Hada tribe, brings charges against Manggūltai and his younger sister Manggūji and brother De-ge-lei for conspiracy, secretly casting imperial seals, and unlawful collaboration. In punishment, they are stripped of their noble titles and identity as imperial clan members. Manggūji is also executed for her involvement. After hearing of the matter, Manggūji's daughter is killed by her husband Hooge, Hong Taiji's eldest son.
This year, Vice Commander-in-chief (meile zhangjing) Zhang Cunren presents the following memorial to the khanate, "According to the great rites, musical comedy and jocular entertainment are not suitable for presentation before the throne on the lunar new year audience for paying homage. The feasts of the Eight Banners should feature elegant music exclusively."
Bingzi Year (approx. 1636)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tiancong Reign, 10th Year
Ming Dynasty: Chongzhen Reign, 9th Year
The Civil Office (Wen guan) is reorganized as the Three Palace Academies (Nei sanyuan), namely, the Palace Historiographic Academy (Nei guoshi yuan), Palace Secretariat Academy (Nei mishu yuan), and Palace Academy for the Advancement of Literature (Nei hongwen yuan).
Bingzi Year (approx. 1636)
Latter Jin Dynasty (Qing Dynasty): Chongde Reign, 1st Year
Ming Dynasty: Chongzhen Reign, 9th Year
Hong Taiji declares himself emperor, with the title Tolerant, Amicable, Compassionate, Virtuous Emperor of the Great Qing. He proclaims the first year of his Chongde reign. The Round Mound Altar and Square-Moated Terrace are constructed for sacrifices to Heaven and Earth, respectively. The Imperial Ancestral Temple (Tai miao) is built for offerings to ancestors. The founding progenitor of the family line, Hong Taiji's great-great-great-grandfather, is named the Beneficent King (Ze wang). His great-great-grandfather is honored as the Venerated King (Qing wang). His great-grandfather is honored as the Flourishing King (Chang wang), and his grandfather, Taksi, is named the Blessed King (Fu wang). Nurhaci is given the posthumous title Wu (lit. "Martial") and the temple name Taizu (lit. "High Progenitor" or, more commonly, "Great Ancestor"). His mausoleum is called the Fu Tomb (lit. "Blessed Tomb"). The noble titles of all ministers are adjusted to the imperial system with associated privileges.
Imperial nephews are given the titles of princes (qinwang, prince of the blood of the first degree) and commandery princes (junwang, prince of the blood of the second degree). Mongol princes (beile, prince of the blood of the third degree) are given the titles of named princes (qinwang) and commandery princes (junwang). Dorgon is named as thePrince of Rui, Dodo as the Prince of Xiang, Ajige as the Commandery Prince of Ying, and Hooge as the Prince of Su. The ceremonial protocol for audiences is established. The standards of formal attire for princes and other officials is approved.
Protocols for the submission of memorials to the throne at the lunar new year and other festival celebrations are established. Titles are given to all palace halls.
The Five Palace system is instituted with the central palace, called the Palace of Pure Tranquility (Qingning gong), for the empress, née Borjigit; the primary eastern palace, called the Palace of Osprey Calls (Guanju gong), for the chamber consort (chenfei); the secondary eastern palace, called the Palace of the Qilin Toe (Linzhi gong, the qilin is a mythical animal with cloven hooves), for the honored consort (guifei); the primary western palace, called the Palace of Expansive Festivity (Yanqing gong), for the pure consort (shufei); and the secondary western palace, called the Palace of Eternal Blessing (Yongfu gong), for the sedate consort (zhuangfei). The four main consorts lead the princesses, princess-consorts, and court ladies to bow before the emperor and empress.
Yoto—Prince of Cheng, Daišan's son—and Hooge, the Prince of Su are demoted in rank (to beile, prince of the blood of the third degree) as punishment for crimes.
The court commissions a revision of the Veritable Records of Taizu (Taizu shilu, regarding Nurhaci's reign). Rites for the worship of Heaven at the shrine for shamanic worship (Manchu tangse, Chinese tangzi) are established. Other rites established include the offerings to Heaven at the lunar new year and celebrations upon triumphant returns from battle in which the emperor is required to personally bow during the ceremony.
Hong Taiji personally leads a military campaign into Joseon Korea.
Dingchou Year (approx. 1637)
Latter Jin Dynasty (Qing Dynasty): Chongde Reign, 2nd Year
Ming Dynasty: Chongzhen Reign, 10th Year
Sacrifices at the Imperial Ancestral Shrine are instituted. Other rites instituted include honorific ceremonies for ancestors and sacrifices during the first month of each season (simeng). The quantity of instruments and members of the imperial retinue are determined.
Hong Taiji instructs all the princes (beile, prince of the blood of the third degree), saying, "The former Jin dynasty emperor Xizong and the Prince of Hailing discarded the ancestral garb for Han attire. Our state's livelihood is derived from horseback riding. If we carelessly adhere to Han customs and neglect our bows and arrows, how shall we prepare for military engagement? Sons and grandsons, later generations, do not casually change the practice of our ancestors!"
Sacrifices are held at the Round Mound Altar.
Wuyin Year (approx. 1638)
Latter Jin Dynasty (Qing Dynasty): Chongde Reign, 3rd Year
Ming Dynasty: Chongzhen Reign, 11th Year
The ninth imperial son, Fulin, is born to Sedate Consort Borjigit at the Palace of Eternal Blessing (Yongfu gong).
Hong Taiji personally leads the army against the Khalka Mongols, and Daišan, the Prince of Li; Jirgalang, the Prince of Zheng; and Dorgon, the Prince of Rui keep watch over the capital.
Daišan, the Prince of Li, is accused of crimes by his subordinates. Jirgalang, the Prince of Zheng, requests his execution and that he be stripped of noble titles. Hong Taiji arbitrarily pardons him.
The Court of Colonial Affairs (Lifan yuan) is inaugurated to specifically handle affairs with Mongolians and other outlying peoples.
Administrative organizations for officials in the Six Ministries (liu bu), Court of Colonial Affairs (Lifan yuan), Censurate (Ducha yuan), and five other bureaucratic bodies are established.
Jimao Year (approx. 1639)
Latter Jin Dynasty (Qing Dynasty): Chongde Reign, 4th Year
Ming Dynasty: Chongzhen Reign, 12th Year
The martial Prince of Ying, Ajige, is ordered to lead the army beyond the Great Wall and attack Ming forces. Hong Taiji commands his army and follows Ajige and his troops.
Dodo, the Prince of Yu, is demoted in rank due to his failures during the battle with the Ming army. Dorgon, the Prince of Rui, does not receive a personal dispatch when he leaves for battle. He is demoted in princely rank (to beile).
An envoy is sent to the Ming emperor with an offer of peace.
Gengchen Year (approx. 1640)
Latter Jin Dynasty (Qing Dynasty): Chongde Reign, 5th Year
Ming Dynasty: Chongzhen Reign, 13th Year
Festivities for the new year and the Festival of Ten Thousand Longevities (Wanshou jie, a celebration of an emperor's birthday) are suspended, and all the princes present gifts to the emperor instead.
Xinsi Year (approx. 1641)
Latter Jin Dynasty (Qing Dynasty): Chongde Reign, 6th Year
Ming Dynasty: Chongzhen Reign, 14th Year
Princes and chief ministers are commanded to instruct their sons in horseback riding and archery.
Chamber Consort Hai-lan-zhu of the Palace of Osprey Calls (Guanju gong) dies. She is posthumously honored as Hong Taiji's principal wife (yuanfei) with the honorary titles Intelligent, Meritorious, Modest, and Mild.
Renwu Year (approx. 1642)
Latter Jin Dynasty (Qing Dynasty): Chongde Reign, 7th Year
Ming Dynasty: Chongzhen Reign, 15th Year
The eleventh imperial son, Babuhai, is stripped of his noble title and membership in the imperial clan for voicing hateful complaints.
This year, the Dalai Lama sends ambassadors from Tibet to Shengjing where Hong Taiji welcomes them with a feast.
Guiwei Year (approx. 1643)
Latter Jin Dynasty (Qing Dynasty): Chongde Reign, 8th Year
Ming Dynasty: Chongzhen Reign, 16th Year
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.
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).
Hong Taiji is buried at the Zhao Tomb in Shengjing (present-day Shenyang).
Hong Taiji is given his honorific posthumous titles and his temple name, Taizong (lit. "Great Ancestor").
Translator: Adam J. Ensign
Editor: Li Yang