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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 Qianlong Emperor (approx. 1736-1795)
Bingchen Year (approx. 1736)
Qianlong Reign, 1st Year
During sacrifices and prayers to Heaven (Shangdi, lit. "Emperor Above"), the Qianlong Emperor personally conducts ceremonial rites. Henceforth, this practice is to be followed annually.
Construction on the Altar of the Goddess of Silkworms (Xiancan tan) begins in the capital.
The Qianlong Emperor personally conducts sacrifices at the Altar of Land and Grain (She ji). Henceforth, this practice is to be followed annually.
The Yongzheng Emperor's (posthumously known as Shizong) mausoleum is called the Tai Tomb (Tai ling). A supervisor-in-chief is appointed over the Western Qing Tombs (Xi ling). The regional commander of the Taining Defense Command fulfills this position concurrently.
Additional honorary, posthumous titles are given to Nurhaci, Empress Xiaoci, Hong Taiji, Empress Xiaoduan, Empress Xiaozhuang, the Yongzheng Emperor, Empress Xiaohui, Empress Xiaokang, the Kangxi Emperor, Empress Xiaocheng, Empress Xiaozhao, and Empress Xiaogong.
The superintendents, grand ministers, and nine chief ministers are summoned. The emperor instructs them regarding the construction of a storage box for the secret edict regarding imperial succession. The edict recording the emperor's chosen heir is to be stored behind the large plaque that reads "Uprightness and Brightness" (Zhengda guangming) above the throne in the palace.
The Qianlong Emperor personally conducts sacrificial rites at the Altar of Land and Grain. Henceforth, this practice is to be followed annually.
A group of 176 candidates attends the imperial Erudite Literatus examination (boxue hongci) in the Hall of Preserving Harmony (Baohe dian). Liu Lun and other gifted literati are selected for official appointment.
The Qianlong Emperor accompanies the empress dowager in taking the coffin of the late Yongzheng Emperor to the Tai Tomb (Tai ling).
The emperor holds court at the Gate of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing men).
Due to various offenses, two month's monetary allotments are withheld from Yunli, the Prince of Guo.
On the winter solstice, the Qianlong Emperor personally conducts sacrifices to Heaven at the Round Mound Altar. Henceforth, this practice is to be followed annually.
This year, the sale of official titles and posts (juanna) is ended.
The Qing court establishes policies for the rectification of Buddhist religious practitioners. Official permits are issued for monks and nuns. Women are required to be over the age of forty (in sui) before becoming nuns.
Dingsi Year (approx. 1737)
Qianlong Reign, 2nd Year
The Qianlong Emperor accompanies the empress dowager in taking the coffin of the late Empress Xiaojingxian to be interred at the Tai Tomb.
The late Yongzheng Emperor is laid to rest at the Tai Tomb and accompanied by the late Empress Xiaojingxian. Their ancestral tablets are displayed in the Imperial Ancestral Temple (Tai miao).
Sacrifices to Heaven are conducted at the Round Mound Altar. Additional offerings are made to the late Yongzheng Emperor.
Fu-er-dan and Yue Zhongqi, who were arrested towards the end of the Yongzheng reign, are released.
The emperor holds examinations for officials in the Hanlin Academy and Household of the Heir Apparent. Chen Dashou and two others are selected for first-rank positions. Depending on the results of their examinations, other officials are either promoted or expelled.
Sacrifices to the Earth are held at the Square Moated Terrace (Fangze). Additional sacrifices are held for the late Yongzheng Emperor.
The imperial Erudite Literatus examinations are continued at the Belevedere of Embodying Benevolence (Tiren ge). Wan Songling and other learned individuals are appointed as officials.
After consulting Ji Cengyun, large sea embankments are constructed in Zhejiang Province.
9th Month (Intercalary):
Construction is completed on the Malan Valley Tomb (later known as the Qianlong Emperor's Yu Tomb).
Renovations are made on the three imperial mausoleums at Mukden (Shengjing, present-day Shenyang). The Qianlong Emperor personally visits each of the Eastern Qing Tombs.
The supervisor-in-chief of the Tai Tomb is reappointed as a vice commander-in-chief. The Qianlong Emperor makes sacrifices at the Tai Tomb and removes his mourning garb.
The Qianlong Emperor personally leads celebrations for the empress dowager's birthday in the Palace of Compassion and Tranquility (Cining gong). Henceforth, this practice is to be followed annually.
Orders are made for the continuation of the Council of State (Junji chu). Grand Secretary E-er-tai, Zhang Tingyu, Ne-chin, Hai-wang, Vice Minister Na-yan-tai and Ban-di are appointed as grand ministers of state.
The Qianlong Emperor holds court in the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe dian). Lady Fuca, the principal consort, is conferred with noble titles. Grand Secretary Gao Bin's daughter is appointed as an honored consort. Lady Ula Nara is appointed as Consort-in-ordinary Xian (lit. "Elegant "; an imperial concubine of the third rank, fei). Lady Su is appointed as Consort-in-ordinary Chun (lit. "Pure "; an imperial concubine of the third rank, fei). Lady Jin is appointed as Concubine Jia (lit. "Excellent"; an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin).
The eleven imperial uncles are released from their obligation to use the character Yun at the beginning of their names—a respectful practice to avoid the taboo practice of using the first character in the Yongzheng Emperor's personal name—and resume using their original character Yin at the beginning of their names. The imperial uncles are all appointed as bulwark dukes.
The poetry written by the Qianlong Emperor while still a prince is compiled as The Collection of the Hall of Delighting in Virtue (Leshan tang quanji).
Wuwu Year (approx. 1738)
Qianlong Reign, 3rd Year
Congratulatory audiences on the lunar new year are held for the first time. After leading the princes and civil and martial grand ministers in greeting the empress dowager in the Palace of Longevity and Health (Shoukang gong), the Qianlong Emperor receives congratulations in the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe dian). Henceforth, this practice is to be followed annually.
The emperor prays and sacrifices to Heaven (Shangdi, lit. "Emperor Above") for the harvest. Additional sacrifices are made for the late Yongzheng Emperor.
The Qianlong Emperor makes his first visit to the Garden of Perfect Brightness (Yuanming yuan). He accompanies the empress dowager and resides in the Garden of Joyful Spring (Changchun yuan).
Upon the emperor's visit to the Tai Tomb, E-er-tai is charged to administrate all imperial affairs in the capital.
The Classics Colloquium is held. Henceforth, the lectures will be held during the middle of each spring and fall.
The Ploughing Ceremony (Gengji li, also known as the First Furrow Ceremony) is held. Following the practice of his father the Yongzheng Emperor, the Qianlong Emperor plows eight furrows—four forward and four returning. Henceforth, this practice is to be followed annually.
The Qianlong Emperor pays his respects at the Directorate of Education (Taixue). Exercising imperial authority in the Hall of Established Principles (Yilun tang), the emperor issues orders for The Doctrine of the Mean (Zhongyong) and The Book of Documents (Shangshu) to be exposited.
Hongyan, the sixth imperial younger brother, is given in adoption to Yunli, the Prince of Guo.
This year, distant relatives of the imperial clan are freed to marry without receiving an imperially approved match.
Jiwei Year (approx. 1739)
Qianlong Reign, 4th Year
Princes, grand ministers, Hanlin scholars, supervising secretaries, censors, governors-general, governors, and provincial education commissioners are summoned to the capital. A banquet is held in the west chamber of warmth of the Palace of Heavenly Purity (Qianqing gong) and cypress-beam style (bailiang ti) poetry is presented.
A visit is made to the Eastern Qing Tombs. Due to the Qianlong Emperor falling ill, he orders Hongzhou, the Prince of He, to make sacrifices in his stead in the first lunar month of winter.
Yunlu, the Prince of Zhuang, and Hongxi, the Prince of Li, are charged with forming a faction. The Court of the Imperial Clan (Zongren fu) discusses the punishments of stripping noble titles and imprisonment. The emperor commands, "The punishment for the Prince of Zhuang shall be diminished. Hongxi, the Prince of Li; Hongchang (a beile, prince of the blood of the third degree); and Hongpu (a beizi, prince of the blood of the fourth degree) shall be stripped of their titles. Hongsheng will be perpetually imprisoned. Hongjiao's princely title shall be preserved, but his monetary allotment will be terminated".
The emperor commands, "Subordinate eunuchs may not serve in close proximity to the emperor but only on the periphery near the fires and sweeping areas".
Gengshen Year (approx. 1740)
Qianlong Reign, 5th Year
This year, the Palace of Serene Protection (Anyou gong) is built in the northwest corner of the Garden of Perfect Brightness (Yuanming yuan). Sleeping arrangements are made in accordance with Buddhist temples. Offerings are made to the images of the Kangxi and Yongzheng emperors. Updated revisions to Legal Codex of the Great Qing (Daqing lüli) are completed. The compilation of Gazetteer of the Great Qing (Daqing yitong zhi) is complete.
Xinyou Year (approx. 1741)
Qianlong Reign, 6th Year
Censor Cong-dong requests a suspension of the hunting trip. The Qianlong Emperor rebukes him that hunting is for re-imposing order on troops for future military deployment.
Yongqi, the fifth imperial son is born to Lady Ke-li-ye-te, Honored Consort Yu (lit. "Pleasant"; an imperial concubine of the third rank,fei).
The emperor accompanies the empress dowager to the summer mountain-palace in Jehol (an area which includes present-day Chengde) where he participates in the fall hunting festivities for the first time.
The emperor commands eunuch commissioners, "Our imperial brush has prepared eleven inscriptions for plaques. These shall be displayed in twenty-two palaces. The Palace of Eternal Longevity (Yongshou gong) already has a plaque. These eleven plaques are to be produced in the fashion of the one in that palace. After installation, these plaques shall never be removed".
Concubine Jia (lit. "Excellent"; an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin) is promoted to the rank of consort. The daughter of E-er-ji-tu is promoted as Concubine Yu (lit. "Pleasant""; an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin). Lady Yehe Nara is promoted as Concubine Shu (lit. "Calm""; an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin).
The emperor commands, "To the great consorts (tai fei), biological mothers, the empress, and consorts throughout the palace, possessions within the palaces may not be taken to family members outside the palace. Possessions from family residences may not be brought into the palace".
Renxu Year (approx. 1742)
Qianlong Reign, 7th Year
The Rite of Sericulture (Qincan li), which is to be presided over by the empress, is established. It is stipulated that, "Henceforth, in the selection of women for service in the Imperial Household Department, whether the sisters or fraternal nieces of consorts, concubines, or worthy ladies (guiren, lower ranked concubines) are chosen as maidservants, all candidates shall be examined and reported to the throne by the grand minister supervisor of the Imperial Household Department.
Strict law enforcement is ordered to be relaxed. Fairness is to be the rule of governance.
It is stipulated that one day before the great sacrifices in the southern outskirts of the city (also known as the southern border sacrifice at the Temple of Heaven) the emperor shall reside in the Hall for Abstinence (Zhai gong).
The eighteen sections of the Current Imperially-Commissioned Palace Regulations (Gongzhong xianxing zelie) are established.
Eunuchs are not permitted to obtain promotions above the fourth official ranking. This stipulation is to be perpetually maintained.
Guihai Year (approx. 1743)
Qianlong Reign, 8th Year
Hongzhou, the Prince of He, is sent to represent the emperor in sacrificing at the Altar to the God of Agriculture (Xiannong tan). The music of equilibrium and harmony (zhonghe shaoyue, the imperial music for state rites) is played, and all is conducted as if the Qianlong Emperor were personally presiding over the sacrifices. This precedent is to be written up as a law.
Candidates are examined and selected for the Censorate. Hang Shijun suggests greater equality between Manchu and Han officials. He is stripped of his official position.
Orders are made for the Imperial Parks Administration to use the small plot method (qutian fa) for a trial period.
Censor Chen Ren suggests that Hanlin officials should be tested on the classics and history and not on poetry. The Qianlong Emperor accepts his proposal.
The emperor accompanies the empress dowager and departs from Jehol (present-day Chengde) to visit the imperial mausoleums in Mukden. This trip marks the emperor's premier visit to the mausoleums at Mukden. Imperial Mother Shouqi dies. Imperial proceedings are suspended for ten days.
The emperor accompanies the empress dowager to visit the Yong, Fu, and Zhao Tombs where he presides over grand sacrifices. The Qianlong Emperor then receives a congratulatory audience at the Hall of Sublime Authority (Chongzheng dian) and holds a feast in the Hall of Eminent Authority (Dazheng dian). The emperor visits the Temple of Confucius and presides over offerings; he visits the Terrace of Martial Discourse (Jiangwu tai) and conducts a military inspection. The princes, dukes, imperial clansmen, grand ministers, and other high-ranking officials are commanded to be pure and upright in the fulfillment of rites and ceremonies, to provide a guide for commoners and soldiers, and to never forget the simple customs of the past. The Qianlong Emperor personally makes offerings at the mausoleums of imperial clansmen, the mausoleums of the meritorious officials Yoto, Yang-gu-li, E-yi-du, and Fei-ying-dong.
Officials are dispatched to make sacrifices to Mount Changbai (the main peak of the Changbai Mountains), Mount Yiwulü, and the mausoleum of the first emperor of the Liao dynasty.
Zhang Zhao, Liang Shizheng, Li Zongwan, and other officials are commissioned to compile a catalogue—called Pearl Forest of the Secret Hall (Midian zhulin)—of the palace's collection of Buddhist and Taoist paintings.
Jiazi Year (approx. 1744)
Qianlong Reign, 9th Year
A feast is held for the Dzungar envoy at the Ocean Terrace (Ying tai) in the West Garden.
Zhang Zhao, Liang Shizheng, Li Zongwan, and other officials are commissioned to compile a catalogue—called The Precious Collection of the Stone Moat (Shiqu baoji)—of the palace's collection of paintings.
The construction of the Altar of the Goddess of Silkworms (Xiancan tan) is complete.
The Qianlong Emperor personally conducts the Summer Sacrifice for Rain (Dayu li) at the Round Mound Altar. Per special edict, the emperor presides over a humble entourage and modest ceremony to express his utmost devotion in prayer.
Upon the emperor's sacrifices at the Square-Moated Terrace, he does not ride in the imperial carriage and is not escorted by a high-ranked official.
On the completion of the reconstruction of the Hanlin Academy, the emperor holds a feast on the premises. Presenting poetry in the cypress-beam style, the emperor is then presented with poetry by other officials.
The emperor visits the Examination Office (Gong yuan) where he presents an inscription for display.
The emperor visits the Imperial Observatory (Guanxiang tai).
This year, Yu Minzhong and other officials are commissioned to begin the compilation of the palace treasury's collection of rare works (shanben) from the Song, Yuan, and Ming dynasties into a catalogue—called Jade of Heavenly Opulence (Tianlu linlang).
The former residence of the Prince of Yong (the Yongzheng Emperor) is dedicated as a Tibetan Buddhist temple, known as the Palace of Harmony (Yonghe gong, also known as the Yonghe Lama Temple or Yonghe Lamasery).
In an attempt to circumvent impropriety during civil service recruitment examinations, inspections at the provincial examinations (xiangshi) in Shuntian Prefecture are especially rigid. No more than 2,800 candidates are permitted into the examination site.
Yichou Year (approx. 1745)
Qianlong Reign, 10th Year
The grand secretaries, court officials, and Hanlin scholars are convened at the Palace of Many Splendors (Chonghua gong) to compose poetry in linked verses (lianju).
The Qianlong Emperor visits E-er-tai in his illness and bestows upon him the title of Grand Mentor.
The imperially commissioned Directorate of Education Admonitions for Examination Candidates (Taixue xunchi shizi wen) is distributed throughout the provinces to official schools. This work is to be read and studied on the first and fifteenth of the lunar month along with Horizontal Stele Inscriptions (Wobei wen) by the Shunzhi Emperor, Amplified Instructions on the Sacred Edict (Shengyu guangxun) by the Kangxi Emperor, and Discourse on Parties and Cliques (Pengdang lun) by the Yongzheng Emperor.
The Garden of Tranquil Ease (Jingyi yuan) is built in the Fragrant Hills (Xiang shan) on the former site of an itinerant imperial palace.
Officials are sent to make offerings at the Ming mausoleums. Restorations begin on the mausoleum of the Tianqi Emperor of the Ming.
Consort-in-ordinary Xian (lit. "elegant"; an imperial concubine of the third rank, fei) is promoted to the position of honored consort. Worthy Lady Weijia is named as Concubine Ling (the mother of the future Jiaqing Emperor; an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin). Concubine Yu (an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin) is promoted as Consort-in-ordinary Yu (lit. "Delightful"; an imperial concubine of the third rank, fei).
Bingyin Year (approx. 1746)
Qianlong Reign, 11th Year
Protocol is established for an imperial consort to preside over the Rite of Sericulture (Qincan li) when the empress is absent or otherwise unable to fulfill the rite.
3rd Month (Intercalary):
The governing officials of Shaanxi are ordered to repair the mausoleums of successive dynasties.
The Council of State is forbidden from divulging state matters and confidential military affairs.
The Hall of Revered Erudition (Chongya dian) at the Ocean Terrace (Ying tai) is renamed the Hall of Candid Expression (Dunxu dian). A banquet is held for princes and dukes of the imperial clan. According to proper etiquette, all are seated according to age, and familial salutes are given as fitting. The banquet guests are taken on a tour of the Court of Purity (Shuqing yuan) and the Pavilion of Floating Cups (Liubei ting).
The emperor accompanies the empress dowager on a visit to the Tai Tomb (Tai ling). Subsequently, the emperor visits Mount Wutai.
With Grand Secretary Zhang Tingyu advancing in years, his son Zhang Ruocheng is ordered to take up an official post in the South Study (Nan shufang).
Official administrations are established for the breeding and care of falcons and dogs for hunting.
This year, commoners are forbidden from traveling north of the Shanhai Pass.
Dingmao Year (approx. 1747)
Qianlong Reign, 12th Year
Per imperial edict, an eastern tour is planned for the following year during which the emperor will accompany the empress dowager. All Yamen (agency headquarters) are ordered to make full preparations for the tour.
Zhang Guangsi is dispatched to lead Qing troops in the pacification of uprisings in Jinchuan (in southwest China).
This year, protocol is established for women with a second-rank position to serve at the birthday celebrations of the empress dowager.
The former palatial residence in the Fragrant Hills (Xiang shan) is renamed the Garden of Tranquil Ease (Jingyi yuan).
Protocols are established for worship in the Palace of Earthly Tranquility (Kunning gong).
This year, Han troops in the Eight Banners who are willing to reside in the provinces are required to report their Banner if they are in the capital and to state their provincial administration if they are outside the capital; they are permitted to live in various locations.
Revisions are ordered for the Supplement to the Comprehensive Examination of Documents (Xu wenxian tongkao).
Wuchen Year (approx. 1748)
Qianlong Reign, 13th Year
The emperor accompanies the empress dowager and takes his consorts and concubines on an eastern tour through Shandong Province. Stopping in Qufu, he visits the historic residence of Confucius and the sage's mausoleum. He makes sacrifices to the eminent figures Shaohao—the son of the Yellow emperor—and the Duke of Zhou. The emperor leaves a grand yellow canopy in the great hall of the home of Confucius.
Empress Fuca dies during the tour at Dezhou, Shandong Province. The Qianlong Emperor is distraught with grief and returns to the capital. The late empress is temporarily laid to rest in the Palace of Eternal Spring (Changchun gong). The imperial court is suspended for nine days. The emperor personally gives the empress her honorary posthumous name Xiaoxian (lit. "Filial Pious and Virtuous"). During the funerary rites for his late empress, the emperor reprimands the eldest imperial son Yonghuang for exhausting himself in mourning. The son's instructor and bosom friend (anda) are fined by withholding their salary. The late empress' coffin is relocated to the Hall of Observing Virtue (Guande dian) at Prospect Hill (Jing shan).
Court officials are forbidden from requesting the emperor to appoint an heir.
The empress dowager decrees, "Honored Consort Xian, née Nara, shall be received at the Palace of Earthly Tranquility (Kunning Gong). She shall be named as an imperial honored consort and administrate the affairs of the Six Palaces."
The late Empress Xiaoxian is temporarily laid to rest at Jing'anzhuang, where the Qianlong Emperor offers a libation. At the Garden of Abundant Lustre (Fengze yuan) a banquet is held in celebration of the pacification of Jinchuan and in honor of Fu-heng and other military heroes. At Baodi Temple, the emperor inspects the Eight Banners in their military exercises and fortress-scaling troop formations. The emperor offers sacrifices at the imperial shamanic shrine (Manchu, tangse; Chinese, tangzi) and conducts rites involving a Ji-er-dan banner.
The regulation is established for the Grand Secretariat to have equal quotas of Manchu and Han grand secretaries. One or two Manchu and Han officials will be chosen for assisting the grand secretaries. The system of four halls (dian) and two belvederes (ge) is replaced with three halls and three belvederes.
This year, the Hall of Imperial Longevity (Shouhuang dian) in the northeast area of the Prospect Hill complex is reconstructed in the center of Prospect Hill according to the style of the Palace of Serene Protection (Anyou gong). The emperor prepares an inscription for a stone monument.
A vanguard camp is organized for the bondservants of the Third Banner where the soldiers practice military tactics on horseback.
The grand imperial escort guard and procession (dajia lubu, considered to be the first-level of processions and used for the sacrifices to Heaven and the most important ceremonies) is reorganized into a less-elaborate arrangement (as the fajia lubu, second-level procession). The emperor's procession for movement within the capital (xingjia lubu) is reorganized (as the luanjia lubu, third-level procession). The emperor's procession for tours throughout the empire (xingxing yizhang) is reorganized as a horseback procession (qijia lubu, fourth-level procession). These three are combined to form the grand imperial procession (dajia lubu, first-level).
The Twenty-five Treasures (imperial seals) of the emperor are selected.
Jisi Year (approx. 1749)
Qianlong Reign, 14th Year
The revolt of the Jinchuan hill people comes to an end. The Qianlong Emperor withdraws troops. The Qianlong Emperor conducts furrowing rites in the Garden of Abundant Lustre (Fengze yuan) in the West Gardens.
The emperor holds court in the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe dian) where he names Honored Consort Xian, née Ula Nara, as an imperial honored consort. Consort-in-ordinary Jia (an imperial concubine of the third rank, fei) is promoted as an honored consort. Concubine Shu (an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin) is promoted as Consort-in-ordinary Shu (an imperial concubine of the third rank, fei). Concubine Ling (an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin) is promoted as Consort-in-ordinary Ling (an imperial concubine of the third rank, fei). Worthy Lady Chen is named as Concubine Wan (an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin).
Gengwu Year (approx. 1750)
Qianlong Reign, 15th Year
The Qianlong Emperor holds a banquet for the Dzungar ambassador at the Belvedere of Imperial Effulgence (Ziguang ge) in the West Gardens.
The emperor accompanies the empress dowager on a western tour and visits Mount Wutai.
The emperor personally inspects the river engineering projects on the Yongding River.
Due to his resignation, Grand Secretary Zhang Tingyu is excluded from sacrifices at the Imperial Ancestral Temple (Tai miao).
The nine chief ministers and their subordinates are commanded to honestly report all successes and failures.
The Ministry of Rites requests the imperial honored consort to preside over the Rite of Sericulture instead of the empress. The Qianlong Emperor states, "The consort is a substitute, she is presiding in the empress' stead. The status of the substitute is not fitting; what substitute is there?"
The portraits of the Kangxi and Yongzheng emperors are displayed in the Hall of Imperial Longevity (Shouhuang dian) at Prospect Hill.
This year, in celebration of the empress dowager's birthday, Yanshou Temple is built at Mount Weng. The mountain is renamed the Mount Wanshou (lit. "Mountain of Myriad Longevities"). The West Lake is renamed Kunming Lake.
Xinwei Year (approx. 1751)
Qianlong Reign, 16th Year
The emperor accompanies empress dowager on his first southern tour to Jiangsu and Zhejiang.
Imperial orders are issued to rename the Hall of Great Sacrifice (Daxiang dian) adjacent to the Round Mound Altar as the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (Qinian dian).
On his southern tour, the emperor reaches Jiangning, where he makes offerings at the mausoleum of the Hongwu Emperor of the Ming dynasty.
On his southern tour, the emperor stays in Taian Prefecture (in present-day Shandong Province) and sacrifices at the Temple of the Eastern Mountain (Dongyue miao, a temple dedicated to Mount Tai, the eastern mountain of the five venerated mountains).
Yuntao, the Prince of Lü, is sent to preside over the Summer Sacrifice for Rain (Changyu li) in the emperor's stead.
Worthy Lady Lu is promoted as Concubine Qing (an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin). Worthy Lady Ba-lin is promoted as Concubine Ying (an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin).
For the occasion of the empress dowager's sixtieth birthday celebration, constructions begin on the Wanshou Temple located alongside the Chang River embankments outside of the Western Straight Gate (Xizhi men). The empress dowager enters the palace after passing from the Chang River to the Gaoliang Bridge (lit. "Sorghum Bridge"). The Yihong Hall (Yihong tang, lit. "Hall of the Sloping Rainbow") is built at this location.
This year, counterfeit memorials to the throne with counterfeit vermillion imperial notations are discovered in Yunnan, Guizhou, and Shandong.
The Mongolian Dzungar tribe faces internal turmoil.
Renshen Year (approx. 1752)
Qianlong Reign, 17th Year
A grand minister supervisor of the Imperial Household Department is appointed in Mukden (present-day Shenyang). The Mukden general is responsible for this post.
The Confucian minister Ba-ke-shi-da and others submit a memorial to the throne regarding Manchu dress substituted for Han-style attire, regarding the state of archery among sons of soldiers and officials in the Banners, and regarding the study of the Manchu language. He also calls for steles to be erected in the Archery Pavilion in the Forbidden City, in the Western Gardens, and in the Eight Banners training facilities.
This year, the case involving the counterfeit memorials is investigated.
Guiyou Year (approx. 1753)
Qianlong Reign, 18th Year
Hongzhou, the Prince of He, is appointed as a grand minister of the Deliberative Council.
The emperor accompanies the empress dowager and travels to inspect Lotus Lake in Zhuozhou and the Yongding River project.
Liu Zhenyu, a government student from Jiangxi, is put to death for writing about reforming the official dress code in New Strategies for Maintaining the Peace (Zhiping xince).
This year, court officials and princes are forbidden from having communications or interactions.
The translation of Manchu novels is forbidden.
Jiaxu Year (approx. 1754)
Qianlong Reign, 19th Year
Lady Daigiya, the daughter of Governor-general Nasutu, is officially named as Concubine Xin (an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin).
The emperor tours north to Mukden. Returning south, the emperor stays at the summer mountain resort (Bishu shanzhuang, lit. " Mountain Villa to Escape the Heat," in present-day Chengde) where he holds an audience with three leaders (transliterated as cheling in Chinese) of the Dzungar tribe.
The emperor visits the Yong, Fu, and Zhao Tombs. Holding court in the Hall of Eminent Authority (Dazheng dian), the emperor holds a feast at Mukden for the imperial Gioro clan, generals, and other officials.
A feast is held for Amursana at the summer mountain resort in Jehol.
This year, inspections are made of the provincial Han bannermen. They are commanded to follow in the precedents made by the Han troops in the capital and live among the people.
With the Dzungar tribe's inner turmoil, the empire seizes the opportunity and sends troops to attack.
Yihai Year (approx. 1755)
Qianlong Reign, 20th Year
On the occasion of the pacification of Dawachi of the Dzungars, officials are sent to make offerings at the altars to Heaven, Earth, land and grain, and Confucius. The empress dowager is given an honorific name. The emperor receives prisoners of war at the Meridian Gate (Wu men).
Amursana, the Dzungar Mongol leader, revolts on his way to an audience with the emperor.
Dawachi and other leaders are released in the capital. Prisoners of war are offered in ceremony. The Qianlong Emperor receives the prisoners at the Meridian Gate.
This year, the emperor orders the Manchu troops of the Eight Banners to strictly avoid the ways of the Han. They are forbidden from interacting with the Han troops.
Bingzi Year (approx. 1756)
Qianlong Reign, 21st Year
The emperor visits the Tai Tomb. Touring through Shandong, the emperor visits the Confucius family mausoleum.
The eunuch Li Liandong is charged with arson and theft in the Garden of Perfect Brightness (Yuanming yuan). He is publicly executed, and his parents and brothers are sent to Heilongjiang to serve as slaves for soldiers.
This year, the Dzungar leader Amursana once again gathers forces to resume his revolt.
The restriction against garrison troops maintaining private fields on garrison lands is lifted.
Dingchou Year (approx. 1757)
Qianlong Reign, 22nd Year
The emperor accompanies the empress dowager on his second tour south to Jiangsu and Zhejiang.
The Qing army mounts another attack against the Dzungars. After this campaign, the threat is completely pacified.
Governor-general Fang Chengguan reports on how Police Chief Zhang Ruoying punished palace eunuchs and monks. The Qianlong Emperor reprimands the governor-general for his biased judgment and orders that palace eunuchs or monks be punished by local authorities for infractions they commit while away from the imperial city.
The British are refused commercial access to Zhejiang. Regulations are established permitting Western merchants to conduct trade only in Guangzhou.
Wuyin Year (approx. 1758)
Qianlong Reign, 23rd Year
Due to a solar eclipse, Left Vice Censor-in-chief Sun Hao submits a memorial requesting for imperial tours to cease in the following year. The Qianlong Emperor reprimands him for his lack of good sense and commands for the emulation of the imperial ancestors in preparing for war and assiduous labor throughout the empire.
This year, the Imperial Household Department's Palace Construction Office (Zongli gongcheng chu) is established for the inspection and administration of large projects involving palace halls, leisure grounds, and Jehol's palatial residences.
Troops are dispatched to the Mount Tian region (Tian Shan, a mountain range in present-day Xinjiang and Central Asia) to subdue the revolt of the Altishahr Khojas.
Jimao Year (approx. 1759)
Qianlong Reign, 24th Year
The Qing army continues to sweep the Mount Tian region for the last remnants of the Altishahr Khojas' revolt. With two of the revolting leaders killed and stability in the Mount Tian region, the campaign to pacify the Hui is completed.
On the pacification of the Hui, the emperor leads the grand ministers to share congratulations with the empress dowager in the Palace of Longevity and Health (Shoukang gong).
Concubine Qing (an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin) is promoted as Consort-in-ordinary Qing (an imperial concubine of the third rank, fei). Concubine Ying (an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin) is promoted as Consort-in-ordinary Ying (an imperial concubine of the third rank, fei). Worthy Lady Borjigit is promoted as Concubine Yu (an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin).
Gengchen Year (approx. 1760)
Qianlong Reign, 25th Year
At the Meridian Gate in the Forbidden City, the emperor receives prisoners of war from the pacifications of the Dzungars and the Hui.
Yongyan, the fifteenth imperial son (who will become the Jiaqing Emperor), is born in the Garden of Perfect Brightness. His birth mother is the honored consort Lady Weigiya.
This year, a State Farms Bureau is established in Yili (also written Ili, in present-day Xinjiang).
Xinsi Year (approx. 1761)
Qianlong Reign, 26th Year
Upon the completed construction of the Belvedere of Imperial Effulgence (Ziguang ge), the emperor holds a feast for meritorious officials, civil and military ministers, Mongol princes, and other officials. The emperor commissions paintings of each of the successful military leaders and officials.
The emperor accompanies the empress dowager on a visit to the Tai Tomb after touring Mount Wutai (lit. "Five Terraces") in Shanxi Province.
The Garden of Pure Ripples (Qingyi yuan) at Mount Wanshou (lit. "Myriad Longevities) is completed.
Grand celebrations are held in honor of the empress dowager's seventieth birthday.
This year, the compilation of the History of the Qing Court (Guochao gongshi) is completed.
Renwu Year (approx. 1762)
Qianlong Reign, 27th Year
The emperor heeds the empress dowager's wishes and conducts his third inspection of the southern regions of Jiangsu and Zhejiang. The emperor inspects sea embankments in Haining.
Worthy Lady Hojo is promoted as Concubine Rong (an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin).
A general is appointed for Yili (also written Ili, in present-day Xinjiang) to command the forces in the Mount Tian region.
Guiwei Year (approx. 1763)
Qianlong Reign, 28th Year
The Qianlong Emperor holds a feast in the Belvedere of Imperial Effulgence (Ziguang ge) in the West Gardens (present-day Zhongnanhai) for the Afghan, Badakhshan, Kokand, and Kazakh enovys.
Trade with Kyakhta ends.
The Hall of Nine Lands at Peace (Jiuzhou qingyan) in the Garden of Perfect Brightness (Yuanming yuan) is destroyed in a fire. Hongyan, the Prince of Guo and the sixth imperial younger brother, laughs insolently with the imperial sons. The Qianlong Emperor is not amused. Charged with interfering with court affairs, Hongyan is stripped of his noble titles but allowed to maintain a rank of prince (beile, prince of the blood of the third degree).
Hongzhou, the Prince of He, is fond of rehearsing funerary rites and uses a time of family mourning for personal amusement. He is charged with desecrating ceremony and punished by having his monetary allotment withheld for three years.
Concubine Xin (an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin) is promoted as Consort-in-ordinary Xin (an imperial concubine of the third rank, fei).
The fourth imperial son, Yongcheng, is adopted as the grandson of Yuntao, the Prince of Lü.
Jiashen Year (approx. 1764)
Qianlong Reign, 29th Year
This year, the ban on silk exports is lifted.
The emperor orders revisions on the Gazetteer of the Great Qing (Daqing yitong zhi).
Yiyou Year (approx. 1765)
Qianlong Reign, 30th Year
The emperor accompanies the empress dowager as he conducts his fourth tour of the Jiangsu and Zhejiang region.
The empress, née Ula Nara, disobeys the Qianlong Emperor and cuts her hair. She is sent back to the capital.
Hongyan, the Prince of Guo, dies.
Lady Wei, an honored consort, is promoted as imperial honored consort.
The fifth imperial son, Yongqi, is named the Prince of Rong.
This year, the sons of bannermen and grand ministers are permitted to attend the regular recruitment examination.
Guansu experiences a terrible earthquake.
Conflicts arise between the Aboriginal Offices in Yunnan and the Burmese in the borderlands of the two regions. The Sino-Burmese War begins.
Bingxu Year (approx. 1766)
Qianlong Reign, 31st Year
Per imperial edict, beginning this year each province will receive a single exemption from shipping grain to the capital via canal.
The emperor examines an inscription and painting on a fan held by Yongyan, the fifteenth imperial son. The artist's signature reads Xiong Jingquan (lit. "Older Brother Mirror-Spring"), which belongs to Yongxing, the eleventh imperial son. The emperor instructs the imperial sons to guard against distancing themselves from the Manchu ways and emulating the habits of the Han literati.
This year, Collected Statutes of the Qing Dynasty (Daqing huidian) is completed. This work has additional case reports (or examples, shili) not found in the statutes of the two preceding reigns.
Dinghai Year (approx. 1767)
Qianlong Reign, 32nd Year
The emperor inspects the embankments on the Ziya River.
This year, Comprehensive Assessment of Documents: Supplemental (Xu wenxian tongkao) is completed. Supplementations and revisions are ordered for Comprehensive Institutions: Supplemental (Xu tongdian) and Gazetteer: Supplemental (Xu tongzhi).
Wuzi Year (approx. 1768)
Qianlong Reign, 33rd Year
Trade with Kyakhta resumes.
Consort-in-ordinary Qing (an imperial concubine of the third rank, fei) is appointed as Honored Consort Qing. Concubine Rong (an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin) is promoted as Consort-in-ordinary Rong (an imperial concubine of the third rank, fei). Worthy Lady Niohuru is promoted as Concubine Shun (an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin).
This year, the case of fundraising involving the Salt Administration in the Two Huais (Lianghuai, the areas north and south of the Huai River) transpires.
Jichou Year (approx. 1769)
Qianlong Reign, 34th Year
The emperor makes an inspection tour of Tianjin.
This year, the Qing army proves unsuccessful as war with the Burmese continues. As the casualties increase, the Qing court orders the troops to withdraw.
Per imperial orders, subordinates are not permitted to visit their supervisory princes and dukes during trips to the capital.
Gengyin Year (approx. 1770)
Qianlong Reign, 35th Year
In celebration of the emperor's sixtieth birthday this year and the empress dowager's eightieth birthday in the coming year, an edict is released to announce an empire-wide exemption for the per capita land tax (diding qianliang).
The emperor's eighth son oversteps his authority and enters the palace without permission. Guan-bao and Tang Xianjia of the Imperial Study are relieved of their official titles and reprimanded.
Xinmao Year (approx. 1771)
Qianlong Reign, 36th Year
Ubashi Khan leads the Torghuts back to their ancestral lands.
The emperor accompanies the empress dowager on his inspection tour of Shandong.
Worthy Lady Wang, the daughter of Commander-in-chief Sige, is promoted as Concubine Dun (an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin).
Celebrations are held in honor of the empress dowager's eightieth birthday.
This year, the Qing army begins campaigns in Greater and Lesser Jinchuan.
Renchen Year (approx. 1772)
Qianlong Reign, 37th Year
Per imperial edict, the Hall of the Four Treasuries (Siku guan) is established for collecting ancient books of all manners across the empire.
Due to the lack of clarity regarding the dress codes of the Liao, Jin, and Yuan dynasty costume in the Analysis of Festive Rites (Jiali kao) compiled by the Hall of the Three Comprehensive Works (Santong guan, which was named after the character tong—meaning exhaustive or comprehensive—in the Chinese titles of the Comprehensive Assessment of Documents, Comprehensive Institutions, and Gazetteer), it is reiterated that the recognized norms of dress are the manifestation of a period and should not be frequently altered. Further, it is noted that unsophistication should be avoided.
This year, the old custom of conducting quinquennial examinations (bianshen) of the population is ended.
Guisi Year (approx. 1773)
Qianlong Reign, 38th Year
3rd Month (Intercalary):
Liu Tongxun and other scholarly officials are commissioned to administer the compilation of the Complete Library of the Four Treasuries (Siku quanshu).
Yongyan, the fifteenth imperial son, is chosen as the heir apparent in a secret meeting to decide the successor to the throne.
Jiawu Year (approx. 1774)
Qianlong Reign, 39th Year
Yu Minzhong is severely reprimanded for not reporting the abuse of power by the eunuch Gao Yuncong. Gao Yuncong is executed.
Wang Lun incites a popular revolt in Shandong and uses "Excess Levies" (ewai jiazheng, referring to the outrageous amounts demanded from the common people) as his rallying cry.
Concubine Dun (an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin) is promoted as Consort-in-ordinary Dun (an imperial concubine of the third rank, fei).
This year, Lady Sitara—the daughter of Grand Minister of the Imperial Household Department and Vice Commander-in-chief He-er-jing-e—is given in marriage to the fifteenth imperial son.
Yiwei Year (approx. 1775)
Qianlong Reign, 40th Year
This year, Jade of Heavenly Opulence (Tianlu linlang, a catalogue of ancient books) is completed.
Regarding the acquisition of books, the emperor orders the officials at the Hall of the Four Treasuries that they must meticulously make their selections with a critical eye for elegance.
Bingshen Year (approx. 1776)
Qianlong Reign, 41st Year
Suo-nuo-mu of the Jinchuan Aboriginal Office calculates the grim situation and surrenders. The campaign in Greater and Lesser Jinchuan comes to an end. Artists are commissioned to paint the portraits of fifty meritorious warriors in the Jinchuan campaigns. These portraits are displayed in the Belvedere of Imperial Effulgence (Ziguang ge).
The emperor once again accompanies the empress dowager and undertakes an inspection tour of Shandong where he makes offerings to Confucius and visits the home of the sage's clan. Upon his return journey, the emperor stops in Zhuozhou. A monk leading a boy approaches the imperial carriage. The monk claims the child is the son of Yongcheng, the fourteenth imperial son. After further questioning, the boy denies the monk's claim as outrageous. The monk is executed, and the boy is sent to Yili (or Ili) on the western frontier.
The emperor orders Vice Minister Hošen of the Ministry of Revenue to concurrently serve in the Council of State.
The emperor personally inspects prisoners of war from the Jinchuan campaign on the Ocean Terrace (Ying tai) in the West Garden and hosts a victory banquet for valiant warriors in the Belvedere of Imperial Effulgence (Ziguang ge).
The emperor orders the officials at the hall housing the Complete Library of the Four Treasuries (Siku quanshu) to carefully inspect the collection for any forbidden books and to destroy them in turn.
The emperor orders the inclusion of Biographies of Twice-Serving Ministers in the history of the dynasty.
This year, construction on a place of rest and recuperation (for use after the Qianlong Emperor's future retirement from imperial administration) is completed in the Palace of Tranquil Longevity (Ningshou gong).
Dingyou Year (approx. 1777)
Qianlong Reign, 42nd Year
The emperor ascends the Tower for Military Inspection (Yuewu lou) to inspect his troops. Vassal envoys from Mongolian regions and Jinchuan aboriginal tribes are present for the ceremony.
The empress dowager dies in a palatial residence at the Garden of Perfect Brightness (Yuanming yuan) and is temporarily laid to rest in the main hall of the Palace of Compassion and Tranquility (Cining gong). During the period of mourning, the Qianlong Emperor maintains a vegetarian diet and resides within a grass hut. Per imperial edict, mourning garb is required for one hundred days. After twenty-seven days, the princes and grand ministers dispense with their mourning garb. The late empress dowager is given the posthumous honorary title of Xiaosheng (lit. "Filial and Revered"). The Eastern Tai Tomb is selected as her final resting place.
The Qianlong Emperor personally accompanies the late empress dowager's coffin to the Eastern Tai Tomb.
This year, a proscription against the importation of cotton by foreign traders is implemented in Guangdong.
Wuxu Year (approx. 1778)
Qianlong Reign, 43rd Year
The original noble titles of Dorgon, Dodo, Daišan, Jirgalang, Hooge, and Yoto are restored and sacrifices are made in their honor at the Imperial Ancestral Temple (Tai miao). With reasoning derived from an edict issued by the Yongzheng Emperor in his later years, Yunsi and Yuntang are restored to their original names, included in the Jade Genealogy (Yu die), and honored with sacrifices in the Imperial Ancestral Temple (Tai miao).
The emperor visits the imperial mausoleums at Mukden (present-day Shenyang).
On the emperor's return journey from his eastern inspection tour, a government student in Jin County named Jin Congshan audaciously proposes the selection of an imperial successor and the appointment of an empress. Meanwhile, the young pupil requests the emperor accept his counsel and bestow upon him imperial favors. The young man is executed for his impudence.
Per imperial edict, the emperor reiterates condemnations against corruption in the selection of the heir apparent and announces the date for his upcoming retirement from imperial administration.
A literary inquisition begins involving Xu Shukui's collection of poetry entitled Hall of the Single Pillar (Yizhu lou shiji).
Consort-in-ordinary Dun (an imperial concubine of the third rank, fei) is punished for beating a palace woman to death. She is demoted to the rank of concubine (pin).
The court establishes a proscription against gifts of ruyi scepters made of pure jade and other large works of jade.
This year, the Subprefecture of Jehol is redesignated as the Prefecture of Chengde.
Jihai Year (approx. 1779)
Qianlong Reign, 44th Year
The emperor orders for Memorials by Ming Dynasty Officials (Mingji zhuchen zoushu) to be taken from the selection of books prepared for burning. The book is to be edited and serve to exemplify the malpractice of the Ming period.
The Villa of the Dragon Springs (Longquan zhuang) in the Jiangnan area and other palatial residences are constructed for the emperor.
The emperor orders for Hošen to have greater authority and serve among the grand ministers.
Worthly Lady Irgen Gioro is supplementally promoted as Concubine Xun (an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin). Concubine Shun (an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin) is promoted as Consort-in-ordinary Shun (an imperial concubine of the third rank, fei).
Gengzi Year (approx. 1780)
Qianlong Reign, 45th Year
The Qianlong Emperor conducts his fifth southern inspection tour in the regions of Jiangsu and Zhejiang.
Governor-general Li Shiyao of Yunnan and Guizhou is sentenced to death with reprieve for graft.
The Panchen Lama visits the emperor. A banquet is held in his honor at the Garden of Myriad Trees (Wanshu yuan).
As part of his seventieth birthday celebrations, the emperor receives congratulations from the host of ministers at the imperial summer resort in Jehol.
Xinchou Year (approx. 1781)
Qianlong Reign, 46th Year
The emperor conducts a western inspection tour of Mount Wutai.
The Qing court conducts investigations into cases of graft in Gansu. Lergiyen, the original governor-general; Wang Danwang, the former commissioner of the provincial administration; and Wang Tingzan, the current commissioner of the provincial administration are put to death.
Renyin Year (approx. 1782)
Qianlong Reign, 47th Year
The first version of the Complete Library of the Four Treasuries (Siku quanshu) is completed.
The Belvedere of Literary Foundations (Wensu ge) is constructed in Mukden.
The emperor holds a feast at the Belvedere of Literary Profundity (Wenyuan ge) for the editorial officials of the Complete Library of the Four Treasuries (Siku quanshu).
Hošen, Liu Yong, and Censor Qian Li investigate cases of graft in Shandong.
Mianning (later known as the Daoguang Emperor)—the second son of Yongyan, the fifteenth imperial son—is born to Lady Sitara in the Hall of Harvesting Fragrance (Xiefang dian) in the Forbidden City.
The Belvedere of Literary Undulations (Wenlan ge) is constructed in Hangzhou.
Guimao Year (approx. 1783)
Qianlong Reign, 48th Year
The Dalai Lama is gifted with works of jade.
The emperor visits the imperial mausoleums in Mukden. Receiving congratulations in the Hall of Sublime Authority (Chongzheng dian), the emperor then makes sacrifices to the gods in the Palace of Pure Tranquility (Qingning gong) and offers a feast for the imperial clansmen in the Hall of Eminent Authority (Dazheng dian). A total of 1,308 individuals, including imperial sons, princes, dukes, and third-to-fourth-ranked clansmen, are ordered to attend the feast.
Yongxing, the eleventh imperial son, is ordered to transport the album of posthumous titles and the posthumous treasures from the Imperial Ancestral Temple (Tai miao) in the capital and consecrate them to the Imperial Ancestral Temple in Mukden.
Per imperial edict, the emperor reiterates to the Household Administration of the Heir Apparent the prohibition against the promotions of officials and attempting the establishment of the imperial heir.
Jiachen Year (approx. 1784)
Qianlong Reign, 49th Year
The Qianlong Emperor conducts his sixth inspection tour of the Jiangsu and Zhejiang regions.
The emperor orders a feast for elderly officials (Qiansou yan).
This year, the Empress of China, the first American commercial vessel to China, arrives at Guangzhou.
Yisi Year (approx. 1785)
Qianlong Reign, 50th Year
In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Qianlong Emperor's ascension to the throne, a banquet for thousands of elderly officials is held. The crowd of 3,000 invited guests is constituted of princes (qinwang, prince of the blood of the first degree) and lesser officials over the age of sixty.
A solar eclipse is calculated to occur on the first day of the lunar year in the yimao year (1795). The emperor announces the following year (1796) as the first year of the subsequent reign.
This year, farmers in Zhili, Shandong, and Henan are encouraged to plant sweet potatoes.
Bingwu Year (approx. 1786)
Qianlong Reign, 51st Year
The emperor makes a western inspection tour to Mount Wutai.
Censor Cao Xibao accuses Hošen household servant Liu Quan of wrongdoing. The accusation is deemed false, and Cao Xibao is stripped of his office yet allowed to continue in his duties.
Due to manhunts carried out by Qing soldiers in Taiwan and their burning of villages, Lin Shuangwen of Zhuanghua leads the people in revolt.
Dingwei Year (approx. 1787)
Qianlong Reign, 52nd Year
Renovations on the Ming imperial mausoleums are completed. The Qianlong Emperor personally inspects the completed project. Gathering firewood and other resources is strictly forbidden on the premises.
Wushen Year (approx. 1788)
Qianlong Reign, 53rd Year
Hošen is granted the noble title of a third-rank earl.
Lin Shuangwen and Zhuang Datian, another leader of the revolt, are taken captive. The revolt fails.
The Later Lê dynasty (of present-day Vietnam) is defeated by the Nguyễn dynasty. Lê Chiêu Thống (Chinese name: Li Weiqi), the ruler of the Later Lê, flees. Due to the Later Lê's tributary relationship with the Qing court, the Qing emperor is cautious in dealing with the situation and hopes for the reinstatement of Lê rule. Governor-general Sun Shiyi of Guangdong and Guangxi leads troops to the southern land. The battle of Ngọc Hồi-Đống Đa (Chinese title: Annan zhi yi) begins.
The autumn imperial hunt is held at the Mulan hunting grounds. The hunt is cancelled due to flooding.
Jiyou Year (approx. 1789)
Qianlong Reign, 54th Year
After reaching a peace agreement, the Qing court pardons Nguyễn Quang Bình (Chinese name, Ruan Guangping) for his crimes, permits his court to submit tribute to the Qing empire, and grants him the feudal title King of Annan (Annan guowang).
The Gurkhas (Nepalese) send an envoy with tribute and are received by the emperor.
In preparation for the emperor's upcoming eightieth birthday celebrations, a seal is inscribed with "Commemorating Eighty Years of Age" (Bazheng maonian zhi bao).
Gengxu Year (approx. 1790)
Qianlong Reign, 55th Year
The imperial authorities extend an exemption for monetary and grain taxes throughout the provinces.
The emperor takes an imperial inspection tour of Shandong and climbs Mount Tai. He visits the Confucian Temple and the Confucius family mausoleum.
Upon his eightieth birthday, the emperor receives congratulations during a grand audience at the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe dian). After this rite is completed, the emperor hosts a banquet in the Palace of Tranquil Longevity (Ningshou gong).
Academician Yin Zhuangtu of the Grand Secretariat submits a memorial to the throne to report the corruption among officials. The Qianlong Emperor reprimands Yin Zhuangtu. The academician is forced to inspect storehouses in Shanxi Province for deficits. He faces multiple obstacles to fulfilling his task and is unable to uncover any deficiencies. Ultimately, he is charged with reckless fraud.
This year, the Four Great Hui Troupes (Hui ban) arrive in the Qing capital. (The Hui Troupes were opera troupes from Anhui, Jiangsu, and adjacent areas.)
Xinhai Year (approx. 1791)
Qianlong Reign, 58th Year
Mianning, an imperial grandson, accompanies his grandfather on a hunting expedition. Showing his skill with the bow, Mianning downs a deer. His grandfather, the Qianlong Emperor, is exceedingly pleased and gives him a surcoat and an honorary plume.
After a series of controversies involving coinage and tribute, the Gurkhas (Nepalese) invade Tibet. The Qianlong Emperor sends a large detachment of the Qing army to defend the region.
Renzi Year (approx. 1792)
Qianlong Reign, 57th Year
The Gurkhas are driven to retreat from their invasion of Tibet. The establishment of the Imperial Statutes for Tibet (Qinding Xizang zhangcheng) is announced.
The Qianlong Emperor personally writes Meritorious Valor of the Ten Campaigns (Shiquan wugong ji).
Guichou Year (approx. 1793)
Qianlong Reign, 58th Year
Per imperial orders, large golden urns are placed at the Johkang (Chinese name, Dazhao si) in Lhasa and the Palace of Harmony (Yonghe gong, now known as the Lama Temple) in the capital. The reincarnations (lingtong) of Buddhist clergy are to be selected by the drawing of lots in an attempt to constrain the corrupt practice of princes and dukes arranging their sons to become officially recognized reincarnations.
The emperor receives George Macartney and his British envoy in the Garden of Myriad Trees (Wanshu yuan) in the Mountain Villa at Jehol.
Jiayin Year (approx. 1794)
Qianlong Reign, 59th Year
Upon the historic sixtieth anniversary (zhoujia) of the Qianlong Emperor's reign, an exemption on rice and bean taxes is declared throughout the empire.
Worthy Lady Chen, the daughter of Chen Tinglun, is promoted as Concubine Fang (an imperial concubine of the fourth rank, pin).
Yimao Year (approx. 1795)
Qianlong Reign, 60th Year
Shi Liudeng leads the Guizhou Miao in revolt.
The emperor calls the imperial sons, imperial grandsons, princes, and ministers to the Hall of Sedulous Rule (Qinzheng dian), where he declares his appointment of Yongyan, the fifteenth imperial son, as his heir apparent, whose reign will commence in the following year.
The imperial almanac for the first year of the Jiaqing reign is published and distributed throughout the empire. An exemption on land, population, and grain taxes is announced throughout the empire.
The heir apparent is instructed to reside in the Palace of Nurturing Joy (Yuqing gong).
Per imperial edict, "We will transfer rule next year. Duplicates of all memorials shall be delivered to the heir apparent."
In preparation for the transfer of rule, sacrifices are made to Heaven and Earth and at the Imperial Ancestral Temple and the Altar of Land and Grain.
The Palace Museum
Translator: Adam J. Ensign
Editor: Li Yang
The Qianlong Emperor (r. 1736-1795)
In the fiftieth year of the Kangxi reign, Prince Yong's wife, Lady Niuhulu gave birth to the fourth son of Prince Yong, and named the baby Hongli. Hongli's grandfather, the Kangxi Emperor showed the talented child marked affection, and hand-picked prominent scholars for his education. In 1723, the first year of the Yongzheng reign (1723-1735), Hongli was secretly nominated as heir apparent. In 1733, he was conferred the title Prince Bao, and was entrusted with affairs of national defense and administration.
In 1735, Hongli was enthroned as the Qianlong Emperor upon the death of his father. Before the Qianlong reign, the Kangxi Emperor ruled in a relatively lenient manner, while the Yongzheng Emperor, in rectification, adopted a series of exceedingly strict regulations. After his enthronement, the Qianlong Emperor tried to temper justice with mercy. To some extent, his efforts helped to assuage the growing social intensity as a result of his father's policies. He was keen to stress the importance of agriculture. He encouraged land reclamation and ordered to build irrigation facilities. A successfully military leader, he scored several historic victories, among which the battles fought along the northwestern, northern, and southern borders are the most prominent, and these frontier military campaigns helped to ensure the security in the frontiers of the empire. In his late years, the emperor claimed these battles as "Ten Complete Martial Victories" (Shi quan wugong). Meanwhile, in his lifetime, he conducted six Southern Inspections, paid six visits to Mount Wutai, and offered sacrifices in the Confucian Forest (Kong lin), the burial ground for Confucius and his family. He also actively engaged in autumn hunting in Mulan Imeprial Hunting Reserve (Mulan weichang). For several times in the Mountain Resort for Escaping the Heat (Bishu shanzhuang), he met with ethnic tribe leaders from the border regions in northwest China. All these demonstrated the Qianlong Emperor as an active leader in an era of economic prosperity and social stability.
The Qianlong Emperor was also an art patron with cultured and sophisticated taste. A productive author, he composed over forty-two thousand poems. The quantity almost equals to that of poetry in The Complete Tang Poems (Quan Tang shi). An ardent bibliophile, he ordered the compilation of The Complete Library of the Four Treasures (Siku quanshu), an effort to catalogue nearly all books in China. However, on the other hand, he also carried out literary inquisitions, ordered many books to be burned and texts modified in order to destroy books that he believed to contain seditious contents. An antiquarian, he assembled an extensive collection of ancient objects, painting, and calligraphy, and ordered the compilation of catalogues such as The Precious Collection of the Stone Moat (Shiqu baoji), and Ancient Mirrors of the Western Qing (Xiqing gujian).
To many historians, the Qianlong reign marked the beginning of the downfall of the Qing dynasty, in which the national treasury was drained and corruption rampant among bureaucrats.
Sixty years after the Qianlong Emperor's enthronement, he retired as Emperor Emeritus and passed down the throne to his son Yongyan, the Jiaqing Emperor (r. 1796-1820). However, in the following three years, he kept actively engaged in state affairs through political tutelage. In early 1799, he died in the Hall of Mental Cultivation (Yangxin dian) at the age of about eighty-nine. The Qianlong Emperor's longevity was unrivaled among the Qing emperors, while practically he also enjoyed the longest period of government.
Lady Fuca, Empress Xiaoxian