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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 Tianming Emperor (Nurhaci) (approx. 1616-1626)
Jiwei Year (approx. 1559)
Ming Dynasty: Jiajing Reign, 38th Year
Nurhaci (pronounced noor-ha-chee), who is later known as the Tianming Emperor, is born to Taksi—the fourth son of Jianzhou Left Guard Commander Giocangga—and Emeci, the eldest daughter of Jianzhou Right Guard Commander Wang Gao of the Hitara clan.
Jisi Year (approx. 1569)
Ming Dynasty: Longqing Reign, 3rd Year
Nuraci's mother, Lady Hitara, dies.
Shenxu Year (approx. 1574)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 2nd Year
Regional Commander Li Chengliang leads Ming forces in a punitive expedition against Jianzhou. Wang Gao's stronghold is destroyed. Nurhaci and his younger brother Šurhaci are captured. Li Chengliang becomes their guardian and treats them like sons.
Dingchou Year (approx. 1577)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 5th Year
Nurhaci leaves Li Chengliang and returns to Jianzhou where he lives apart from his father's household. He marries a daughter of the Tunggiya clan and later honors her as his principal consort.
Renwu Year (approx. 1582)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 10th Year
Yangginu, a prince (beile) of the Yehe clan, promises the hand of his beloved daughter—known by her epithet, the Mongol Lady—along with horses and armor to Nurhaci.

Guiwei Year (approx. 1583)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 11th Year
2nd Month:
Commander Li Chengliang leads Ming forces against Wang Gao. Nurhaci's father—Taksi—and grandfather and relatives are killed in battle. Li Chengliang allocates Taksi's land, servants, and horses to Nurhaci and grants him a hereditary rank of commissioner-in-chief in the Chief Military Commission.
5th Month:
Taking charge of his father and grandfather's thirteen squads of troops, Nurhaci begins his campaign to unite the Jianzhou Jurchen tribes.
Jiashen Year (approx. 1584)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 12th Year
Nurhaci subdues the Donggo tribe. He takes Lady Niohuru and Lady Joogiya as concubines.
Yiyou Year (approx. 1585)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 13th Year
Nurhaci takes Gundai, Lady Fuca (a title denoting her clan of origin), as his second wife.
Bingxu Year (approx. 1586)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 14th Year
Nurhaci subdues the Jurchens residing near the Suksuhu River and takes a daughter of the Irgen Gioro clan as a mid-ranked concubine (ce fei) in his harem.
Dinghai Year (approx. 1587) 
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 15th Year
1st Month:
Nurhaci builds a palatial residence on the south side of Mount Hulan, which is later known as Fe Ala, the citadel of the Jianzhou Left Guard.
4th Month:
Nurhaci establishes a political structure and takes the title Wise Prince of the Jurchen State. His fifth son Manggūltai is born to Lady Fuca.
Wuzi Year (approx. 1588)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 16th Year

4th Month:
Nurhaci marries the Hada Nara clanswoman E-min, daughter of Prince Hurhan (beile) of the Hada tribe.
9th Month:
Nurhaci marries a Yehe Nara clanswoman, known by the epithet Mongol Lady, daughter of Yangginu, the chieftain of the Yehe tribe.
Jichou Year (approx. 1589)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 17th Year
9th Month:
The Ming imperial court appoints Nurhaci as an assistant commander-in-chief. Nurhaci enters into an alliance with the Yehe, Hoifa, and Hada tribes.
Gengyin Year (approx. 1590)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 18th Year
Nurhaci visits the Ming capital for the first time, pays tribute to the emperor, and receives gifts from the imperial court. 
Xinmao Year (approx. 1591)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 19th Year
Nurhaci subdues the Jurchens of the Yalu River. He takes a Giyamhu Gioro clanswoman for his harem.

Renchen Year (approx. 1592)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 20th Year

4th Month:
Nurhaci sends a memorial to the Ming emperor requesting a promotion—specifically an edict declaring him a dragon-tiger general (longhu jiangjun).
10th Month:
Hong Taiji, Nurhaci's eighth son, is born to Lady Yehe Nara—known by her epithet Mongol Lady and later as Empress Xiaoci.

Guiji Year (approx. 1593)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 21st Year
9th Month:
Nurhaci defeats the Hūlun Alliance (Chinese, Haixi sibu, or Four Tribes of Haixi) and the accompanying Khorchin and eight other Mongol tribes in their combined attack on Jianzhou.
11th Month (Intercalary):
Nurhaci pays tribute a second time in the Ming capital.
Yiwei Year (approx. 1595)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 23rd Year
8th Month:
Nurhaci's younger brother Šurhaci pays tribute at the Ming court.
11th Month:
Nurhaci receives the Joseon Korean emissary, the interpreter Ha Segug (He Shiguo, Chinese name), at Fe Ala and sends a missive for his ruler.
This year, the Ming court gives Nurhaci the additional the rank of dragon-tiger general for his military accomplishments. His fourth daughter, Mukushen, is born to Lady Giyamhu Gioro.

Bingshen Year (approx. 1596)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 24th Year

1st Month:
Nurhaci and Šurhaci each receive the southern Joseon Korean Assistant Magistrate Sin Chung-il (Shen Zhongyi, Chinese name) at Fe Ala.
Dingyou Year (approx. 1597)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 25th Year

1st Month:
The four tribes of the Hūlun Alliance—Yehe, Hoifa, Hada, and Ula—hold negotiations with Nurhaci and enter into a marriage union marked by the betrothal of the younger sister of Yangginu, leader of the Yehe tribe, to Nurhaci. She is later known as the old lady of the Yehe clan.
5th Month:
Nurhaci visits the Ming capital for a third offering of tribute.
Wuxu Year (approx. 1598)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 26th Year
1st Month:
The conquest of the An-chu-la-ku tribe increases Nurhaci's capture of men and livestock. Nurhaci's eldest son Cuyen is named prince (beile) with the additional title of hero (hong baturu).
10th Month:
Nurhaci pays tribute for a fourth time in the Ming capital.
Jihai Year (approx. 1599)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 27th Year

2nd Month:
Nurhaci commissions Erdeni and Gagai to adapt the Mongolian script for the Jurchen tongue.
9th Month:
Nurhaci attacks the Hada tribe.
Xinchou Year (approx. 1601)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 29th Year
11th Month:
Nurhaci marries the Ula Nara clanswoman A-ba-hai—the niece of Bujantai, leader of the Ula tribe—as a high-ranking concubine.
12th Month:
Nurhaci visits the Ming capital for a fifth time to pay tribute.
This year, the yellow, white, red, and blue Banners are established. (This organization marks the incipient form of the Eight Banners politico-military system.)
Guimao Year (approx. 1603)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 31st Year

1st Month:
Nurhaci establishes his new base of rule at Hetu Ala.
9th Month:
Hong Taiji's birth mother Lady Yehe Nara (Empress Xiaoci) dies.
This year, Nurhaci takes a clanswoman of the Irgen Gioro clan as a lower ranking concubine (shu fei). 
Nurhaci is honored as a respected khan by Enggeder a Mongol nobleman (taiji) and the leaders of five Khalka Mongol tribes. 
This year, the late Lady Yehe Nara (Empress Xiaoci) is buried at Mount Niyaman.
Dingwei Year (approx. 1607)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 35th Year
2nd Month:
Nurhaci dispatches Daišan, who defeats the Ula and receives the title Ancient Hero. Cuyen is named Resourceful Strategist (a-er-ha-tu tu-men, or guanglüe).
9th Month:
Nurhaci defeats the Hoifa tribe.
Wushen Year (approx. 1608)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 36th Year
4th Month:
Nurhaci and the Ming dynasty define clear borders, and the Jurchen refer to their domain as a state.
12th Month:
Nurhaci and his younger brother Šurhaci pay tribute in the Ming capital.
Jiyou Year (approx. 1609)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 37th Year
2nd Month:
Šurhaci is imprisoned.
Gengxu Year (approx. 1610)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 38th Year
Nurhaci takes a mid ranking (ce fei) concubine from the Yehe Nala clan and a lower ranking (shu fei) concubine from the Silin Gioro clan.
Xinhai Year (approx. 1611)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 39th Year
8th Month:
Šurhaci dies.

Renzi Year (approx. 1612)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 40th Year

1st Month:
Nurhaci marries the daughter of the Khorchin Mongol prince Minggan of the Borjigit clan.
Guichou Year (approx. 1613)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 41st Year
1st Month:
The Ula tribe is defeated.
3rd Month:
Nurhaci's eldest son Cuyen is imprisoned for cursing his father.
Jiayin Year (approx. 1614)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 42nd Year
6th Month:
 Hong Taiji and the Khorchin Mongol prince Manggusi's daughter Lady Borjigit (later known as Empress Xiaoduan) are wed.
Yimao Year (approx. 1615)
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 43rd Year
1st Month:
Nurhaci marries Lady Borjigit (later known as Consort Dowager Shoukang, lit. "Longevity and Health"), the daughter of the Mongol prince Kong-guo-er.
3rd Month:
 Nurhaci travels to the Ming capital for his seventh and last offering of tribute.
6th Month:
The Yehe tribal leaders revoke Nurhaci's betrothal to their older clanswoman (the previously mentioned "old lady") and betroth her to Mang-gu-er-dai of the Khalka Mongol tribe.
8th Month:
Cuyen is executed.
This year, the council of five chief officials and ten judges (Manchu jarguci) are established to assist in administering state affairs. The Eight Banners system is officially inaugurated.
Bingchen Year (approx. 1616) 
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tianming Reign, 1st Year
Ming Dynasty:  Wanli Reign, 44th Year
1st Month:
Nurhaci proclaims himself khan in the Octagonal Hall (Bajiao dian, later known as the Hall of Eminent Authority) at Hetu Ala, thus establishing the first year of the Tianming reign and the dominion of the Jin (called Latter Jin by historians). Festivities for paying homage to the sovereign on the first day of the new year are instituted, and the regal retinue is expanded to include musical accompaniment. Later in the year, Daišan, the second son of Nurhaci, and Manggūltai, the fifth son, are named prince (beile, prince of the blood of the third degree) and invited to participate in state affairs.
Dingsi Year (approx. 1617)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tianming Reign, 2nd Year
Ming Dynasty:  Wanli Reign, 45th Year
1st Month:
Nurhaci receives the Khorchin Mongol prince (beile) Minggan in audience with a grand display of ceremony.
Wuwu Year (approx. 1618)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tianming Reign, 3rd Year
Ming Dynasty:  Wanli Reign, 46th Year
4th Month:
Nurhaci rallies his troops with Seven Grievances (Qi dahen, an official proclamation against the rule of the Ming) for military campaigns against the Ming dynasty.
Siwei Year (approx. 1619)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tianming Reign, 4th Year
Ming Dynasty:  Wanli Reign, 47th Year
3rd Month:
The Latter Jin forces defeat the Ming army at Sarhū.
4th Month:
Nurhaci announces his Latter Jin khanate to neighboring Joseon Korea.
8th Month:
Nurhaci subdues the Yehe clan.
Gengshen Year (approx. 1620)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tianming Reign, 5th Year
Ming Dynasty: Wanli Reign, 48th Year
3rd Month:
Lady Fuca—Nurhaci's second and then primary wife—is convicted of crimes and ordered to commit suicide.
10th Month:
Nurhaci moves his capital to Jaifiyan (Chinese Jiefan).
Xinyou Year (approx. 1621)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tianming Reign, 6th Year
Ming Dynasty:  Tianqi Reign, 1st Year
1st Month:
Nurhaci leads the Four Great Princes (Sida beile) Daišan, Amin, Manggūltai, and Hong Taiji in swearing an oath to Heaven for committed alliance and unity of mind.
7th Month:
Feasting is held in celebration of the seizure of Liaodong.
8th Month:
The building of the new capital city of Liaoyang is decreed.
11th Month:
Jirgalang and three other princes (beile) are imprisoned for graft.
Renxu Year (approx. 1622)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tianming Reign, 7th Year
Ming Dynasty:  Tianqi Reign, 2nd Year
3rd Month:
Nurhaci names eight of the imperial sons as princes (hošoi beile, lit. "prince of a region" or enfeoffed princes, Chinese heshuo beile, the highest rank a Jurchen prince could receive in this early period) and invites them to jointly manage state affairs, proclaiming, "With your leadership in the country's affairs, essentially no duties have been left unadministered. From among the eight of you enfeoffed princes, he who is able to receive admonishment and shows himself virtuous shall be selected to succeed the throne."
Guihai Year (approx. 1623)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tianming Reign, 8th Year
Ming Dynasty: Tianqi Reign, 3rd Year
1st Month:
Khanate orders indicate that the khan, princes (beile), and ministers are to maintain the appropriate relationship of a ruler and his subjects, or a father and his son (reflecting the Confucian social ethic). Triumphant returns from battle (kaixuan) are mandated to be celebrated by sacrifices to Heaven, feasting, and merriment.
6th Month:
At the Octagonal Hall (Bajiao dian), Nurhaci admonishes princesses and princess-consorts to treat their husbands—his sons-in-law (efu)—well and not insult them, adding that transgressors will be criminally charged.
Jiazi Year (approx. 1624)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tianming Reign, 9th Year
Ming Dynasty:  Tianqi Reign, 4th Year
4th Month:
Tombs of the deceased ancestors of the Latter Jin, including Nurhachi’s grandfather the Great Progenitor (Jingzu), his father the Eminent Progenitor (Xianzu), and Nurhaci’s principal wife—the late Empress Xiaoci (lit. "filial, benevolent, high")—are relocated to the east capital Liaoyang, in present-day Liaoning Province.
Yichou Year (approx. 1625)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tianming Reign, 10th Year
Ming Dynasty: Tianqi Reign, 5th Year
2nd Month:
Hong Taiji takes the daughter of Zaysan, a Khorchin-Borjigin Mongol prince (beile), as his wife (later known as Empress Xiaozhuang).
3rd Month:
The new capital is established at Mukden (or Shengjing, present-day Shenyang).
Bingyin Year (approx. 1626)
Latter Jin Dynasty: Tianming Reign, 11th Year 
Ming Dynasty: Tianqi Reign, 6th Year
1st Month:
Nurhaci unifies his forces and attacks the Ming city of Ningyuan. This marks the first defeat in his campaigns, and he returns from battle seriously injured.
7th Month:
Nurhaci seeks recovery at the Qinghe hotsprings.
8th Month:
Nurhaci fails to recover and dies. His primary wife, Lady Ula Nara, and two subordinate consorts are buried with him as offerings. Daišan and his sons Yoto and Sahaliyan support the succession of Hong Taiji to the khanate throne.
9th Month:
Hong Taiji ascends the throne in the Hall of Eminent Authority (Dazheng dian). The next year begins his reign as khan. (He is later known as the Tiancong Emperor.)


Translator: Adam J. Ensign

Editor: Li Yang


Nurhaci of the Aisin Gioro Clan was the Taizu Emperor of the Qing dynasty. He was born to a slave-owner's family in the thirty-eighth year of the Ming dynasty's Jiajing reign (1559, the jiwei year) in the Left Commandery of Jianzhou (Jianzhou zuowei, southwest to today's Xinbin county, Liaoning province). He was the eldest son of Takeshi and Hitala. 

Many of Nurhaci's forefathers had been conferred various titles by the Ming court. Nurhaci himself had also been successively appointed to key positions including Commander, Assistant Commissioner-in-Chief and Commissioner-in-Chief of Left Commandery of Jianzhou. At an early age Nurhaci used to collect pine nut and ginseng and sell them in the horse market in Fushun. Later he served under the command of Li Chengliang, a Ming general stationed in Liaodong. Historical documents record that "Nurhaci was always in the van guard of his officers and men in every battle, gaining military exploits repeatedly. General Li thought highly of him and treated him well." Nurhaci developed a deep understanding of Han territories in Liaodong area while also being influenced by Han culture.

 In 1583, the eleventh year of the Wanli reign, the Ming court appointed Nurhaci the Regional Military Commissioner of the Left Commandery of Jianzhou. In the same year, he took an oath on the thirteen sets of armor worn by his forefathers and launched the war to unify the different Jurchen clans in Jianzhou. With the strategies of "carrot and stick" as well as "persuade the obedient with virtue and subdue the defiant with force", Nurhaci successfully unified all Jurchen clans in Jianzhou within ten years. In 1589, the seventeenth year of the Wanli reign, he was promoted to the Assistant Commissioner- in-Chief Jianzhou with the title "Dragon - Tiger Generalissimo".  

After another twenty years of unification wars Nurhaci unified all the Jurchen clans in the Songhua River Basin and north of the Changbai Mountain area. He gradually relocated all Jurchen clans to the Hun River Basin during the wars. To meet the political and economic demands of his unification, Nurhaci established the "Eight Banners System", a new political system that combined clan administration with military organization. The system installed an administrative minister along with the chieftains of Eight Banners to be the highest political and military decision-making body. He also ordered the development of a new Manchu writing system based on Mongolian characters and Jurchen pronunciation. 

As his clan’s military might grew stronger, the time to establish a new nation emerged. In the forty-fourth year of the Wanli reign (1616) Nurhaci established the "Great Jin" dynasty (historically known as “Later Jin”) in Hetuala (southwest to today's Xinbin, Liaoning province). He titled himself the first Khan of the dynasty, named his reign Heaven’s Mandate (Tianming) and set up government departments. 

In the third year of the Tianming reign (1618), Nurhaci rebelled against the Ming court. He crushed Ming troops in the battle of Sarhu with the tactic of "divide and destroy". His soldiers entered the Liao River Basin and conquered Shenyang, Liaoyang and more than seventy forts on the east bank of the Liao River. In the sixth year of Tianming reign (1621) he moved the capital to Liaoyang and again moved to Shenyang in 1625, taking over most parts of Liaodong. 

In the following year, he directed the siege of Ningyuan (today's Xincheng, Liaoning province). Though outnumbered and cut off from reinforcements, the 10,000 defending Ming troops were effectively motivated and commanded by the acclaimed general Yuan Chonghuan (1584-1630). Nurhaci ordered a furious attack after his attempt to persuade Yuan to surrender failed. During the fierce battle he was hit by Ming troops' fire. Nurhaci Khan died of pain and gangrene in Fort Aiji during his retreat to Shenyang. He was sixty-eight (by traditional account).

 He was saluted with long and magnificent posthumous titles. First he was called “Emperor who Bears Heaven’s Broad Fortune, Sagely Virtue, Miraculous Skill, Initiator of Principle, Establisher of Supremacy, Benevolent, Filial, and Martial" (Chengtian guangyun shengde shengong zhaoji liji renxiao wu huangdi). As the dynasty unfolded, the title was supplemented to include “Martial, Extremely Resolute, Dignified and Pacifying, Promoter of Civilization, Settler of National Cause, and Accomplished” (ruiwu duanyi qinan hongwen dingye gao). He was given the temple name of "Taizu" (Grand Progenitor), and buried in the Good Fortune (Fu) Tomb in Shenyang.


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