Sichuan MassacreLILY MAYNARDCHLOE’ANN HOFFMANALLIE LATHROMTYLER FOXZAYNE NOWAKThe Sichuan Massacre was caused by a man name Zhang Xianzhong. Zhang Xianzhong was born in 1606 in the Dingbian, Shaanxi province of China.
Zhang was a Chinese rebel leader and he was close to the Ming Dynasty. After a terrible famine in the northern province of Shaanxi in 1628. After the famine Zhang became the leader of a group of freebooters. When attacking or looting they used hit and run tactics to plunder though China. To compensate for not having to attack head on when trying to plunder. Although the gang uses hit and run tactics they were still fought off multiple times by government troops but no matter, the gang just regrouped in the hills and kept plundering. In 1644, the year the Ming Dynasty fell Zhang marched into Sichuan Province in West Central China. Zhang did so with about 100,000 men and declared himself Dixie Guo Wang or “King of the Great Western Kingdom.
” After being enthroned Zhang coined money and set up an examination system to recruit talented men. Although Zhang wanted a civilian government Zhang was extremely concerned about his military strength. Zhang pursued to make his military very strong; it’s said that 600 million people perished although highly exaggerated it’s said that way to fully express the brutality and death.
The mountains in the southern region forms the drainage area of the upper Han River, which is north of tributary of the Yangtze River. The Han flows between two mountain complexes that structurally form part of a great, single fold zone. These complexes are the Daba Mountains, forming the boundary with Sichuan province and Chongqing municipality to the south, and the Qin Mountain the major environmental divide between northern and central China to the north. Its northern flank in Shaanxi is heavily dissected by the complex pattern of the Han River’s southern tributaries.
The only major break in this mountain chain occurs in the far southwest of the province where the Jialing River, which rises to the north in the Qin Mountains, cuts through the Daba chain to flow into Sichuan on its way to join the Yangtze at Chongqing. This valley forms the major communication route from the Wei River valley in central Shaanxi to Sichuan and the southwest. The northern parts of Shaanxi, particularly the Wei River Valley, were some of the earliest settled parts of China.
In the valley some remains of the Mesolithic Period have been found, while there are Neolithic Yangshao culture sites spread along the whole of the west-east corridor from Gansu to Henan, showing that this was already an important route. Chinese Neolithic culture was probably first developed in the Wei valley. It remained an important centre of the later Neolithic Yangshao culture and then became the first home of the Zhou people, who in the mid-11th century bce invaded the territories of their overlords, the Shang, to the east, and in 1046 set up a dynasty that exercised some degree of political authority over much of North China. Until 771 B.C.E the political centre of the Zhou was at Hao, near modern Xi’an. In 770 bce the Zhou lost much of their authority and moved their capital eastward to Luoyang in Henan province, after which Shaanxi became something of a backwater. Gradually, however, the predynastic Qin state, which controlled the area, began to develop into a strong centralized polity of a totally new kind, able to mobilize mass labour for vast construction projects, such as the part of the Great Wall of China built between Shaanxi and the Ordos Plateau.
One of the greatest of these tasks was the completion in the Wei valley of a large and efficient irrigation system based on the Zhengguo Canal and centred around the junction of the Jing and Wei rivers. This system, completed in the 3rd century bce, watered some 450,000 acres (180,000 hectares) and provided the powerful economic base for the Qin’s eventual conquest of the whole of China.It was a city of vast wealth and the focus of a nationwide road system. The area remained extremely populous and was a major centre of political authority for the next millennium.
The Han, successors of the short-lived Qin dynasty, made their capital Chang’an, near Xianyang. Later, in the 6th century, when after some centuries of disunion the Sui again unified the empire, their capital—Daxing—was on the same site as Chang’an, which also was the capital of the Tang dynasty.Chang’an, as the capital was now once more known, was by far the largest and most magnificent city in the world in its day and was immensely wealthy. However, by this time the irrigation system upon which Shaanxi primarily depended had begun to deteriorate, soil erosion and deforestation had begun to be problems, and the productivity of the area declined. The maintenance of a huge metropolis of more than one million people in the area consequently necessitated the difficult and costly transportation of vast quantities of grain and provisions from the eastern plains and the Yangtze River valley. However, after the sack of Chang’an 882 and its abandonment 904, no dynasty ever again had its capital in the northwest, and the area rapidly declined in importance as the economic centre of the empire gradually gravitated toward the Yangtze valley and South China. During the next millennium Shaanxi became one of the poorest and most backward of China’s provinces.However, Shaanxi also underwent many changes during the Yuan or Mongol dynasty.
Most notably, the province was devastated and largely depopulated as a result of the Mongol conquest, and there emerged a large Muslim element in the population. The area suffered badly from rebellion and disorders following the collapse of Mongol rule after about 1340, when two independent regimes—those of Zhang Sidao in the northwest and of Li Siqi around Chang’an—controlled most of Shaanxi. Later it was one of the areas in which disaffection with Ming rule which began in 1368 first appeared in the late 1620s, and it was somewhat badly damaged in the fighting leading up to the Qing conquest in 1644.Under Ming rule Shaanxi province also incorporated Gansu to the west, but in 1666 under the Qing dynasty the two were separated once more.By the 19th century Shaanxi was seriously impoverished.
Although only marginally affected by the Taiping Rebellion in its last stages, eastern and southern Shaanxi were slightly disturbed by the Nian Rebellion between 1853 and 1868. It then suffered the bloody Muslim rebellion of 1862 to 1873, which affected much of the western and northern parts of the province. Although the effects of the rebellion and its savage suppression were not as terrible as in Muslim Gansu, about 600,000 were killed in Shaanxi.As this rebellion was coming to an end, Shaanxi was also affected by one of the worst famines in modern times, brought about by a prolonged drought. It had virtually no rain from 1876 to 1878, and, when the government tried to remedy the situation in 1877, poor transport facilities prevented effective relief.Perhaps four to five million people died in Shaanxi alone, with some single counties in the fertile Wei valley losing more than 100,000 people each. Shaanxi became a haven for a wave of land-hungry immigrants from Sichuan and Hebei provinces. Shaanxi became a haven for a wave of land-hungry immigrants from Sichuan and Hebei provinces.
The end of the Qing period in 1911 brought yet further deterioration in living conditions. In 1912 the governors of Shaanxi and Gansu became engaged in a destructive civil war of an unusually brutal and violent character; the war, often affecting all of Shaanxi, continued until 1921, after which the province became involved in a still-larger war between Feng Yuxiang and the Zhili Chihli, now Hebei warlords. It is estimated that at least three million people died of starvation, after which a wave of epidemics increased the death toll still further. Whole counties were virtually depopulated. This time, however, some measures of relief were forthcoming. The International Famine Relief Organization began to rehabilitate the derelict irrigation system of the Wey valley, while the extension of the Longhai Railway into the province meant that, if in the future famine should threaten, relief supplies could quickly be moved into the province.A further political upheaval followed in 1936 when communist armies, driven out of their bases in Jiangxi, passed through the western parts of Shaanxi.
They then established themselves in Yan’an in northern Shaanxi, which was to be the base from which they conducted their war of resistance against the Japanese and from which, after the end of World War II, they successfully undertook the conquest of all China.The history of the southern part of the province has been considerably more placid than that of the north. Until the late 17th century the area was very sparsely peopled, and much of it, apart from the Hanzhong Basin, has remained virgin forest.
In the period after about 1680 the introduction of corn (maize) and sweet potatoes, followed in the 18th century by the introduction of the Irish potato, made upland farming possible. A pattern emerged of growing rice in the valley bottoms, corn on the lower mountain slopes, and Irish potatoes on the higher land. Southern Shaanxi, with its great amounts of vacant land, attracted immigrants on a large scale after severe famines and crop failures had occurred in Hubei and Sichuan provinces in the 1770s.
Rapid and often reckless development of the uplands, however, often led to soil erosion, rapid loss of fertility, and declining crop output. Local disaffection broke out in the so-called White Lotus Rebellion of 1796–1804, which was centred in the Sichuan-Shaanxi-Hubei-Henan border regions. After its suppression, however, the area remained generally peaceful.