Uprising in Ning-sia


July 1, 2022

The Ning-sia Rebellion is the name given to the revolt of the garrison in Ning-sia against the commanders of the region. The rebellion, centered at Ning-sia, the headquarters of one of the nine military regions on the Ming Chinese border with Mongolia, began in March 1592. The rebels, led by the Chinese officer Liu Tung-yang and apparently also the Mongol general in Ming service Pübei, eliminated the commanding generals and seized city ​​and fortifications in the vicinity. A Ming army under Wei Suecheng quickly reoccupied the region and besieged the city in mid-May. The insurgents had 20 or 30 thousand soldiers, the city had 300 thousand inhabitants. The Ming government assembled 40,000 soldiers, equipped with hundreds of cannons, to suppress the rebellion. The siege dragged on, the ongoing skirmishes did not bring success to either side. The rebels tried to gain the support of the Mongol khans, but were unsuccessful. The stalemate was decided by the construction of a dam around the city by the Ming army, which, after being filled with water, flooded the city and upset the city castles. The lack of food also undermined the morale of the defenders. On October 20, 1592, the city was captured, the leaders of the rebels perished or were captured and executed.

Conditions on the northwestern border, Pübei

After the settlement of Ming China's relations with the Mongol Altan Khan in 1571 and the resumption of Sino-Mongol trade, the Ming state's relations with its northern neighbors were generally peaceful, and the Mongols were not a serious threat, although armed clashes occasionally occurred. Sometimes with the participation of tens of thousands of men. Ming troops also raided Mongolia and Manchuria, burning settlements, killing defiant leaders, and confiscating livestock. Such events were organized by Zhang Yucheng (he headed the Ming government in the years 1572–1582), and with the support of Emperor Wanli (emperor 1572–1620), they continued in the following years. For example, in 1591, General Li Chengliang destroyed a Mongol camp during a raid, killed 280 Mongols and dispersed over a thousand of them. Despite the active defense of the empire's borders and military support from Zhang Yucheng and Wanli, the Ming armies guarding the northwestern frontier were not in the best condition. In the 1980s, there were several smaller rebellions, mostly caused by delays in salary and food payments. At the end of the Jiaqing reign (reigned 1521–1567), Pübei, a Mongolian chief from Chachar, crossed over to the Chinese side with several hundred men of his household. At home in Čachar, his clan caused unrest by constant raids on neighbors, which the chief of his tribe solved by executing Pübei's father and older brother, Pübei then had no choice but to flee to Ming territory. Pübei and his horsemen were excellent fighters, said to be able to cover 150–200 km in a day on horseback, ambush and disperse an enemy camp, and capture cattle. The Mongols were said to be afraid of his name and did not dare to attack Ming villages within a radius of 150 km around Ningxia. Within a decade, he became the regional military commissioner (tu-ch'-chuei) at Hua-ma-ch', a strategically important fortress in the northwestern frontier southeast of Ningxia, and played a prominent role in Ming raids against the Mongol chieftains in and around Ordos. Despite the complaints of some officials, both Zhang Yucheng and Wanli valued and honored him. In 1589, Pübei was appointed acting regional commissioner in Ningxia, with his son Po Chengen taking over his old post. At that time, Pübei had 3,000 personal guards at his disposal (such personal detachments were common among senior late Ming commanders; they formed the elite core of the Ming armies). Due to his advanced age (over 60 years old), Pübei wanted to step down from his new position and hand it over to his son, but the great sun-fu coordinator in Ning-sia, Tang Sin, protested that he was too powerful and dangerous. Pübei Disputes