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Prince of Fu

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  • Born: 1607
  • Died: 1646
  • Other Names: 弘光帝 (Hóngguāng dì), 由崧 (Zhū yóusōng)
  • Chinese: 福王 (Fú wáng)

The Prince of Fu was a grandson of the Wanli Emperor, and one of the prominent claimants to the Ming Dynasty throne during the Manchu conquest of China in 1644-1645.

Based at Nanjing, the Prince of Fu took the throne as the Hongguang Emperor in 1644, shortly after the fall of Beijing. That same year, he received an envoy from the Kingdom of Ryûkyû, Kin Ôgen, who reported on the death of King Shô Hô of Ryûkyû and requested investiture (qie feng) for Shô Hô's successor Shô Ken. Informed of Huanggong's recent accession to the throne, Ryûkyû then sent another envoy, Mô Daiyô, as leader of a congratulatory (qinghe) mission.[1]

During his brief reign, Huanggong attempted to negotiate with the Manchu leader Dorgon, offering to pay considerable gifts, and annual tribute, if the Manchus would leave China and return to north of the Great Wall. Dorgon countered that he would agree to give the Prince a small independent kingdom, in exchange for his renouncing any claims to China (i.e. to the imperial throne). The Prince of Fu rejected this suggestion.

The prince's court was rife with factional disputes, and was unable to work in concert to prepare an effective defense of the city. The Manchu armies made their way down along the Grand Canal and besieged Yangzhou in spring 1645, taking the city in a week, and pillaging it for ten days, an intentionally violent spectacle meant as an example to the rest of China of what would happen to cities which dared to put up resistance.

When the Manchu forces reached Nanjing in June 1645, they faced little resistance, and took the city quickly. The Prince of Fu was captured and sent to Beijing, where he died the following year.

References

  • Jonathan Spence, The Search for Modern China, Second Edition, W.W. Norton & Co. (1999), 35.
  1. Schottenhammer, Angela. “Empire and Periphery? The Qing Empire’s Relations with Japan and the Ryūkyūs (1644–c. 1800), a Comparison.” The Medieval History Journal 16, no. 1 (April 1, 2013): 176.
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