Kangxi (Dictionary of World Biography: The 17th and 18th Centuries)
Article abstract: Kangxi was the fourth emperor of the Ch’ing Dynasty that ruled China from 1644 to 1912. Blending knowledge and action in his leadership, he consolidated Manchu power and legitimated the Manchus’ rule in China.
Kangxi, the third son of the Emperor Shun-chih, was born on May 4, 1654, in Peking, the capital city of the Manchu (Ch’ing) Empire. The Manchus, a branch of the nomadic Jurched tribe, arose in the twelfth century in Manchuria, where they subsisted by hunting and fishing. By the sixteenth century, they had absorbed so many Chinese cultural, economic, and technological influences that their nomadic existence had been thoroughly transformed. By the early seventeenth century, the Chinese Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) had fallen into steep decline. This allowed the Manchus, who had established powerful armies, to defeat the Ming and establish a new dynasty in Peking in 1644.
Although Kangxi eventually became the fourth Manchu emperor of China, he was less than half Manchu ethnically, since his parents were of mixed Mongol, Chinese, and Manchu ancestry. Kangxi was conscious of his multiple ethnic heritage and worked throughout his life to create a government representing all the diverse nationalities. As a youth, Kangxi probably had as little experience of a happy, shared family life as any imperial prince of his time. His father took little interest in him; his daily care was...
(The entire section is 2308 words.)
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Kangxi (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Kangxi consolidated Manchu rule, creating a long period of peace and prosperity.
A Manchu, Kangxi ascended the Chinese throne at the age of six and took complete control of the government in 1669, personally running it energetically and skillfully until his death. To complete the conquest of China, the emperor launched the War of the Three Feudatories (1673-1681) to destroy three virtually independent feudal states ruled by Chinese generals in southern China. After defeating the three states, Kangxi’s forces seized the island of Taiwan in 1683. Kangxi then sent forces to stop Russian encroachment from Siberia into the Amur region. After destroying Russian fortifications there, China concluded its first treaty with a European power, the Treaty of Nerchinsk (1689), which recognized Chinese control of the area. In the Dzungar War (1690-1696), Chinese forces spent a number of years in border skirmishes with the Dzungars, then Kangxi led a force of 80,000 across Mongolia to victory against the Dzungar chieftain at Chao-Modo (1696). In 1683, the Manchus annexed Taiwan. In 1720, Kangxi sent his troops to expel the Western Mongols from Tibet, thereby adding this territory to China. Besides his military accomplishments, Kangxi undertook several massive inspection tours of his empire to monitor his reign. A patron of the arts and a scholar, Kangxi used Jesuit missionaries to cast cannons, teach him Western...
(The entire section is 301 words.)