Zheng Chenggong (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Sustained hope for restoration of the Ming Empire; extended Chinese influence in Taiwan.
Zheng Chenggong, known to the Dutch as Koxinga, was the son of a Ming admiral who operated a huge commercial and pirate fleet, which plied the coastal waters from Japan to Vietnam. Zheng was well educated and served as a civil servant, finding early favor with the Ming court. Raised in a cosmopolitan atmosphere, he was baptized a Christian and married into a prominent Japanese family. After Beijing fell to the Manchus in 1644, he remained loyal to the Ming princes, although his father defected in 1646. First supporting the prince of Tang, in 1645, then the prince of Gui, in 1647, Zheng was made a field marshal and eventually a duke. He built a 150,000-man army based in Fujian, established seventy-two military stations, and operated a fleet of ships along the south China coast. Although successful in his 1646 expedition and in his assaults on Amoy, in 1653; Chungming Island, in 1656; and Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Zhenjiang, in 1658 and 1659, Zheng was defeated at Nanjing in 1659, losing 500 ships in the process.
Losing much of his southern base and convinced that Amoy and Quemoy were limited in use, Zheng conquered the Dutch in Formosa (Taiwan) with a fleet of 900 ships and 25,000 marines in 1661. The Manchu government could do little to directly counter Zheng, so they executed his father, prohibited...
(The entire section is 369 words.)
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