Zuo Zongtang (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Zuo was the chief military leader who suppressed the Taiping, Nian, and other rebellions in China.
Born into gentry, Zuo Zongtang became a Confucian scholar. During the Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864), Zuo led the fight against the rebels in his native province. He also recruited a volunteer force to battle the Taipings in Jiangxi and Anhui provinces (1860). As governor of Zhejiang province (1862-1863) and governor general of Zhejiang and Fujian provinces (1863-1866), he continued fighting the Taipings, earning the title of earl. In 1866, Zuo was appointed governor general of Shaanxi and Gansu provinces to quell Muslim rebellions. Diverted on his way, Zuo led the troops that destroyed the Nian Rebellion (1853-1868) in east-central China. From 1868 to 1878, he fought the Muslim rebels in Shaanxi, Gansu, and Xinjiang, receiving the title of marquis. During this time, he successfully argued for funds for his campaigns over Li Hongzhang, who advocated strong coastal defense. Zuo’s victories in Xinjiang caused the Russians in 1881 to give back Ili, a region in western Xinjiang they occupied in 1871. Recalled to Beijing, he was given several prominent positions. In 1882, he asked to retire because of ill health and age, but the government refused, sending Zuo to suppress a rebellion in Shangdong. In 1884, Zuo was given complete control over the military and appointed governor of Fujian as war approached...
(The entire section is 296 words.)
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