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Persons in Chinese History - Zheng Zhilong 鄭芝龍

Periods of Chinese History
Zheng Zhilong 鄭芝龍 (died 1661), courtesy name Zheng Yiguan 鄭一官, later Zheng Feihuang 鄭飛皇, was a supporter of the Southern Ming period 南明 (1644-1661), and father of the freebooter Zheng Chenggong 鄭成功 (Coxinga). He came from Nan'an 南安, Fujian, and later moved to Macao 澳門, where he had intense contact with Portuguese compradors. He often traveled to Japan to support the official merchant Li Dan 李旦 in his mercantile business. Later on Zheng himself became a shipowner. In 1628 he was appointed brigade commander (youji 游擊) by the grand coordinator (xunfu 巡撫) of Fujian, Xiong Wencan 熊文燦. During this period of time there was a great draught in Fujian, which he tried to relieve by resettling tens of thousands of Hokienese people to the island of Taiwan. For this meritorious deed he was promoted to regional commander (zongbing 總兵) and then assistant commander-in-chief (dudu tongzhi 都督同知). From 1633 on he commanded the naval fleet of the garrisons of Fujian and had so the opportunity to attack the Dutch settlement in the Forts Zeelandia and Provintia (today Tainan 臺南, Taiwan). After the downfall of the Ming dynasty 明 (1368-1644) he supported the Prince of Tang 唐王 (r. 1645-1646) who had proclaimed himself emperor in Fujian, with the reign motto Longwu 隆武. In 1646 Zheng Zhilong surrendered with 500 troops to the invaders of the Manchurian Qing dynasty 清 (1644-1911), although his son Zheng Chenggong had advised him not to do so. The Manchus rewarded him with the title of Marquis of Tong'an 同安侯. Zheng Zhilong several times tried to pusue his son to offer the Manchus his support, too, but Chenggong refused and established an independant regime in Taiwan. In 1661 the Kangxi Emperor had arrested and executed Zheng Zhilong with the charge of contact to the enemy.

Sources: Wuhan daxue lishi xi 武漢大學歷史系 (ed. 1983), Jianming lishi cidian 簡明歷史辭典 (Wuhan: Hubei renmin chubanshe), p. 142. ● Huang Banghe 黄邦和, Pi Mingxiu 皮明庥 (ed. 1987). Zhong-wai lishi renwu cidian 中外歷史人物詞典 (Changsha: Hunan renmin chubanshe), p. 306.

January 25, 2014 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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