chapter  17
2 Pages

Huang Taiji (1592–1643; reigned 1626–1643)

Surnamed Aisin Gioro 愛新覺羅, sometimes (but erroneously) known as Abahai122 阿巴 海, he was the eighth son and successor of Nurhaci123 努爾哈赤 (1559-1626). He ascended the throne as king of the Later Jin Dynasty in north-eastern China in 1626 and consolidated the Manchu Empire his father had built. He had books translated from the Han language into the Manchu language, and encouraged assimilation of Han into Manchu culture. He promoted Chinese officials to high positions, and built a bureaucracy modelled upon the Ming system to ensure centralization of power. In 1635, as the Veritable Records for Nurhaci’s reign were being produced, he changed the name of his people from Nüzhen to Manchu,124 and a year later, in 1636, he adopted the new dynastic name of Qing (清, “pure”) or Da Qing (大清, “supremely pure”), as well as a new reign title (Chongde 崇德) for himself. Between 1636 and 1643, Huang Taiji launched three large-scale invasions into Ming territory and scored significant victories. He did not live to see the full realization of his political ambition. He died in 1643, aged fifty-two, and was given the temple name of Taizong 太宗 (“Grand Ancestor”), the standard such name for the second emperor of a dynasty.