Miao rebellions in the Ming dynasty
Part of the Miao rebellions

Map showing the Miao rebellions in the Ming dynasty
Date14th century, 15th century
Result Ming victory
Ming dynasty Miao, Yao and other indigenous rebels
Commanders and leaders
Hongwu Emperor
Zhengtong Emperor
Hala Bashi
Li Chen
Various leaders of Miao people
Thousands of Han Chinese, Chinese Muslim, and Uyghur troops
1,000 Mongol cavalry archers
Thousands of Miao, Yao and other indigenous rebels
Casualties and losses
Unknown Tens of thousands of rebels killed, thousands of castrations

The Miao rebellions in the Ming dynasty (simplified Chinese: 明朝苗民起义; traditional Chinese: 明朝苗民起義) were a series of rebellions of the indigenous tribes of southern China against the Ming dynasty, from the 14th to the 15th centuries. The Ming defeated the rebels with overwhelming force. Later, during the Qing dynasty, another series of Miao rebellions broke out.


In one of the first Miao revolts, in the 1370s, several thousand Uyghur warriors from Turpan were sent by the Hongwu Emperor to defeat Miao rebels in Taoyuan County, Changde, Hunan (at the time Hunan was part of Huguang province). The Uyghurs were all given titles and allowed to live in Changde, Hunan. The title of the Uyghur commander was "Grand General of South-Pacifying Post of the Nation"[1] (simplified Chinese: 镇国定南大将军; traditional Chinese: 鎮國定南大將軍; pinyin: zhèn guó dìngnán dàjiàng jūn).[2][3] The Uyghurs were led by Gen. Hala Bashi, who was awarded titles by the Hongwu Emperor and the surname Jian (Chinese: ; pinyin: Jiǎn). They live in Taoyuan County, Hunan province to this day.[4] Chinese Muslim troops were also used by the Ming dynasty to defeat the Miao and other indigenous rebels in the area, and were also settled in Changde, Hunan, where their descendants still live.[1]

On May 4, 1449, the Miao revolted again. The Ming government sent General Wang Ji to destroy the rebels.[5] The Miao rebellions spread through Huguang and Guizhou.[6] Guizhou was ransacked in 1459 and 1460 by government forces, who looted the town and sold many of the residents into slavery. The eunuch Yuan Rangyang was appointed Grand defender of Huguang and Guizhou.[7]

Again multiple Miao rebellions broke out in the 1460s. The Miao and Yao rebelled in 1464, and the revolt spread throughout Guangxi, Hunan, Guizhou, Jiangxi and Guangdong.[8] The Miao regrouped and had settled throughout southern China. On the Hunan Guizhou border, more rebellions broke out in 1466. The Ming rallied 1,000 Mongol cavalry archers and 30,000 soldiers in total to defeat the Miao.[9] Ming commander Gen. Li Chen, who was an hereditary general, fought against the indigenous tribes for decades in the 15th century and used brutal tactics against them. He was determined to wage campaigns of extermination against the Miao whenever they rebelled—in 1467 and 1475, among others—and killed thousands of them.[10]

Certain subgroups of Miao are known as Hmong. In the 16th century, the Ming dynasty sent ethnic Chinese to settle in the tribal areas of the Hmong and other indigenous tribes in the southwest. The Ming sent 2000 garrison troops to defeat the Hmong rebels, and 40,000 rebels were slaughtered. Yet by 1500 the Hmong were revolting in areas around Hunan province and had fought almost every year in an effort to gain their independence from imperial rule. The fervor and tenacity of these tribes had caused much discord and unrest. The Ming dynasty constructed the Hmong wall, which was 10 feet high and 100 miles long with military posts. The Hmong in Guizhou used armor made of buffalo skin or mail made of copper and iron, and weapons such as shields, spears, knives, crossbows and poisoned arrows. Two Chinese generals who defected and joined the Hmong gave them gunpowder weapons, such as flintlock rifles, cannons and blunderbusses, and showed the rebels how to make them.[11]

An account of the origins of the Hmong in Sichuan says that the Ming Chinese in Guangdong defeated the ancestors of the Hmong, and forcibly relocated them to Sichuan.[12]

The Chinese naming and classification of the southern tribes was often vague. When the Ming began colonizing the south, the classification of the natives began to grow more accurate.[13]

The Ming commander crushed a Miao rebellion in 1460, and castrated 1,565 Miao boys, which resulted in the deaths of 329 of them. They were then turned into eunuch slaves. The Guizhou governor who ordered the castration of the Miao was reprimanded and condemned by Emperor Yingzong of Ming for doing it once the Ming government heard of the event.[14][15][16] Since 329 of the boys died, even more were needed to be castrated.[17]


  1. ^ a b Chih-yu Shih; Zhiyu Shi (2002). Negotiating ethnicity in China: citizenship as a response to the state. Psychology Press. p. 133. ISBN 0-415-28372-8.
  2. ^ Zhonghua Minguo guo ji guan xi yan jiu suo (2000). Issues & studies, Volume 36, Issues 1-3. Institute of International Relations, Republic of China. p. 184. According to an account passed down among township residents, Uygur ancestors were called by the emperor to the region to quell Miao rebels during the Ming Dynasty and accepted titles from the emperor who bestowed upon them their own land. The title "Grand General of South-Pacifying Post of the Nation" S & fa also carries a given Han surname, Jian ( fij ), which is currently the largest Uygur group in Changde. According to an expert on Changde Uygurs,6 while Jian is a Original from the University of Michigan
  3. ^ 海峽交流基金會 (2000). 遠景季刊, Volume 1, Issues 1–4. 財團法人海峽交流基金會. p. 38.
  4. ^ "Ethnic Uygurs in Hunan Live in Harmony with Han Chinese". People's Daily. December 29, 2000.
  5. ^ Oriens extremus: Zeitschrift für Sprache, Kunst und Kultur de Länder des Fernen Ostens, Volumes 37–39. O. Harrassowitz. 1994. p. 193.
  6. ^ Oriens extremus: Zeitschrift für Sprache, Kunst und Kultur de Länder des Fernen Ostens, Volumes 37–39. O. Harrassowitz. 1994. p. 193.
  7. ^ Nicola Di Cosmo; Don J. Wyatt (2003). Political frontiers, ethnic boundaries, and human geographies in Chinese history. Psychology Press. p. 280. ISBN 0-7007-1464-2.
  8. ^ John Stewart Bowman (2000). Columbia chronologies of Asian history and culture. Columbia University Press. p. 43. ISBN 0-231-11004-9. miao and yao tribes rebel.
  9. ^ Frederick W. Mote (1988). Frederick W. Mote (ed.). The Cambridge History of China: The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644; edited by Frederick W. Mote and Denis Twitchett, Volume 7, Part 1. Cambridge University Press. p. 379. ISBN 0-521-24332-7. Thirty thousand soldiers, including 1000 Mongol cavalry archers much feared for their prowess and ferocity, made their way to Kwangsi by late summer, joined there by a reported 160,000 local troops.
  10. ^ Frederick W. Mote; Denis Twitchett; John King Fairbank (1988). The Cambridge History of China: The Ming Dynasty, 1368–1644, Part 1. Cambridge University Press. p. 380. ISBN 0-521-24332-7.
  11. ^ Sue Murphy Mote (2004). Hmong and American: Stories of Transition to a Strange Land. McFarland. p. 100. ISBN 0-7864-1832-X. ming built hmong wall 1500.
  12. ^ Tao Tao Liu; David Faure (1996). Unity and Diversity: Local Cultures and Identities in China. Hong Kong University Press. p. 87. ISBN 962-209-402-3.
  13. ^ Barbara Watson Andaya (2006). The Flaming Womb: Repositioning Women in Early Modern Southeast Asia. University of Hawaii Press. p. 18. ISBN 0-8248-2955-7. ming colonizing impetus classification.
  14. ^ Shih-shan Henry Tsai (1996). The Eunuchs in the Ming Dynasty. SUNY Press. p. 16. ISBN 0-7914-2687-4.
  15. ^ Journal of Asian history, Volume 25. O. Harrassowitz. 1991. p. 130.
  16. ^ "Eunuchs". GeneralAnswers.org. 2005. Archived from the original on January 12, 2013.
  17. ^ Taisuke Mitamura (1970). Chinese Eunuchs: The Structure of Intimate Politics. C.E. Tuttle Co. p. 54. ISBN 9780804806534.

See also