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Numerous rebellions against China's Qing dynasty took place between the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, prior to the abdication of the last Emperor of China, Puyi, in February 1912. The table below lists some of these uprisings and important related events.

Taiping Rebellion

Date War Pro-Chinese parties Rebels Death Length
December 1850[a] – July 1864[b] Taiping Rebellion[c]  Qing China
 British Empire
France France
Taiping Heavenly Kingdom
Nian rebels
Red Turban rebels
Small Swords Society
10–30 million killed 13 years and 6 months (minimum)
20 years and 8 months (maximum)

Nian Rebellion

Date War Pro-Chinese parties Rebels Death Length
1851[d] – 1868 Nian Rebellion[e]  Qing China Nian rebels[f]
Taiping Heavenly Kingdom
Red Turban rebels
100,000+ killed 15 years
17 years

Miao Rebellion

Date War Pro-Chinese parties Rebels Death Length
1854 – 1873
4.9 million+ killed
19 years

Red Turban Rebellion

Date War Pro-Chinese parties Rebels Death Length
1854 – 1856
Red Turban rebels
2 years

Da Cheng Rebellion

Date War Pro-Chinese parties Rebels Death Length
1855 – 1861
Hong Soldiers rebels
6 years

Panthay Rebellion

Date War Pro-Chinese parties Rebels Death Length
1856 – 1873
pro-Du Wenx forces
17 years

First Dungan Revolt

Date War Pro-Chinese parties Rebels Death Length
1862 – 1877
15 years


Date Event
1850–1864 The Taiping Rebellion, led by the heterodox Christian convert Hong Xiuquan, sees southern China descend into civil war. The rebellion later becomes an inspiration to Sun Yat-sen, the leader of the 1911 Revolution.
1851–1868 The Nian Rebellion, revolt in Northern China
1861–1895 The Self-Strengthening Movement seeks institutional reform – members of China's elite seek to modernise the nation.
1890s More intellectuals and members of the elite, mostly students studying abroad, vow to overthrow the Manchu Qing Dynasty and build a republic.
1892 Yeung Ku-wan, together with Tse Tsan-tai and others, start the Furen Literary Society in Hong Kong.
1894 Sun Yat-sen founds the Revive China Society (Xingzhonghui) in Honolulu, Hawaii.
1895 China is defeated in the First Sino-Japanese War, revealing the severe weaknesses of the Qing state, and the power of the modernised Japanese Empire.
1895 The Furen Literary Society is merged into the Hong Kong chapter of the Revive China Society, with Yeung Ku-wan as president and Sun Yat-sen as Secretary.
1895 The Gongche Shangshu movement – a petition of civil service candidates – becomes the first modern Chinese political movement, with intellectuals and members of the elite petitioning the Qing government for political reform. The leaders of the movement become the key figures of the Hundred Days' Reform.
1895 The abortive First Guangzhou uprising is organised by the Hong Kong chapter of the Revive China Society. Sun Yat-sen and Yeung Ku-wan are forced to leave China and Hong Kong, respectively.
1898 The Hundred Days' Reform sees the young Guangxu Emperor initiate 103 days of reform, which are ended by conservative opponents led by Empress Dowager Cixi. Many reformers are forced to leave the country.
1898 The Boxer Rebellion highlights hostility to foreigners and domestic political frustration. The movement targets foreign concessions and missionaries in China.
Early 1900s The Revive China Society and other revolutionary groups stage abortive coups across the country, including the Huizhou uprising in 1900, the Ping-liu-li uprising in 1906, and the Huanggang uprising in 1907. Japan becomes the most popular destination for Chinese students, as revolutionary sentiments spread.
1901 Yeung Kui-wan is assassinated and buried in an unnamed tomb in Hong Kong.
1905 Sun Yat-sen and Song Jiaoren found the Tongmenghui, an alliance of many Chinese revolutionary groups, in Tokyo. Its oath is "To expel Tartar barbarians and to revive China, to establish a republic, and to distribute land equally among the people".
1911 The Railway Protection Movement begins in response to public anger over the sale, by the Qing government, of railway construction rights to foreigners. Violence spreads to Sichuan, Shaanxi and Hunan. The Qing government mobilises troops to put down unrest in Hubei.
April 27, 1911 Second Guangzhou Uprising or the Yellow Flower Mound revolt, is led by Huang Xing, the Tong Meng Hui leader. Over a hundred revolutionaries force their way into the residence of the viceroy of Guangdong and Guangxi provinces. The revolt ends in a catastrophic defeat, and most of the revolutionaries are killed.
October 10, 1911 Revolutionary groups organise the Wuchang Uprising in the Hubei city of Wuchang. This serves as the catalyst for the Xinhai Revolution and the establishment of the Republic of China.
January 1, 1912 Sun Yat-sen announces the establishment of the Republic of China in Nanking, and is inaugurated as the provisional president of the republic.
February 12, 1912 The last Qing emperor, Puyi, abdicates.
February 14, 1912 Yuan Shikai is elected provisional president of the Republic of China by the provisional Nanjing senate and on March 10, in Peking (Beijing), is sworn in.

See also


  1. ^ Some sources claims it started in January 1851.
  2. ^ According to Tucker the fall of Nanking is usually described as the end of the war. However the last rebels led by Li Fuzhong were in August 1871 defeated.[1]
  3. ^ Also known as the Taiping Civil War or the Taiping Revolution.
  4. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica claims it started in 1853.
  5. ^ Also written as the Nien Rebellion.
  6. ^ This includes the Five Banner alliance, the Army of the Taipings and some Henan armies
  7. ^ Also known as the Qian Rebellion.
  8. ^ Also known as the Red Turban Revolt and the Taiping Rebellion in Guangdong.
  9. ^ Also known as the Hong Soldiers Rebellion.
  10. ^ Also known as the Du Wenxiu Rebellion and the Tu Wen-hsiu Rebellion.
  11. ^ Also known as the Tongzhi Hui Revolt and the Hui (Muslim) Minorities War.


  1. ^ Tucker 2017, p. 229.