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Emperor and AncestorState and Lineage in South China$
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David Faure

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780804753180

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804753180.001.0001

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Local Power in the Taiping Rebellion

Local Power in the Taiping Rebellion

(p.291) Chapter Twenty Local Power in the Taiping Rebellion
Emperor and Ancestor
Stanford University Press

During the 1850s, militia groups were organized on a grand scale in the Pearl River Delta, a reversal of the imperial policy that previously discouraged local militarization. The outbreak of the Triad uprisings in 1853 led to the creation of many village alliances that formed their own militias. The fighting men recruited into the militia were mercenaries rather than village watchmen. After government forces drove the Triads out of Foshan and quashed the Taiping rebellion, more local uprisings ensued. The British and French occupation of Guangzhou shifted the locus of power back to the countryside, that is, to intervillage alliances among lineage-dominated villages. The Guangdong Militia Bureau was established to serve as a fund-raising office for various militia groups in the Pearl River Delta, with the exception of the Shunde militia. This chapter examines the role of local power in defeating the Taiping rebellion, and also looks at the formation of militia bureaus to administer land reclamation and the consequences of local militarization in the land tax.

Keywords:   Pearl River Delta, militia, Taiping rebellion, Guangzhou, Triads, uprisings, militia bureaus, land reclamation, land tax, militarization

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