An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Kaiguo jilüe 開國紀略

Jul 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Kaiguo jilüe 開國紀略 "Military history of the foundation of the (Manchu) empire" is a chronicle of the foundation of the Manchurian Qing empire 清 (1644-1911). It was written by an unknown person during the early Qing.

The chronicle consists of two parts, the first beginning in 1584, when Nurhaci rose against the Ming empire 明 (1368-1644) and attacked the Chinese "vice director" (nikan wailan 尼堪外蘭; perhaps a personal name?), head of the city of Tulun 圖倫城, in 1587, and ending in 1625, when the seat of the Manchu khan was moved to Mukden (Shenyang 沈陽).

The second part begins in 1636, when Emperor Taizong 清太宗 (r. 1626-1643; Huang Taiji) renamed his Later Jin dynasty "Great Qing" 大清, and ends in 1642, when the whole region of Manchuria was in the hands of the Qing empire. The book narrates the rise of the Manchu dynasty, the foundation of their empire, and the conquest of the northeast.

The appendix of the book includes quotations of "sacred instructions" (shengxun 聖訓) of Nurhaci (Emperor Taizu 清太祖, r. 1616-1626), Huang Taiji and the Shunzhi Emperor 順治 (Emperor Shizu 清世祖, r. 1643-1661). It seems that the book was not really finished, but it can be seen as a precursor of the later great military annals (fanglüe 方略, jilüe 紀略), particulary for the official compilation Huang-Qing kaiguo fanglüe 皇清開國方略 that was finished in 1773.

A manuscript version of the Kaiguo jilüe written silk marked with red lines (zhu silan 朱絲欄) is preserved in the library of the Palace Museum 宮博物院圖書館.

Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, eds. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 914.