When everyone's sick of a foreign, oppressive government that's taken over, some people feel that the only way to get rid of the tyrant is by declaring themselves a 'son of heaven' and becoming the king of as much lands as you can.
The Taiping Rebellion was a uprising in which a Chinese 'Christian' (and I use this word very lightly - Hong did not get baptized, nor did he actually know much about the Christian religion) Hong Xiuquan, told the Chinese people to rise against the Manchu or Qing Dynasty, which controlled China. The capital of this rebellion was Nanjing, which Hong renamed 'Tianjing', which means Heaven's Capital or Sky's capital.
Hong Xiuquan had been a failure in the Chinese examination system, unable to get an official position. Having wasted his family's money, he sunk into a deep depression. He was part of the Hakka Han Chinese group - these were people believed to have originally come from northern China who migrated to the south. The 'original inhabitants' had already taken up the best and most fertile lands for themselves, leaving the mountains to the Hakka. The Hakka, impoverished as they were, often rose up against the government.
This was until he got a brochure about Christianity. He claimed that he had previously had a dream where he spoke with somebody who called him 'brother'. Using this link, he argued that he was the brother of Jesus. Considering how many other revolts there were, the Qing officials were too hard-pressed to kill Hong. When Hong finally began fighting the Qing on a large scale, thousands of peasants flocked to Hong. The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, founded by the Chinese Christian convert rebel Hong Xiuquan, had over 30 Million people residing in it. 20 million died in the ensuing war.
After Xiuquan died, his son gave up. The Qing Dynasty, with the aid of French, British, and American troops, crushed the rebellion. Historians believe that the Taiping Rebellion was the ultimate reason why the Qing didn't fall - after the crazy Taiping Rebellion, the south lost its will to rebel; it had been sapped out by the Taiping. Revolution would only occur in 1911.
|This is a map of the Qing Dynasty and the Taiping Revolution.|
Mao Zedong, the founder of the People's Republic of China (the PRC, current-day China), or 中华人民共和国, argued that Hong was a glorious heroic revolutionary.
Sun Yat-sen, the leader of the Chinese Nationalist Party, the Kuo Min-Tang, the KMT, thought this rebellion was very inspirational in defeating the Qing Dynasty.
Overall, the Qing Dynasty would fall because of the Xinhai Revolution of 1911. After another revolution coming from Guangdong, the Chinese Civil War would begin. 20 Million died in the Taiping Rebellion, but 25 Million people died when the Qing Dynasty took over the Ming, 36 Million during the An Shi Rebellion, 60 Million in the Mongol Conquests, and around 40 Million Chinese people died in World War II: out of 72 Million.