ZHENG CHENGGONG, better known in the West by his
KOXINGA or COXINGA (Chinese : 國姓爺; pinyin : Guóxìngyé;
Pe̍h-ōe-jī : Kok-sèng-iâ) was a Chinese Ming loyalist who
resisted the Qing conquest of China in the 17th century, fighting them
on China's southeastern coast.
Koxinga defeated the Dutch outposts on
Taiwan , and
established a dynasty which ruled the island as the Kingdom of
Tungning from 1661 to 1683.
* 1 Life
* 1.1 Early years
* 1.2 Under the
* 1.3 Zheng Zhilong\'s surrender and the death of Tagawa
* 1.4 Resistance to the Qing
* 1.5 On
* 1.6 In the
* 1.7 Death
* 2 Family
* 2.1 Concubine
* 2.2 Family tree
* 3 Modern-day legacy and influences
* 4 Memorial institutions
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 6.1 Citations
* 6.2 Bibliography
* 7 External links
Zheng Sen was born in 1624 in
Nagasaki Prefecture ,
Zheng Zhilong , a Chinese merchant and pirate , and a Japanese
woman, recorded only by her surname Tagawa, or probably Tagawa Matsu
. He was raised there until the age of seven with the Japanese name
Fukumatsu (Japanese : 福松), and then moved to Nan\'an county in
Fujian province of China.
In 1638, Zheng became a Xiucai (a successful candidate) in the
imperial examination and became one of the twelve Linshansheng
(廩膳生) of Nan'an. In 1641,
Koxinga married the niece of Dong
Yangxian, an official who was a Jinshi from Hui\'an . In 1644, Koxinga
studied at the Imperial Nanking University , where he met and became a
student of the scholar
Qian Qianyi .
Beijing fell to rebels led by
Li Zicheng and the Chongzhen
Emperor hanged himself on a tree at modern-day
Jingshan Park in
Beijing. Manchu armies aided by
Wu Sangui 's forces defeated the
rebels and took the city. The Ming remnant forces retreated to Nanjing
where they put Prince Fu on the throne as the
Hongguang Emperor in an
attempt to continue the Ming dynasty in the south . The next year, the
Manchu armies led by Dodo advanced south and conquered
Nanjing while the Ming leader defending Yangzhou,
Shi Kefa , was
killed. The Hongguang emperor was captured and executed.
UNDER THE LONGWU EMPEROR
In 1645, Prince Tang was installed on the throne as the Longwu
Emperor with support from
Zheng Zhilong and his family. The Longwu
Emperor established his court in
Fuzhou , which was controlled by the
Zhengs. In the later part of the year, another Ming Prince Lu
proclaimed himself as Regent (監國) in
Shaoxing and established his
own court there. Although Prince Lu and Longwu's regimes stemmed from
the same dynasty, both of them pursued different goals.
Due to the natural defences of
Fujian and the military resources of
the Zheng family, the emperor was able to remain safe for some time.
Longwu Emperor granted Zheng Zhilong's son, Zheng Sen, a new given
name, Chenggong (成功; Chénggōng; Sêng-kong; "success"), and the
Koxinga ("Lord of the Imperial Surname").
Koxinga first led the Ming armies to resist the Manchu
invaders and won the favour of the Longwu Emperor. The Longwu
Emperor's reign in
Fuzhou was brief, as
Zheng Zhilong refused to
support his plans for a counter-offensive against the rapidly
expanding forces of the newly established Qing
Dynasty by the Manchus.
Zheng Zhilong ordered the defending general of Xianxia Pass
(仙霞關), Shi Fu (a.k.a. Shi Tianfu, a relative of
Shi Lang ), to
Fuzhou even when Qing armies approached Fujian. For this
reason, the Qing army faced little resistance when it conquered the
north of the pass. In September 1646, Qing armies broke through the
inadequately defended mountain passes and entered Fujian. Zheng
Zhilong retreated to his coastal fortress and the
Longwu Emperor faced
the Qing armies alone. Longwu's forces were destroyed and he was
captured and died shortly afterwards.
ZHENG ZHILONG\'S SURRENDER AND THE DEATH OF TAGAWA
The Qing forces sent envoys to meet
Zheng Zhilong secretly and
offered to appoint him as the governor of both
Fujian and Guangdong
provinces if he would surrender to the Qing.
Zheng Zhilong agreed and
ignored the objections of his family, surrendering himself to the Qing
Fuzhou on 21 November 1646.
Koxinga and his uncles were
left as the successors to the leadership of Zheng Zhilong's military
Koxinga operated outside
Xiamen and recruited many to join his
cause in a few months. He used the superiority of his naval forces to
launch amphibious raids on Manchu-occupied territory in
Fujian and he
managed to take Tong\'an in
Quanzhou prefecture in early 1647.
However, Koxinga's forces lacked the ability to defend the newly
Following the fall of
Tong'an to Zheng, the Manchus launched a
counterattack in the spring of 1647, during which they stormed the
Zheng family's hometown of Anping . Koxinga's mother, Lady Tagawa, had
Japan in 1645 to join her family in
younger brother, Tagawa Shichizaemon, remained in Japan). She did not
follow her husband to surrender to the Qing Dynasty. She was caught by
Manchu forces in Anping and committed suicide after refusal to submit
to the enemy, according to traditional accounts.
RESISTANCE TO THE QING
Zheng Chenggong statue in Xiamen, Fujian, China
Koxinga was strong enough to establish himself as the head
of the Zheng family . He pledged allegiance to the only remaining
claimant to the throne of the Ming Dynasty, the
Yongli Emperor . The
Yongli Emperor was fleeing from the Manchus in south-western China
with a motley court and hastily assembled army at the time. Despite
one fruitless attempt,
Koxinga was unable to do anything to aid the
last Ming emperor. Instead, he decided to concentrate on securing his
own position on the southeast coast.
Koxinga enjoyed a series of military successes in 1651 and 1652 that
increased the Qing government's anxiety over the threat he posed.
Zheng Zhilong wrote a letter to his son from
Beijing , presumably at
the request of the
Shunzhi Emperor and the Qing government, urging his
son to negotiate with the Manchurians. The long series of negotiations
Koxinga and the Qing
Dynasty lasted until November 1654. The
Qing government appointed Prince Jidu (son of
Jirgalang ) to lead an
attack on Koxinga's territory after the failed negotiations.
On 9 May 1656, Jidu's armies attacked
Jinmen , an island near Xiamen
Koxinga had been using to train his troops. Partly as a result of
a major storm, the Manchus were defeated and they lost most of their
fleet in the battle.
Koxinga had sent one of his naval commanders to
Zhoushan island prior to Jidu's attack, and now that the
Manchus were temporarily without an effective naval force in the
Koxinga was free to send a huge army to Zhoushan, which
he intended to use as a base to capture Nanjing.
Koxinga's Ming loyalists fought against a majority Han Chinese
Bannermen Qing army when attacking Nanjing.
Koxinga Temple in
Tainan Extent of territory
Koxinga (red), sphere of influence (pink)
Koxinga led his troops on a landing at Lakjemuyse (zh) to
attack the Dutch colonists in
Dutch Formosa . The Taiwanese Aboriginal
tribes who were previously allied with the Dutch against the Chinese
Guo Huaiyi Rebellion in 1652 turned against the Dutch
Siege of Fort Zeelandia
Siege of Fort Zeelandia and defected to Koxinga's Chinese
forces. The Aboriginals (Formosans) of Sincan defected to Koxinga
after he offered them amnesty, and proceeded to work for the Chinese,
beheading Dutch people. The frontier aboriginals in the mountains and
plains also surrendered and defected to the Chinese on May 17, 1661,
celebrating their freedom from compulsory education under Dutch rule
by hunting down Dutch people and beheading them, and by destroying
their Christian school textbooks. On 1 February 1662, the Dutch
Governor of Formosa,
Frederik Coyett , surrendered Fort Zeelandia to
Koxinga. According to Frederick Coyett's own self-justifying account
written after the siege, Koxinga's life was saved at the end of the
siege by a certain Hans Jurgen Radis of Stockaert, a Dutch defector
who strongly advised him against visiting the ramparts of the fort
after he had taken it, which Radis knew would be blown up by the
retreating Dutch forces. This claim of a Dutch defector only appears
in Coyett's account and Chinese records make no mention of any
defector. In the peace treaty,
Koxinga was styled "Lord Teibingh
Tsiante Teysiancon Koxin" . This effectively ended 38 years of Dutch
rule on Taiwan.
Koxinga then devoted himself to transforming Taiwan
into a military base for loyalists who wanted to restore the Ming
IN THE PHILIPPINES
In 1662, Koxinga's forces raided several towns in the
Koxinga's chief adviser was an Italian friar named Vittorio Riccio,
whom he sent to
Manila to demand tribute from the colonial government
Spanish East Indies
Spanish East Indies , threatening to attack the city if his
demands were not met. The Spanish refused to pay the tribute and
reinforced the garrisons around Manila, but the planned attack never
took place due to Koxinga's sudden death in that year after expelling
the Dutch on Taiwan.
Koxinga's threat to invade the islands and expel the Spanish was an
important factor in the Spanish failure to conquer the Muslim Moro
Mindanao . The threat of Chinese invasion forced the Spanish
to withdraw their forces to Manila, leaving some troops in
Jolo and by
Lake Lanao to engage the Moro in protracted conflict, while Zamboanga
Mindanao was immediately evacuated following Koxinga's threats. The
Spanish were also forced to abandon their colony in the Maluku Islands
(Moluccas) and withdraw their soldiers from there to Manila.
Tonio Andrade judged that
Koxinga would most likely have been able to
defeat the Spanish if the threatened invasion had taken place.
Koxinga died of malaria at the age of 37. There were speculations
that he died in a sudden fit of madness when his officers refused to
carry out his orders to execute his son
Zheng Jing .
Zheng Jing had
had an affair with his wet nurse and conceived a child with her.
Zheng Jing succeeded his father as the King of
House of Koxinga A portrait of Zheng Chenggong
painted by Huang Zi 黃梓
Zheng Chenggong’s short but eventful career was characterised by
family tension and conflicting loyalties. The title of
of the Imperial Surname") was one that Zheng himself used during his
lifetime to emphasize his status as an adopted son of the deposed
imperial house, so it was also a declaration of ongoing support to the
Ming dynasty. Despite his deliberate self-identification as the
noble, loyal vassal of a vanquished master, Koxinga’s actual
relationship with the
Longwu Emperor lasted only twelve months or so,
beginning in September 1645 and ending with the Emperor's death the
following year. Although many secondary sources claim that the two
men shared a "close bond of affection", there is an absence of any
reliable contemporary evidence on Koxinga’s relationship with the
In contrast, Koxinga’s father
Zheng Zhilong left his Japanese wife
not long after the birth of his son;
Koxinga was a boy of seven when
he finally joined his father on the Fujianese coast. It seems that
Zheng Zhilong recognised his son’s talent and encouraged him in his
studies and the pursuit of a career as a scholar-official, which would
legitimise the power the Zheng family had acquired, using sometimes
questionable means. Zheng Zhilong’s defection to the Qing must have
seemed opportunistic and in stark contrast to Koxinga’s continued
loyalty to the Ming. But it is difficult to deny that in refusing to
submit to the Qing,
Koxinga was risking the life of his father, and
that the subsequent death of
Zheng Zhilong could only be justified by
claiming loyalty to the Ming. It has even been suggested that
Koxinga’s fury at the incestuous relationship between his son, Zheng
Jing, and a younger son’s wet nurse was due to the fact that strict
Confucian morality had played such a crucial role in justifying his
lack of filial behaviour.
The one possible exception to this may have been his relationship
with his mother, which has generally been described as being extremely
affectionate, particularly in Chinese and Japanese sources. Their
time together, however, was apparently very short – despite frequent
Zheng Zhilong for her to join him in China,
Koxinga’s mother was only reunited with her son some time in 1645,
and a year later she was killed when the Qing took Xiamen.
A portrait of Zheng was in the hands of Yuchun who was his descendant
in the eight generation.
Siege of Fort Zeelandia
Siege of Fort Zeelandia ,
Koxinga executed Dutch
Antonius Hambroek and took his teenage daughter as a
concubine. Other Dutch women were sold to Chinese soldiers to become
their wives. In 1684 some of these Dutch wives were still captives of
* Queen Tang , who had no son , was king
Zheng Jing 's seishitsu .
MODERN-DAY LEGACY AND INFLUENCES
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Koxinga in Fort Zeelandia , Anping, Tainan,
Koxinga's legacy is treated differently on each side of the Taiwan
Koxinga is worshiped as a god in coastal China, especially
Fujian , by overseas Chinese in
Southeast Asia and in
Taiwan . There
is a temple dedicated to
Koxinga and his mother in
Tainan City ,
National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, one of the most
prestigious universities in Taiwan, is named after him.
Koxinga's army also brought the Qinxi fraternal brotherhood into
Taiwan, of which some of his army were members of the organization. In
the present day, the Qinxi currently exists in Taiwan. The
associated with them.
The Battles of Coxinga was written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon
Japan in the 18th century, first performed in
Kyoto . A 2001 film
The Sino-Dutch War 1661 starred
Vincent Zhao as Koxinga. The
film was renamed Kokusenya Kassen after the aforementioned play and
Japan in 2002.
Koxinga has received renewed attention since rumors began circulating
People’s Liberation Army Navy were planning to name their
newly acquired aircraft carrier , the ex-Soviet Varyag , the "Shi
Shi Lang famously defeated Koxinga’s descendants in
Battle of Penghu , thus bringing
Taiwan under Qing rule .
However, the Chinese government denied all allegations that the vessel
would be dedicated to the decorated
Qing dynasty admiral.
Koxinga is regarded as a hero in the People\'s
Republic of China
Republic of China ,
Japan , but historical narratives regarding Koxinga
frequently differ in explaining his motives and affiliation. Japan
treats him as a native son and emphasized his maternal link to Japan
in propaganda during the Japanese occupation of
Taiwan . The People's
Republic of China
Republic of China considers
Koxinga a national hero for driving the
imperialist Dutch away from
Taiwan and establishing ethnic Chinese
rule over the island. On mainland China ,
Koxinga is honoured as the
“Conqueror of Taiwan, Great Rebel-Quelling General” a military
hero who brought
Taiwan back within the
Han Chinese sphere of
influence through expanded economic, trade and cultural exchanges. In
Koxinga is honoured without the religious overtones found in
Republic of China
Republic of China , which withdrew to
Taiwan after losing the
Chinese Civil War
Chinese Civil War , regards
Koxinga as a patriot who also retreated to
Taiwan and used it as a base to launch counterattacks against the Qing
Dynasty of mainland China. In Taiwan,
Koxinga is honored as the
island’s most respected saint for expelling the Dutch and seen as
the original ancestor of a free Taiwan, and is known as Kaishan
Shengwang, or “the Sage King who Opened up Taiwan” and as “The
Yanping Prince", referring to the Kingdom of
Tungning , which he
established in modern-day
Koxinga is remembered and revered as a divine national
hero with hundreds of temples, schools, tertiary educations, and other
public centers named in his honor.
Koxinga is accredited with
replacing Dutch colonial rule with a more modern political system.
Taiwan into an agrarian society
through the introduction of new agricultural methods such as the
proliferation of iron farming tools and new farming methods with
cattle. For these reasons,
Koxinga is often associated with “hints
of consciousness of Taiwanese independence .”
However, not all Taiwanese accept the popularized interpretation of
Koxinga legacy. Supporters of Taiwanese independence are skeptical
about embracing the
Koxinga legacy. Koxinga’s mixed Japanese
heritage (the Japanese were an occupying force for 50 years between
1895 and 1945) and the positive connotations in mainland China have
all made acceptance by
Taiwan independence supporters problematic.
In mainland China ,
Koxinga is considered a positive historical but
human figure (not deified as he often is in Taiwan). Koxinga’s
Taiwan is seen largely as an inspirational story of Chinese
nationalists seeking refuge against hostile forces. Koxinga’s
aspirations to see
Taiwan united with the mainland is often
Koxinga facilitated the settlement of a
large number of
Han Chinese to
Taiwan who brought with them their Han
cultures, traditions, and languages. As a direct result, Han Chinese
make up approximately 98% of the Taiwanese population today.
There are hundreds of public pieces, shrines dedicated to and worship
Koxinga Temple in
Taiwan , is perhaps the
most interesting as it is “the only Fujianese style shrine in Taiwan
.” The temple “illustrat the geographic connection between Taiwan
and the Mainland, describ the evolution of life from the past to the
present,” which means that the temple acknowledges that
a legacy shared by both
Taiwan and the Mainland and that this perhaps
is still important today.
Mainland China however, there is only one official memorial to
their ‘conqueror of Taiwan’ and that is on Gulang Island of Xiamen
Fujian Province , which is positioned directly across Taiwan’s
Kinmen. The imposing statue of Zheng Chenggong in full military
regalia, gazes over the water facing
Whilst “the statue of Zheng portrays a clean-shaven young general
in armour … Taiwan,
Koxinga seldom appears as a warrior. His
portraits show him as a Ming noble in civilian robes – and wearing a
small beard, a symbol of seniority and sobriety.”
This difference in commemoration of the
Koxinga story illustrates the
wide difference in attitudes on either side of the
Taiwan Strait on
the issue of
National Cheng Kung University (
Cheng Kung Senior High School
Cheng Kung class frigate
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: KOXINGA (category)
Wikiquote has quotations related to: KOXINGA
Great Clearance (1661–1669)
* History of
* Kingdom of
Koxinga Ancestral Shrine
* ^ Wills (1974) , p. 28 and Keene (1950) , p. 46 both agree that
Zheng's wife's surname was "Dong" (董). Clements (2004) , p. 92
however, claims her name was "Deng Cuiying". Chang (1995) , p. 740
introduces her as "Tung Ts'ui-ying", which would be "Dong Cuiying" in
* ^ A B Keene (1950) , p. 45.
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The Qinxi Tong is an example of a non-criminal fraternal organization.
The original Qinxi group in
Taiwan was made up of men who had been
part of Koxinga's forces...affiliation with...the Hung Men...The
Taiwanese Qinxi fraternal organization is still active, teaching
martial arts and engaging in other activities.
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