Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Li Ting-kuo

3643653Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period, Volume 1 — Li Ting-kuoEarl Swisher

LI Ting-kuo 李定國 (T. 鴻遠), d. Aug. 7, 1662, a Ming general who throughout his life defied the Manchu regime, was a native of Yen-an, Shensi. In 1646, after his patron, Chang Hsien-chung [q. v.], was defeated and killed in Szechwan, he accompanied the remnant armies into Kweichow. After several years of free lance conquest he joined the cause of the Ming Prince of Kuei (see Chu Yu-lang), who gave him the rank of marquis, later raised to prince. In 1652 he led a force by way of Hunan, culminating a series of brilliant victories by the capture on August 7, 1652, of Kuei-lin, the capital of Kwangsi. Later he captured a large part of Kwangsi and Hukuang for the Ming cause. He had incurred the jealousy of his sworn brother and former superior, Sun K'o-wang [q. v.], Ming general with personal imperial ambitions, and in 1657 defeated him on the banks of the San-ch'a river in southwestern Kweichow. Sun K'o-wang then gave himself up to the Manchus.

The next year Imperial armies moved on Kweichow from Szechwan, Hupeh, and Kwangtung. Li Ting-kuo, now the chief support of the Prince of Kuei, was driven from Kuei-yang to Yunnan and after desperate fighting in 1659 followed his prince into Burma where for two years he resisted the Ch'ing armies which pursued him relentlessly, sought to win over the Burmese, who finally betrayed the Prince of Kuei to the Manchus, and tried in vain to enlist other countries in the Ming cause. When he heard of the Prince of Kuei's death at the hands of Wu San-kuei [q. v.], he became ill and after charging his son and his one remaining general never to surrender to the Manchus, died August 7, 1662.

[1/230/10a; M.41/18/4a; M.41/20/23b; M.59/37/1a; cf. references to Ming-chi nan-lüeh in bibliography of Sun K'o-wang.]

Earl Swisher