Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Tsewang Araptan

TSEWANG Araptan 策旺[妄]阿拉布坦, 1643–1727, the Erdeni Tsuruktu Batur Kontaisha of the Sungars, was a nephew of Galdan [q. v.]. His father, Senga (see under Galdan), was for a time Kontaisha of the Sungars but was murdered by his half-brother. Galdan avenged Senga's death and made himself Kontaisha (later, Khan). For a time he tolerated the sons of Senga, but began to suspect their loyalty as they became older and displayed their ability. Tsewang Araptan, being the eldest son of Senga, seems to have incurred Galdan's especial distrust. After the latter had, in 1688, killed one of the brothers, Tsewang Araptan was warned by a Lama that he might suffer the same fate. He, therefore, fled with seven men to the neighborhood of Lake Zaisan. At a time when Galdan was busily occupied in raids on the Khalkas, Tsewang Araptan gathered a large number of Sungars under his banner. Upon his return, in 1689, Galdan attempted to use force to crush this rising menace at his rear, but in the ensuing war Tsewang Araptan emerged victorious and consolidated his position. He got into communication with Emperor Shêng-tsu and divulged to him information about Galdan's movements. In 1696 he barred Galdan from returning to Khobdo after the latter's defeat at Jao Modo (see under Fiyanggû). When Galdan died Tsewang Araptan became Kontaisha (1697), and soon extended his rule over a vast region including parts of present Siberia and Western Mongolia and the whole of Eastern Turkestan, except Hami. It was he who kept the Hodjas of Kashgar and Yarkand in the Ili valley until they were released in 1755 (see under Chao-hui). In 1698 and in subsequent wars, he defeated the Kirghiz Kazaks and extended his suzerainty westward to Lake Balkash. In 1704 he defeated a son of Ayuki (see under Tulišen) and annexed more than ten thousand Torguts to his hordes.

Tsewang Araptan had ambitious designs on Tibet, but as these conflicted with those of China he could not realize them. During the coup d'etat of Latzan Khan in 1705 (see under Tshangs-dbyangs-rgya-mtsho), some Sungar representatives were sent to Tibet to invite the deposed Sixth Dalai Lama to Sungaria. But before this mission reached its destination the Lama was already bound for Peking and was murdered on the way, in Kokonor. This crime was perpetrated in order to prevent the Lama from falling into the hands of a trouble-maker, particularly Tsewang Araptan. But in murdering the Dalai Lama and putting a monk of his own choice in that position Latzan Khan incurred the hatred of many Lamas of the Yellow Sect of which the Dalai Lama was the head. These Lamas also feared the return to power of the older Red Sect of Lamaism that had been overthrown in 1643 by the forces of Gushi Khan (see under Galdan). Hence the Lamas of the Yellow Sect began to plot against Latzan Khan, begging Tsewang Araptan to come to their rescue. The latter was glad to interfere and began by weakening Latzan Khan. About 1714 Tsewang Araptan contrived to have his daughter, Boitalak (see under Amursana), married to one of Latzan Khan's sons. This son-in-law brought with him men and wealth, but after the wedding he was detained in Sungaria—perhaps as a hostage. In 1715 Tsewang Araptan tested Chinese resistance by invading Hami. Here he was disappointed because large forces had already been dispatched by Emperor Shêng-tsu to defend that area and to guard the borders of Kokonor. While at Hami he planned a campaign, according to which he would send two armies, one to Tibet and another to Sining. The latter army, if successful, would capture the youth—then confined in Sining—who was believed by many Mongols and Tibetans to be the true reincarnation of the Sixth Dalai Lama (see under Tshangs-dbyangs-rgya-mtsho). The youth so obtained would be carried to Tibet—a move which would win over the Tibetans without bloodshed and would ensure Sungarian rule in that region. In 1717 the first project was partly carried out. The army designated for Tibet, numbering six thousand, was dispatched under Tsewang Araptan's cousin, the Elder Chereng Dondub 大策凌敦多布. However, the other half of the plan somehow miscarried. No Sungars went to Sining, nor even to Hami; and Chinese expeditions raided Sungarian territories without encountering much resistance (see under Funinggan).

The army under Chereng Dondub was, as already stated, successful. On the pretense of escorting the son of Latzan Khan back to Tibet, the Sungars were allowed to march unmolested through the difficult mountain passes and deserts of western Tibet. Not till they drew near Lhasa did their real intention become known. Though Latzan Khan hurriedly collected an army, he was no match for the great Sungar general who could march troops through the passes of the K'un Lun Mountains which in places rose to eighteen thousand feet. Moreover, Latzan Khan himself was betrayed by the Lamas in his own ranks. After the loss of several battles he was killed, late in 1717. By defeating a Chinese army sent from Sining in 1718, Chereng Dondub was able to keep Tibet under his rule. But the Tibetans were not satisfied with him, chiefly because the Sungars had failed in their plan to get the Dalai Lama from Sining and send him to Tibet. What is more, the Sungars ransacked the Lama temples and many homes in Lhasa, causing a general hatred of their rule. In the meantime Emperor Shêng-tsu was determined to recover Tibet, realizing that a hostile power there, controlling the Lamas, could easily incite the Mongols to revolt. Hence in 1718 he appointed Yin-t'i [禵, q.v.]commander-in-chief of a large army at Sining and strengthened the defenses along the Mongolian frontier. In 1720 two expeditionary forces succeeded in recovering Lhasa and driving out the Sungars (see under Yen-hsin). Chereng Dondub, without reinforcements from Sungaria, and in a territory hostile to him, could do no better than return to Ili with the remnants of his army.

Despite the changes in Tibet, there was no progress made on either side along the front from Khobdo to Barkul. Early in 1723, owing to Court politics, Yin-t'i was recalled to Peking, and his armies were partly withdrawn (see under Yin-chên). As these events were taking place, a Khoshote prince of Kokonor, Lobdzan Dandzin (see under Nien Kêng-yao), revolted, but his revolt was easily put down (see under Yüeh Chung-ch'i) so that hostilities on the frontiers ceased for five or six years.

During the time that Tsewang Araptan was expanding westward and northward, conflict with the advancing Russians in Siberia was inevitable. Peter the Great, who had been told that gold was abundant in Eastern Turkestan, was eager to extend his rule from Tobolsk to that region. His first expedition went as far as Yamuishevsky, but was repulsed in 1715 by an army under Chereng Dondub. A second attempt was checked in 1720 near Lake Zaisan by Galdan Tseren 噶爾丹策棱 (d. 1745), the son and heir of Tsewang Araptan. After 1720 the Russians abandoned their plan of conquering Turkestan, with the result that in the ensuing thirty years trade between Sungaria and Russia flourished.

Tsewang Araptan was one of the able monarchs of his day in Central Asia. During his reign Sungaria advanced in agriculture, commerce and industry. In 1716 he captured a number of Russians, among whom were some Swedish soldiers who had been taken prisoner by Peter the Great in 1709 at the battle of Poltava and sent as exiles to Siberia. One Swedish officer, J. G. Renat, helped the Sungars to manufacture cannon and took part in their battles. Others were engaged in various industries. After he regained his freedom (1733) Renat returned to Sweden, takng with him two valuable maps of Sungaria which he presented in 1743 to the Uppsala University Library.

Tsewang Araptan died in 1727. It is said that he was murdered by some Lamas who hated him for the devastation of Tibet in 1717–20. He was succeeded by Galdan Tseren who carried on the war against China and was successful, in 1731, in routing completely the army under Furdan [q. v.]. But finding he could not make much headway in Mongolia (see under Tsereng), Galdan Tseren agreed to a truce with China and finally made a treaty with Emperor Kao-tsung, in 1738–39, in which the Altai Mountains were designated as the boundary between Sungaria and China. Sungaria prospered under his rule. He died in 1745 and was succeeded by his son, Tsewang Dorji Namjar 策妄多爾濟那木札爾. In 1750 another son of Galdan Tseren, Lama Darja (see under Amursana), rebelled, captured Tsewang Dorji Namjar, and imprisoned him in Aksu. This started a civil war which lasted five years and resulted in the Chinese conquest of Sungaria (see under Amursana).


[1/527/1a; 1/530/3b–7a; P'ing-ting shuo-mo fang-lüeh (see under Chang Yü-shu); P'ing-ting Chun-ko-êr fang-lüeh (see under Fu-hêng); Ch'i Yün-shih [q. v.], Huang-ch'ao Fan-pu yao-lüeh, chüan 9–14; Baddeley, J. F., Russia, Mongolia, China (1919), vol. 1, pp. clxvi–cxcvi, table G; Howorth, H. H., The History of the Mongols (1876), vol. 1, pp. 640–51; Haenisch, E., "Bruchstücke aus der Geschichte Chinas unter der Gegenwartigen Dynastie," in T'oung Pao (1911), pp. 197–235, 375–424; Hedin, Sven, Southern Tibet (1917) I, pp. 253–60.]

Fang Chao-ying