Hong Tianguifu

Hong Tianguifu (simplified Chinese: 洪天贵福; traditional Chinese: 洪天貴福; pinyin: Hóng Tiānguìfú) (1848 - 18 November 1864), also called Hong Tiangui and in Qing historical record, Hong Futian (洪福瑱 Hóng Fútiàn), was the second and last king of the Heavenly Kingdom of Taiping. He is popularly referred to as the Junior Lord (幼主). Officially, like his father Hong Xiuquan, he was the King of Heaven (天王). To differentiate, he is also called the Junior King of Heaven (幼天王).

Hong succeeded his father at fourteen and was not respected like his father by the princes, and he was spoken of lowly. In Zhong Prince Li Xiucheng Describes Himself (《忠王李秀成自述》), the autobiographical account of a prince of the Heavenly Kingdom written shortly before his execution, Hong Tianguifu was described as "inexperienced," "spoiled," and "incapable. " Also, Hong Tianguifu never rode a horse, which was essential for leaders and commanders in wars.

Four months after his coronation, Nanjing, the capital of Taiping rebels were captured by qing dynasty. Hong Tianguifu escaped to Eastern Dam (Dongba 东坝), Jiangsu in July, 1864, rendezvoused with his uncle, Hong Rengan (洪仁玕), Gan Prince (干王). After going to Guangde County, Anhui first, they went to the town of Huzhou (湖州), Zhejiang on 13 August 1864 to rendezvous with the local Taiping Army commander Huang Wenjin (黄文金). Imperial Chinese qing dynasty sent Zuo Zongtang and Li Hongzhang to attack the city, and Chen Xueming (陈学明), the Taiping army commander in charge of defending the southern gate of the town surrendered on 26 August 1864. Hong Tianguifu, Hong Rengan and Huang Wenjin (黄文金) were forced to flee from the town next day, under the cover of darkness at night, and Huang Wenjin (黄文金) soon died of his wounds. The rest of the survivors attempted to escape to the border region of Jiangxi , Guangdong and Fujian to join the remnant of Taiping forces led by Li Shixian (李世贤), but on 9 October 1864, they were ambushed by the Imperial Chinese army at Stone Town (Shi Cheng, 石城) and Hong Rengan was captured and subsequently executed on 23 November 1864 at Nanchang (南昌), Jiangxi . Hong Tianguifu escaped to the mountains near Stone Town (Shi Cheng, 石城) after his token force was wiped out, but he was caught on 25 October 1864 by Qing soldiers searching for him and was subsequently executed on 18 November 1864 at the age of sixteen.

A glimpse of Hong Tianguifu's character can be seen by his remarks before his execution: " Guangdong isn't a nice place, I don't want to go back. I only want to study with Old Master Tang in Hunan, then become a first-degree scholar. " ("廣東地方不好,我也不愿回去了,我衹愿跟唐老爺到湖南讀書,想進秀才。") This apparently innocent, pointless and irrelevant comment was considered by some as a desperate and futile attempt to avoid his untimely death by fooling the executioner into confusing his identity. It may have been his utter lack of understanding of what was happening to him, and to his lost kingdom.

Despite the short time he was a king, he was issued an official jade seal (玉璽 yù xǐ), which is an exhibit in the Hong Kong Museum of History (香港歷史博物館) .

Hong Tianguifu's name is unique, in that it contains a three-character given name, whereas almost all Chinese given names have just one or two characters.

Last update 19-06-2012

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