Zuo Zongtang, Marquis Kejing, sometimes referred to as General Tso, was a Chinese statesman and military leader of the late Qing dynasty.
40 Facts About Zuo Zongtang
Zuo Zongtang then spent his time studying agriculture, geography and military strategy.
In 1866, as part of the Qing government's Self-Strengthening Movement, Zuo Zongtang oversaw the construction of the Fuzhou Arsenal and naval academy.
In 1878, in recognition of his achievements, Zuo Zongtang was promoted from a first class count to a second class marquis.
Zuo Zongtang was reassigned to serve as the Viceroy of Liangjiang in 1881 and appointed to the Grand Council in 1884, before being made an Imperial Commissioner again to oversee naval affairs.
Zuo Zongtang died in 1885 in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, and was given the posthumous name Wenxiang.
Zuo Zongtang often signed off by the name Jinliang, which means " Liang of today", since he liked to compare himself with Zhuge Liang.
Zuo Zongtang was nicknamed "Zuo Zongtang Luozi" for his stubbornness.
Zuo Zongtang was born in 1812 in a land-holding family in Xiangyin County, Hunan Province.
Zuo Zongtang's family paid for him to attend a local private school starting from the age of five, where he mastered the Confucian classics.
Zuo Zongtang decided to abandon his plans to become an official and returned to his home by the Xiang River to farm silkworms, read, and drink tea.
In 1860, Zuo Zongtang was given command of a force of 5,000 volunteers, the Xiang Army, and by September of that year, he drove the Taiping rebels out of Hunan and Guangxi provinces, into coastal Zhejiang Province.
Zuo Zongtang captured the city of Shaoxing and, from there, pushed south into Fujian and Guangdong provinces, where the revolt had first begun.
In 1863, Zuo Zongtang was appointed Provincial Governor of Zhejiang and an Undersecretary of War.
Zuo Zongtang was created "First Class Count Kejing" for his part in suppressing the rebellion.
In 1865, Zuo Zongtang was appointed Viceroy and Governor-General of Fujian and Zhejiang.
Several Hui Muslim generals, such as Ma Zhan'ao, Ma Anliang, Ma Qianling, Dong Fuxiang, and Ma Haiyan from Hezhou, who had defected to Zuo Zongtang's army, helped him crush the "Muslim rebels".
Zuo Zongtang rewarded them by relocating the Han Chinese from the suburbs of Hezhou to another place and allowing their troops to stay in the Hezhou suburbs as long as they did not live in the city itself.
In 1878, Zuo Zongtang successfully suppressed Yakub Beg's uprising and helped to negotiate an end to Russian occupation of the border city of Ili.
Zuo Zongtang was vocal in the debate at the Qing imperial court over what to do with the Xinjiang situation, advocating for Xinjiang to become a province, in opposition to Li Hongzhang, who wanted to abandon what he called "useless Xinjiang" and concentrate on defending China's coastal areas.
However, Zuo Zongtang won the debate, Xinjiang was made a province, and many administrative functions were staffed by his Hunan officers.
Zuo Zongtang was outspoken in calling for war against the Russian Empire, hoping to settle the matter by attacking Russian forces in Xinjiang with his Xiang Army.
In 1878, when tension increased in Xinjiang, Zuo Zongtang massed Qing forces toward the Russian-occupied Kuldja.
Zuo Zongtang's troops were armed with modern German Dreyse needle rifles and Krupp artillery as well as experimental weapons.
Zuo Zongtang was appointed to the Grand Council, the cabinet of the Qing Empire at the time, in 1880.
Uneasy with bureaucratic politics, Zuo Zongtang asked to be relieved of his duties and was appointed Viceroy of Liangjiang in 1881.
In 1884, upon the outbreak of the Sino-French War, Zuo Zongtang received his fourth and last commission as commander-in-chief and Imperial Commissioner of the military and Inspector-General overseeing coastal defences in Fujian Province.
Zuo Zongtang was admired by many generals who came after him.
Zuo Zongtang was referred to by Kuomintang general Ma Zhongying as one of his models, as Ma led the National Revolutionary Army's 36th Division to reconquer Xinjiang for the Nationalist government from the pro-Soviet governor Jin Shuren during the Kumul Rebellion.
Zuo Zongtang sometimes referred to himself by his art name, "peasant from Xiang", and was keenly interested in agriculture.
Zuo Zongtang advocated the scientific reform of commercial agriculture both as a way to strengthen China's economic self-sufficiency and as a way to manage civilian populations by improving their standard of living and controlling the kinds of crops they grew.
Zuo Zongtang recognised the threat of opium to the nation's stability and economic health and advocated replacing opium poppies with cotton as the major cash crop in Gansu and Shaanxi provinces.
Zuo Zongtang authorised the large scale distribution of cotton seeds and published pamphlets on its cultivation and processing.
When Zuo Zongtang first arrived in the region, a decade of constant warfare had virtually stopped all publishing in the region.
Zuo Zongtang prioritised reestablishing the printing industry a priority and thousands of copies of the publications he authorised were distributed in Ningxia, Qinghai, Gansu, Shaanxi and Xinjiang.
Zuo Zongtang's great-grandparents were Zuo Zongtang Fengsheng and Madam Jiang.
Zuo Zongtang's grandparents were Zuo Renjin and Madam Yang.
Zuo Zongtang's parents were Zuo Guanlan and Madam Yu.
In 1832, Zuo Zongtang married Zhou Yiduan, a woman from Paitou Township, Xiangtan County in Hunan Province.
Zuo Zongtang is said to have invented it as a way to use local products and save his men from more expensive ingredients.