- Qishan (Qing Dynasty)
Background and early career
Qishan came from the
Borjigitclan and belonged to the Manchu Plain Yellow Banner in the Eight Banners. In 1808, he joined the Board of Punishment as an assistant department director and he subsequently held a number of important positions in the Qinggovernment including the Viceroy of Liangjiangfrom 1825 to 1827.
Role during First Opium War
Lin Zexu's failure to push back the British in the First Opium War, the Daoguangemperor ordered Qishan to replace Lin as the Governor-General of Guangdongand Guangxiand entrusted him with the delicate task of negotiating a peace treaty with the British. Without getting appropriate sanction from the throne, Qishan signed the abortive Convention of Chuanbiwith the British on 7 January 1841. Among other things, the convention ceded the island of Hong Kongto the British and that the Qing Empire pay an indemnity of 6 million dollars to the British. Because of this, Qishan was dimissed from his post and condemned to death, but the sentence was later commuted to banishment.
Later career and death
After the termination of hostilies in the Opium war, Qishan was reinstated in 1842 and he subsequently held a number of prominent positions in the government. Among other things, he served as the Qing imperial resident in
Lhasa. After the outbreak of the Taiping rebellion, Qishan took active part in the suppression of the rebel forces and he died on the battlefield in 1854, trying to prevent the Taipings from capturing Jiangsu.
*Hummel, Arthur William, ed. "Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period (1644-1912)." 2 vols. Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1943.
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