Sengge Rinchen
220px-Sengge Rinchen
Some attributes
First Name: Sengge Rinchen
Second Position: Imperial Prince
Third Nationality: Mongol
Other attributes
Fourth Allegiance: Qing Dynasty
Fifth Birth: 1811
Sixth Died: May 19, 1865

Prince Sengge Rinchen (Mongolian: ᠰᠡᠩᠭᠡᠷᠢᠨᠼᠡᠨ Sengerinchen, Chinese: 僧格林沁; Tibetan: སེང་གེ་རིན་ཆེན།, 1811–May 19, 1865) was a Mongol nobleman and general during the Qing dynasty, who is mainly known for his role during the Second Opium War and the suppression of the Taiping and Nian rebellions.


Sengge Rinchen came from the Horqin Left Back Banner in Inner Mongolia and belonged to the Borjigin clan, which could trace its origins back to Genghis Khan's brother Hasar. His personal name consists of the Tibetan words for "lion" and "treasure" respectively. In 1825, he became an imperial prince of the second degree (郡王).

Military CampaignsEdit

Sengge Rinchen is mainly known for his role in a number of military campaigns in the mid-nineteenth century. In 1853, Sengge Rinchen stopped the northern expedition of Taiping army and captured one of its leaders, Li Kaifang. In 1855, Sengge Rinchen's status was elevated to Prince of the First Degree in recognition of this.

Second Opium WarEdit

300px-Sengge rinchen

Sengge Rinchen on campaign.

Four years later during the Second Opium War, he was appointed imperial commissioner in charge of leading the campaign against the British and French invasion. He installed addition artillery in the Dagu Forts and brought with him 4,000 fiercely elite Mongolian cavalrymen.

In June 1859, a British naval force with 2,200 troops and 21 ships, under the command of Admiral Sir James Hope, sailed north from Shanghai to Tianjin with newly appointed Anglo-French envoys for the embassies in Beijing. They sailed to the mouth of the Hai River guarded by the Dagu Forts near Tianjin and demanded to continue inland to Beijing.

Sengge Rinchen replied that the Anglo-French envoys may land up the coast at Beitang and proceed to Beijing but refused to allow armed troops to accompany them to the Chinese capital. The Anglo-French forces insisted on landing at Dagu instead of Beitang and escorting the trip to Beijing. On the night of 24 June 1859, a small batch of British forces blew up the iron obstacles that the Chinese had placed in the Baihe River. The next day, the British forces sought to forcibly sail into the river, and shelled the Taku Forts. Low tide and soft mud prevented their landing, however, and accurate fire from Sengge Rinchen's canons sank four gunboats and severely damaged two others.

American Commodore Josiah Tattnall, although under orders to maintain neutrality, declared "blood is thicker than water," and provided covering fire to protect the convoy's retreat. The failure to take Dagu was a blow to British prestige, and anti-foreign resistance reached a crescendo within the Qing Court.

However, only one year later Sengge Rinchen slipped away to Peking with 150 cavalrymen, leaving his garrison at Taku Forts to fend for themselves against a second, larger force composed of 11,000 British and 7,000 French. When only one of the Taku Forts resisted, while the rest surrendered without a fight, Sengge Rinchen fell back to defend Peking. On 21 September 1860, Sengge Rinchen's 10,000 troops, including his elite Mongolian cavalry, were annihilated after doomed frontal charges against concentrated firepower of the Anglo-French forces, which entered Beijing on 6 October.

Nian RebellionEdit

Once Peking fell, Senge Rinchen was subsequently transferred to fight against the Nian rebellion. He captured several fortified cities, destroyed most of the Nian infantry and killed enemy General Zhang Lexing in an ambush, earning him back all his former titles and ranks.

However in late 1864, the Nian movement survived as skilled Taiping commanders Lai Wenguang (1827–1868) and Fan Ruzeng (1840-1867) arrived to take control of Nian forces, and the bulk of the Nian cavalry remained intact. Senge Rinchen's infantry-based army could not stop the fast moving cavalry from devastating the countryside and launching surprise attacks on Imperial troops. In 1864, to counter the Nian, 7,000 soldiers were transported to Tianjin via Shanghai.

In 1865, during a campaign against the Nian in Shandong, Sengge Richen was ambushed by a group of Nian rebels and killed at the Battle of Goulawjai thereby depriving the government of its best military commander. The Nian rebellion was finally suppressed in 1868.


Following his death, the imperial court canonized Sengge Rinchen in recognition of his service to the Qing dynasty and made his rank as imperial prince hereditary under the name of the "loyal prince" (忠親王). In 1889, Empress Dowager Cixi ordered that a shrine be erected in his memory under the name Xianzhongci (顯忠祠), which still stands in the Dongcheng District in Beijing.

In official history works in the People's Republic of China's, Sengge Rinchen's Qing loyalist stance is interpreted as an expression of his Chinese patriotism, and in 1995, the local government of Tongliao in Inner Mongolia opened a Sengge Rinchen memorial museum.

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