General of Ili

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The General of Ili (Chinese: 伊犁將軍; pinyin: Yīlí Jiāngjūn Officially 总统伊犁等处将軍), also known in western sources as the Kuldya Military Governor, was a position created during the reign of the Qing Qianlong Emperor (r. 1735-1799) to "pacify" Dzungaria (now part of Xinjiang) and suppress uprisings by the Khoja "Rebels". The General of Ili governed the entire Xinjiang during Qing rule until it was turned into a province.


Based in Huiyuan City (惠远城; now Huiyuan Town, Huocheng County),[1] in the Qing delineated greater Xinjiang region in the northwest of China, the general was the senior military commander in the area.[2] In 1759, Qing general zh (Zhao Hui) (Manchu: Zhaohuui) suppressed the zh (Revolt of the Altishahr Khojas) and reestablished Qing control over the western part of Xinjiang. As a result, in 1762 the Qing court established the position of General of Ili with Ming Rui as the first incumbent.[2]

At the same time, the offices of Military Attache or Dūtǒng (都统) and Imperial Resident (駐紮大臣) were created under the general to manage military affairs north and south of the Tian Shan range of mountains. The northern circuit (天山北路) or Tarim Basin was administered by the Ili Ministerial Attache (伊犁参赞大臣), five Ministerial Leaders (领队大臣), a Tarbagatai Ministerial Attache (塔爾巴哈臺参赞大臣)[A] and a Minister of Affairs (办事兼领队大臣). In the south (天山南路) or Altishahr there was a General Minister for Altashahr Affairs (總理回疆事務参赞大臣) responsible for Kashgar, Ye 'erqiang (葉爾羌; now Yarkant County), Yingjisha'er (英吉沙尔; now Yengisar County), Uqturpan County, Aksu, Kuqa County, Hetian (和阗; now Hotan) and Kalash'er (喀喇沙尔 now Karasahr) amongst others. In the western circuit (东路 the Urumqi Military Command (乌鲁木齐都统) was responsible for Gucheng (Chinese: 古城; now Qitai County), Barköl Kazakh Autonomous County, zh (Hamiting) (now Hami City) and zh (Ku'erkalawusu) (now Wusu) among other locations.

In 1763, the Qianlong Emperor ordered the construction of the new city of Huiyuan on the north bank of the Ili River as a base for the General of Ili. Thereafter, Huiyuan became the capital of the Qing Xinjiang Region. A further eight fortified cities were then constructed across the Ili or Dzungarian Basin: Ningyuan City (宁远城; now Yining City), Huining City (惠宁城; now Bayandai Township [巴彦岱镇) 10–18 kilometres (6.2–11.2 mi) west of Yining), Taleqi City (塔勒奇城; now part of Huocheng County), Zhande City (瞻德城; now part of Qingshuihe County), Guangren City (广仁城; now Lucaogou Town (芦草沟镇 in Huocheng County), Gongchen City (拱宸城; now part of Huocheng County), Xichun City (熙春城; now part of Yining City) and Suiding City (绥定城; now Shuiding Town).

The headquarters of the Manchu bannermen was in Huiyuan and Huining while the Green Standard Army was distributed across the remaining towns with their commander in Suiding. Uyghur merchants (including the Taranchi) resided in Ningyuan. Their affairs were managed by the General of Ili through the East Yamen (东衙门; 東衙門; Dōng Yámén).

In 1864, during the reign of the Tongzhi Emperor, the zh (Xinjiang Hui Rebellion) broke out concurrent with the Dungan Revolt of 1862-77 further east. On March 8 1866, a large force of Hui Muslims captured the General of Ili Mingsioi's Yamen. He committed suicide by blowing himself up but his predecessor Cangcing (Chinese: 常清; pinyin: Cháng Qīng) was captured and paraded through the streets.[3]

After Tzarist Russia invaded the Ili Basin in 1865 they demolished Huiyuan then in 1876 Qing General Zuo Zongtang, at the head of a large army, ended Yaqub Beg's occupation of the southern part of Xinjiang. In 1881 the Qing army recaptured the Ili Basin and two years later rebuilt Huiyaun 7.5 kilometres (4.7 mi) north of its former site. This new settlement was known historically as "New Huiyuan" (新惠远.

Xinjiang officially became a province in 1883 with its capital at Dihua Fu (迪化府 modern day Urumqi) and Huiyuan gradually lost its political status as the centre of the region. The General of Yili retained responsibility for defence in the north of the new province until the position was abolished following the 1911 Xinhai Revolution, which marked the end of Imperial China.


Name Appointed End date Banner
Ming Rui October 1762 March 1767 Bordered Yellow Banner
Agui March 1767 April 1768 Bordered Blue Banner
zh (Yi Letu) July 1768 October 1769 Plain White Banner
zh (Yong Gui) October 1769 October 1770 Plain White Banner   
zh (Zeng Hai) October 1770 December 1770 Bordered Blue Banner Imperial Clan
Yi Letu December 1770 July 1772 Plain White Banner
zh (Shu Hede) October 1772 July 1774 Plain White Banner   
Yi Letu July 1774 June 1784 Plain White Banner 
zh (Ming Liang) June 1784 July 1784 Plain Yellow Banner
Hai Lu (海禄) July 1784 August 1784 Plain Blue Banner
Yi Letu August 1784 July 1793 Plain White Banner
zh (Kui Lin) July 1793 September 1795 Bordered Yellow Banner
Yong Duo (永铎) September 1795 November 1795 Bordered Blue Banner

See also


  1. ^ Responsible for the area around modern-day Tacheng


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