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Also known as Emperor Tai Zu, Nurhaci or Nurgaci (Chinese: 努爾哈赤) (1559-September 30, 1626; r. 1616-September 30, 1626) was the chieftain of a Jurchen tribe in northeastern Manchuria. He is considered to be the founding father of the Manchu state and is also credited with ordering the creation of a written script for the Manchu language. Nurhaci's organisation of the Manchu people and first attack on the Ming Dynasty laid the groundwork for the conquest of China by the Qing Dynasty.


Much of Nurhaci's story is found in later Qing Dynasty sources such as the Veritable Records. Being a member of the Gioro (clan) of the Suksuhu River tribe, he also claimed descent from Mnke Timur, a Jurchen headman who lived some two centuries earlier. He named his clan Aisin Gioro around 1612, when he formally ascended the throne. In 1582 his father Taksi and grandfather Giocangga were killed in an attack on Gure (see Jianzhou Jurchens) by the Ming Dynasty General Li Chengliang. According to Chinese sources, the young man grew up in the household of Li Chengliang in Fushun, where he became literate in Chinese.

From 1583 onwards, Nurhaci began to unify the Jurchen bands. When he was 25, he attacked Nikan Wailan to avenge the deaths of his father and grandfather, starting out with only thirteen suits of armor.

Nurhaci was the organizer of the Eight Banners, which would eventually form the elite that would dominate the Qing empire. In his later life, Nurhaci declared himself a Khan. He constructed a palace at Mukden (modern-day Shenyang in Liaoning province).

In 1599, he had two of his translators create the written Manchu language by adapting the Mongolian alphabet.

In 1616, he founded the Jin Dynasty (aisin gurun), often called the Later Jin. Jin was renamed Qing by his son Hong Taiji after his death but Nurhaci is usually referred to as the founder of the Qing Dynasty. In 1618, he commissioned a document entitled the Seven Great Vexations in which he enumerated seven grievances against the Ming and began to rebel against the Ming Dynasty.

Nurhaci led many successful engagements against the Ming Dynasty, the Koreans, the Mongols, and other Jurchen clans, greatly enlarging the territory under his control. In the first serious military defeat of his life, Nurhaci was beaten by the Ming general Yuan Chonghuan at Ningyuan. Nurhaci was wounded in the battle. His morale and physical self did not recover, and he died on September 30, 1626.

Nurhaci was succeeded by his eighth son, Hong Taiji, otherwise known as Abahai.

His posthumous name was given on 1736: Chengtian-guangyun-shengde-shengong-zhaozhi-liji-renxiao-ruiwu-duanyi-qin'an-hongwen-dingye Gao Emperor (承天廣運聖德神功肇紀立極仁孝睿武端毅欽安弘文定業高皇帝).

In the adventure film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (first released May 23, 1984) an urn containing the remains of Nurhaci was portrayed as stolen in 1935 by Indiana Jones who attempted to trade it for large diamonds. This is a rare Western pop culture reference to a significant historical figure of the East.

Preceded by:
Qing Dynasty Succeeded by:
Tiancong/Chongde Emperor of the Manchus

ko:누르하치 nl:Nurhaci ja:ヌルハチ zh:爱新觉罗努尔哈赤


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