Jiaqing Emperor

The Jiaqing Emperor (13 November 1760 – 2 September 1820), personal name Yongyan, was the sixth emperor of the Manchu-led Qing dynasty, and the fifth Qing emperor to rule over China proper, from 1796 to 1820. He was the 15th son of the Qianlong Emperor. During his reign, he prosecuted Heshen, the corrupt favorite of his father, and attempted to restore order within the Qing Empire while curbing the smuggling of opium into China.

Jiaqing Emperor
清 佚名 《清仁宗嘉庆皇帝朝服像》.jpg
Prince Jia of the First Rank
Emperor of the Qing dynasty
Reign9 February 1796 – 2 September 1820
PredecessorQianlong Emperor
SuccessorDaoguang Emperor
RegentQianlong Emperor (1796–1799)
BornAisin Gioro Yongyan
(愛新覺羅 永琰)
(1760-11-13)13 November 1760
(乾隆二十五年 十月 六日)
Old Summer Palace
Died2 September 1820(1820-09-02) (aged 59)
(嘉慶二十五年 七月 二十五日)
Chengde Mountain Resort
Chang Mausoleum, Western Qing tombs
(m. 1774; died 1797)

(m. 1790⁠–⁠1820)
IssueDaoguang Emperor
Miankai, Prince Dunke of the First Rank
Mianxin, Prince Ruihuai of the First Rank
Mianyu, Prince Huiduan of the First Rank
Princess Zhuangjing of the Second Rank
Princess Zhuangjing of the First Rank
Aisin Gioro Yongyan
(愛新覺羅 顒琰)
Manchu: Yong yan (ᠶᠣᠩ ᠶᠠᠨ)
Era dates
(嘉慶; 9 February 1796 – 2 February 1821)
Manchu: Saicungga fengšen (ᠰᠠᡳᠴᡠᠩᡤᠠ ᡶᡝᠩᡧᡝᠨ)
Mongolian: Сайшаалт ерөөлт (ᠰᠠᠶᠢᠰᠢᠶᠠᠯᠲᠤ ᠢᠷᠦᠭᠡᠯᠲᠦ)
Posthumous name
Emperor Shoutian Xingyun Fuhua Suiyou Chongwen Jingwu Guangyu Xiaogong Qinjian Duanmin Yingzhe Rui
Manchu: Sunggiyen hūwangdi (ᠰᡠᠩᡤᡳᠶᡝᠨ
Temple name
Manchu: Žindzung (ᡰᡳᠨᡯᡠᠩ)
HouseAisin Gioro
FatherHongli, Qianlong Emperor
MotherEmpress Xiaoyichun of the Weigiya clan
Jiaqing Emperor
Traditional Chinese嘉慶帝
Simplified Chinese嘉庆帝

Early yearsEdit

Yongyan was born in the Old Summer Palace, 8 km (5 mi) northwest of the walls of Beijing. His personal name, "Yongyan" (永琰), was later changed to "Yongyan" (顒琰) when he became the emperor. The Chinese character for yong in his name was changed from the more common 永 to the less common 顒. This novelty was introduced by the Qianlong Emperor, who believed that it was not proper to have a commonly used Chinese character in an emperor's personal name due to the longstanding practice of naming taboo in the imperial family.

Yongyan was the 15th son of the Qianlong Emperor. His mother was Noble Consort Ling, the daughter of Wei Qingtai (魏清泰), a Han Chinese official whose family had been long integrated into the Manchu Eight Banners as part of a Han Banner.

The Qianlong Emperor originally had two other sons in mind for succeeding him, but both of them died early from diseases, hence in December 1773 he secretly chose Yongyan as his successor. In 1789, the Qianlong Emperor instated Yongyan as "Prince Jia of the First Rank" (嘉親王; or simply "Prince Jia").

Accession to the throneEdit

In October 1795, the 60th year of his reign, the Qianlong Emperor announced his intention to abdicate in favour of Prince Jia. He made this decision because he felt that it was disrespectful for him to rule longer than his grandfather, the Kangxi Emperor, who was on the throne for 61 years. Prince Jia ascended the throne and adopted the era name "Jiaqing" in February 1796, hence he is historically known as the Jiaqing Emperor. For the next three years however, the Jiaqing Emperor was emperor in name only because decisions were still made by his father, who became a Taishang Huang (emperor emeritus) after his abdication.

After the death of the Qianlong Emperor in the beginning of February 1799, the Jiaqing Emperor took control of the government and prosecuted Heshen, a favourite official of his father. Heshen was charged with corruption and abuse of power, stripped of his titles, had his property confiscated, and ordered to commit suicide. Heshen's daughter-in-law, Princess Hexiao, a sister of the Jiaqing Emperor, was spared from punishment and given a few properties from Heshen's estates.

At the time, the Qing Empire faced internal disorder, most importantly the large-scale White Lotus (1796–1804) and Miao (1795–1806) rebellions, as well as an empty imperial treasury. The Jiaqing Emperor engaged in the pacification of the empire and the quelling of rebellions. He endeavored to bring China back to its 18th-century prosperity and power. However, due in part to large outflows of silver from the country as payment for the opium smuggled into China from British India, the economy declined.

Renaming VietnamEdit

The Jiaqing Emperor refused the Vietnamese ruler Gia Long's request to change his country's name to Nam Việt. He changed the name instead to Việt Nam.[1] Gia Long's Đại Nam thực lục contains the diplomatic correspondence over the naming.[2]

Opposition to ChristianityEdit

The Great Qing Legal Code includes one statute titled "Prohibitions Concerning Sorcerers and Sorceresses" (禁止師巫邪術). In 1811, a clause was added to it with reference to Christianity. It was modified in 1815 and 1817, settled in its final form in 1839 under the Daoguang Emperor, and abrogated in 1870 under the Tongzhi Emperor. It sentenced Europeans to death for spreading Catholicism among Han Chinese and Manchus. Christians who would not repent their conversion were sent to Muslim cities in Xinjiang, to be given as slaves to Muslim leaders and beys.[3]

Chinese nobilityEdit

The Jiaqing Emperor granted the title Wujing Boshi (五經博士; Wǔjīng Bóshì) to the descendants of Han Yu.[4][5][6][7]

Death and burialEdit

On 2 September 1820, the Jiaqing Emperor died at the Rehe (Jehol) Traveling Palace (熱河行宫), 230 km (140 mi) northeast of Beijing, where the imperial court was in summer quarters. The Draft History of Qing did not record a cause of death. Some have alleged that he died after being struck by lightning, but others prefer the theory that he died of a stroke, as the emperor was quite obese. He was succeeded by his second son, Mianning, who became known as the Daoguang Emperor.

Renzong was interred amidst the Western Qing Tombs, 120 km (75 mi) southwest of Beijing, in the Chang (昌; lit. "splendid") mausoleum complex.



Father — Aisin Gioro Hongli (愛新覺羅 弘曆), Qianlong Emperor (乾隆帝) (25 September 1711 – 7 February 1799)

MotherHuang'guifei of the Weigiya clan (皇贵妃 魏佳氏). Posthumous name and title: Empress Xiaoyichun (孝儀純皇后) (23 October 1727 – 28 February 1775).

He was raised by Imperial Noble Consort Qinggong of  Lu

Consorts and IssueEdit

Consorts classified based on the highest title which they held during their lifetime as the reigning emperor's consort.


  • Empress of the Hitara clan (皇后 喜塔臘氏; 2 October 1760 – 5 March 1797). Posthumous name and title: Empress Xiaoshurui (孝淑睿皇后).
    Tenure as empress: 12 February 1796 – 5 March 1797.
    • Second daughter (2 June 1780 – 6 September 1783)
    • Minning (宣宗 旻寧; 16 September 1782 – 26 February 1850), the Daoguang Emperor (道光帝), second son
    • Princess Zhuangjing of the First Rank (莊靜固倫公主; 20 October 1784 – 27 June 1811), fourth daughter. Married Manibadala (瑪尼巴達喇; d. 1832) of the Tumed Borjigit clan in November/December 1802.
    • Miscarriage at three months (18 August 1785)
  • Empress of the Niohuru clan (皇后 鈕祜祿氏; 20 November 1776 – 23 January 1850). Posthumous name and title: Empress Xiaoherui (孝和睿皇后).
    Tenure as empress: 27 May 1801 – 2 September 1820.

Guifei (2nd rank concubine)

  • Xian Guifei of the Liugiya clan (諴贵妃 劉佳氏; 9 January 1761 – 27 April 1834). Posthumous name and title: Heyu Huang'guifei (和裕皇貴妃).
    • Prince Mu of the Second Rank (穆郡王; 4 February 1779 – 10 June 1780), first son
    • Princess Zhuangjing of the Second Rank (莊敬和碩公主; 30 January 1782 – 4 April 1811), third daughter. Married Sodnamdorji (索特納木多布濟; d. 1825) of the Khorchin Borjigit clan on 24 December 1801.

Fei (3rd rank concubine)

  • Ru Fei of the Niohuru clan (如妃 鈕祜祿氏; 28 May 1787 – 23 April 1860). Posthumous name and title: Gongshun Huang'guifei (恭順皇貴妃).
    • Eighth daughter (8 March 1805 – December 1805 or January 1806)
    • Princess Huimin of the First Rank (慧愍固倫公主; 18 February 1811 – June/July 1815), ninth daughter
    • Mianyu, Prince Huiduan of the First Rank (惠端親王 綿愉; 8 March 1814 – 9 January 1865), fifth son
  • Liuniu (六妞), Hua Fei of the Hougiya clan (華妃 侯佳氏; d. 3 August 1804).
    • Sixth daughter (2 August 1789 – 1790)
  • Zhuang Fei of the Wanggiya clan (莊妃 王佳氏; d. 9 March 1811)

Pin (4th rank concubine)

  • Xin Pin of the Liugiya clan (信嬪 劉佳氏; 26 April 1783 - 26 November 1822). Posthumous name and title: Xin Fei (信妃).
  • Chun Pin of the Donggiya clan (淳嬪 董佳氏; d. 30 November 1819)

Guiren (5th rank concubine)

  • Rong Guiren of the Liang clan (榮貴人 梁氏; d. 15 June 1826). Posthumous name and title: Rong Pin (榮嬪).
  • En Guiren of the Uya clan (恩貴人 烏雅氏; 21 October 1791 – 7 March 1846). Posthumous name and title: En Pin (恩嬪).

Changzai (6th rank concubine)

  • An Changzai of the Gūwalgiya clan (安常在 瓜爾佳氏; 1 March 1785 – 29 July 1837). Posthumous name and title: An Pin (安嬪).

Princess consort

  • Secondary consort, of the Wanyan clan (完顏氏; d. 1792). Posthumous name and title: Shu Fei (恕妃). She died before Jiaqing Emperor's ascension.
  • Mistress, of the Guan clan (關氏; d. 14 May 1780). Posthumous name and title: Jian Pin (簡嬪). She died before Jiaqing Emperor's ascension.
    • First daughter (14 May 1780 – 24 November 1783)
  • Mistress, of the Shen clan (沈氏; d. 31 December 1786). Posthumous name and title: Xun Pin (遜嬪). She died before Jiaqing Emperor's ascension.
    • Princess Hui'an of the Second Rank (慧安和碩公主; 31 December 1786 – June/July 1795), fifth daughter


Shunzhi Emperor (1638–1661)
Kangxi Emperor (1654–1722)
Empress Xiaokangzhang (1638–1663)
Yongzheng Emperor (1678–1735)
Empress Xiaogongren (1660–1723)
Lady Saiheli
Qianlong Emperor (1711–1799)
Lingzhu (1664–1754)
Lady Qiao
Empress Xiaoshengxian (1692–1777)
Lady Peng
Jiaqing Emperor (1760–1820)
Lady Chen
Empress Xiaoyichun (1727–1775)
Lady Yanggiya

In fiction and popular cultureEdit

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ Woodside 1971, p. 120.
  2. ^ Jeff Kyong-McClain; Yongtao Du (2013). Chinese History in Geographical Perspective. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 67–. ISBN 978-0-7391-7230-8.
  3. ^ Robert Samuel Maclay (1861). Life among the Chinese: with characteristic sketches and incidents of missionary operations and prospects in China. Carlton & Porter. p. 336. Retrieved 6 July 2011. mohammedan slaves to beys.
  4. ^ Qin ding da Qing hui dian (Jiaqing chao). 1818. p. 1084.
  5. ^ 王士禎 [Wang Shizhen] (3 September 2014). 池北偶談 [Chi Bei Ou Tan]. 朔雪寒 [Shuo Xue Han]. GGKEY:ESB6TEXXDCT.
  6. ^ 徐錫麟 [Xu, Xilin]; 錢泳 [Qian, Yong] (10 September 2014). 熙朝新語 [Xi Chao Xin Yu]. 朔雪寒 [Shuo Xue Han]. GGKEY:J62ZFNAA1NF.
  7. ^ Brunnert, H. S.; Hagelstrom, V. V. (15 April 2013). Present Day Political Organization of China. Routledge. pp. 493–94. ISBN 978-1-135-79795-9.


  •   This article incorporates text from China in the light of history, by Ernst Faber, a publication from 1897, now in the public domain in the United States.
  •   This article incorporates text from The Chinese recorder, Volume 27, a publication from 1896, now in the public domain in the United States.
  •   This article incorporates text from Life among the Chinese: with characteristic sketches and incidents of missionary operations and prospects in China, by Robert Samuel Maclay, a publication from 1861, now in the public domain in the United States.

External linksEdit

Jiaqing Emperor
Born: 13 November 1760 Died: 2 September 1820
Regnal titles
Preceded by
The Qianlong Emperor
Emperor of China
Succeeded by
The Daoguang Emperor