Shenzhen Museum #1 – Ancient Shenzhen 古代深圳 (221 BC – 1839 AD)

Part Four: An Important Strategic Town on Coastal Defence (1368-1839 AD) 海防重镇

In the Ming-Qing dynasties, the southeast coast was frequently invaded and harassed by Japanese pirates, Western invaders (mainly Portuguese and Spanish during the Ming Dynasty) and random pirates. Coastal defences were built to protect the key ports from these invasions.

Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) – Fortifications 明守御千户所城

Dongguan Garrison City 东莞守御千户所 (modern day Nantou Walled City) was built in 27th year of Ming Emperor Hongwu 明洪武二十七年 (1394). According to records, it had 25 guard posts, 1200 battlements, 3 draw bridges and 2 moats.

Besides Dongguan, there’s one more in Dapeng 大鹏. Dapeng Garrison City 大鹏守御千户所 has been preserved as a conservation area in Longing, Shenzhen. It was built the same time as Dongguan Garrison City. That’s how Shenzhen got its moniker of Peng City 鹏城.

Diorama of Ming Navy fighting against Western invaders

Tunmen Sea Battle 屯门海战 against the Portuguese fleet in 16th year of Zhengde 明朝正德十六年 (1521) was the first recorded battle against a foreign invader from Western colonial powers. These incursions and invasions will continue until 1899. Despite the successes of these campaigns, the fort was ceded to the British as part of a concession of New Territories 1899.

Wang Hong 汪鋐 (1466-1536)

Wang Hong 汪鋐 (1466-1536) was instrumental in the victory of Tunmen Sea Battle. Afterwards he was promoted to Minister of Military and Personnel 兵部、吏部尚书, during which he introduced the used of the “Ferangi” blunderbuss into weaponry of the Ming army.

Ming porcelain excavated from tombs

But these generals would not foresee what they have fought for would be given away in the next dynasty.

Qing Dynasty (1644-1912)

In an effort to recover Taiwan from the rebels remaining from the Ming Dynasty, the Qing Government ordered a 30 miles retreat from the coastal areas in an effort to starve off the supply lines to the renegade islands.

The Great Clearance 迁海令/迁界令 which required the evacuation of the coastal areas of Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangnan, and Shandong was issued in 1661, 1664, and 1679. That pretty much decimated the population of Xin’an County, which was absorbed into Dongguan County. Only 1,648 of those who left are said to have returned when the evacuation was rescinded in 1669.

In recent excavations of tombs in Dapeng Garrison City, the burial objects of General Liu Qilong 刘起龙 (1772-1830) and his wife Lin 林氏 were recovered and put on display in the museum. A native Hakka of Dapeng, he has fought 18 wars and held the high position Fujian Naval Admiral 福建水师提督, the equivalent of the Pacific Fleet Admiral of his time. He was conferred posthumously the title of General Zhenwei (“Show of Strength”) 振威将军.

These beautiful relics included a bridal headdress 凤冠霞帔 that was conferred to the wife of First Class Court Officials 一品诰命夫人, something very rare in this part of China. Most of these officials were based in Beijing, and so to see this here meant that Liu was really appreciated by the emperor.

The Chinese still regarded Qing Dynasty as a foreign power because prior to Qing Dynasty, Ming Dynasty has never conceded a single inch of land through treaties.

Convention of 1898 to lease New Territories to the British for 99 years, setting the date of Hong Kong return to 1997

While scholars argue about the sinicisation of the Qing government, and therefore its downfall cannot entirely be based on racial lines, it was also a fact that Qing emperors were quite helpless in defending the borders. As a result of the Opium Wars, Hong Kong and Kowloon were receded to the British, and New Territories in 1898.

2 comments on “Shenzhen Museum #1 – Ancient Shenzhen 古代深圳 (221 BC – 1839 AD)

  1. Pingback: Shenzhen Museum #2 – Folk Culture 深圳民俗文化 – live2makan

  2. Pingback: Nam Giao @ HCM – live2makan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: