Miao Rebellion - 1860-1869 / 1854-1873
The poor, wretched Miao-tzu had to complain of scorn, contempt, and legal robbery in rents and taxes. The Miaotze, having taken advantage of the Mahomedan rebellion in Yunnan, rose up against the Chinese in 1860. The insurrection which they started, lasted from 1860-1869 [others date this rebellion from 1854 to 1873]. A desperate struggle commenced between the Chinese and the Black Miao / Pho, the alleged origin being attempted extortion on the part of the former. The struggle lasted for over five years, and had it not been, so say the Pho, that the Chinese obtained a supply of foreign rifles, it would not have ended so disastrously for the aborigines. In bright clear weather no advantage was gained by the Chinese; but the Pho were pressed hard in rainy weather, when they were unable to keep the powder of their matchlocks dry. The Pho manufacture their own guns and ammunition-their powder, which was of a brown color, being famous for its strength and superiority even among the Chinese.
These tribes broke out into revolt in 1863, and thus placed the imperial forces in Yunnan between two fires. Another aspirant to leadership, named Liang, at the same time raised the standard of disaffection at a town called Linan Fu. This further added to the difficulties of the imperialists, which were already sufficiently embarrassing. For some three or four years the condition of affairs remained practically unchanged. There was fighting here and there, but no distinct advantage was gained by either side.
The result of the struggle was that the Pho were terribly decimated. The last vestiges of independence passed away when the latest Miao rebellion of any importance was put down after years of mutual slaughter. They were massacred in large numbers by the Imperial troops, and this considerably diminished the population of the country.
They remained under military rule, especially in the South East. There were no Miao, or any other tribe in Kweichow, who claimed to be independent. Owing to constant rebellion, provoked doubtless by the oppression of the Chinese, the Government caused military stations to be established throughout the Miao districts at distances of three li (one mile), and then forcibly appropriated large tracts of the best paddy land belonging to the Miao for the maintenance of the military and civil communities at such stations, an act that has greatly embittered the already sorely oppressed Miao. Thus, driven into the mountain fastnesses, they have, by sheer dint of circumstances, performed marvellous feats in the art of agriculture and irrigation. On those precipitous mountain sides there remain to the present tier on tier of paddy fields, built and banked up with solid masonry rising from five to twenty feet in height, which, observed from a distance, present the appearance of high ramparts.
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