Qi Jiguang 戚继光

An outstanding military reformer and a general who fight against wokou pirates


Chinese Name: 戚继光

English Name: Qi Jiguang

Other Names: Qi Yuanjing 戚元敬, Qi Nantang 戚南塘, Qi Mengzhu 戚孟诸, Qi Wuyi 戚武毅

Born: November 12, 1528

Died: January 17, 1588


Fight against wokou pirates 抗击倭寇

Conquer Tatars 征讨鞑靼

Main Works:

Record of Military Training 练兵实纪, Jixiao Xinshu 纪效新书

Qi Jiguang 戚继光
Qi Jiguang 戚继光

Brief Biography of Qi Jiguang

Qi Jiguang 戚继光, a famous general who fight against wokou pirates 倭寇 in the Ming Dynasty 明朝, was a national hero, an outstanding militarist, calligrapher and poet.

Qi Jiguang, courtesy name 字 Yuanjing 元敬, art names 号 Nantang 南塘 and Mengzhu 孟诸, was born in Dengzhou 登州, his ancestral home is Dongping 东平, Shandong 山东. When he was young, although his family was poor, he liked reading and was familiar with Confucian 儒家 classics and historical books.

In the 23rd year of Jiajing 嘉靖 (1544), Qi Jiguang inherited his ancestral position and served as commander-in-chief of Dengzhou Garrison 登州卫指挥佥事.

In the 32nd year of Jiajing (1553), Qi Jiguang was recommended by Zhang Juzheng 张居正 to be promoted to the post of commander of the General Administration 署都指挥佥事, managing 25 garrisons of the three battalions of Dengzhou 登州, Wendeng 文登 and Jimo 即墨 to defend against wokou pirates along the coast of Shandong.

Since the 36th year of Jiajing (1557), he together with Yu Dayou 俞大猷 and others, has fought against wokou pirates for more than 10 years, eliminating the wokou pirates that has been a disaster for many years, and ensuring the safety of life and property of coastal people.

Qi Jiguang 戚继光
A general who fight against wokou pirates 抗倭将军

Since the first year of Longqing 隆庆 (1567), he has guarded the north, fought against Mongol 蒙古 clan’s offenses, ensured the security of the northern territory, and promoted the peaceful development of the Mongolian and Han nationalities.

In the 10th year of Wanli 万历 (1582), he was transferred to Guangdong 广东 after the death of Zhang Juzheng, the chief assistant of the cabinet 内阁首辅.

In the 13th year of Wanli (1585), Qi Jiguang was impeached and recalled to his hometown.

In the 16th year of Wanli, Qi Jiguang died of illness at home when he was sixty-one years old and his posthumous name 谥号 was Wuyi 武毅.

Personal Life and Major Contributions

Battles against the wokou pirates

The war of Cen port 岑港之战 – since the 36th year of Jiajing (1557), the rest of Wang Zhi 汪直‘s party made a riot in Cen port. Qi Jiguang and Yu Dayou 俞大猷 joined forces to go to the siege, successfully calmed it down, and Qi Jiguang was ordered to guard the three prefectures of Shoutai 守台, Jin 金 and Yan 严. After he took up his post in Zhejiang 浙江, he recruited 3000 people and trained them into an elite army called “Qi family army 戚家军”.

The war of Taizhou 台州之战 – in the 40th year of Jiajing (1561), the wokou pirates attacked Taizhou 台州. Qijiguang took the lead in cutting the wokou pirates’ leader. The rest of the party were desperate and drowned in the Gualing river 瓜陵江.

Qi Jiguang 戚继光
Fight against wokou pirates 抗击倭寇

The war of Fujian 福建之战 – in the 41st year of Jiajing (1562), the wokou pirates invaded Fujian 福建, and Qi Jiguang led his army to pacify them.

The war of Xinghua 兴化之战 – in the 42nd year of Jiajing (1563), the wokou pirates captured Xinghua 兴化. Qi Jiguang, as the pioneer, besieged Pinghaiwei 平海卫. The wokou pirates were defeated at one stroke. He beheaded more than 2000 people.

Battle of Xianyou 仙游之战 – in the 43rd year of Jiajing (1564), more than 10000 wokou pirates gathered to besiege Xianyou 仙游. After three days of war, Qi Jiguang led his troops to clear the encirclement and the wokou pirates were defeated.

Conquer Tatars 鞑靼

In the first year of Longqing 隆庆(1567), the imperial court appointed Qi Jiguang as the Deputy General of Shenji camp 神机营 to train soldiers around Jimen 蓟门.

In the second year of Longqing (1568), Emperor Mu Zong of the Ming 明穆宗 asked Qi Jiguang to guard Jizhou 蓟州, Yongping 永平, Shanhai 山海 and other places.

In the first year of Wanli 万历 (1573), the little prince of Beiman 北蛮 and Dong Huli 董狐狸 invaded the border many times. Qi Jiguang led his troops to pacify him. Since then, Dong Huli has never dared to invade Jimen 蓟门 again.

Qi Jiguang 戚继光
Qi Jiguang sculpture 戚继光塑像

Qi Jiguang’s garrison of Jimen is as solid as gold, and the northern barbarians can’t invade it, so they turns to invade Liaodong 辽东. Qi Jiguang leads troops to reinforce and helps Liaodong garrison general Li Chengliang 李成梁 beat them back. The imperial court granted Qi Jiguang the title of crown prince Taibao 太子太保 and granted him the title of Shaobao 少保.

Write military script

Qijiguang wrote two important military books, Record of Military Training 练兵实纪 and Jixiao Xinshu 纪效新书. These two books are not only a summary of his experience in fighting, but also a textbook for his military training. They have a high position in military science and are included in the Siku Quanshu 四库全书.

Qi Jiguang 戚继光
Record of Military Training 练兵实纪

Jixiao Xinshu 纪效新书 is a summary of Qi Jiguang’s experience in military training and military management during the war between wokou pirates on the southeast coast. The language is popular, highly combined with practice, affectionate, and easy to learn and remember.

Record of Military Training 练兵实纪 was wrote by Qi Jiguang during the military training in Ji town. It covers a wide range of aspects, including the selection of soldiers, the establishment of departments and armed forces, flags and drums, weapons and equipment, military etiquette and military techniques, the formation and maintenance of chariots, infantry and cavalry, and their training.

Video: The Pirate and Mongol Slayer Qi Jiguang

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