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Hong Xiuquan failed his civil service examination for the third time, and had a series of visions and believed himself to be the son of God, the younger brother of Jesus.
In 1847, Hong joined the God Worshippers, and three years later he led them into a rebellion. On January 1, 1851, he established the Taiping Tianguo (Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace), and assumed the title of Tianwang, or Heavenly King.
Hong Xiuquan and his followers built up an army and traveled through the fertile valley of the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang), and they reached the great eastern city of Nanjing.
They made their way into central China, and by the late 1850s had control over 1/3 of the country.
1862: Another group of people from the Taipings were led under a new leader named Zeng Guofan, a Chinese official of the Qing government. He managed to surround Nanjing, and the city fell in July 1864. Hong, refusing to leave the city, committed suicide. These events effectively marked the end of the Taiping Rebellion.
After the rebellion, over 20 million Chinese lives were lost, the Chinese language was simplified, and men and women became equal. Equal distribution of the land took place. There was a development of industry and building of the Taiping democracy. The Qing Dynasty was so weakened by the rebellion that it never again was able to establish an effective hold over the country.
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