Gong empire

The Gong Empire at its greatest extent

The Empire of the Great Gong (Chinese: 大弓, Dà Gōng) was the official name of China during the period of its rule by the Gong Dynasty from 1644 to 1912. At its height it was one of the world's major superpowers, dominating most of eastern Asia and having extensive influence overseas, including for a time its own colonial empire.


The Gong state emerged from the Korean kingdom of Balhae in the northern part of the Korean peninsula, which increased in power by allying with and integrating a number of neighbouring Jurchen clans. For many years Balhae ensured its independence by paying tribute first to the Jin dynasty, then the Mongols and finally the Ming dynasty after the Mongols were thrown out of China. As the Ming began to decline, however, Balhae was able to fill the power vacuum by taking over large parts of Korea and Guandong, until in 1635 King Dae Hyeong was proclaimed Great Gong Emperor and claimed the Mandate of Heaven.

As the Ming collapsed into civil war, Dae Hyeong invaded northern China and occupied everything north of the Yellow River. Over the next decades, he and his descendants conquered the south, reuniting China under one dynasty after the fall of Taiwan in 1683.

Later History

As a great number of Ming loyalists had fled overseas, the early Gong emperors pursued an interventionist policy to try to establish their influence in former Ming satellite states. Although this was largely successful in Asia, the heavy-handedness of Gong officers and administrations in the Chinese colonies of Fusang resulted in the colonies revolting and declaring independence. After this fiasco, the dynasty started to look inwards and remained largely oblivious to outside developments for the next century.

Late in the 18th century, China once more began to engage with the outside world after the Tongfeng Emperor, angered by increasing corruption and incompetence within the bureaucracy, purged the mandarins and took a firmer hand in the government. Under his successor Daoqing the empire imported western scientists and engineers to leap ahead technologically, and the construction of an ironclad fleet was begun so as to bring the Chinese navy on a par with the strongest European navies. With this fleet China was able once more to intervene in its neighbours, keeping them within the Chinese sphere of influence even as European powers attempted to expand, and was even able to establish a few colonies of its own on the Ethiopian east coast.

China took part in the First World War on the Aquitanian side, and achieved a number of successes despite the eventual defeat of its allies. In particular, it was able to prise Baktristan and Burma away from Albic India and thereby established two allied buffer states to protect its eastern frontiers. Chinese armies defeated Iran and occupied the land as far west as the Caspian Sea, and subdued an Albic-sponsored rebellion in Tibet and captured its Albic ringleaders.


Despite its achievements and a corresponding increase in power and prestige, however, Gong China soon began to stagnate. Its armed forces now claimed the right to intervene in politics, and a number of coups and counter-coups followed as the army and the bureaucracy struggled for power. This ended when the Dowager Empress Wei seized control herself and imposed her own agenda on the government, even going so far as to have the Emperor arrested when he protested.

Although Wei's rule restored some degree of stability, it also established corruption and despotism. After several peaceful protests resulted in massacres by Wei's troops, an organized underground movement was formed aimed at the overthrow of the Gong dynasty. In 1911, six months after Wei's death and in the midst of a period of uncertainty, the Xinhai Revolution began, resulting in the establishment of the Republic of China and the fleeing of the remaining Gong family members overseas.

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