Home / Robert Farley / The Cubs Must Not Win (IV)

The Cubs Must Not Win (IV)


When last the Cubs won the World Series, the Qing ruled China:

The tribal peoples of northeast Asia had been of concern to the Chinese Empire well prior to the 17th century. In the 13th century, the Mongols had descended upon China and created the Yuan Dynasty, only to be chased out less than a hundred years later. The Yuan were replaced by the native Ming Dynasty, which reinforced the northern defenses and forced many the tribes into vassalage. In 1583 the Jurchen chieftain Nurhaci, whose father and grandfather had died in service to the Ming emperor, began to consolidate the northern tribes under a new system of military organization. Nurhaci also carried out military campaigns against the Mongols, gaining their respect and a degree of allegiance. In 1612 he renamed his clan Aisin Gioro, and in 1616 founded the Later Jin Dynasty, centered around the town of Mukden. Wars against the Koreans, Mongols, Ming, and other northern tribes expanded the Jin until Nurhaci’s death in 1626. His son and successor Huang Taiji further expanded the Jin, renaming in Qing and mandating that the Jurchen people would henceforth be known as the Manchu people.

The rise of the Qing corresponded with the decline of the Ming. Internal disputes and a major peasant rebellion had weakened the aging dynasty such that the Qing were able to press successfully on its northern territories. A series of victories in the early 1640s led to the conquest of the imperial capitol at Beijing in 1644. The Manchus, uncharacteristically for foreign invaders, showed immense respect for Chinese imperial forms and styled themselves the direct inheritors of Ming imperial rule. Over the next thirty years the Manchus, under the rule of Emperor Kangxi from 1661, would destroy the remnants of the Ming and subjugate various other opponents, including the Mongols. The last serious resistance on the part of Ming loyalists would be conducted on the island of Formosa, which had previously been occupied by Dutch traders and non-Han tribesmen. The Qing extinguished this resistance in 1683, occupying and annexing, for the first time, the island to the Chinese Empire.

Emperor Kangxi served from 1661 until his death in 1723. His grandson, the Qianlong Emperor, served from 1735 until his abdication in 1795. Although the Qianlong Emperor’s reign is remembered both as a time of plenty and an age of significant cultural achievement, by the end some strains were beginning to show. Pressure inside and outside China began to increase, as corruption rose and the military threat of encroaching European powers grew. The Opium Wars, an unfavorable balance of trade, the Taiping Rebellion (led by a man who styled himself the younger brother of Jesus Christ), and an increase in nationalist (and anti-Manchu) feeling significantly weakened the dynasty. Efforts at reform were bitterly resisted by the Manchu aristocracy, personified from 1861 by the Empress Dowager Cixi. Cixi dominated Chinese imperial politics until her death in 1908. Shortly before dying, she installed Puyi, not yet three years of age, as Emperor of China.

The Qing Dynasty survived Cixi by three years. Puyi was allowed to remain in the Forbidden City in Beijing until 1924, and enjoyed a very brief restoration in 1917. Eight years after his expulsion from the Forbidden City, Puyi became emperor of the Japanese puppet state of Machukuo, built around territory seized by Japan from China in 1931. Puyi held virtually no real power, and what supporters he had were steadily replaced or undermined by the Japanese. Manchukuo was instrumental in the Japanese Fugu Plan, a rather odd effort to attract Jews (and their presumed innate ability to make money and dominate the minds of men) from Nazi dominated parts of Europe to the Far East. In any case, the Japanese effort in World War II went poorly, and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria in August 1945 brought Manchukuo to an end. Puyi was captured by the Red Army and eventually extradited to the People’s Republic of China.
27china_heir_ent-lead__200x257After undergoing re-education (immortalized in Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor) Puyi lived in Beijing until his death without issue in 1967. The imperial line passed either to Puyi’s cousin Yuyan, who endured two long terms of imprisonment before his final release in 1979, or to Puyi’s brother Pujie, who had a similar prison career. Although Yuyan became the subject of a British documentary, the evidence seems to favor Pujie, who died in 1994.  The line then passed to Jin Youzhi, Pujie’s half-brother, who died in 2015. The most plausible current heir is Jin Yuzhang, son of Jin Youzhi.  Mr. Jin, 74 years, is a retired Beijing district-government vice-director. Mr. Jin spent time during the 1960s as a Red Guard, and lived for a while with Puyi after the latter’s return to Beijing.

Prospects for restoration seem quite grim. Very little sentiment for a return to the monarchy exists in China, and it is unlikely that, in the unlikely event of a monarchical restoration, the Manchu Qings would be selected for imperial honor. The Manchu ethnic minority has been substantially assimilated by the Han Chinese, making a return to the throne in an independent Manchukuo equally unlikely.

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  • No Longer Middle Aged Man

    So next up is the Hapsburgs?

    • Keaaukane

      Don’t give me any of your lip.

    • Ronan

      I’m interested to learn more about the Ashanti empire, if Farley is doing requests ..

      • UserGoogol

        Not entirely sure if that counts, since they were apparently a British protectorate by the time the Cubs last won the World Series, although I’m just skimming the Wikipedia page so I’m not sure of the specifics.

        • Ronan

          Skimming wiki, you seem to be correct. But only by 5 or so years? Perhaps, ‘When last the Cubs won the World Series, the Ashanti Empire had only recently been dissolved’

    • mikeSchilling

      “My sister! My daughter! My niece! My first cousin on my father’s side! My double second cousin on my mother’s side! My great-aunt! My husband’s first wife!”

      “Forget it, Jake. It’s Austrian Town.”

  • Fighting Words

    Yay! I picked 2 out of 3 in an earlier post. Unfortunately, the way things are going for the Cubs, we might only get the Hapsburgs.

    Also, there was a really depressing article in Slate yesterday about Cleveland’s Chief Wahoo logo. I was under the impression that the team was trying to phase the logo out. Unfortunately, it seems the team has been using the Chief Wahoo caps all postseason.

    • Steve LaBonne

      Ownership has been disgustingly cowardly about taking on the Trumpoon fans, but it looks like the Commissioner is preparing to force the team’s hand after the WS.

  • Murc

    When I was doing World History in freshman year (of high school, this would be ’95 or so) my teacher had an interesting mnemonic for remembering the Chinese dynasties that in hindsight might have something to say about Western historiography.

    He told us “Hang your chin on the civil war.” By which he meant “Shang Chou Chin Han the warring states.” (And yes, he spelled it Chin, not Qin. So did our textbook.)

    Then “Tang Sung” (he drew a picture on blackboard of a can of Tang on top of a musical score) and “Triple-M” (Mongol, Ming, Manchu.) The phrases “Yuan” and “Qing” never came up. Neither did the name of Cixi; she was just “the Dowager Empress.”

    • Just a Rube

      Your textbook was still using Wade-Giles for the transliteration (thus Chin for Qin and Chou for Zhou).

      • mikeSchilling

        I don’t understand the point of “Qing” and “Qin”. Transliteration is supposed to guide pronunciation, and “q”-not-followed-by-“u” doesn’t have one.

        • Gareth

          The Q sound is different to the Ch sound, and has no English equivalent. You have to use something to represent it.

          • Jean-Michel

            You don’t have to–Wade-Giles uses ch’ for both sounds, but there’s no confusion because the system distinguishes between rimes (syllable endings) that aren’t distinguished in Pinyin, thus allowing the initials to be distinguished by context. Example: Pinyin chu maps to WG ch’u, Pinyin qu maps to Wade-Giles ch’ü. But as I mention in my longer post, this isn’t necessarily a great thing, since ch’ü is apt to be misspelled as ch’u or even chu by people who don’t recognize the importance of the apostrophe and the umlaut.

        • Jean-Michel

          Well, it doesn’t have one in English. What you’re talking about is Anglicization, not transliteration, and Anglicization is always limited by the fact that other langauges rarely map precisely to English phonology (the Mandarin q sound doesn’t actually exist in English, for example). Wade-Giles was developed by Englishmen and even it’s fairly counter-intuitive for English speakers, with its mandatory use of apostrophes to distinguish aspirated and unaspirated initials–apostrophes that were frequently dropped in everyday/non-specialist contexts, which was a major reason Pinyin uses separate letters for those sounds. (Dropped apostrophes are still a major problem with Taiwanese names.)

          So no possible Mandarin transcription system can guide pronunciation in a way that will be immediately obvious for speakers of English, or of any language that doesn’t share all the sounds of Mandarin and doesn’t have established conventions for spelling those sounds. And while WG is more intuitive for English speakers in some ways, it’s less intuitive in others (e.g., “Tao” will usually produce something further from the correct pronunciation than “Dao”), the absence of non-letter symbols makes it less prone to foulups by lazy typists/editors (the only way Pinyin can be screwed up is by dropping the umlaut in ü, which fortunately isn’t a very common letter and is also used in WG), and it’s nice to have an international standard that can be found in just about every Mandarin textbook and dictionary on the planet and is widely used and understood in China itself (unlike WG, which in China was used primarily for the benefit of foreigners and was unknown to most Chinese).

    • Ahuitzotl

      altho to be fair, Cixi was just her stripper name

  • Avattoir

    It does appear that Farley’s campaign is working: as of tonight, the Clevelands are up 3-1.

    IMO, MLB doesn’t really have 3 teams more suited to upsetting the Cubs than the Giants, the Dodgers & the Indians. The Cubs have really had to run the gauntlet this postseason. Why, it’s almost like baseball is one of the those games that work dramatically differently the shorter the series & require something upward of 100 games to even identify actual differences in sustainable quality.

    But, per one of the most reliable baseball mystics, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over”.

  • LeeEsq

    Why aren’t Hainan and Taiwan in yellow like the rest of the Qing Empire?

  • Docrailgun

    Why did the NFL send the D.C. Racial Slurs to showcase American Football?

  • Jean-Michel

    I know these posts can’t cover everything, but if you’re gonna start a piece on the Qing by talking about non-Han dynasties, it would be worth mentioning the Jin of the 12th and 13th centuries, which preceded the Yuan and was the first Chinese dynasty established by the Jurchens (hence the name “Later Jin” for the early phase of the Qing). So the Jurchens conquered most of China, got kicked out by the Mongols, then made a spectacular comeback a few centuries later. I like to think it was all part of a long game.

    As an interesting aside, recent trends in the historiography of the Qing–particularly in the U.S., though there are historians elsewhere (including China) following the same approach–have become yet another flashpoint in Chinese officialdom’s war against “Western influence,” mainly due to its implications for the PRC’s territorial claims (but also for old notions of Han cultural supremacy that have never gone away despite the PRC’s ostensibly multiethnic basis). Evelyn Laski’s The Last Emperors: A Social History of Qing Imperial Institutions is a fascinating and fairly approachable look at how the Qing worked to thread the needle between adopting Chinese institutions and ruling styles while retaining its distinct ethnic polity.

  • mikeSchilling

    The Yuan were like the Carolingians in their first emperor being a military and political genius, and everyone who followed him an incompetent.

  • socraticsilence

    I have heard tell, that if the Cubs win women lose the vote.

    (Actually that would be most prickish thing ever for the owner of one of these two teams to do- hold the parade on election day to try and suppress turnout in Democratic hotbeds)

  • Mark Centz

    Emperor Kangxi served from 1661 until his death in 1723.

    Emperors are served, they do not serve.

    When the Cubs last won, the Royal Navy commissioned the Battlecruisers INVINCIBLE, INDOMITABLE, INFLEXIBLE. INVINCIBLE was lost at the Battle of Jutland.
    The end of Battleship blogging has left an unfilled hole in my Sundays.


    • Since then, they have only commissioned the Infamous, Inflatable, Inglorious and Inflammable.

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