The Eight Banners system is an organization form of military and political integration created by the Nuzhen (Manchu) nationality. The official system of the eight banners is very unique. The internal officials are not only the military commander, but also the chief executive. They are also responsible for the household registration and economic life of all the banners.
The Eight Banners system can be traced back to the Manchu clan system stage. At that time, when Manchu people were engaged in hunting activities or military operations, they usually took "Niulu" (meaning "arrow") composed of family or village population as the organizational unit. The original "Niu Lu" was made up of ten people, and one Niu Lu Erzhen (meaning "arrow master") was elected as the team leader. After Nurhachi started his army, the army and the people under him were compiled according to the cattle record, and it was stipulated that every 300 people should have one cattle record. With Nurhachi's gradual unification of various departments, in 1601, under his instruction, the four banners of red, yellow, blue and white were officially established, and then the four banners were expanded into eight banners, that is, the original four banners were each edged (yellow, white and blue banners were inlaid with red edges, and the red flag was inlaid with white edges), forming the four banners of red, yellow, blue and white ("Xiang" was also written as "Xiang"). There are many opinions about the determination of the Eight Banners' colors. The first one is formulated according to the theory of "five elements are mutually matched" -- "two yellow banners are located in the north, taking soil to win water; two white banners are located in the East, taking jinshengmu; two red flags are located in the west, taking fire to win gold; two blue flags are located in the south, taking water to win fire, and the color of the water is black, while the flag refers to the six divisions of the flag, or it is hard to argue with the black line at night, so the blue flag takes the place." It is said that the positions of the eight banners at the time of marching and stationing are in accordance with this regulation.
In terms of organization, there are three levels of organization: Niulu, Jiala and Gushan. According to the Eight Banners system, one jialaerzhen (meaning "festival leader") is recorded for every five cattle, one Gushan Erzhen (flag leader) is set above the five jiarazhen, and two maileererzhen (wing leader, which can be understood as the adjutant of the flag leader) are set around each Gushan Erzhen. Under the Eight Banners system, only the banners have no clansmen. All the Nuzhen people make up households according to eight kinds of banners. All the banners "go out as soldiers and enter as people". They plow and hunt in peacetime and go out in wartime. Each flag can guarantee a "standing army" of 7500 people. In the early days of the formation of the eight banners, the "reward for meritorious deeds" was carried out, and the military expenses were shared by the banners. With the large increase of the captured population in the war, the population of the coat (family, servant) class of each flag is expanding day by day. These people belong to the private property of each flag man, and they often fight together with their masters when the flag men go on the expedition. Therefore, the actual number of the eight flag army is far beyond the specified number.
After entering the customs, the names of the officials in the eight banners were greatly adjusted during the years. From Gushan EZHEN to Niulu EZHEN, they were all newly named. For example, Gushan EZHEN was renamed as Dutong, Meile EZHEN as deputy Dutong, jialaerzhen as the leader and Niulu as the assistant leader. After the change, the name of the main official positions of the Eight Banners remained unchanged until the end of the Qing Dynasty.
With the development and expansion of later Jin Dynasty, Mongolian tribes and a large number of Han people have been attached. In order to strengthen management, the Han army was officially reorganized as a flag in 1633. After several times of expansion, the eight flag Han army was finally reorganized in 1642. In 1634, Huang Taiji adapted the Mongolian Nationality under his rule into eight banners of Mongolia. Eight banners of Han Army, eight banners of Mongolia and eight banners of Manchuria have the same organizational system, which together constitute the whole of the Eight Banners system in Qing Dynasty. In fact, the ethnic composition of the eight banners is very rich. In addition to the Manchu, they are also compatible with other ethnic groups such as Mongolia, Korea, Xibo, Hezhe, Daur, Ewenki, and Olunchun. According to records, the 17th assistant leader of the fourth member of Manchurian Dutong with yellow flag was compiled by Russians who came back successively. In the process of Manchu's development, there are not only Manchu's sinicization, but also a large number of other ethnic groups such as Mongolian, Han and so on. Some studies have shown that the phenomenon of ethnic integration in the early Qing Dynasty has been very obvious. There is a saying in old Beijing called "no Manchu, but ask the people's flag". When all the flag committees are appointed to the Dutong, they generally do not consider the flag nationality of the people in the Dutong. The Manchu can be the eight flag Dutong of the Mongolian and Han armies, and the people from the Han and Mongolian eight flags can also be the eight flag Dutong of the Manchu army. After the dynasty, the Han people who were not in the flag began to be appointed as Dutong, and the generals who were born in the northern ocean, such as,, and, had been appointed as Dutong of the eight banners.
After entering the customs, in order to ensure the source of troops, the Qing government gave preferential treatment to the Eight Banners in terms of politics and economy, including encircling the flag land, exempting from taxes and corvee, and paying the officers and soldiers. But from then on, the Eight Banners in Beijing and all over the garrison were confined to a narrow circle. Due to the long-term separation of the banner people from production, the original simple and brave ethos gradually lost, while the ethos of living in idleness spread. Although the Qing government proposed to "turn the tide" and "plan for livelihood", it was totally a solution to the problem and no solution to the root cause. In addition, a large increase in population led to the deterioration of the lives of many banners. Since the middle of Qing Dynasty, the financial situation has been deteriorating day by day. From, to, there has been a phenomenon of reducing the rate of pay and the distribution of Lumi for Beijing's flag soldiers, and only 70% of them were paid in Guangxu years. By 1906, the Eight Banners factory had been set up to "enable all the children of the eight banners to carry out their own businesses in order to make a living and stand on their own", but it would not help.
After that, the Eight Banners system and the Qing Dynasty withdrew from the stage of history.
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