Chinese Empire, Qing Dynasty, Taiping Rebels, «Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace,» 1 Ch'ien

From 1850 to 1864, China was shaken by the Taiping Rebellion. Leader of the rebels was Hong Xiuquan, who claimed to be the younger brother of Jesus Christ. Hong wanted to convert the Chinese to Christianity, and at the same time liberate China from the foreign rule of the Qing dynasty. In 1851, Hong founded the "Taiping Tianguo," the "Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace," in his hideaway in the mountains. He introduced a new calendar, starting in 1851 with the year 1 of the Taiping era. That year, the rebels started to conquer their "Heavenly Kingdom" with a series of amazing victories. In the year 3 of the Taiping era, they conquered the city of Nanjing, from where the "Heavenly Kingdom" was reigned over the next eleven years. During that time, the Taiping also issued coins; this piece is worth 1 ch'ien. The obverse has the characters for "tai ping," "peace," above and below the square hole, and the characters "tian guo," meaning "Heavenly Kingdom," to the right and left. The reverse has the characters "Sheng bao" for "holy coin" on the right and left.