Yellow Turbans, Rebellion of the

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Yellow Turbans, Rebellion of the


a peasant up-rising in China from 184 to 204. It was so named because the rebels wore yellow turbans.

The rebellion was led by a priest from one of the Taoist sects, Chang Chiao, who called for the overthrow of the Han dynasty, which he called the “blue heaven,” and its replacement by a “yellow heaven,” which would be based on “great good fortune” (equality). Spreading his ideas among the common people in a religious and mystical form for ten years, Chang Chiao and his followers were able to organize a many-branched organization, based on military principles and consisting of 36 large and small units (fang) in eight districts of the empire. The larger fang included more than 10,000 persons, while the smaller ones numbered 6,000-7,000. In a short time, the revolt spread through much of the country. For a year, the government’s armies were able to suppress one hotbed after another, and Chang Chiao fell in battle, but the peasants did not abandon the struggle. Bands of Yellow Turbans joined with the Black Mountains rebels (named after the rebellion’s place of origin, Heishan). About 2 million took part in the rebellion, some of them slaves. Only by 205 was the revolt finally crushed by the forces of the important military commanders and feudal lords, such as Ts’ao Ts’ao and Liu Pei. The uprising helped to destroy the Han dynasty and temporarily eased the exploitation of the peasantry.


Ocherki istorii Kitaia. Edited by Shang Yuë’h. Moscow, 1959. (Translated from Chinese.)
Ho Ch’ang-chün. “Lun Huang-chin nung-min ch’i-i-ti k’ou-hao” (Concerning the Slogans of the Peasant Rebellion of the Yellow Turbans). Lishih yen-chin, 1959, no. 6.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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