Red Turban Rebellion

The Red Turban Rebellion was an uprising much influenced by the White Lotus Society members that targeted the ruling Yuan Dynasty.

Since the 1340s, the Mongol-ruled Yuan Dynasty was experiencing problems. The Yellow River flooded constantly, and other natural disasters also occurred. At the same time, the Yuan Dynasty required considerable military expenditure to maintain its vast empire. This was solved mostly through additional taxation that fell mainly on the Han Chinese population which constituted the lowest two castes in the four castes of the people under the Yuan Dynasty.

The Red Turban Army was originally started by the followers of White Lotus and Manichaeism to resist the Mongols. The name "Red Turban" was used because of their tradition of using red banners and wearing red turbans to distinguish themselves.

In 1351, the society plotted an armed rebellion, but the plan was disclosed and Han Shantong was arrested and executed by the Yuan Government. After his death, Liu Futong, a prominent member of the White Lotus, assisted Han's son, Han Lin'er, to succeed his father and establish the Red Turban Army. After that, several other Han rebels in the south of the Yangtze River revolted under the name of the Southern Red Turbans. Among the key leaders of the Southern Red Turbans were Xu Shouhui and Chen Youliang. The rebellion was also supported by the leaderships of Peng Yingyou (1338) and Zou Pusheng (1351).

The Red Turban Rebellion was an uprising in the middle of the fourteenth century by Chinese peasants against the ruling Mongolian Yuan Dynasty, which eventually resulted in the establishment of the Ming dynasty. By the mid-fourteenth century, dissension among the Mongolian leadership and corruption and greed of the government officials had greatly weakened the central government. At the same time, there was an upsurge of opposition to the Mongol leadership among the Han Chinese peasants, fueled by inflation and hardship caused by famine and flooding. The “Red Turbans,” or “Red Scarves,” was a secret society of peasants whose aim was to overthrow the Mongols and re-establish the Song Dynasty. Their ideology included elements from White Lotus (a Buddhist sect from the late Southern Song), Manichaeism, traditional Confucianism, and Daoism. The name "Red Turban" came from their tradition of using red banners and wearing red turbans to distinguish themselves.