Guo Songtao


Guo Songtao

Guo Songtao (郭嵩焘), born in 11 April 1818 in Xiangyin in Hunan, died in 18 July 1891, Chinese diplomat and statesman during the Qing dynasty.

Early career

As a young man, Guo studied at the Yuelu Academy in Changsha, where befriended Zeng Guofan. In 1847, Guo was awarded the highest degree in the imperial exams and soon afterwards he became a bachelor in the Hanlin Academy. In 1853, he was called to assist Zeng Guofan suppressing the Taiping Rebellion in their native province of Hunan. During the suppression of the Taipings Rebellion, Guo distinguished himself as a prominent advocate of the local likin tax as a means of financing the campaigns. He later also assisted Li Hongzhang's Huai Army in their campaigns against rebels in the Anhui province.

Diplomatic service

Guo became an important member of China's Self-Strengthening Movement in the 1860s and 70s and distinguished himself for his advocacy of a moderate and peaceful foreign policy. Guo became the first Qing minister to be stationed in a western country. He served as an ambassador to England and France from 1877 through 1879 as part of England's demands after the Margary Affair to have a Chinese Ambassador in England.

References

*Hummel, Arthur William, ed. "Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period (1644-1912)." 2 vols. Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1943.
*Kuo, Sung-t'ao, Hsi-hung Liu, and Te-i Chang. "The First Chinese Embassy to the West; the Journals of Kuo-Sung-T'ao, Liu Hsi-Hung and Chang Te-Yi." Translated by J. D. Frodsham. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974.


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