Kang-shi Emperor’s Southern Tours: A Historical Perspective

Louise P. Edwards, Jonathan D. Spence, Anthony C. Yu

The Kang-shi Emperor made six famous Southern Tours from 1684 to 1707.

The days spent on each of the 6 tours were 60, 70, 102, 58, 108 and 117 days respectively.

The Grand Canal built by the Sui dynasty greatly facilitated the travel.

Jonathan D Spence in his excellent book, Tsao Yin and the Kang-hsi Emperor, narrates these 6 tours in great detail from pages124 to 157.

These tours are called the Southern Tours. It is a misnomer.

The furthest south was only to Hangchow. Canton and the south of China were never visited by Kang-hsi.

The literati then consider any place south of the Yangtze as Southern China

Most readers are not aware that Kang-hsi started with a Western tour in 1683, Northern tour also in 1683 and an Eastern Tour in 1684 which became part of the first Southern Tour of 1684. [ p125 Spence].

His grandson Chien Lung imitated him by duplicating the six tours when he became Emperor.

Likewise, Deng Xiao Ping also undertook his own Southern inspection tours. But this time it was a real proper Southern Tour to Shanghai and Guangdong province.

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