CHP-178-William Mesny Part 2

In part two of this series examining the forgotten life of William Mesny, we hear the second half of his story in China. We’re mostly using author David Leffman’s 2016 book The Mercenary Mandarin: How a British adventurer became a general in Qing-dynasty China


The Mercenary Mandarin: How a British Adventurer Became a General in Qing-Dynasty China

by David Leffman

One of Mesny’s Chinese Miscellany (Vol IV)

The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present

by John Pomfret



Chéngdū   成都 Capital city of Sichuan

Khampa   康巴 Area in eastern Tibet bordering Sichuan

Yúnnán   云南 Southwestern province of China

Huí   回族 Musilm ethnic minority

Guìlín   桂林 Beautiful city in Guangxi

Lí River  漓江   River running through Guilin

Liǔzhōu   柳州 City in Guangxi

Róngshûi   融水 City near Liuzhou

Róng’ān   融安   City near Liuzhou

Dānzhōu   丹州   City near Liuzhou

Miao   苗族 Known as the Hmong in the US, one of China’s ethnic minorities

Yáo   瑶族 one of China’s ethnic minorities

Dòng   侗族 one of China’s ethnic minorities

Zuǒ Zōngtáng   左宗棠 Successful Qing era general

Guìyáng   贵阳 Capital of Guizhou

Chóngqìng   重庆 Formerly part of Sichuan, now a Municipality

Lánzhōu   兰州   Capital of Gansu

Zhìlǐ   治理 Old province of China that no longer exists

Qīnghǎi   青海 Province in West China

Gānsù   甘肃   Province in West China

Níngxià   宁夏 Province in West-Central China

Shǎolín Temple   少林寺   Famous temple in China

Tàiyuán   太原   Capital of Shanxi

Shānxī   山西 Province in China

Bǎodìng   保定   City in Hebei

Lǐ Hóngzhāng   李鸿章 Chinese military leader and diplomat and signer of more than a couple unequal treaties.

Zhuōzhōu   涿州   City south of Beijing in Hebei

Zhāng Zhīdòng    张之洞 Reforming governor of Shanxi

Xīān   西安   Capital of Shaanxi

Qínlǐng Mountains   秦岭山   Mountain chain in southern Shaanxi

Kūnmíng   昆明   Capital of Yunnan

Dōngjīng   东京   Eastern Capital. Can mean Tokyo or Tungking (N. Vietnam)

Anhui   安徽 Province in Eastern China

Hefei   合肥   Capital of Anhui

Guǎngxī   广西   Province in southern China

Xinjiang   新疆  Province in northwest China

Shaanxi   陕西   Province in north-central China

Huangxing Road   黄兴路 Road in Hankou


  • I love learning about Chinese history from your podcasts. If I were smarter, would I have been able to find a way to download this podcast directly from your website, as I could with your prior host?

    • Thanks for your support Jon! Yes, you can download from the website. Both players have the download option. For the SoundCloud player, it is the downward arrow button next to “share”. For the LibSyn player, it is the second black icon. Let me know if you have more questions.

  • Hey Laszlo, many thanks for such splendid coverage of Mesny’s life (not to mention my book!).

    For more, including deleted text from early drafts of The Mercenary Mandarin, hundreds of my own China photos and archive images related to Mesny’s story, plus some follow-up work – including personal trips to battlefields from the Miao War, and how I located Mesny’s farm near Guiyang – see “William Mesny: The Mercenary Mandarin” Facebook page.

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