The System of the Four Garrisons at Zhaotong Zhen, Yunnan Province
Situated in the northeast of Yunnan Province and bordered by Guizhou and Sichuan Provinces, Zhaotong is at the juncture of the Yunling Plateau and the Sichuan Basin, a typical mountainous landform with great differences of altitude and surrounded by mountains and valleys. It was a post on the southern Silk Road and has been the territory of various Wumeng tribes since the Tang dynasty (618–917). During the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) it was called Wumeng Fu. This later became Zhaotong Fu, and a county called Zhaotong Zhen was established. Under the provincial commander in chief, there were four garrisons. This two-volume handwritten work by an unknown author describes the garrisons, their organization, geographical positions, and nearby waters, ponds, and beacon towers. It also records, in great detail, observations about the local population and customs. Attached to the work are illustrations highlighting places in Zhaotong Zhen. The army stationed in the county was called the Green Standard Army, after the military units made up mostly of Han Chinese soldiers during the Qing dynasty (1644–1911), which were distinguished by their green banner, and which existed alongside and supplemented the numerically insufficient Manchu Eight Banner armies.
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Last updated: April 27, 2015