Around the middle of the 19th century, much of China was ruled by the Manchus, Mongolian people from northern China.
A famine during the 1840s helped turn the peasants of China against the Manchus, and a revolt broke out that came to be called the Tai-Ping, or “Great Peace,” Rebellion.
The rebellion was led by a man named Hung Hsiu-Chuan, who called himself a brother of Jesus Christ. He declared that he had been called by God to preach a new religion in China. His forces captured much of southern China and remained in control for a decade.
By the time the Manchu government recaptured southern China and executed Hung Hsiu-Chuan in 1864, the civil war had resulted in from 20 to 30 million deaths!
No civil war in human history was bloodier than the Tai-Ping Rebellion.