Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Nikan (d. 1660)

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NIKAN 尼堪, d. 1660, was a member of the Nara clan in the Ula (Sungari River) district. He joined the service of Nurhaci [q. v.] sometime after the defeat of the Ula in 1613 (see Bujantai), and was attached to the Bordered White Banner. Under Nurhaci's successor, Abahai [q. v.], he took some part in the campaign against the Ming, but he was principally concerned with ManchuMongol relations. In 1633 he toured the newly-subdued Mongol territories for the purpose of holding trials and settling disputes. In the following year he took charge of groups of deserters from Chahar who came to the Manchu capital at Mukden. In 1635, while on garrison duty at Kweihwa, capital of the recently subjugated Tumet tribe, he intercepted communications between that people and the Ming Court, and frustrated plans for cooperation with the Chinese.

At the opening of the Ch'ung-tê reign period (1636) he was appointed director of the Bureau of Colonial Affairs which at that time was concerned almost exclusively with Mongol matters. Two years later he was removed for alleged injustice in the settlement of disputes among Karacin Mongols, but was shortly afterwards reappointed assistant director. In 1639 he had charge of the recruiting of Mongol soldiers for Manchu armies. After the fall of the Ming dynasty he led a Mongol army in the subjugation of Honan, but in 1646 was again sent northwards to conquer the Sunid tribe on the borders of Inner Mongolia. In 1647 he became president of the Court of Colonial Affairs at Peking, a position he held until 1653 when he was retired on account of old age. He was simultaneously promoted to the rank of viscount of the second class. He died in 1660, leaving no male heir.

[1/234/4a; 3/41/9a; 11/5/39a ; 34/167/6a.]

George A. Kennedy