Yixin (Prince Gong) 1833-1898

The sixth son of Emperor Daoguang, he was made a prince of the first degree in 1850 and became prominent at the top level of national government. In September 1860, Emperor Xianfeng appointed him as the Imperial representative in charge of peace negotiations with the invading Anglo-French forces, which resulted in the Conventions of Peking in October 1860. Following his adoption of a more conciliatory attitude towards the West, he proposed to Emperor Xianfeng that a special government unit be set up to handle all foreign-trade-related matters, and the Zongli Yamen was established in 1861. Upon the death of Emperor Xianfeng in 1861, Prince Gong was the man who steered China's foreign and military policies for the next two decades. In 1884 the Empress Dowager Cixi dismissed Prince Gong from all his official duties. It was during the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895) the he was reinstated to the top positions dealing with military and foreign affairs. He died a few years later.