Before they were emperors, the leaders of the Chien-Chou tribe in Manchuria defeated rival Manchu tribes.  Their khan, Nuerhachi, began to organize his realm as a bureaucracy similar to the Chinese Empire to the south.

Born Reigned   Name (Reign title)

1559 1583-1626 Nuerhachi (Nurhaci)
1592 1626-1643 Huangtaiji (Abahai)

Abahai continued his father's rule, conquering Korea and Inner Mongolia, capturing chinese and inviting others to organize his government better. When Abahai died, his brother Dorgon was offered overlordship, but refused, instead becoming regent for his nephew.

In the 1620's and 1630's, an economic depression caused by the influx of Spanish silver from the New World was made worse by a famine in the Yangtze valley.  A rebellion broke out.  Bandits led by Li Zicheng occuiped Beijing in 1644 and forced the last Ming emperor, Chong Zhen, to commit suicide. Wu Sangui, commander of the Ming troops stationed on the Great Wall, accepted assistance from Dorgon in ousting the rebels.  But the Manchu didn't leave, and Dorgon had his nephew crowned emperor. Dorgon died in 1650 and after a brief period of chaos was declared a usurper, and Qing Shi Zu ruled in his own right.

1638 1644-1662 Qing Shi Zu  (Sunzhi)
1654 1662-1723 Qing Sheng Zu (Kangxi)
1678 1723-1736 Qing Shi Zhong (Yongzheng)
1711 1736-1796 Qing Gao Zhong (Qianlong)
1760 1796-1821 Qing Ren Zhong (Jiaqing)
1782 1821-1851 Qing Xuan Zhong (Daoguan)
1831 1851-1862 Qing Wen Zhong (Xianfeng)
1856 1862-1875 Qing Mu Zhong (Tongzhi)
1871 1875-1909 Qing De Zhong (Guanxu)
     1889-1898 Qing Ci Xi ("Empress Dowager")
1906 1909-1911 Qing Xuan Tong Di (Pu Yi)