Born as the fourteenth son of the Manchu leader Nurhaci, Dorgon became one of the most powerful princes of the throne. During Hong Taiji's reign, he joined many military campaigns including the conquests of Mongol and Korea.
After the death of Hong Taiji, he supported Fulin, the ninth son of Hong Taiji to avoid division and became Regent. When the Ming Dynasty was destroyed by Li Zicheng, he invaded China proper with collaboration from Wu Sangui and defeated Li. He took Beijing in 1644 and welcomed Shunzhi Emperor (Fulin). As the dictator he could succeed to the throne, but he was always loyal to his nephew Shunzhi Emperor.
After he suddenly died on a hunting trip in 1650, Dorgon received the posthumous rank of Emperor. Soon after that, the opposition forces attained to power and he was deprived all titles on suspicion of rebellion. He was rehabilitated during the reign of Qianlong Emperor.