Meiji Era

Boxer Rebellion
British and Japanese forces engage Boxers in battle. ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
1899 Oct 18 - 1901 Sep 7

Boxer Rebellion

Tianjin, China

The Boxer Rebellion was an anti-foreign, anti-colonial, and anti-Christian uprising in China between 1899 and 1901, towards the end of the Qing dynasty, by the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists (Yìhéquán). The rebels were known as the "Boxers" in English because many of its members had practiced Chinese martial arts, which at the time were referred to as "Chinese boxing".

After the Sino-Japanese War of 1895, villagers in North China feared the expansion of foreign spheres of influence and resented the extension of privileges to Christian missionaries, who used them to shield their followers. In 1898 Northern China experienced several natural disasters, including the Yellow River flooding and droughts, which Boxers blamed on foreign and Christian influence. Beginning in 1899, Boxers spread violence across Shandong and the North China Plain, destroying foreign property such as railroads and attacking or murdering Christian missionaries and Chinese Christians.

Diplomats, missionaries, soldiers and some Chinese Christians took refuge in the diplomatic Legation Quarter. An Eight Nation Alliance of American, Austro-Hungarian, British, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Russian troops moved into China to lift the siege and on June 17 stormed the Dagu Fort, at Tianjin.

The Eight-Nation Alliance, after initially being turned back by the Imperial Chinese military and Boxer militia, brought 20,000 armed troops to China. They defeated the Imperial Army in Tianjin and arrived in Beijing on August 14, relieving the fifty-five day siege of the Legations.

Last Updated: Sun Sep 24 2023

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