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The Qing dynasty was a Manchu-led conquest dynasty and the last imperial dynasty of China. It was emerged from the Manchu Khanate of Later Jin (1616–1636) and proclaimed in 1636 as an empire in Manchuria (modern-day Northeast China and Outer Manchuria). The Qing dynasty established control over Beijing in 1644, then later expanded its rule over the whole of China proper, and finally expanded into Inner Asia. The dynasty lasted until 1912 when it was overthrown in the Xinhai Revolution. In orthodox Chinese historiography, the Qing dynasty was preceded by the Ming dynasty and succeeded by the Republic of China. The multiethnic Qing empire lasted for almost three centuries and assembled the territorial base for modern China. the largest imperial dynasty in the history of China and in 1790 the fourth-largest empire in world history in terms of territorial size. With a population of 432 million in 1912, it was the world's most populous country at the time.
Table of Contents / Timeline
Battle of Hutong
Battle of Penghu
First Opium War
Second Opium War
Late Ming peasant rebellions
The late Ming peasant rebellions were a series of peasant revolts during the last decades of the Ming dynasty lasting from 1628–1644. They were caused by natural disasters in Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Henan. At the same time, the She-An Rebellion and Later Jin invasions forced the Ming government to cut funding for the postal service, which resulted in the mass unemployment of men in the provinces hit hard by natural disasters. Unable to cope with three major crises at the same time, the Ming dynasty collapsed in 1644.
Qing invasion of Joseon
The Qing invasion of Joseon occurred in the winter of 1636 when the newly-established Qing dynasty invaded the Joseon dynasty, establishing the former's status as the hegemon in the Imperial Chinese Tributary System and formally severing Joseon's relationship with the Ming dynasty. The invasion was preceded by the Later Jin invasion of Joseon in 1627. It resulted in a complete Qing victory over Joseon. After the War, Joseon became a subordinate of the Qing empire and was forced to cut ties with the declining Ming dynasty. Several members of the Joseon royal family were taken hostages and killed as Joseon recognized the Qing dynasty as their new overlord.
Reign of Shunzhi Emperor
The Shunzhi Emperor (Fulin; 15 March 1638 – 5 February 1661) was Emperor of the Qing dynasty from 1644 to 1661, and the first Qing emperor to rule over China proper. A committee of Manchu princes chose him to succeed his father, Hong Taiji (1592–1643), in September 1643, when he was five years old. The princes also appointed two co-regents: Dorgon (1612–1650), the 14th son of the Qing dynasty's founder Nurhaci (1559–1626), and Jirgalang (1599–1655), one of Nurhaci's nephews, both of whom were members of the Qing imperial clan.
From 1643 to 1650, political power lay mostly in the hands of Dorgon. Under his leadership, the Qing Empire conquered most of the territory of the fallen Ming dynasty (1368–1644), chased Ming loyalist regimes deep into the southwestern provinces, and established the basis of Qing rule over China proper despite highly unpopular policies such as the "hair cutting command" of 1645, which forced Qing subjects to shave their forehead and braid their remaining hair into a queue resembling that of the Manchus. After Dorgon's death on the last day of 1650, the young Shunzhi Emperor started to rule personally. He tried, with mixed success, to fight corruption and to reduce the political influence of the Manchu nobility. In the 1650s, he faced a resurgence of Ming loyalist resistance, but by 1661 his armies had defeated the Qing Empire's last enemies, seafarer Koxinga (1624–1662) and the Prince of Gui (1623–1662) of the Southern Ming dynasty, both of whom would succumb the following year.
Battle of Shanhai Pass
Shanhaiguan District, Qinhuang
The Battle of Shanhai Pass, fought on May 27, 1644 at Shanhai Pass at the eastern end of the Great Wall, was a decisive battle leading to the beginning of the Qing dynasty rule in China proper. There, the Qing prince-regent Dorgon allied with former Ming general Wu Sangui to defeat rebel leader Li Zicheng of the Shun dynasty, allowing Dorgon and the Qing army to rapidly conquer Beijing.
Kingdom of Tungning
The Kingdom of Tungning, also known as Tywan by the British at the time, was a dynastic maritime state that ruled part of southwestern Formosa (Taiwan) and the Penghu islands between 1661 and 1683. It is the first predominantly Han Chinese state in Taiwanese history. At its zenith, the kingdom's maritime power dominated varying extents of coastal regions of southeastern China and controlled the major sea lanes across both China Seas, and its vast trade network stretched from Japan to Southeast Asia. The kingdom was founded by Koxinga (Zheng Chenggong) after seizing control of Taiwan, a foreign land at the time outside China's boundaries, from Dutch rule. Zheng hoped to restore the Ming dynasty in Mainland China, when the Ming remnants' rump state in southern China was progressively conquered by the Manchu-led Qing dynasty. The Zheng dynasty used the island of Taiwan as a military base for their Ming loyalist movement which aimed to reclaim mainland China from the Qing. Under Zheng rule, Taiwan underwent a process of sinicization in an effort to consolidate the last stronghold of Han Chinese resistance against the invading Manchus. Until its annexation by the Qing dynasty in 1683, the kingdom was ruled by Koxinga's heirs, the House of Koxinga, and the period of rule is sometimes referred to as the Koxinga dynasty or the Zheng dynasty.
Reign of Kangxi Emperor
The Kangxi Emperor was the third emperor of the Qing dynasty, and the second Qing emperor to rule over China proper, reigning from 1661 to 1722.
The Kangxi Emperor's reign of 61 years makes him the longest-reigning emperor in Chinese history (although his grandson, the Qianlong Emperor, had the longest period of de facto power, ascending as an adult and maintaining effective power until his death) and one of the longest-reigning rulers in history.
The Kangxi Emperor is considered one of China's greatest emperors. He suppressed the Revolt of the Three Feudatories, forced the Kingdom of Tungning in Taiwan and assorted Mongol rebels in the North and Northwest to submit to Qing rule, and blocked Tsarist Russia on the Amur River, retaining Outer Manchuria and Outer Northwest China.
The Kangxi Emperor's reign brought about long-term stability and relative wealth after years of war and chaos. He initiated the period known as the "Prosperous Era of Kangxi and Qianlong" or "High Qing", which lasted for several generations after his death. His court also accomplished such literary feats as the compilation of the Kangxi Dictionary.
Revolt of the Three Feudatories
The Revolt of the Three Feudatories was a rebellion in China lasting from 1673 to 1681, during the early reign of the Kangxi Emperor (r. 1661–1722) of the Qing dynasty (1644–1912). The revolt was led by the three lords of the fiefdoms in Yunnan, Guangdong and Fujian provinces against the Qing central government. These hereditary titles had been given to prominent Han Chinese defectors who had helped the Manchu conquer China during the transition from Ming to Qing. The feudatories were supported by Zheng Jing's Kingdom of Tungning in Taiwan, which sent forces to invade Mainland China. Additionally, minor Han military figures, such as Wang Fuchen and the Chahar Mongols, also revolted against Qing rule. After the last remaining Han resistance had been put down, the former princely titles were abolished.
Battle of Penghu
The Battle of Penghu was a naval battle fought in 1683 between the Qing dynasty and the Kingdom of Tungning. The Qing admiral Shi Lang led a fleet to attack the Tungning forces in Penghu. Each side possessed more than 200 warships. The Tungning admiral Liu Guoxuan was outmaneuvered by Shi Lang, whose forces outnumbered him three to one. Liu surrendered when his flagship ran out of ammunition and fled to Taiwan. The loss of Penghu resulted in the surrender of Zheng Keshuang, the last king of Tungning, to the Qing dynasty.
The Dzungar–Qing Wars were a decades-long series of conflicts that pitted the Dzungar Khanate against the Qing dynasty of China and its Mongolian vassals. Fighting took place over a wide swath of Inner Asia, from present-day central and eastern Mongolia to Tibet, Qinghai, and Xinjiang regions of present-day China. Qing victories ultimately led to the incorporation of Outer Mongolia, Tibet and Xinjiang into the Qing Empire that was to last until the fall of the dynasty in 1911–1912, and the genocide of much of the Dzungar population in conquered areas.
Treaty of Nerchinsk
Nerchinsk, Zabaykalsky Krai, R
The Treaty of Nerchinsk of 1689 was the first treaty between the Tsardom of Russia and the Qing dynasty of China. The Russians gave up the area north of the Amur River as far as the Stanovoy Range and kept the area between the Argun River and Lake Baikal. This border along the Argun River and Stanovoy Range lasted until the Amur Annexation via the Treaty of Aigun in 1858 and the Convention of Peking in 1860. It opened markets for Russian goods in China, and gave Russians access to Chinese supplies and luxuries. The agreement was signed in Nerchinsk on August 27, 1689. The signatories were Songgotu on behalf of the Kangxi Emperor and Fyodor Golovin on behalf of the Russian tsars Peter I and Ivan V. The authoritative version was in Latin, with translations into Russian and Manchu, but these versions differed considerably. There was no official Chinese text for another two centuries, but the border markers were inscribed in Chinese along with Manchu, Russian and Latin.Later, in 1727, the Treaty of Kiakhta fixed what is now the border of Mongolia west of the Argun and opened up the caravan trade. In 1858 (Treaty of Aigun) Russia annexed the land north of the Amur and in 1860 (Treaty of Beijing) took the coast down to Vladivostok. The current border runs along the Argun, Amur and Ussuri rivers.
Tibet under Qing rule
Tibet under Qing rule refers to the Qing dynasty's relationship with Tibet from 1720 to 1912. During this period, Qing China regarded Tibet as a vassal state. Tibet considered itself an independent nation with only a "priest and patron" relationship with the Qing Dynasty. Scholars such as Melvyn Goldstein have considered Tibet to be a Qing protectorate.
By 1642, the Güshri Khan of Khoshut Khanate had reunified Tibet under the spiritual and temporal authority of the 5th Dalai Lama of the Gelug school. In 1653, the Dalai Lama travelled on a state visit to the Qing court, and was received in Beijing and "recognized as the spiritual authority of the Qing Empire". The Dzungar Khanate invaded Tibet in 1717, and were subsequently expelled by Qing in 1720. The Qing emperors then appointed imperial residents known as ambans to Tibet, most of them ethnic Manchus that reported to the Lifan Yuan, a Qing government body that oversaw the empire's frontier. During the Qing era, Lhasa was politically semi-autonomous under the Dalai Lamas. Qing authorities at times engaged in political acts of intervention in Tibet, collected tribute, stationed troops, and influenced reincarnation selection through the Golden Urn. About half of the Tibetan lands were exempted from Lhasa's administrative rule and annexed into neighboring Chinese provinces, although most were only nominally subordinated to Beijing.
By the 1860s, Qing "rule" in Tibet had become more theory than fact, given the weight of Qing's domestic and foreign-relations burdens.
Chinese expedition to Tibet
The 1720 Chinese expedition to Tibet or the Chinese conquest of Tibet in 1720 was a military expedition sent by the Qing dynasty to expel the invading forces of the Dzungar Khanate from Tibet and establish Qing rule over the region, which lasted until the empire's fall in 1912.
Reign Yongzheng Emperor
The Yongzheng Emperor (Yinzhen; 13 December 1678 – 8 October 1735) was the fourth Emperor of the Qing dynasty, and the third Qing emperor to rule over China proper. He reigned from 1722 to 1735. A hard-working ruler, the Yongzheng Emperor's main goal was to create an effective government at minimal expense. Like his father, the Kangxi Emperor, the Yongzheng Emperor used military force to preserve the dynasty's position.
Although Yongzheng's reign was much shorter than that of both his father (the Kangxi Emperor) and his son (the Qianlong Emperor), the Yongzheng era was a period of peace and prosperity. The Yongzheng Emperor cracked down on corruption and reformed the personnel and financial administration. His reign saw the formation of the Grand Council, an institution which had an enormous impact on the future of the Qing dynasty.
Treaty of Kyakhta
Kyakhta, Buryatia, Russia
The Treaty of Kyakhta (or Kiakhta), along with the Treaty of Nerchinsk (1689), regulated the relations between Imperial Russia and the Qing Empire of China until the mid-19th century. It was signed by Tulišen and Count Sava Lukich Raguzinskii-Vladislavich at the border city of Kyakhta on 23 August 1727.
The Miao Rebellion of 1735–1736 was an uprising of autochthonous people from southwest China (called by the Chinese "Miao", but including more than the antecedents of the present-day Miao national minority).
Ten Great Campaigns
The Ten Great Campaigns (Chinese: 十全武功; pinyin: Shíquán Wǔgōng) were a series of military campaigns launched by the Qing Empire of China in the mid–late 18th century during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1735–96). They included three to enlarge the area of Qing control in Inner Asia: two against the Dzungars (1755–57) and the "pacification" of Xinjiang (1758–59). The other seven campaigns were more in the nature of police actions on frontiers already established: two wars to suppress the Gyalrong of Jinchuan, Sichuan, another to suppress the Taiwanese Aboriginals (1787–88), and four expeditions abroad against the Burmese (1765–69), the Vietnamese (1788–89), and the Gurkhas on the border between Tibet and Nepal (1790–92), with the last counting as two.
Reign of Qianlong Emperor
The Qianlong Emperor was the fifth Emperor of the Qing dynasty and the fourth Qing emperor to rule over China proper, reigning from 1735 to 1796.
As a capable and cultured ruler inheriting a thriving empire, during his long reign, the Qing Empire reached its most splendid and prosperous era, boasting a large population and economy. As a military leader, he led military campaigns expanding the dynastic territory to the largest extent by conquering and sometimes destroying Central Asian kingdoms. This turned around in his late years: the Qing empire began to decline with corruption and wastefulness in his court and a stagnating civil society.
The Jinchuan campaigns (Chinese: 大小金川之役), also known as the Suppression of the Jinchuan Hill Peoples (Chinese: 平定兩金川), were two wars between Qing Empire and the rebel forces of Gyalrong chieftains ("Tusi") from the Jinchuan region.
The first campaign against Chiefdom of Chuchen (Da Jinchuan or Greater Jinchuan in Chinese) happened in 1747 when the Tusi of Greater Jinchuan Slob Dpon attacked the Chiefdom of Chakla (Mingzheng). The Qianlong Emperor decided to mobilize forces and suppress Slob Dpon, who surrendered to the central government in 1749.
The second campaign against Chiefdom of Tsanlha (Xiao Jinchuan or Lesser Jinchuan) took place in 1771, when the Jinchuan Tusi Sonom killed Gebushiza Tusi of Ngawa County in Sichuan Province. After Sonom killed Gebushiza Tusi, he helped Tusi of Lesser Jinchuan, Senge Sang, to occupy the lands belonging to the other Tusi in the region. The provincial government ordered Sonom to return lands and accept the trial at the Ministry of Justice immediately. Sonom refused to retreat his rebels. The Qianlong Emperor was furious and gathered 80,000 troops and entered Jinchuan. In 1776, Qing troops sieged the castle of Sonom to force his surrender.The Jinchuan campaigns were two of the Ten Great Campaigns of Qianlong. Compare to his other eight campaigns, the cost of fighting Jinchuan was extraordinary.
The Dzungar genocide was the mass extermination of the Mongol Dzungar people by the Qing dynasty. The Qianlong Emperor ordered the genocide due to the rebellion in 1755 by Dzungar leader Amursana against Qing rule, after the dynasty first conquered the Dzungar Khanate with Amursana's support. The genocide was perpetrated by Manchu generals of the Qing army sent to crush the Dzungars, supported by Uyghur allies and vassals due to the Uyghur revolt against Dzungar rule.
The Dzungar Khanate was a confederation of several Tibetan Buddhist Oirat Mongol tribes that emerged in the early 17th century, and the last great nomadic empire in Asia. Some scholars estimate that about 80% of the Dzungar population, or around 500,000 to 800,000 people, were killed by a combination of warfare and disease during or after the Qing conquest in 1755–1757. After wiping out the native population of Dzungaria, the Qing government then resettled Han, Hui, Uyghur, and Xibe people on state farms in Dzungaria along with Manchu Bannermen to repopulate the area.
Guangzhou, Guangdong Province,
The Canton System served as a means for Qing China to control trade with the West within its own country by focusing all trade on the southern port of Canton (now Guangzhou). The protectionist policy arose in 1757 as a response to a perceived political and commercial threat from abroad on the part of successive Chinese emperors.
From the late seventeenth century onwards, Chinese merchants, known as Hongs, managed all trade in the port. Operating from the Thirteen Factories located on the banks of the Pearl River outside Canton, in 1760, by order of the Qing Qianlong Emperor, they became officially sanctioned as a monopoly known as the Cohong. Thereafter Chinese merchants dealing with foreign trade acted through the Cohong under the supervision of the Guangdong Customs Supervisor, informally known as the "Hoppo", and the Governor-general of Guangzhou and Guangxi.
Shan State, Myanmar (Burma)
The Sino-Burmese War, also known as the Qing invasions of Burma or the Myanmar campaign of the Qing dynasty, was a war fought between the Qing dynasty of China and the Konbaung dynasty of Burma (Myanmar). China under the Qianlong Emperor launched four invasions of Burma between 1765 and 1769, which were considered one of his Ten Great Campaigns. Nonetheless, the war, which claimed the lives of over 70,000 Chinese soldiers and four commanders, is sometimes described as "the most disastrous frontier war that the Qing dynasty had ever waged", and one that "assured Burmese independence". Burma's successful defense laid the foundation for the present-day boundary between the two countries.
First Opium War
The Anglo-Chinese War, also known as the Opium War or the First Opium War, was a series of military engagements fought between Britain and the Qing dynasty between 1839 and 1842. The immediate issue was the Chinese seizure of private opium stocks at Canton to stop the banned opium trade, and threatening the death penalty for future offenders. The British government insisted on the principles of free trade and equal diplomatic recognition among nations, and backed the merchants' demands. The British navy defeated the Chinese using technologically superior ships and weapons, and the British then imposed a treaty that granted territory to Britain and opened trade with China. Twentieth century nationalists considered 1839 the start of a century of humiliation, and many historians considered it the beginning of modern Chinese history.In the 18th century, the demand for Chinese luxury goods (particularly silk, porcelain, and tea) created a trade imbalance between China and Britain. European silver flowed into China through the Canton System, which confined incoming foreign trade to the southern port city of Canton. To counter this imbalance, the British East India Company began to grow opium in Bengal and allowed private British merchants to sell opium to Chinese smugglers for illegal sale in China. The influx of narcotics reversed the Chinese trade surplus, drained the economy of silver, and increased the numbers of opium addicts inside the country, outcomes that seriously worried Chinese officials. In 1839, the Daoguang Emperor, rejecting proposals to legalise and tax opium, appointed Viceroy Lin Zexu to go to Canton to halt the opium trade completely. Lin wrote an open letter to Queen Victoria, which she never saw, appealing to her moral responsibility to stop the opium trade.
Treaty of Nanking
Nanking, Jiangsu, China
The Treaty of Nanking (Nanjing) was the peace treaty which ended the First Opium War (1839–1842) between Great Britain and the Qing dynasty of China on 29 August 1842.
In the wake of China's military defeat, with British warships poised to attack Nanjing, British and Chinese officials negotiated on board HMS Cornwallis anchored at the city. On 29 August, British representative Sir Henry Pottinger and Qing representatives Qiying, Yilibu, and Niu Jian signed the treaty, which consisted of thirteen articles. The treaty was ratified by the Daoguang Emperor on 27 October and Queen Victoria on 28 December. Ratification was exchanged in Hong Kong on 26 June 1843. The treaty required the Chinese to pay an indemnity, to cede the Island of Hong Kong to the British as a colony, to essentially end the Canton system that had limited trade to that port and allow trade at Five Treaty Ports. It was followed in 1843 by the Treaty of the Bogue, which granted extraterritoriality and most favored nation status. It was the first of what later Chinese nationalists called the Unequal Treaties.
The Taiping Rebellion, also known as the Taiping Civil War or the Taiping Revolution, was a massive rebellion and civil war that was waged in China between the Manchu-led Qing dynasty and the Han, Hakka-led Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. It lasted from 1850 to 1864, although following the fall of Tianjing (now Nanjing) the last rebel army was not wiped out until August 1871. After fighting the bloodiest civil war in world history, with over 20 million dead, the established Qing government won decisively, although at a great price to its fiscal and political structure.
Second Opium War
The Second Opium War was a war, lasting from 1856 to 1860, which pitted the British Empire and the French Empire against the Qing dynasty of China.
It was the second major conflict in the Opium Wars, which were fought over the right to import opium to China, and resulted in a second defeat for the Qing dynasty. It caused many Chinese officials to believe that conflicts with the Western powers were no longer traditional wars, but part of a looming national crisis.
During and after the Second Opium War, the Qing government was also forced to sign treaties with Russia, such the Treaty of Aigun and the Convention of Peking (Beijing). As a result, China ceded more than 1.5 million square kilometers of territory to Russia in its north-east and north-west. With the conclusion of the war, the Qing government was able to concentrate on countering the Taiping Rebellion and maintaining its rule. Among other things, the Convention of Peking ceded the Kowloon Peninsula to the British as part of Hong Kong.
Reign of Empress Dowager Cixi
Empress Dowager Cixi of the Manchu Yehe Nara clan, was a Chinese noblewoman, concubine and later regent who effectively controlled the Chinese government in the late Qing dynasty for 47 years, from 1861 until her death in 1908. Selected as a concubine of the Xianfeng Emperor in her adolescence, she gave birth to a son, Zaichun, in 1856. After the Xianfeng Emperor's death in 1861, the young boy became the Tongzhi Emperor, and she assumed the role of co-empress dowager, alongside the Emperor's widow, Empress Dowager Ci'an. Cixi ousted a group of regents appointed by the late emperor and assumed the regency along with Ci'an, who later mysteriously died. Cixi then consolidated control over the dynasty when she installed her nephew as the Guangxu Emperor at the death of her son, the Tongzhi Emperor, in 1875.
Cixi supervised the Tongzhi Restoration, a series of moderate reforms that helped the regime survive until 1911. Although Cixi refused to adopt Western models of government, she supported technological and military reforms and the Self-Strengthening Movement. She supported the principles of the Hundred Days' Reforms of 1898, but feared that sudden implementation, without bureaucratic support, would be disruptive and that the Japanese and other foreign powers would take advantage of any weakness.
After the Boxer Rebellion, she became friendly to foreigners in the capital and began to implement fiscal and institutional reforms aimed to turn China into a constitutional monarchy.
The Dungan Revolt was a war fought in 19th-century western China, mostly during the reign of the Tongzhi Emperor (r. 1861–1875) of the Qing dynasty. The term sometimes includes the Panthay Rebellion in Yunnan, which occurred during the same period. However, this article refers specifically to two waves of uprising by various Chinese Muslims, mostly Hui people, in Shaanxi, Gansu and Ningxia provinces in the first wave, and then in Xinjiang in the second wave, between 1862 and 1877. The uprising was eventually suppressed by Qing forces led by Zuo Zongtang.
The Sino-French War, also known as the Tonkin War and Tonquin War, was a limited conflict fought from August 1884 to April 1885. There was no declaration of war. Militarily it was a stalemate. The Chinese armies performed better than its other nineteenth-century wars, and the war ended with French retreat on land. However, one consequence was that France supplanted China's control of Tonkin (northern Vietnam). The war strengthened the dominance of Empress Dowager Cixi over the Chinese government, but brought down the government of Prime Minister Jules Ferry in Paris. Both sides ratified the Treaty of Tientsin.
First Sino-Japanese War
Yellow Sea, China
The First Sino-Japanese War was a conflict between the Qing dynasty of China and the Empire of Japan primarily over influence in Joseon Korea. After more than six months of unbroken successes by Japanese land and naval forces and the loss of the port of Weihaiwei, the Qing government sued for peace in February 1895.
The war demonstrated the failure of the Qing dynasty's attempts to modernize its military and fend off threats to its sovereignty, especially when compared with Japan's successful Meiji Restoration. For the first time, regional dominance in East Asia shifted from China to Japan; the prestige of the Qing dynasty, along with the classical tradition in China, suffered a major blow. The humiliating loss of Korea as a tributary state sparked an unprecedented public outcry. Within China, the defeat was a catalyst for a series of political upheavals led by Sun Yat-sen and Kang Youwei, culminating in the 1911 Xinhai Revolution.
The Boxer Rebellion
Yellow Sea, China
The Boxer Rebellion, also known as the Boxer Uprising, the Boxer Insurrection, or the Yihetuan Movement, 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), known as the "Boxers" in English because many of its members had practised 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. The events came to a head in June 1900 when Boxer fighters, convinced they were invulnerable to foreign weapons, converged on Beijing with the slogan "Support the Qing government and exterminate the foreigners." 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 Empress Dowager Cixi, who had initially been hesitant, now supported the Boxers and on June 21, issued an Imperial Decree declaring war on the invading powers. Chinese officialdom was split between those supporting the Boxers and those favouring conciliation, led by Prince Qing. The supreme commander of the Chinese forces, the Manchu General Ronglu (Junglu), later claimed he acted to protect the foreigners. Officials in the southern provinces ignored the imperial order to fight against foreigners.
Wuchang, Wuhan, Hubei, China
The Wuchang Uprising was an armed rebellion against the ruling Qing dynasty that took place in Wuchang (now Wuchang District of Wuhan), Hubei, China on 10 October 1911, beginning the Xinhai Revolution that successfully overthrew China's last imperial dynasty. It was led by elements of the New Army, influenced by revolutionary ideas from Tongmenghui. The uprising and the eventual revolution directly led to the downfall of the Qing dynasty with almost three centuries of imperial rule, and the establishment of the Republic of China (ROC), which commemorates the anniversary of the uprising's starting date of 10 October as the National Day of the Republic of China.
The uprising originated from popular unrest about a railway crisis, and the planning process took advantage of the situation. On 10 October 1911, the New Army stationed in Wuchang launched an assault on the residence of the Viceroy of Huguang. The viceroy Ruicheng quickly fled from the residence, and the revolutionaries soon took control of the entire city.
The 1911 Revolution, or Xinhai Revolution, ended China's last imperial dynasty, the Manchu-led Qing dynasty, and led to the establishment of the Republic of China. The revolution was the culmination of a decade of agitation, revolts, and uprisings. Its success marked the collapse of the Chinese monarchy, the end of 2,132 years of imperial rule and 268 years of the Qing dynasty, and the beginning of China's early republican era.
The Qing dynasty had struggled for a long time to reform the government and resist foreign aggression, but the program of reforms after 1900 was opposed by conservatives in the Qing court as too radical and by reformers as too slow. Several factions, including underground anti-Qing groups, revolutionaries in exile, reformers who wanted to save the monarchy by modernizing it, and activists across the country debated how or whether to overthrow the Manchus. The flash-point came on 10 October 1911, with the Wuchang Uprising, an armed rebellion among members of the New Army. Similar revolts then broke out spontaneously around the country, and revolutionaries in all provinces of the country renounced the Qing dynasty. On 1 November 1911, the Qing court appointed Yuan Shikai (leader of the powerful Beiyang Army) as Prime Minister, and he began negotiations with the revolutionaries.
In Nanjing, revolutionary forces created a provisional coalition government. On 1 January 1912, the National Assembly declared the establishment of the Republic of China, with Sun Yat-sen, leader of the Tongmenghui (United League), as President of the Republic. A brief civil war between North and South ended in compromise. Sun would resign in favor of Yuan Shikai, who would became President of the new national government, if Yuan could secure the abdication of the Qing emperor. The edict of abdication of the last Chinese emperor, the six-year-old Puyi, was promulgated on 12 February 1912. Yuan was sworn in as president on 10 March 1912. Yuan's failure to consolidate a legitimate central government before his death in 1916, led to decades of political division and warlordism, including an attempt at imperial restoration.
The Last Qing Emperor
The Imperial Edict of the Abdication of the Qing Emperor was an official decree issued by the Empress Dowager Longyu on behalf of the six-year-old Xuantong Emperor, who was the last emperor of the Qing dynasty, on 12 February 1912, as a response to the Xinhai Revolution. The revolution led to the self-declared independence of 13 southern Chinese provinces and the sequent peace negotiation between the rest of Imperial China with the collective of the southern provinces. The issuance of the Imperial Edict ended the Qing dynasty of China, which lasted 276 years, and the era of imperial rule in China, which lasted 2,132 years.
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