The Qing Dynasty
                                    Territory of Qing China in 1892The Qing was a conquest dynasty. It was the result of military invasion by the peoples of Manchuria, an area previously outside of the Chinese emperor. Serious military pressure began in 1616, and by 1644 the Chinese capital of Beijing was in Manchu hands

The Manchu emperors 
embraced Chinese institutions and culture but simultaneously took steps to preserve Manchu culture. With a few exceptions (most notably in the realm of male hair styles),This situation created a dilemma for those educated Chinese who had lived during the time of the Ming dynasty,

Should one serve an alien dynasty of "barbarians" that nevertheless ruled well, or, should one refuse to serve the state out of loyalty to the previous Ming dynasty or out of an ethnocentric sense that "Chinese" do not serve "barbarians?"Throughout most of the Qing dynasty we do not find nationalism in the modern sense of the word. In other words, the majority of ordinary people living in China possessed little or no self-conscious "Chinese " identity until the twentieth century.
Qing emperors were ever on the lookout for Chinese writings critical of Manchus or northern "barbarians" in general. Qing authorities burned such writings, and those associated with them usually faced severe punishment.
Although China's new rulers quickly learned Chinese culture and presented themselves as Confucian sages, they did impose one aspect of Manchu culture onto the entire Chinese male population. As a sign of submission to Manchu rule, the dynasty required all males to wear their hair in Manchu style. This style differed markedly from Chinese style and required shaving some hair at the top of the forehead and allowing the rest to grow into a long braided ponytail

his photo is from the turbulent period in the vicinity of 1911 when the Qing dynasty was teetering on the brink and collapsing. These two guys got haircuts in anticipation of the dynasty's collapse. Ooops--they were a little too hasty. A month or two later an they would have been fine. This is certainly a good example of the political significance that hair can acquire.
"The reception of the Diplomatique (Macartney) and his suite, at the Court of Pekin". Drawn and engraved by James Gillray, published in September 1792.

                  THE FIRST OPIUM WAR

                  Military train going up to Canton 1858
British frigates approach Canton on the Pearl river 

during the Opium War of 1839-42. Chinese junks were unable to prevent British vessels from attacking coastal fortifications, or from cutting the vital Grand Canal that carried much of China's north-south trade. British smugglers quashed Chinese efforts to keep opium out of the country.

In this political cartoon, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, France, and Japan are dividing China

           In the West in the mid-18th century, opium and heroin were considered     relatively safe drugs. This advertisement promotes heroin as a cough mixture.
It was quite normal and fashionable

By the late 19th century, China was fast descending into a semi-colonial state. Even the most conservative elements within the Qing court could no longer ignore China's military weakness in contrast to the foreign "barbarians" literally beating down its gates. In 1860, during the Second Opium War, the capital Beijing was captured and the Summer Palaces sacked by a relatively small Anglo-French coalition force numbering 25,000. Although the Chinese invented gunpowder, and firearms had been in continual use in Chinese warfare since as far back as the Song Dynasty, the advent of modern weaponry resulting from the European Industrial Revolution had rendered China's traditionally trained and equipped army and navy obsolete. The government attempts to modernize during the Self-Strengthening Movement were in the view of most historians with hindsight piecemeal and yielded little lasting results. Various reasons for the apparent failure of late-Qing modernization attempts have been advanced including the lack of funds, lack of political will, and unwillingness to depart from tradition. These reasons remain disputed.
              Yuan Shikai as the Emperor of China (1915–1916).
The Beiyang Army (traditional Chinese: 北洋軍; pinyin: Běiyáng-jūn; literally "North Ocean Army") was a powerful, Western-style Chinese military force created by the Qing Dynasty government in the late 19th century.
                                                            Hong XiuquanThe Taiping Rebellion was a widespread civil war in southern China from 1850 to 1864, led by heterodox Christian convert Hong Xiuquan
, against the ruling Qing Dynasty. About 60 million people died, mainly civilians, in one of the deadliest military conflicts in history.

                         The Heavenly king's throne in NanjingHong established the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (Chinese: 太平天 pinyin: Tàipíng Tiān Guó), officially the "Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace", with its capital at Nanjing.

The Kingdom's Army controlled large parts of southern China, at its height containing about 30 million people.

                           Greatest extent of the Taiping Rebellion. The rebels attempted social reforms and the replacement of Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folk religion with a form of Christianity. Troops were nicknamed the Long hair (長毛, pinyin: cháng máo). The Taiping areas were besieged by Qing forces throughout most of the rebellion. The Qing government defeated the rebellion with the eventual aid of French and British forces.

                      Taiping Rebellion-Battle of the Yangtze


 Qing Dynasty Later stages:
 United Kingdom
Taiping Heavenly Kingdom
Commanders and leaders
Qing Dynasty Xianfeng Emperor
Qing Dynasty Tongzhi Emperor
Qing Dynasty Empress Dowager Cixi
Qing Dynasty Zeng Guofan
Qing Dynasty Sengge Rinchen
Qing Dynasty Guam Wing
Qing Dynasty Zuo Zongtang
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Charles George Gordon
Frederick Townsend Ward 
Henry Andres Burgevine 
Hong Xiuquan
Yang Xiuqing 
Xiao Chaogui 
Feng Yunshan 
Wei Changhui 
Shi Dakai 
Li Xiucheng 
2,000,000–5,000,000 regulars
~340,000 militia
1,000,000–3,000,000 regulars 100,000 female regulars
Casualties and losses
Over 50,000 soldiers killed Around 75,000 soldiers killed
Total Dead~20,000,000 including civilians and soldiers (best estimate)

            Qing Dynasty Clashes with Europe and the United States
China's government did have an interest in monetary profit, and European merchants paid for their purchases in silver. The Qing court therefore set aside the port of Guangzhou (Canton), in the extreme south of China, for European trade. There, traders from England, France, other countries of Europe, and later, the United States, traded with Chinese merchants under strictly regulated conditions. The Chinese merchants who conducted the trade did so under license by the central government and paid large fees for the privilege. In this way, trade with the Europeans provided a small but useful source of revenue for China's government.
Guangzhou served as the sole Chinese port for trade with Europe from 1760 until 1842.
A major economic concern for the Europeans trading with China was the lack of European products that Chinese were willing to purchase in profit
Although voyages  made a profit , it would have been better to make a profit twice: once by selling European goods to Chinese merchants and then vice versa upon return home. English merchants (later joined by U.S. merchants) at last found the perfect item for sale in China: opium obtained from IndiaIn the 1800s, the recreational use of opium was perfectly legal in Britain, and some prominent figures like the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) used the drug.

 Opium was a growing social problem in China, and it also became an economic problem for the Qing governmentIn 1799 the Chinese Empire again banned opium import. By the 1820s China imported 900 tons of opium from Bengal annually. Before opium sales took off in the 1820 China enjoyed a net surplus of silver from the trade with Britain and other European countries. Thanks to opium, the flow of silver reversed, and the Qing government became alarmed at this outflow of specie to foreign countries.
In the mid 1830s, the highest ministers of state began to debate the relative merits of two courses of action. One was to legalize opium sales and then tax the drug. The other was to devote greater energy to the elimination of opium use in China. Each side had strong support. In 1838, the Daoguang  Emperor (道光, r. 1821-50) decided to crack down on the opium trade. For this purpose he selected the incorruptible official Lin Zexu 林則徐 to travel to Guangzhou as an imperial commissioner and do whatever would prove necessary to rid the Guangzhou area of opium.Lin's soldiers destroyed all the opium.

in 1838 the government sentenced native drug traffickers to death. Around this time, the British were selling roughly 1,400 tons per year to China. In March 1839 the Emperor appointed a new strict Confucianist commissioner, Lin Zexu, to control the opium trade at the port of Canton. His first course of action was to enforce the imperial demand that there be a permanent halt to drug shipments into China. When the British refused to end the trade, Lin imposed a trade embargo on the British. On March 27, 1839
Lin demanded that British merchants had to sign a bond promising not to deal in opium under penalty of death
In 1839 Lin took the extraordinary step of presenting a "memorial"(petition) (摺奏)

directly to Queen Victoria questioning the moral reasoning of the royal government. Citing the strict prohibition of the opium trade within England, Ireland, and Scotland, Lin questioned how Britain could then profit from the drug in China. He also wrote, "Your Majesty has not before been thus officially notified, and you may plead ignorance of the severity of our laws, but I now give my assurance that we mean to cut this harmful drug forever.Lin's memorial was never accorded a response by the queen of England

But the British merchants had no such decency and were anything but ashamed. They returned home and petitioned the crown to take action against China
The British responded by sending a large British Indian army, which arrived in June of 1840[After some debate, the British government responded by sending a fleet. At its peak, the force included about twenty major vessels and 10,000 soldiers. Fighting began in late 1839 and lasted until the summer of 1842, with some pauses along the way for negotiations. In some places the Qing forces fought poorly and in others they fought heroically, but everywhere they lost because British weapons and tactics were vastly superior. Had the year been 1740 instead of 1840, the results would probably have been reversed, but over the course of that century European military technology had rapidly advanced, while Chinese military capabilities had rapidly declined. The Opium War (Yapian zhanzheng 鴉片戰爭), as the conflict soon came to be called, was a significant turning point:]
                                                Opium destruction[British exports of opium to China skyrocketed from an estimated 15 tons in 1730, to 75 tons in 1773, shipped in over two thousand "chests," each containing 140 pounds (64 kg) of opium.]

British military superiority was clearly evident during the armed conflict. British warships wreaked havoc on coastal towns. British took Canton, they sailed up the Yangtze and took the tax barges, a devastating blow to the Empire as it slashed the revenue of the imperial court in Beijing to just a small fraction.

Looting of the Yuan Ming Yuan[Old Summer Palace.] by Anglo-French forces in the Second Opium War in 1860.
Ruins of the European-style CHINESE SUMMER  palace[On October 18, 1860, the British High Commissioner to China Lord Elgin, in retaliation for the torture and execution of almost twenty European and Indian prisoners (including two British envoys and a journalist for The Times), ordered the destruction of the palace. ]
The Old Summer Palace as it was depicted in traditional Chinese painting

                                 OLD SHANGHAI CITY
In 1842 the Qing authorities sued for peace, which concluded with the Treaty of Nanking negotiated in August of that year and ratified in 1843. In the treaty, China was forced to pay an indemnity to Britain and agreed to open five ports to Britain,[When British forces were poised to capture Nanjing and threaten Beijing, Qing officials became serious about ending the war. They agreed to a major treaty, the Treaty of Nanjing ]
Traditional Chinese 南京條約
Simplified Chinese 南京条约
(Nanjing tiaoyue, 南京條約), signed in 1842. The treaty was overwhelmingly favorable to Britain. It, plus a supplementary treaty signed a year later, contained the following major provisions:China had to pay for the value of the opium and all of Britain's military costs;
  • Britain received the island of Hong Kong as a permanent possession;
  • Five major seaports were opened to foreign trade;
  • A fixed tariff (5% ad valorem) was set on imports and exports;
  • British subjects in the trade ports enjoyed extraterritoriality, i.e., they were subject to British, not Chinese, law, enforced by British officials;
  • Britain received "most favored nation" status such that if any other country got better concessions from China, Britain, too, would automatically receive the same.The U.S. government, and the governments of many European countries, signed similar treaties with China shortly afterward.

             Addiction at gun point

                           OPIUM ADDICTS IN CHINA

The Qing government was obliged to pay the British government six million silver dollars for the opium that had been confiscated by Lin Zexu in 1839 (Article IV), 3 million dollars in compensation for debts that the Hong merchants in Canton owed British merchants (Article V), and a further 12 million dollars in compensation for the cost of the war (VI). The total sum of 21 million dollars was to be paid in installments over three years and the Qing government would be charged an annual interest rate of 5 percent for the money that was not paid in a timely manner (Article VII).

         Engraving of Canton Harbor from The Chinese War, Lt. John Ouchterlony,
                                               London: 1844

The Bund on the riverfront in Shanghai during the 1840's. Opium shipments were received and stored along the Bund.

The Second Opium War, or Arrow War, broke out following an incident in which Chinese officials boarded a vessel near the port of Whampoa, the Arrow, in October 1856. Arrow was owned by a Chinese privateer. The Chinese owner registered the vessel with the British authorities in Hong Kong with the purpose of making privateering easier. He received a one year permit from the Hong Kong authorities, but it had already expired when inspected by the Chinese officials who boarded the vessel. The crew of the Arrow were accused of piracy and smuggling, and were arrested. In response, the British consulate in Guangzhou insisted that Arrow was a British vessel.
                Combat at Guangzhou during the Second Opium War

The British accused the Chinese officials of tearing down and insulting the British flag during inspection. The Second Opium War was started when British forces attacked Guangzhou in 1856.
French forces joined the British intervention after a French missionary Auguste Chapdelaine was killed by a local mandarin in China. Other nations became involved diplomatically although they didn't provide military personnel.
The Treaty of Tientsin was created in July 1858, but was not ratified by China until two years later; this would prove to be a very important document in China's early modern history, as it was one of the primary unequal treaties.

They were ratified by the Emperor of China in the Beijing Convention in 1860, after the end of the war.
                                                    Convention of Peking
                                                          Prince Gong, photographed by Felice Beato, 2 November 1860, just days after he signed the treaty on the 24 Oct. 1860.


The area known as Kowloon was originally leased in March 1860. The Convention of Peking ended the lease, and ceded the land formally to the British on 24 October 1860.
Article 6 of the Convention between China and the United Kingdom stipulated that China was to cede the part of Kowloon Peninsula south of present day Boundary Street, Kowloon, and Hong Kong (including Stonecutters Island) in perpetuity to Britain.
The treaty also ceded parts of Outer Manchuria to the Russian Empire
  1. Britain, France, Russia and the United States would have the right to station legations in Beijing (a closed city at the time)
  2. Ten more Chinese ports would be opened for foreign trade, including Niuzhuang, Danshui, Hankou and Nanjing
  3. The right of foreign vessels including warships to navigate freely on the Yangtze River
  4. The right of foreigners to travel in the internal regions of China for the purpose of travel, trade or missionary activities
  5. China was to pay an indemnity to Britain and France in 2 million taels of silver respectively, and compensation to British merchants in 2 million taels of silver.
  6. Offical letters and other documents exchanged between China and the UK are to be banned from referring to British Officials and Subjects of the Crown by the character "" or "yi" (barbarian).

                       Shanghai 1871

Boxer Uprising 1898-1900, antiforeign movement in China, culminating in a desperate uprising against Westerners and Western influence.

Chinese artillery sinks a French gunboat at Fuchou in 1884. On the whole, however, it was the European ability to attack coastal towns and penetrate China's interior, in particular the Yangtze along which many of the most important towns lay, that gave relatively small European forces the ability to influence Chinese policy.