Key Events in Modern Chinese History

  • Macartney's Mission from Great Britain

    Macartney's Mission from Great Britain
    Qianlong meets Macartney: Collision of Two World ViewsLord Macartney (George Macartney, 1737-1806) led a mission in 1793 to the court of the Qianlong emperor (1711-1799; r. 1736-1796) of China.
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    The White Lotus Rebellion

    White Lotus on BritannicaInitially a protest against taxes, The White Lotus society grew to include many ordinary people who rebelled against the rules of the Qing. They used many guerilla tactics in their campaign against the Manchu rulers, who eventually supressed the rebellion.
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    Opium War between Great Britain and China

  • Treaty of Nanjing (1842-1843)

    Treaty of Nanjing (1842-1843)
    China ceded Hong Kong to Britain, opened 5 ports to British trade, agreed to an indemnity payment of 21 million silver dollars, allowed British participation in setting of tariffs and setting up of their own settlements, and provided British citizens with extraterritorial rights.
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    Taiping Rebellion

    Taiping Rebellion by Rinn-Sup Shinn and Robert L. WordenThis radical political and religious upheaval caused the death of approximately 20, 000, 000 people and caused immense damage to 17 of China's provinces.
  • Hong Xiuguan proclaims the Taiping Tianguo Dynasty

    Hong Xiuguan proclaims the Taiping Tianguo Dynasty
    A disappointed Imperial Exam candidate, Hong Xiuguan, formed a religious group, mostly made up of impoversihed peasants from Guangxi province. With one key idea of sharing of property, and another speaking out against the Manchu rule, many famine-stricken workers, miners and farmers joined their ranks and the rebellion began
  • Nanjing Falls

    The now nearly 1, 000, 000 highly disciplined and zealous soldiers of the Taiping captured the eastern city of Nanjing where they stayed, renaming it Tian Jing - Heavenly Capital.
  • Lijin tax introduced

    Because the Qing government relied on local armies paid for by provincial and local Mandarins (the gentry class), a special tax (which stayed mostly with the local and provincial coffers) on the movement of goods was introduced. This resulted in decentralisation as local officals increased their miltary and economic independence.
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    Nian Rebellion

    The Nian were predominantly made up of peasants and army deserters, and were an offshoot of hte White Lotus societies. They began in Anhui province, but expanded into Shandong, Henan and Jiangsu at their height. Once the Taiping were defeated in the North, the government were able to quell the Nian rebellion as well.
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    Muslim Uprisings

    A clash between Chinese (who had government support) and Muslim miners in Kunming, resulting in the slaughter of large numbers of Muslims led to a Muslim uprising in Yunnan province. Similarly, uprisings by Muslims occurred in Shaanxi, Gansu and Xinjiang provinces.
  • Attempt to take Shanghai thwarted

    The Taiping tried to take over Shanghai in 1860, but the mercenary army led by the American Frederick Townsend Ward defeated them.
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    Self-Strenghtening Movement

    China sought to strengthen Qing power by utilising Western technologies. They began by focusing on manufacturing machines and weapons in shipyards and factories, each of which had a school attached to teach Western methods and techniques.
  • Nanjing Falls

    The Chinese General Zeng Guafan led the Imperial Army, with support from the Mandarins, surrounded Nanjing for two years before it finally fell.
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    Self-Strengthening II

    China moved to widen the scope of manufacturing, and changed the model from government managed to gvernment owned and merchant-managed. Many problems with unclear management power, corruption of agents connecting foreign and Chines enterprises, nepotism and more resulted in initial success being followed by failure and depression
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    Drought in Shanxi, Shaanxi & Henan provinces

    Nearly 13 million people who lived in these regiona suffered econoic hardship as well as famine during these years when they could not grow or sell crops to eat or sell
  • 100 Days Reform

    When the Chinese mainland was being carved into spheres of influence by foreign powers, the young Guangxu emperor was convinced of the need for drastic reform by the scholars Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao. He issued a number of decrees called the Hundred Days of Reform which were to begin a wide range of changes, including reform of the educational system. However, the dowager empress CiXi came out of retirement to seize and detain the emperor and take over the adminstration.