Qing Dynasty: 1644 - 1909 AD

Major Accomplishments: Manchu leaders in China, increased interaction with Europe, Opium Wars, Taiping Rebellion, fall of the empire because of a lack of modernization in China

Qing Video:

QING (Manchu) Dynasty 1644 -1910

QING Politics

  • Manchus rule - not Han Chinese
  • 2 % of the pop. = Manchu
  • Manchus used Chinese system but Chinese were forbidden to hold high national offices.
  • Continued Confucian civil service system.  
  • The Neo-Confucian - obedience of subject to ruler continued
  • Manchu Qing expansion
  • conquered Outer Mongolia and into central Asia
  • Taiwan
  • Tibet.
  • Largest land area of any Chinese state

QING Economy

  • Ag continues
  • Built public buildings, public irrigation, walls, bridges and other infrastructure.
  • Light taxes to win popularity with people
  • international trade grew enormously especially with Japan and Europe
  • Exported porcelain, Silk and spices through maritime trade and Silk Road

QING  Religion

  • Neo-Confucianism important
  • Buddhism, Taoism and ancestor worship continue
  • Catholic and Protestant missionaries built churches and schools
  • Christianity outlawed in 1840s

QING Social

  • TSH with Manchu at top
  • Han Chinese discriminated against
  • Wear hair braided in the back, which they found humiliating
  • forbid women to bind their feet but repealed because couldn’t enforce it
  • Intermarriage between the two groups was forbidden.
  • system of dual appointments was used--the Chinese were required to do the substantive work and the Manchu to ensure loyalty

QING Intellectual

  • European influences enter Chinese thinking
  • European Christianity & liberalism emphasizing individualism, freedom, equality, and economic opportunity contradict Confucian ideals
  • Republican nationalism & Communism begin to enter Chinese thinking in late 1800s
  • Qing China does not modernize
  • focuses on the greatness of the past “the self strengthening movement”
  • Oops – the Europeans and Japanese gain trading concessions and some territory from China


  • art is imitative rather than original since Qing value money and trade more than beauty (not good Confucians)
  • Chinese literary and historical preservation projects saving China's ancient literature
  • Porcelain - new colors: green black yellow, dark blue and brilliant red .

QING Internal Rebellions

White Lotus Rebellion – frustrated Buddists attack government because of high taxes 1780s

Taiping Rebellion - 1840s

  • Chinese “brother of Jesus” recruits  one million rebels and nearly takes out government before being killed
  • mixed elements of Christianity and traditional Chinese religion
  • believed in communal property, and the equality of men and women  
  • 20-30 million dead

Although pre-Communism in China, the Taiping Republlion foreshadowed it in several ways

  •  Land was evenly distributed.
  • Outlawed, Slavery, Sale of women, foot-binding, prostitution, arranged marriages and polygamy.
  • The Taipings were also against use of opium, alcohol, and tobacco.
  • Over time, Taiping leaders began to violate most of these rules (especially alcohol and women) and their movement began to lose its loyal followers

Europe and Early Qing

  • Portuguese, Dutch and British all have trading rights but are carefully controlled by Qing
  • Catholic missionaries build churches and challenge Confucianism
  • Christians ignore the ban and continue to push into China during Qing

European Imperialism

  • Great Britain traded silk and tea for opium from India
  • Sold opium to China
  • devastating since China addicted to opium
  • Farmers started to grow opium illegally – hurt food production
  • Chinese silver paid to Europe

QING  Opium Wars

  • 1773 Britain brought Indian opium to China
  • 1839 A.D. the opium trade was abolished.
  • 1839-1860 Opium Wars humiliate China
  • Britain claims Hong Kong
  • Treaty of Nanjing (1st of unequal treaties)
  • 1844 – Chinese forced to allow Christian missionaries in again
  • Britain wins HUGE trading rights

QING Decline begins

  • Opium Wars and civil wars show China is weak
  • Europe and Japan and Korea attack
  • Korea declares independence
  • France takes Vietnam from China (Sino French War)
  • Japan takes Taiwan and gets trading rights (Treaty of Shimonoseki)
  • European Powers like Germany, Russia, Britain and France establish Spheres of influence (areas of military, business, transportation and communication) but still ruled by China
  • Peasant anger against Manchu
  • "Each year they [the Manchus] transform tens of millions of China's gold and silver into opium and extract several millions from the fat and marrow of the Chinese people and turn it into rouge and powder ... How could the rich not become poor? How could the poor abide by the law?”Michael, Franz. The Taiping Rebellion, page 23.

In 1900 – Spheres of Influence

  • China was controlled by Europeans economically
  • Lots of trade between Europe and China
  • Balance of trade favored Europe
  • China lost silver as they paid out to Europe
  • Created discord and frustration in Manchu Qing govt

Boxer Rebellion

  • Chinese traditionalists attack Europeans in cities and are defeated
  • End of Qing attempt to not modernize
  • Fall of the (Qing) Manchu
  • Empress Cixi is the last ruler of China with her son the last Emperor
  • Wasted money, lived luxuriously, cut military, lost respect of Chinese

1911 Qing Dynasty Collapsed without a clear path for a future ruler

End of the Chinese Dynastic System