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Qing Dynasty

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The Qing Dynasty (In Manchu: daicing gurun; 清朝 1636-1911; Wade-Giles: Ch'ing Dynasty), also called the Manchu Dynasty, was the Manchu ruling dynasty of China between 1644 and 1911. It followed the Ming Dynasty and preceded the Republic of China. The Qing Dynasty was founded by the Aisin-Gioro (in Chinese: Aixinjueluo, 愛新覺羅 ai4 xin1 jue2 luo2) family of the Manchus.

Table of contents
1 The First Opium War and colonialism
2 The fall of the Manchus
3 Society
4 Politics
5 Military

Rise of the Qing

Fall of the Ming

In the immediate civil disorder after the fall of the Ming, the general in charge of the Great Wall of China, Wu Sangui[?] defected to the Qing and opened the gates of the wall allowing the Qing to enter China proper. The Qing captured Beijing in 1644, but spend the next twenty years of its rule fighting Ming loyalists in southern China.

Revolt of the three feudatories[?]

After the fall of the Ming, Qing control of southern China was tenuous. Rather than exercising direct control, southern China was controlled by the Qing through three generals. In the 1680's, one of the generals decided to retire, and out of protocol the other two generals submitted their resignation, which the Qing emperor unexpectedly accepted. This caused a revolt from the two generals and the son of the retiring third. Ultimately, the Qing was able to break this revolt thereby exercising control over all of southern China.

The 18th century

The 19th century

One common view of the 19th century was that it was an era in which Qing control weakened, and prosperity diminished. China suffered massive social strife, economic stagnation, explosive population growth, and Western penetration and influence. Britain's desire to continue its illegal opium trade with China collided with imperial edicts prohibiting the addictive drug, and the First Opium War erupted in 1840. China lost the war; subsequently, Britain and other Western powers, including the United States, forcibly occupied "concessions" and gained special commercial privileges. Hong Kong was ceded to Britain in 1842 under the Treaty of Nanjing. In addition, the Taiping rebellion and Nian rebellions[?], along with a Russian-supported Muslim independence movement in Xinjiang, drained Chinese resources and almost toppled the dynasty. .

The First Opium War and colonialism

Roughly between the Congress of Vienna and the Franco-Prussian War, Britain reaped the benefits of being the world's sole modern, industrial nation. Following the defeat of Napoleon, Britain was the 'workshop of the world', meaning that its finished goods were no longer produced so efficiently and cheaply that they could often undersell comparable, locally manufactured goods in almost any other market. If political conditions in a particular overseas markets were stable enough, Britain could its economy through free trade alone without having to resort to formal rule or mercantilism. Britain was even supplying half the needs in manufactured goods of such nations as Germany, France, Belgium, and the United States. As these other newly industrial powers, the United States, and Japan after the Meiji Restoration began industrializing at a rapid rate, however, Britain's comparative advantage in trade of any finished good began diminishing.

Sovereign areas already hospitable to informal empire largely avoided formal rule during the shift to New Imperialism. China, for instance, was not a backward country unable to secure the prerequisite stability and security for western-style commerce, but a highly advanced empire unwilling to admit western (often drug-pushing) commerce, which may explain the West's contentment with informal 'Spheres of Influences'. China, unlike tropical Africa, was a securable market without formal control. Following the First Opium War, British commerce, and later capital invested by other newly industrializing powers, was securable with a smaller degree of formal control than in Southeast Asia, West Africa, and the Pacific . But in many respects, China was a colony and a large-scale receptacle of Western capital investments. Western powers did intervene military there to quell domestic chaos, such as the horrific Taiping Rebellion and the anti-imperialist Boxer Rebellion. For example, General Gordon, later the imperialist 'martyr' in the Sudan, is often accredited as having saved the Manchu dynasty from the Taiping insurrection.

The fall of the Manchus

By the 1860s, the Qing dynasty had put down the rebellions with the help of militia organized by the Chinese gentry. The Qing dynasty then proceeded to deal with problem of modernization, which it attempted with the Self-Strengthening Movement[?]. Several modernized armies were formed including the much renowned "Beiyang" militia; however the fleets of "Beiyang" were annihilated in the Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), which produced calls for greater and more extensive reform. After the start of the 20th century, the Qing Dynasty was in a dilemma. It could proceed with reform and thereby alienate the conservative gentry or it could stall reform and thereby alienate the revolutionaries. The Qing Dynasty tried to follow a middle path, but proceed to alienate everyone.


Manchu males had the custom of braiding hair into pigtail. During Qing Dynasty, the Manchus enforced this custom onto the Han population. Any male who was seen without pigtail outdoor was to be beheaded.

Politics The most important administrative body of the Qing dynasty was the Grand Council which was a body composed of the emperor and high officials.

The Qing dynasty was characterized by a system of dual appointments by which each position in the central government had a Manchu and a Han Chinese assigned to it.

With respect to Mongolia, Tibet and Eastern Turkestan, the Qing Dynasty maintained a loose system of control, with the Qing emperor acting as Mongol Khan, patron of Tibetan Buddhism and supporter of Muslims and keeping a loose system of control.

How this system is best described remains a strong point of controversy because of its current political implications. Supporters of Chinese nationalism argue that Qing rule over these areas is best described as an extremely high degree of autonomy within a single nation-state, while supporters of Tibetan independence[?] argue that the Qing dynasty was a personal union between many nation-states.

However, Qing policy changed with the establishment of Xinjiang province in 1884 marked the turning point of the Qing Dynasty. In response to British and Russian military action in Xinjiang and Tibet, the Qing sent New Army units which performed remarkably well against British units.

The abdication of the Manchu Emperor, who had integrated the Empire, inevitably led to the controversy about the status of the Qing outer territories. It was and remains the the position of Mongol and Tibetan nationalists, that because they owed allegiance to the Qing monarch in a personal capacity, that with the abdication of the Qing, they owed no allegiance to the Chinese state. This position was rejected by the new Republic of China and subsequent Chinese government which have claim that these areas remained integral parts of China. The Western powers accepted the latter theory, largely in order to prevent a scramble for China[?].

Notable Figures:

Military Initially the Qing military consisted of bannermen and the Green Standard Army.

Qing Dynasty 1616-1911
Temple Names ( Miao Hao 廟號 miao4 hao4) Posthumous Names ( Shi Hao 諡號 ) Born Names Period of Reigns Era Names (Nian Hao 年號) and their according range of years Convention
All first names in bold.
Convention: use "Qing" + era names except the first two emperors. For example, Kangxi Emperor (Kangxi Di)|康熙帝 kang1 xi1 di4..
Tai Zu|太祖 tai4 zu3 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Ai-xin-jue-luo Nu-er-ha-chi|愛新覺羅努爾哈赤 ai4 xin1 jue2 luo2 nu3 er3 ha1 chi4 1616-1626 Tianming (天命 tian1 ming4) or abkai fulingga 1616-1626
Ai-xin-jue-luo Nurgachi (Nu-er-ha-chi)[?]
Tai Zong (太宗 tai4 zong1) Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Ai-xin-jue-luo Huang-tai-ji|愛新覺羅皇太極 ai4 xin1 jue2 luo2 huang2 tai4 ji2 1627-1643 Tiancong (天聰 tian1 cong1) or sure han 1627-1636
Chongde (崇德 chong2 de2) or wesihun erdemunnge 1636-1643
Ai-xin-jue-luo Abahai, honorific title: Huang-tai-ji[?]
Shi Zu|世祖 shi4 zu3 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Ai-xin-jue-luo Fu-lin|愛新覺羅福臨 ai4 xin1 jue2 luo2 fu2 lin2 1644-1661 Shunzhi (順治 shun4 zhi4) or ijishūn dasan 1644-1661
Shunzhi Emperor of China[?]
Sheng Zu|聖祖 sheng4 zu3 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Ai-xin-jue-luo Xuan-ye|愛新覺羅玄燁 ai4 xin1 jue2 luo2 xuan2 ye4 1662-1722 Kangxi (康熙 kang1 xi1) or elhe taifin 1662-1722
Kangxi Emperor of China
Shi Zong|世宗 shi4 zong1 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Ai-xin-jue-luo Yin-zhen|愛新覺羅胤禛 ai4 xin1 jue2 luo2 yin4 zhen1 1723-1735 Yongzheng (雍正 yong1 zheng4) or hūwaliyasun tob 1723-1735
Yongzheng Emperor of China[?]
Gao Zong|高宗 gao1 zong1 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Ai-xin-jue-luo Hong-li|愛新覺羅弘曆 ai4 xin1 jue2 luo2 hong2 li4 1736-1795 Qianlong (乾隆 qian2 long2) or abkai wehiyehe 1736-1795
Qianlong Emperor of China[?]
Ren Zong|仁宗 ren2 zong1 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Ai-xin-jue-luo Yong-yan|愛新覺羅顒琰 ai4 xin1 jue2 luo2 yong2 yan3 1796-1820 Jiaqing (嘉慶 jia1 qing4) or saicungga fengšen 1796-1820
Jiaqing Emperor of China[?]
Xuan Zong|宣宗 xuan1 zong1 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Ai-xin-jue-luo Min-ning|愛新覺羅旻寧 ai4 xin1 jue2 luo2 min2 ning2 1821-1850 Daoguang (道光 dao4 guang1) or doro eldengge 1821-1850
Daoguang Emperor of China[?]
Wen Zong|文宗 wen2 zong1 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Ai-xin-jue-luo Yi-zhu|愛新覺羅奕(言 replace 貝 in 貯) ai4 xin1 jue2 luo2 yi4 zhu3 1851-1861 Xianfeng (咸豐 xian2 feng1) or gubci elgiyengge 1851-1861
Xianfeng Emperor of China[?]
Mu Zong|穆宗 mu4 zong1 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Ai-xin-jue-luo Zai-chun|愛新覺羅載淳 ai4 xin1 jue2 luo2 zai4 chun2 1862-1874 Tongzhi (同治 tong2 zhi4) or yooningga dasan 1862-1874
Tongzhi Emperor of China[?]
De Zong|德宗 de zong1 Too tedious thus not used when referring to this sovereign Ai-xin-jue-luo Zai-tian|愛新覺羅載湉 ai4 xin1 jue2 luo2 zai4 tian2 1875-1908 Guangxu (光緒 guang1 xu4) or badarangga doro 1875-1908
Guangxu Emperor of China[?]
Convention: for this sovereign only use Xuantong Emperor (宣統帝 xuan1 tong3 di4) or born name.
Did not exist Mo Di|末帝 mo4 di4 Ai-xin-jue-luo Pu-yi 愛新覺羅溥儀 ai4 xin1 jue2 luo2 pu3 yi2 1908-1911 Xuantong (宣統 xuan1 tong3) or gehungge yoso 1909-1911
Ai-xin-jue-luo Pu-yi

See also: Chinese history, Chinese sovereign, Mongols, Russia, Japan, Korea, Bhutan, Nepal, Vietnam, Manchuria, Jin Dynasty

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