The Qing Dynasty was the longest-running empire ruled by the Manchus of Manchuria. It had the most abundant overseas contact yet was often resisted.
The country glories over the Qing Golden Age’s prosperity. However, they were greatly ashamed of the forced trade and unbalanced treaties that happened later in the period.
The Manchus in China
The Qing Dynasty was built by the Manchus in 1636 to designate their government in Manchuria. In the year 1644, China’s capital, Beijing, was taken by the rebel leader Li Zhicheng. Desperate to get their capital back, officials of the Ming Dynasty sought aid from the Manchus.
The Manchus took advantage of the situation to seize control over the capital. From there, they eventually established their own capital in the country. They were able to pacify the country’s population by adopting the Ming’s form of government while employing Ming officials.
The first ruler of the Qing Dynasty was a five-year-old boy who ascended the throne as Emperor Shunzhi. While he ruled, the Manchus conquered and expanded their rule over China. In 1683, the entire country was under the Qing Empire under the rule of Emperor Kangxi.
During this period, the Manchu kept order in the empire by displaying harsh discipline. When someone was accused or suspected of treason, they would be executed immediately.
Under the empire, the country remained isolated from the world. China traded a few goods like silver and tea, yet they had barely anything to do with foreign countries.
In 1800, the British started selling opium in the country, leading to the addiction of a lot of Chinese. Due to this, the government made opium an illegal drug, but despite them banning it, the British continued smuggling opium.
The act angered the Qing Empire, which led their officials to board the British ships. All the opium that they acquired were dumped into the ocean, which instigated a war between the British and Chinese.
During that time, China only had a small navy that was outdated compared to that of the British. Hence, they were defeated during the First and Second Opium Wars.
By the end of the battle in 1860, Britain took over Hong Kong. Then, Christianity became legal, and China opened its doors to British merchants.