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Fall Of The Qing Dynasty

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The fall of the Qing dynasty was caused by internal changes within the dynasty, peasant revolts, the rise of Sun Yat-Sen and overall western influence.

What happens when there is a trade imbalance between two major trading countries? Just ask Great Britain and China. It's hard to get by when the country you need goods from does not really need to trade goods with you. This is what happened with Great Britain and the Qing Dynasty. There was a high demand for China's tea in Great Britain but a low demand for Britain's goods in China. Great Britain was in debt with China and they had to do something to get out. As a result, they turned to selling silver to make the imbalance better. China could care less about Great Britain's silver so Great Britain was still behinds in payments. When selling silver did not work they began selling opium. Opium is an addictive drug grown in India, smoked from a pipe that comes from the seed of the papaver somniferum plant. China's people became quickly addicted to the drug and traded silver, originally from Great Britain to get opium. Opium was illegal and China wanted the trade of opium to stop. China tried to make new restrictions against foreign merchants and ships and Great Britain did not like this idea and fought back resulting in the Opium War (stefoff 54). Of course Britain came out on top because they had better artillery, forcing China to sign the Treaty of Nanjing. This was only the beginning of Western influence in China because now more ports were open to foreign merchants. All trade was put under European control causing more western ideas, foreigners, and cultures to spread into China.

Who wants to live in a place with famine, bandits, droughts, and floods? Early Chinese villagers certainly did not. China was already struggling with its economy and life was becoming worrisome and hard for villagers. They were not satisfied with their living conditions and the result of the villagers' anger was not a good one. In 1850, one of the bloodiest civil wars this world has ever seen broke out, The Taiping Rebellion (Stefoff 55). The leader of this rebellion was Christian leader, Hung Xiuguan. He claimed to have the responsibility of destroying the Qing Dynasty, a responsibility given to him by God. Hung Xiuguan and his rebels captured Nanjing and Hung Xiuguan renamed it Taiping Tien-Kuo or The Heavenly Dynasty of Perfect Peace. In the process about 25,000 men, women, and children were killed. New rules and regulations were made affecting many people for ten years. Of course china was not able to deal with this alone but with the help of the western powers, (the same people causing them some many problems) Nanjing was eventually restored.20 million more people were killed while trying to recapture Nanjing.

At this point you are probably wondering how on Earth the Qing Dynasty lasted this long after all the wars and rebellions. And by this time it seemed as if China did not have much say in what went on in its own territories. Communism was clearly not working for China. Sun Yat-Sen realized this and he attempted to do something about it. He came close to death to try and make his dream of China becoming a Republic a reality. In the 1890's he formed a secret, anti-Qing society and by 1895 there was a price for his head in China forcing



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