Taiping Rebellion (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Political, social, and economic future of China. Result: The Taiping Rebellion was crushed by the Qing Dynasty.
The causes of the Taiping Rebellion reach back into the fifteenth century, when the Chinese emperor decided to adopt an isolationist policy. Over the next three and a half centuries, China’s power slowly declined, mainly because China refused to adjust to changes in the world order produced by new industrial and technological developments. China took the position that it had nothing to learn from the rest of the world. By the early nineteenth century, China was losing the battle to maintain its political, economic, and cultural autonomy because of the impact of Western imperialism.
By the early 1800’s, many segments of the Chinese population had been exposed to various aspects of Western culture. In particular, Western missionaries had made great strides in converting the Chinese to Christianity. The impact and power of the West reached a new level of dominance with the defeat of China in the First Opium War (1839-1842). The resulting Treaty of Nanjing (1842) forced China to pay $21 million in reparations and gave Hong Kong to the British. It also attacked the very foundation of Chinese sovereignty by forcing the government to accept the rule of extraterritoriality, which allowed Europeans who committed crimes against China to be tried in European courts....
(The entire section is 721 words.)
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