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Name the European countries who had "spheres of influence" in China.

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Monroe Lockhart eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There were a number of European powers that carved out spheres of influence throughout China during the 19th Century, which allowed them to control China's major ports and affect trading with the nation. The two largest spheres were owned by Great Britain and France, but Germany, Russia, and even Portugal (Macau) also had areas of influence.

The contentiousness of these spheres of influence led to the Opium Wars of the mid-19th Century that led to China ceding Hong Kong to the British. The Chinese objected to the thriving opium trade flowing through their country and tried to stop it, but the British and French—profiting greatly from the trade—fought and won two wars that led to legal, territorial and commercial concessions to their great benefit.

As European powers kept expanding their spheres of influence through one-sided treaties and outright conquest, China lost more and more control over its commerce. About 50 of its major ports became "Treaty Ports," in essence held by foreign powers, by the start of the 20th Century. The resentment that built up amongst the Chinese people eventually led to the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, which was quelled by European and US troops.

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saintfester eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Many european countries had spheres of influence in China that brough them great wealth in the form of trade and exploitation. The most notable were France, Germany, The Austro-Hungarian Empire, Great Britian, Italy and Russia.

These countries maintained their "spheres" well into the beginning of the 1900's despite strong, and sometimes violent, Chinese opposition.