Imperialism in China - Printable Outline | Student Handouts
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Imperialism in China Outline

·        Early contacts with Europeans

o   16th century – Portuguese traded for silk and tea

o   Portuguese followed by the Dutch and English


·        Chinese history

o   1644 – conquered by Manchus

§  Qing dynasty

§  Chinese forced to wear pigtails (sign of subservient status)

o   18th century

§  Manchus began restricting Europeans – missionaries and traders


·        First Opium War (1839-1842)

o   British brought opium from India to Canton

§  Many Chinese became addicts

o   Chinese emperor forbade opium imports

§  War between British and Chinese

o   Treaty of Nanking (1842)

§  Four additional British ports in China

·        Amoy, Ningpo, Foochow, Shanghai

§  British control over Hong Kong

§  China had to pay an indemnity

§  China limited to 5% tariff


·        Other Westerners in China

o   Belgium, France, Holland (Netherlands), Portugal, Prussia (Germany), United States

o   Spheres of influence

§  Exclusive trading areas

o   Extraterritoriality

§  Tried in their own courts and under their own laws


·        Second Opium War (1856-1860)

o   Also known as the Arrow War

o   Results

§  More Chinese ports opened up to European trade

§  Opium traffic legalized

§  Protection of Christian missionaries

§  All foreign vessels could navigate the Yangtze River

§  U.S. and Russia also participated in peace process

·        Russia’s border extended to Amur River

o   Maritime Provinces – Pacific area without permafrost

o   Founded Vladivostok in 1860


·        More foreign control of China

o   Annam, etc.

§  Merged into French Indo-China (1883)

o   Burma (Myanmar)

§  Annexed by British (1886)

o   Formosa

§  Attacked and taken by Japanese (1895)

o   Korea

§  Annexed by Japanese (1910)

o   Liaotung Peninsula (Manchuria)

§  Concessions to Japanese (1910)


·        ManchuriaImperialism in China Outline - Free to print (PDF file) for high school World History students.

o   Imperial powers (particularly Japan and Russia) vied for control of the Manchurian Railway

o   France, Germany, and Russia coerced Japan to return the Liaotung Peninsula to China


·        New Scramble for China

o   France

§  Kwangchow – 99-year lease

o   Germany

§  Shantung Peninsula – sphere of influence

o   Great Britain

§  Wei-hai-wei – naval base

§  Yangtze valley – sphere of influence

o   Russia

§  Liaotung Peninsula – lease

§  Manchuria – economic concessions


·        Boxer Rebellion (1900)

o   Chinese people resented foreign influence and power

o   Order of the Patriotic Harmonious Fists

§  Called “Boxers” by Westerners

§  Demanded that foreigners leave China

§  Killed circa 300 and vandalized foreign property

o   European imperialists, Americans, and Japanese put down the rebellion

o   China paid $333,000,000.00 in damages and had to permit military forces in Peking (modern-day Beijing) and Tientsin


·        Fall of the Qing (Manchu) dynasty

o   Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908)

§  De facto Chinese monarch (1861-1908)

§  “Make me unhappy for a day and I will make you unhappy for a lifetime.”

§  Conservative and anti-foreign

§  Blamed by many Chinese for foreign imperialist power in China

o   Emperor Puyi – the “last emperor”

§  Lived 1906-1967

§  Ruled China 1908-1912, and as a puppet for 12 days in 1917

§  Puppet emperor of Manchukuo (Japanese-ruled Manchuria), 1932-1945

§  Spent ten years in a Soviet prison after WWII

§  Lived a quiet life as a regular citizen in communist China

§  Died of disease during the Cultural Revolution (1967)


·        Republican Revolution

o   Sun Yat-sen (a.k.a. Sun Yixian)

§  Founded Kuomintang (Nationalist party)

·        Overthrew Manchu (Qing) dynasty

·        Established a republic

·        President of Chinese Republic that succeeded him – Yuan Shih-k’ai


·        Republic of China – weaknesses

o   Disunity

§  Local warlords fought Kuomintang for control

§  Wars raged between 1912 and 1928

o   Foreign imperialists

§  Americans, Europeans, and Japanese

o   Poor transportation

§  1914 – only 6,000 miles of railroad track

·        225,000 miles in the smaller United States

§  Few decent roads


·        Foreign imperialists

o   Twenty-One Demands (1915)

§  Japan attempted to make China a Japanese protectorate

§  Action condemned and stopped by other leading world powers

o   World War I and the Treaty of Versailles

§  China attempted to abolish concessions and extraterritoriality

·        Attempt failed

§  China did not sign the Treaty of Versailles

§  Japan gained mandate over most of Germany’s Asian possessions and rights


·        Three Principles of the People

o   Book published by Sun Yat-sen before his death in 1925

1.        Principle of Minquan

a.       Democracy – the people are sovereign

2.       Principle of Minzu

a.       Nationalism – an end to foreign imperialism

3.       Principle of Minsheng

a.       Livelihood – economic development, industrialization, land reform, and social welfare – elements of progressivism and socialism


·        Growth of communism

o   Sun Yat-sen appealed for Russian (Soviet) aid following the Versailles Conference

§  1921-1925 – China received advisors, arms, communist propaganda, and loans

§  Russia revoked its imperialist rights in China


·        The Kuomintang is split

o   Right wing

§  Businesspeople

§  Politicians

o   Left wing

§  Communists

§  Intellectuals

§  Radicals

§  Students


·        Nationalist Revolution

o   Sun Yat-sen succeeded by Chiang Kai-shek

o   Communists expelled by Kuomintang

o   1926-1928 – war to control the warlords

o   Capital moved from Peiping (a.k.a. Peking, today’s Beijing) to Nanking (a.k.a. Nanjing)


·        Civil war in China

o   1927-1932 and 1933-1937 – war between Communists and Nationalists

o   Communists – Mao Tse-tung (Mao Zedong)

o   Nationalists – Chiang Kai-shek

o   War halted 1932-1933 and 1937-1945 to fight Japanese aggression

o   Communists were victorious in 1949

o   Nationalists retreated to Formosa (Taiwan)

o   End of imperialism in China

§  Hong Kong returned to China in 1997


·        Review questions

o   What Chinese goods were sought by European traders?

o   What were the consequences of the First and Second Opium Wars?

o   Describe the Open Door Policy.

o   What was the Boxer Rebellion?

o   What were Japan’s Twenty-One Demands?

o   Describe Sun Yat-sen’s three principles.

o   What area of China remained under British control until 1997?

Click here to print. Click here for a PowerPoint version of this outline.
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