The British Colonisation Of China Essay

The British Colonisation Of China Essay

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The British colonisation of China in the 1800 and 1900s was fuelled by a British economic interested and expansion. This interference in Chinese society, economy, and politics resulted in the fall of the Qing dynasty, marking the end of Chinese dynasties. From events such as the opium war and several other British interventions it can be seen there was a detrimental impact on China.
The effect of this influence can be seen when looking at pre colonial China and events that followed as Britain slowly gained greater influence and power over the Chinese. These are events such as the First Opium war, the Taiping rebellion, the Second Opium or Arrow war, and the Boxer rebellion.


Pre colonial China in the 1600 and 1700s was a country ruled under the Qing Dynasty, who were ethnically Manchus. Under the rulers of the Qing dynasty, like the many before them the country had flourished. The use of the examination system has enabled the Chinese to create a strong centralised civil service. The Qing imperial dynasty was at its hight as three successful leaders ruled the country.
Under the Qing the nation had developed a commercial trade system allowing them to advance internal trade, which led to the Chinese developing ideals of self sufficiency. This would later work against the Chinese when the British began their efforts to trade with them.

During this time China was very culturally diverse, the majority however were Han Chinese, being ruled by a minority of Manchus. The empire encompassed various groups, some defined by place of origin, while others were defined by religion “Even the elites among those who were defined as the numerically dominant population … would in the early nineteenth century have found it difficult to define exact...


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...leading to the end of what they rebels where calling the ‘Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.’ The defeat came as Europe decided to help the Qing, seeing that their interests were better served, “The eventual judgment made by Britain and other foreign powers was that their interests were better served by supporting a severely weakened Qing regime rather than the strange and unpredictable Taipings … With the second Opium War (1856-1860) raging at the time, Britain feared the Taiping rebels might overrun the treaty ports they had just wrested from the Qing regime.” (Taiping Rebellion 2012)

This event, even if it was a victory for the Qing, was a victory for the Qing against the people, and even worse it was a victory achieved through foreign support and intervention. This meant further alienation between the two peoples (Manchus and Hong) and embarrassment for the government.


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