During the 19th Century, Britain wanted to trade with the Chinese much more than the Chinese wanted to trade with the British. Since the Chinese had little demand for European products, the European merchants had to trade with silver. As an alternative, the British gradually began to trade in opium from India. The trade was illegal and created economic, political, and social problems in China.
In 1839, the Chinese took serious measures to immobilize the opium trade. The British protested and launched the Opium Wars during 1839-1842. The wars demonstrated the military differential between China and Europe. The British used ships powered by steam to attack the Grand Canal, and China realizing that conquest was unavoidable, began
the necessary preparations for a cease fire. As a result of these defeats, China was subjected to what came to be known as the Favorite Nation Treaties (FNT). China was forced legalize the opium trade, to surrender Hong Kong to Britain, permit the establishment of Christian missions, open ports to commerce, and not impose tariffs on imports. By 1900, the majority of Chinese sea ports were under the effective control of Western powers, foreign nations controlled much of the Chinese economy. Christian missionaries were converting Chinese throughout the co...
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Eventually, in China, an anti-Western organization called the called the “Boxers” by the Europeans due to their capabilities in the martial arts, emerged to protest the increasing Western presence in China. In 1899 the participants of the Boxer Rebellion organized to rid China of foreign authorities. They went on a rampage killing Chines Christians, the Chinese who had ties to foreigners, and Western outsiders. In 1900 they overwhelmed the foreign embassies in Beijing.
Heavily armed forces of US, British, Russian, German, French, and Japanese troops defeated the rebellion. When Russia refused to withdraw its troops from Manchuria after the Boxer Rebellion, Japan attacked and defeated the Russian Fleet. It was the first time in modern history that an East Asian country had successfully defeated the forces of a Western European power.
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