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Imperialism in China
I. Causes of Imperialism
A. Qing Dynasty was in decline (remember the dynastic cycle)
1. The Qing Dynasty was too weak to resist European aggression
B. Industrial Revolution
1. European nations sought markets for it’s products
2. European military power allowed them to gain Spheres of Influence
II. Events
A. The Opium War (1839-1842)
4. Causes:
a. The British government introduces an opium trade in China to offset a
trade imbalance that existed due to the English demand for Chinese
b. Opium has a devastating effect on Chinese society
c. The Chinese attempt to end the trade and destroy warehouses full of
English opium.
d. English government goes to war
e. China is easily defeated by the modern English Navy.
5. Treaty of Nanjing (Unequal Treaties) 1842
a. England gains control of large areas of coastal China. (Hong Kong
and 5 other port cities)
b. China paid for all the destroyed Opium
B. Open Door Policy (1899)
1. The United States feared that American merchants would be denied access
to Chinese markets closed by British trade monopolies.
2. Open Door Policy stated that all nations would have equal access to trade in
3. Spheres of Influence: France, Portugal, Russia, Germany, The United
States, Japan, all gain control of economic control in China.
a. Spheres of influence were developed as areas of economic control or
monopolies. The weakened Qing Dynasty continued function as the political
leadership in China.
III. Anti-Western Movement
A. The Boxer Rebellion (1900)
1. The Boxers: a secret Chinese society opposed to foreign Imperialism
2. The Boxers rebelled against European control of China and attempted to
drive the foreigners out of China.
3. An international army crushed the rebellion.
4. China was forced to grant more concessions to the West
IV. Spheres of Influence
A. served as areas of economic control
1. The west controlled China’s coastal trade
2. The west had indirect control of China rather that direct control as seen in
Africa and India. There was never an establishment of Colonial Government.