The Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) – Part 2/2

The Yongzheng Emperor ruled from 1722 to 1735. He was frugal like his father, the Kangxi Emperor.

Yongzheng created an effective government and used military force to preserve the dynasty’s position as his father had. Under his leadership, he continued the era of peace and prosperity by cracking down on corruption and waste while reforming the financial administration of the empire.

The Qianlong Emperor (birth/death 1711 – 1799) ruled China for much of the 18th century (1735 – 1796). He subdued about ten rebellions known as the “ten successful campaigns”, which drained the Qing Dynasty’s treasury. These rebellions stretched from 1747 to 1792.

However, when the Qianlong Emperor died, China was unified, at peace and strong. He was a brilliant military leader and expanded the empire further into Mongolia and Tibet.

During the rule of the Qianlong Emperor, Manchu and Chinese armies proved the Qing sovereignty over Burma and Nepal.

Chinese settlers in Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan and Taiwan dealt with rebellions of the aboriginal tribes that could only be subdued by military force. Muslim people also resisted the Qing regime in Gansu and Xinjiang.

During the 19th century, the two Opium Wars started by Britain and France weakened the Qing Dynasty.

Besides the Opium Wars, there was also the Taiping Rebellion, which lasted more than a decade and cost about 20 million lives.

In 1900, The so-called Boxer Rebellion (known as “I-ho Chuan” or the “Righteous and Harmonious Fists”) was originally started against the Manchu Qing Dynasty but the Qing government managed to redirect this rebellion against the foreigner invaders that had defeated China during the earlier Opium Wars.

This ended in a worse defeat after the foreign powers formed an alliance and marched on Beijing slaughtering the rebels.

The driving force behind the revolution of 1911 that ended the Qing Dynasty was Dr. Sun Yat-sen.

However, once the Qing Dynasty fell, warlords tore China apart and it would take years of struggle to reunify China under one government in 1949 after the Communist Party defeated the Nationalists, who fled to Taiwan with much of China’s imperial treasures and gold.

Return to The Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) – Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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4 Responses to The Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) – Part 2/2

  1. Terry Chen says:

    Ironically, Manchurian culture started dying out during the qing dynasty, testamant to just how completely Manchurian culture integrated into Chinese culture. One of the emperors was actually quite shocked that many manchurians couldn’t even speack manchurian! Chinese culture was just too superior to manchurian culture and from the moment they decided to take up the mandate of heaven rather than rule the manchurian way I don’t think any emperor could have prevented this from happening.

    Qianlong became very frail and weak in his last days and got manipulated by a corrupt official named he shen. Like many emperors, age took its toll on him.

  2. Terry K Chen says:

    Hello Mr Lofthouse

    Actually, in the last decade or so of Emperor Qianlong’s rule, the system became extremely corrupt and the dynasty started in free fall decline. Qianlong was undoubtedly a great emperor, but the last years of his rule was a mess.

    It’s amazing that so many westerners don’t consider the qing dynasty as a Chinese dynasty. Ironically, anyone who said so at the time probably would have been executed. Perhaps an interesting post would be one that justifies and explains to all those ignorant idiots why the qing and yuan dynasties ARE chinese dynasties. Actually, maybe they could also learn that the dynasty is unique to Chinese history.

    • Terry,

      I’ve read about Qianlong’s decline in his later years and this symptom seems to have happened to other emperors too. Kublai Kahn of the Yuan Dyansty is another example. After his favorite wife died, he fell apart and let his ministers make the decisions and the corruption that quickly followed doomed the Yuan Dyansty to a short lifespan.

      Your suggestion for a post about the Qing and Yuan Dynasties is a good one but I’m not sure I’m the right person (at this time) to write it. I am aware that both of these dynasties adopted or were absorbed by the Han Chinese culture and/or morality and ruled as Han emperors had ruled before them. There wasn’t much difference.

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