Qing dynasty

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The Qing dynasty, pronounced "ching" and sometimes known as the Manchu dynasty, was the last dynastic house to rule Imperial China. The Qing dynasty succeeded the Ming in 1644, and was itself replaced by the Republic of China in 1912.

Contents

Origins of the Qing

Qing dynasty
Chinese 清朝

The Qing dynasty had its origins in the area north of the Great Wall in what is now NE China, known in the west as Manchuria. A local semi-nomadic Jurchen tribal leader, Nurhachi (1559-1626), amalgamated a number of tribes and reorganised them along state lines, with an army divided into Banners; in 1625 he established a capital at Shenyang (Mukden). In 1635 Nurhachi's successor Abahai (1592-1643) decreed that the nation be known by the name Manchu, and in 1636 named his dynasty Qing and proclaimed himself emperor. As Manchu power grew north of the Wall, to its south the Ming government was in terminal decline. The Chinese empire was ravaged by revolt, and in 1644 one rebel leader, Li Zicheng, occupied Beijing and declared himself emperor. The last Ming emperor, Chongzhen, hanged himself on Coal Hill, overlooking the Forbidden City. Horrified by the rebel success, the Ming commander of the garrison at the strategic pass of Shanhaiguan - where the Great Wall meets the Bohai gulf - allowed Qing forces to pass through the Wall, and they quickly occupied Beijing, establishing the new dynasty as rulers of China. Resistance to the Qing persisted in southern China (under the so-called Southern Ming) for another decade and a half, and all resistance was not stifled until 1681.

History of China
Ancient
Xia c. 2070–c. 1600 BC
Shang c. 1600 – 1046 BC
Zhou 1045–256 BC
Imperial
Qin 221–206 BC
Han 206 BC – 220 AD
Three Kingdoms 220–280
Jin 265–420
  16 Kingdoms
304–439
 
Northern and Southern
Dynasties
420–589
Sui 581–618
Tang 618–907
Five Dynasties and
Ten Kingdoms

907–960
Liao
907–1125
Song
960–1279
Jin
Yuan 1271–1368
Ming 1368–1644
Qing 1644–1911
Modern
Republic 1912–1949
People's Republic 1949–present

High Qing

The Qing reached its zenith of power, prestige and cultural achievement under the emperors Kangxi (reigned 1662-1722), Yongzheng (r. 1722-36) and Qianlong (r. 1736-99). China experienced peace, prosperity and safety and grew wealthy through the trade of cotton, silk and tea. The Qing became so contemptuous of outsiders that foreign traders were forced to kneel when Emperor Kangxi had his laws read.

Bibliography

Basic reading

  • Eberharad, Wolfram. A History of China (2005), 380 pages' full text online free
  • Ebrey, Patricia Buckley, and Kwang-ching Liu. The Cambridge Illustrated History of China (1999) 352 pages excerpt and text search
  • Fairbank, John King and Goldman, Merle. China: A New History. 2nd ed. Harvard U. Press, (2006). 640 pp. excerpt and text search
  • Gernet, Jacques, J. R. Foster, and Charles Hartman. A History of Chinese Civilization (1996), called the best one-volume survey; excerpt and text search
  • Hsü, Immanuel Chung-yueh. The Rise of Modern China, 6th ed. (Oxford University Press, 1999), highly detailed coverage of 1644-1999, in 1136pp. excerpt and text search
  • Latourette, Kenneth Scott. The Development of China (1917) 273 pages; full text online, by a Christian historian

Advanced studies

  • Fairbank, John K. and Liu, Kwang-Ching, ed. The Cambridge History of China. Vol. 2: Late Ch'ing, 1800-1911, Part 2. Cambridge U. Press, 1980. 754 pp.
  • Peterson, Willard J., ed. The Cambridge History of China. Vol. 9, Part 1: The Ch'ing Dynasty to 1800. Cambridge U. Press, 2002. 753 pp.
  • Rawski, Evelyn S. The Last Emperors: A Social History of Qing Imperial Institutions (2001) complete text online free
  • Struve, Lynn A., ed. The Qing Formation in World-Historical Time. (2004). 412 pp.
  • Struve, Lynn A., ed. Voices from the Ming-Qing Cataclysm: China in Tigers' Jaws (1998) excerpt and text search
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