|Qing Dynasty (1644-1911)|
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Above: --> Emperor Kangxi (graphic courtesy of China-Window.com)
Before the establishment of the Qing, two emperors (from 1559-1626) who were of the ethnic group Nujin established Houjin and paved the way for the government of Qing.
In 1644, emperor Shunzhi established Qing and made the prosperity of ages after his death possible by many of his reforms. His son,Kangxi, is considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, emperors in Chinese history. Kangxi reined for 60 years, which is very rare. China during his rein is one of prosperity. He acquired Taiwan and expanded China to Mongolia and Russia. He loves the people as if they were his children.
His 4th son, Yongzheng, is one of a controversial character. He reined only 13 years. Yongzheng's inheritence and death remain a topic that is much debated. During his 13 years of brief rein, he created more reforms that made economic and agricultural development possible. He handed to his son, Qianlong, another great emperor, a China that is rich and stable.
Below: --> Armour of Emperor Qianlong (graphic courtesy of China-Window.com)Qianlong, after 70 years of Kangxi and Yongzheng's reforms, brough China to one of its greatest prosperities. He is the longest-reining emperor in Chinese history. In the later half of his 61-year rein, however, Qing starts to decline. Qianlong's rein is the turning point of Qing.
The major crisis came with Opium in the 1830's. Because China has not been in need of foreign goods, merchants have an unbalanced trade and start to smuggle large quantities of Opium to China. Although emperor Daoguang tried to use Yongzheng's smoke-forbid policy, the use of opium does not decrease. Finally, in 1838, emperor Daoguang agreed to Lin Zexu's request to go and personally forbid the smuggling and use of opium. Thus, began the famous Sino-British Opium War.
Lin Zexu's success in banning Opium led to the British retaliate that resulted in China's disastrous defeat. China's defeat forced emperor Daoguang to sign the "Treaty of Nanjing", the first "unequal treaties". The British gained vast amout of money and Hong Kong. After this disaster, China was forced to sign many other unequal treaties and the decades that followed were known as the decades of "national humiliations".
Many patriots could not stand the corruption of government any longer and Qing collapsed in 1911 when Sun Zhongshan ( or Sun Yat-sen) founded the Republic of China.