Imperialism and Chinese Politics

Imperialism and Chinese Politics

Imperialism and Chinese Politics

Imperialism and Chinese Politics

Excerpt

This work begins with the Opium War of 1840-1842. It is first necessary, however, to deal briefly with China's relations with foreign powers prior to the war.

China's trade relations with Russia along the northern borders began more than two hundred years before the Opium War. Trade disputes, which had led to military clashes between the two countries, were settled during the reign of the Emperors Kang Hsi and Yung Cheng of the Manchu Dynasty (1644-1911) by the conclusion of the Treaty of Nerchinsk of 1689 and the Treaty of Kiakhta of 1727. During the 16th and 17th centuries, when European capitalism was in the stage of primary accumulation of capital, European merchants prowled the coastal areas of Kwangtung and Fukien Provinces and engaged in piratical activities. The Portuguese took Macao in 1557. They were followed by the Spaniards, the Dutch and the British who came to China in 1575, 1601 and 1637 respectively. All this took place during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The French sent their first merchant vessel to China in 1660 (in the 17th year of the reign of Emperor Shun Chih of the Manchu Dynasty).

In the 16th century, the Portuguese, who then ruled the seas, monopolized trade in the East; in the 17th century . . .

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