Rebellions and Revolutions: China from the 1800s to the 1980s

By Jack Gray | Go to book overview

2
THE OPENING OF CHINA

The European Trade with East Asia

The modern history of the Far East begins with the forcible opening of China in 1843 by Britain, the leader in the new technologies of which the Chinese (and the Japanese) knew nothing, having deliberately closed their doors to foreigners and foreign influence. This situation, however, was not preordained.

It could have been different; one might even argue that it should have been different. The great powers of Asia were not at first threatened by the Europeans. The Moguls were in full control of India. In China the Qing dynasty had built up the most extensive Chinese empire in history. In Japan the Tokugawa had restored order in 1600 and ruled Japan's feudal daimyōs with a rod of iron for more than two centuries thereafter.

The main enemies of the European newcomers were not the states of South and East Asia but the Arab traders, against whom the Portuguese fought a long and vicious war in the first decades of the sixteenth century, in the course of which they created a network of naval strongholds; but as far as the rulers of Asia were concerned it was not of much importance whether Arabs or Portuguese -- or Dutch or British -- paid the taxes in return for which they permitted trade.

Even when the Arabs had been forced to share their monopoly of the spice trade, the Europeans were by no means the only numerous and powerful group of armed traders in the East. The Chinese, with ships as large as the Portuguese carracks and much more efficient to windward, traded in growing strength throughout South-east Asia, and settled in the area in far greater numbers than Europeans. The Arabs themselves, far from totally defeated, were still extending their influence in the wake of the conversion of the Malay world to Islam. Japanese trader-pirates were aggressively active. The Europeans were drawn immediately into this intra-regional trade in order to earn funds locally with which to buy Asian commodities, and so to placate their home governments, which had strong mercantilist objections to the perpetual eastward drain of silver. And in the East there was silver to be earned, thanks to the Manila galleon which brought an annual cargo of bullion from the mines of South America. This Spanish silver lubricated the trade of the area, and in particular flowed into the pockets of Chinese traders at Manila in exchange for silk. Thence it fructified the economy of China's centres of silk and tea production in the lower Yangzi provinces.

-22-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Rebellions and Revolutions: China from the 1800s to the 1980s
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 456

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.