World History



























































Qing Dynasty

During the early modern period, China’s Ming dynasty tried to isolate itself from Western cultural influences; only two Chinese ports were open to European ships. Still, Chinese products were so popular in Europe that much of the Spanish silver mined in the New World ended up in China where it paid for Chinese silks, tea, and fine porcelain. The Ming dynasty began requiring Chinese to pay their taxes in silver. When harsh weather reduced harvests, peasants didn’t have enough food or enough silver. It is said starving peasants ate goose droppings and tree bark. Disease and death swept through China.

The Ming government was weak following years of internal conflicts, and it was unable to contend with large peasant uprisings. As soldiers from a peasant army climbed the walls of the Forbidden City, the last Ming emperor hung himself in 1644. Like others before it, the Ming Dynasty grew, flowered, declined, and was replaced. The new rulers would be Manchu nomads from northeast of the Great Wall, a region known as Manchuria. They entered China, defeated the peasant army, and established the Qing Dynasty that endured for two-and-a-half centuries until the early 1900s. The Qing dynasty would be China’s last.

Forbidden City = a giant palace built in the center of Beijing; the largest ancient palace in the world.

Manchus = nomads from Manchuria.

Manchuria = the northeast region of modern-day China.

Qing Dynasty = the last of China’s dynasties, established by Manchu invaders in 1644. It lasted for 268 years, until it was finally toppled by a democratic revolution in 1912 and followed by a period of civil wars.