The Modern Era

1800s - 1900s

The Taiping Uprising (1850 - 1864)

The Taiping Uprising was a revolution during the Qing dynasty because of the signs that they believed meant the fall of the dynasty along with it's Manchu origins. The leaders of the revolution rejected Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism but believed mainly in Christianity. The leader Hong Xiuquan claimed to be the younger brother of Jesus and promised to purify the world of demons.

The Opium Wars (1838 - 1842, 1856 - 1858)

Lin Zexu

The leader against opium use during the Opium Wars in China, thought of as a drug czar.

First Opium War (1838 - 1842)

Europe's relationship with China changed when they discovered their ability to sell Opium to China, an addictive drug thought of as having healing properties. The Chinese people became addicted to Opium causing major issues in Chinese government and the country all together, so opium importation was made illegal. This upset Britain causing them to send a navy to open trade but all it did was start the First Opium War.

Second Opium War (1856 - 1858)

The second opium war was started later and ended in vandalizing the emperor's palace outside Beijing humiliating China and causing more ports to open along with a second Unequal treaty.

The Unequal Treaties

A set of treaties made by China that ate away at Chinese independence the first was made to end the First Opium war and the second to end the Second Opium war.

Self-Strengthening Movement

China during the 1860s and 1870s worked to become a traditional China with bits of Western ideas.They built factories, rebuilt dikes and irrigation and revised other parts of their government and social system. The movement failed due to foreign dependence, fear and the Boxer Uprising.

Boxer Uprising

The Boxer Uprising was an anti-foreign movement led by a militia called the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists. They sieged foreign embassies in Beijing and were crushed by Japan occupying Beijing.

The Chinese Revolution of 1911

The Chinese revolution of 1911 or the Xinhai Revolution was a revolution to overthrow the Qing dynasty, it started due to the decline of the Qing dynasty along with its Manchu roots that people disagreed with. The revolution took down China's last dynasty, the Qing dynasty and replaced it with the Republic of China.

"The Sick Man of Europe"

The Ottoman empire, a central political figure in 1750, was being weakened by Russian, British, Austrian and French aggression along with their outdated weaponry and technology. When Napoleon took Egypt it was a great hit to the empire. The Ottoman empire eventually relied too heavily on foreign loans which led to its downfall.


The Tanzimat were reformist measures in the Ottoman empire to provide economic social and legal foundations for a strong re centralized state. It brought factories, mining steamship, railroads, western law codes, and elementary and secondary schools.

The Young Ottomans

The Young Ottomans were low level officials, military officers, writers, poets and journalists with western education. They wanted major changes in Ottoman politics and wanted a more western style democratic government and believed it was the only way to reverse the damage done by European aggression. The young Ottomans experienced a small, short victory when Sultan Abd al-Hamid II accepted a constitution and parliament, but with pressure from Russia these changes were reverted.

The Young Turks

Military and civilian elites committed to modernization, in 1908 a military coup gave the Young Turks the ability to push for secularization of schools, law codes and courts they also worked for elections, family rights for all religions and the Turkish language as a national language.

The Informal Empires

Due to the shifting balance of global power, China and the Ottoman Empire had diminished into "Semi-Colonies" within the "Informal Empires" of Europe. They retained enough independence to catch up to Europe but were unable to create the industrial economies needed to do so leading to the end of the Ottoman and Chinese empires being replaced by more westernized versions.

Tokugawa Japan

Japan was governed by a military ruler called a shotgun from the Tokugawa family who acted for a powerless emporer in Edo. The shogunate was tasked to prevent a civil war between the daimyo or feudal lords. Due to the peace and lack of wars to fight the Japanese economy stabilized and Japan became more bureaucratic and it became more hierarchical. After a movement to start Japan on track to become more industrialized, it cause ranks to lose economic stability and created a cycle of debt.

Meiji Restoration

After Japan had locked down it's borders to everyone, including shipwrecked sailors and castaways, America sent Commadore Perry to demand fair treatment of castaways. After the unwelcome visit of the Americans or "Foreign Devils" the power of the shogunate declined even further leading to a rebellion of samurai who restored power to the young emperor Meiji in order to prevent Foreign domination by using what they had to offer.

Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905)

Japan launched a War against Russia in which they succeeded in defeating Russia which led to admiration for Japan and for other countries to realize they could be liberated from the Russian Empire. The Japanese defeat of Russia also led to countries asking for Japan's help them in other struggles.