Modern Age 1750-1900
Foreign intervention in China
In 1793 China rejected a trade agreement with Britain, because China viewed itself as superior to all other nations. This sparked the first opium war (1838-1842). The British were using opium acquired in India to trade for Chinese tea. The Chinese government recognized this epidemic of opium use and began to seize British opium. The British, seeing this as a threat to their wealth, mobilized their navy to go and attack the Chinese. The British won the opium war, and forced the Chinese to open ports to free trade with Europe. China experienced The taiping rebellion from 1850-1864. The leader Hong Xiuquan said he was the brother of Jesus. The rebel leaders aimed to abolish prostitution, opium smoking and they wanted to segregate me. And women into military camps. They captured the city of Nanjing in 1853 and used it as their capital. The indescisiveness of their military leaders eventually brought about their downfall. China went to war with Britain in the second opium war (1856-1858) which brought about the vandilization of the emporers summer palace and more ports to be opened. These were the final few treaties that were dubbed the "unequal treaties" by the Chinese. China experienced the boxer rebellion from 1899-1901. This was brought about by the self strengthening movement to free China from foreign influence. An international coalition was formed to stop this rebellion, and they eventually put an end to it. China experienced the final revolution in 1911. This revolution brought an end to the Qing dynasty.
The Ottoman Empire
Much like the Chinese, the Ottomans felt that they had little to learn from the West, and put of technological development until they were forced to collide with the west in the 1800s. The ottomans refused to develop their army and navy, and had a stagnating economy ever since the trade on the Silk Road declined. This earned the ottomans the nickname "the old sick man of Europe". From 1838-1876 the ottomans instituted a series of governmental reforms to reorganize and modernize the Turkish empire. Several political groups were formed. The young ottomans were a group of Turkish intellectuals who believed that the Tanzimat reforms didn't do enough to reform the government. The young Turks were a group of politicians who wanted to replace the absolute monarchy with a constitutional monarchy. The young Turks succeeded and Sultan Abd Al-Hamid II was the last ottoman sultan to exercise autocratic power, but the empire didn't last, for it fell after the First World War.
Sultan Abd Al-Hamid II
A young Turk flyer promoting the liberty of the Ottoman Empire
A political cartoon showing europes dominance over the old sick man of europe
The Japanese empire
While the Ottoman Empire and Chinese empire were both "informal empires" (empires that were largely under the control of Europe whilst remaining their soverignty) Japan had managed to resist European domination and became a world power. Japan had been ruled by the Tokugawa shogunate from the 1600s to the 1860s. When they came to power they closed the countries borders and prevented anyone from entering and leaving. Under is time of relative peace the samurai became salaried beuraucrats instead of professional soldiers, but they still upheld their code of bushido. This was a period of economic and cultural prosperity. 40% of Japanese men and 15% of Japanese women were literate, and up to 10% of the Japanese population lived in urban centers. Despite the isolation, this time created a solid foundation for the countries urbanization in the 19th century. In 1853 commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Japan with an ultimatum: open the country to foreign commerce or the Japanese would be forced into war with America. Japan chose to open their ports to foreign trade and they began to slowly modernize under western supervision. Through a series of rebellions backed by the western countries, the Tokugawa shogunate was overthrown in 1868 and Emporer Meiji was placed on the throne. The Japanese finally had a leader who would be prepared to usher Japan into modern Industrial Age amd keep the country from foreign soverignty. Japan set out to westernize and nothing was more western than building an empire. Japan went and invaded China starting the Sino-Japanese war (1894-1895) capturing Taiwan in 1895, and capturing Korea in 1910. The Japanese had scuffles with Russia in 1895 at Port Arthur where Russia was building a railroad to a warm water port. The Russo-Japanese war (1904-1905) showed that the newly emerging Japanese empire could hold its own against Western powers. The Japanese kept building their empire until it was brought to an end after world war 2.
Emporer Meiji who ascended to the throne in 1868
Japanese troops defeating the Chinese in the Sino-Japanese war
A Japanese warship defeating a Russian warship in the Russo-Japanese war