1750-1900 Smore Project
1793 Chinese rejects British requests for open trade
In 1793, British King George III reviewed yet another rebuff, this time from China. In a letter to the British monarch, the Chinese emperor Qianlong sharply rejected British requests for a less restricted trading relationship with his country. "Our Celestial Empire possesses all things in prolific abundance," he declared. "There was therefore no need to import the manufactures of outside barbarians."
1798 Napoleon invades Egypt
Among the Great Powers of the West, it was now known as "the sick man of Europe." The Ottoman Empires own domains shrank considerably at the hands of Russian, British, Austrian, and French aggression. In 1798, Napoleons invasion of Egypt, which had long been a province of the Ottoman Empire, was a particularly stunning blow. When the French left, a virtually independent Egypt pursued a modernizing and empire-building program of its own and on one occasion came close to topping the Ottoman Empire itself.
1830s Famine and rebellions in Japan
Corruption was widespread, to the disgust of many. The shogunate's failure to deal successfully with a severe famine in the 1830s eroded confidence in its effectiveness. at the same time, a mounting wave of local peasant uprisings and urban riots expressed the meany grievances of the poor. The most striking of these outburst left the city of Osaka in flames in 1837.
1838-1842 First Opium War in China
Derived from Arab traders in the eighth century or earlier, opium had long been used on a small scale as a drinkable medicine. Because opium importation was illegal, it had to be smuggled into China, thus floating Chinese law. In the process, they would teach the Chinese a lesson about the virtues of free trade and the "proper" way to conduct relations among countries. Thus began the first opium war, in which britains industrialized military might proved decisive. The treaty of Nanjing, which ended the war in 1842, largely on British terms, imposed numerous restrictions on Chinese sovereignty and opened five ports to European traders.
1838-1876 Tanzimat Reforms in the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman reforms began in the late eighteenth century when Sultan Selim III sought to reorganize and update the army and to draw on European advisers and techniques. Even these modest innovations stirred the hostility of powerful factions among both the ulama ( religious scholars) and the elite military corps of Janissaries, who saw them in conflict with both Islam and their own institutional interest. More far-reaching reformist measures, known as Tanzimat, took shape as the Ottoman leadership sought to provide the economic, social, and legal underpinning for a strong and newly re-centralized state. Although Tanzimat-era reforms did not directly address gender issues, they did stimulate modest educational openings for woman with a training program for midwives in 1842, a girls secondary school in 1858, and a teacher training college for woman in 1870. the reform-minded class that emerged from the Tanzimat era generally favored greater opportunities for woman as a means of strengthening the state.
1850-1864 Taiping Uprising in China
The culmination of China's internal crisis in the Taiping uprising, which set much of the country aflame between 1850 and 1864. It's leaders largely rejected Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism alike, finding their primary ideology in a unique form of Christianity. It's leading figure Hong Xiuquan (1814-1864), proclaimed himself the younger brother of Jesus, sent to cleanse the world of demons and establish a "heavenly kingdom of great peace." Nor were these leaders content to restore an idealized Chinese society, instead they insisted on genuinely revolutionary change. They called for the abolition of private property, a radical redistribution of land, the end of prostitution and opium smoking, and the organization of society into sexually segregated military camps of men and woman. Taiping Uprising was its posture toward women and gender roles. During the uprising, Hakka woman, whose feet had never been bound, fought as soldiers in their own regiments;in liberated regions, Taiping officials ordered that the feet of other woman be unbound. Women were now permitted to sit for civil service examinations and were appointed to supervisory positions. China's internal crisis in general and the Taiping Uprising in particular also provided a highly unfavorable setting for the country's encounter with Europe newly invigorated by the Industrial Revolution.
1856-1858 Second Opium War in China
Britain's victory in the second Opium War (1856-1858) was accomained by the brutal vandalizing of the emperors exquisite Summer Palace outside Beijing and resulted in further humiliations. Still more ports were opened to foreign traders. Now those foreigners were allowed to travel freely and buy land in China, to preach Christianity under the protection of Chinese authorities, and to patrol some of China's rivers. Following military defeats at the hands of the French (1895), China lost control of Vietnam, Korea, and Taiwan.
1853 Admiral Perry arrives in Japan
The United States forced the issue, sending Commodore Perry in 1853 to demand humane treatment for castaways, the right of American vessels to refuel and buy provisions, and the opening of ports for trade. Perry presented his reluctant hosts with a white flag for surrender should hostilities follow.
1868 Meiji Restoration in Japan
The humiliating capitulation to the demands of the "foreign devils" further eroded support for the shogunate, triggered a brief civil war, and by 1868 led to a political takeover by a group of young samurai from southern Japan. This decisive turning point in Japan's history was know as the Meiji restoration, for the country's new rulers claimed that they were restoring to power the young emperor, then a fifteen- year-old boy whose throne name was Meiji, or Enlightened Rule. Despite his youth, he was regarded as the most recent link in a chain of descent that traced the origins of the imperial family back to the sun goddess Amaterasu. Japan now had a government committed to a decisive break with the past, and it had acquired that government without massive violence or destruction.
1876 Young Ottomans
in 1876, the Young Ottomans experience a short-lived victory when the Sultan Abd al-Hamid II accepted a constitution and an elected parliament, but not for long. Under the pressure of war with Russia, the Sultan soon suspended the reforms and reverted to an older style of despotic rule for the next thirty years, even renewing the clam that he was the caliph, successor to the Prophet, and the protector of Muslims everywhere.
1894-1895 Sino-Japanese War
Japanese military power grew rapidly with the defeat of China in the Sino-Japanese War 1894-1895.this latter being the first time a Western/European power had been defeated by a non-Western power, thus making Japan a hero of the third-world for awhile. Recognizing Japan's growing power as a potential barrier to Russian expansion, Britain in 1902 made a military and commercial alliance with Japan lasting through 1923.
1899-1901 Boxer Rebellion in China
'Self-strengthening," Chinese policies during the 1860s and 1870s sought to reinvigorate a traditional China while borrowing cautiously from the West. Self-strengthening as an overall program for China's modernization was inhibited by the fears conservative leaders that urban, industrial, or commercial development would erode the power and privileges of the landlord class. The general failure of "self-strengthening" became apparent at the end of the century, when an anti-foreign movement known as the Boxer Uprising erupted in northern china. Led by militia organizations calling themselves the Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists, the "Boxers" killed numerous Europeans and Chinese Christians and laid siege to the first embassies in Beijing.
1904-1905 Russo-Japanese War
Successful wars against China (1894-1895) and Russia (1904-1905) established Japan as a formidable military competitor in East Asia and the first Asian state to defeat a major European power. Japan also gained colonial control of Taiwan and Korea and a territorial foothold in Manchuria. The rise of Japan and its defeat of Russia generated widespread admiration among those who saw Japan as a model for their own modern development and perhaps as an ally in the struggle against imperialism.
1908 Young Turk takeover in Ottoman Empire
Young Turks largely abandoned any reference to Islam, they advocated a militantly secular public life, were committed to thoroughgoing modernization along European lines, and increasing thought about the ottoman Empire as a Turkish national state. A military coup in 1908 finally allowed the Young Turks to exercise real power. They pushed for a radical secularization of schools, courts, and law codes; permitted elections and competing parties; established a single Law of Family Rights for all regardless of religion; and encouraged Turkish as the official language of the empire.
1911 Chinese revolution; end of Qing dynasty
In 1911, the ancient imperial order that had governed China for two millennia collapsed, with only a modest nudge from organized revolutionaries. It was the end of a long era in China and the beginning of an immense struggle over the country's future.