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The Qing dynasty or the Qing Empire, officially the Great Qing, was a Manchu-led conquest dynasty and the last dynasty in the imperial history of China. It was established in 1636, and ruled China from 1644 to 1912, with a brief restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming dynasty and succeeded by the Republic of China. The multiethnic Qing empire lasted for almost three centuries and assembled the territorial base for modern China. It was the largest Chinese dynasty and in 1790 the fourth largest empire in world history in terms of territory. With a population of 432 million in 1912, it was the world's most populous country.

In the late sixteenth century, Nurhaci, leader of the House of Aisin-Gioro and a Ming vassal, began organizing "Banners" which were military-social units that included Manchu, Han, and Mongol elements. Nurhaci united clans to create a Manchu ethnic identity and officially proclaimed the Later Jin dynasty in 1616. His son Hong Taiji declared a new dynasty, the Qing, in 1636. As Ming control disintegrated, peasant rebels led by Li Zicheng conquered the Ming capital Beijing in 1644, but Ming general Wu Sangui opened the Shanhai Pass to the armies led by the regent Prince Dorgon, who defeated the rebels and seized the capital. Resistance from the Ming loyalists in the south and the Revolt of the Three Feudatories delayed the complete conquest until 1683. The Kangxi Emperor (1661–1722) consolidated control and carried out the early Qing emperors' program of maintaining Manchu identity, supporting Tibetan Buddhism, while presenting themselves as ideal Confucian rulers. They governed using Confucian bureaucratic institutions, retaining the imperial examinations to recruit Han Chinese to work under or in parallel with the Manchu officials. They also adapted the ideals of the Chinese tributary system in asserting superiority over peripheral countries such as Korea and Vietnam, while extending control over Tibet and Mongolia.

The height of Qing glory and power was reached in the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (1735-1796). He led the Ten Great Campaigns that extended Qing control into Inner Asia and personally supervised Confucian cultural projects. After his death, the dynasty faced , internal revolts, population growth, economic disruption, official corruption, and the reluctance of Confucian elites to change their mindsets. With peace and prosperity, the population rose to some 400 million, but taxes and government revenues were fixed at a low rate, soon leading to fiscal crisis. Following China's defeat in the Opium Wars, European powers led by Great Britain imposed "unequal treaties", free trade, extraterritoriality and treaty ports under foreign control. The Taiping Rebellion (1850–1864) and the Dungan Revolt (1862–1877) in Central Asia led to the death of over 20 million people, from famine, disease, and war. The Tongzhi Restoration of the 1860s brought vigorous reforms and the introduction of foreign military technology in the Self-Strengthening Movement. Defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War of 1895, led to loss of suzerainty over Korea and cession of Taiwan to Japan. The ambitious Hundred Days' Reform of 1898 proposed fundamental change, but the Empress Dowager Cixi (1835–1908), who had been the dominant voice in the national government for more than three decades, turned it back in a coup.

In 1900 anti-foreign "Boxers" killed many Chinese Christians and foreign missionaries; in retaliation, the foreign powers invaded China and imposed a punitive Boxer Indemnity. In response, the government initiated unprecedented fiscal and administrative reforms, including elections, a new legal code, and abolition of the examination system. Sun Yat-sen and other revolutionaries worked to overthrow the dynasty, while reform officials and constitutional monarchists such as Kang Youwei and Liang Qichao worked to transform the Manchu Empire into a modern Han Chinese nation. After the deaths of the Guangxu Emperor and Cixi in 1908, Manchu conservatives at court blocked reforms and alienated reformers and local elites alike. The Wuchang Uprising on 10 October 1911 led to the Xinhai Revolution. The abdication of Puyi, the last emperor, on 12 February 1912, brought the dynasty to an end. General Yuan Shikai became President of the Republic of China but his attempt to become Emperor ushered in a period of prolonged instability: the Warlord Era.

Read more...: Names   History   Formation of the Manchu state   Nurhaci   Hong Taiji   Claiming the Mandate of Heaven   Kangxi Emperors reign and consolidation   Reigns of the Yongzheng and Qianlong emperors   Rebellion, unrest and external pressure   Self-strengthening and the frustration of reforms   Reform, revolution, collapse   Government   Central government agencies   Administrative divisions   Territorial administration   Military   Society   Population growth and mobility   Statuses in society   Qing gentry   Qing nobility   Family and kinship   Religion   Manchu and imperial religion   Christianity, Judaism, and Islam   Economy   Silver   Urbanization and the proliferation of market-towns   Trade with the West   Science and technology   Arts and culture   Fine arts   Traditional learning and literature   Cuisine   History and memory   Nationalism   New Qing History  

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朱一貴rebelled-against1721/4/26 - 1721/5/25康熙辛丑年四月
洪秀全rebelled-against1850/7/9 - 1850/8/7道光三十年六月345229


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