In the 18th century, demand grew in the
West for Chinese goods such as tea. China limited trade and made all foreign merchants live in the port of Guangzhou (Canton). This painting shows the Danish, British, and Dutch embassies there.
The Ming dynasty In August 1368 Chinese rebels drove the Mongols from Dadu. The rebels then set up the Ming dynasty and moved the capital city south to Nanjing. The Ming emperor Yongle came to power in 1403. He wanted to move back to northern China, to keep a watchful eye on the Mongols over the border. So in 1406 construction work began on a new city just south of Dadu. The Forbidden City and many other structures that make up Beijing’s Old City were then built. In 1421 Yongle moved in, and the city became known as Beijing, meaning “Northern Capital.”
The Qing dynasty In 1644 the Manchus invaded China, drove out the Ming, and set up the Qing dynasty. The Qing emperors constructed many new buildings in Beijing, in places such as the Summer Palace (see page 17). They treated Chinese people badly, and only Manchus were allowed to live in the Inner City.
War and rebellion At first Qing rule brought peace and wealth to China. But by the 19th century, the dynasty was corrupt and weak. The Chinese were defeated by Europeans in the Opium Wars , while the Qing rulers were almost toppled by the Taiping Rebellion . In 1895 Japan defeated China in war. Meanwhile, countries such as Britain began to take over Chinese land and industry. But Dowager Empress Cixi did not allow any reforms to be made.
The Taiping Rebellion lasted from 1850 to 1864. The British and French helped the imperial army defeat the rebels. ⌂
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