The Fall of the Qing Dynasty of China and the Rise of Great Britain

In China the Qing dynasty banned opium trade with Britain in 1839. In China a war broke out, and China surrendered. Lather the Treaty of Nanking ceded Hong Kong to Britain and opened major cities to trade. Japan isolated itself from Western influence but allowed trade after American Commodore Matthew Perry’s threat of war in 1853. Egypt’s Turkish general Muhammad Ali took power and modernized Egypt. He brought in things such as government reforms, improved communications, and commercial agriculture.

Ismail, Muhammad Ali’s grandson, completed the Suez Canal in 1869 which later was the cause of large foreign debts.

Britain & France gained control of Egyptian finances and the Egyptian Nationalist party formed by Ahmed Arabi in 1879 protested against foreign financial control. In Europe a higher standard of living and medical revolution led the European population explosion in the 19th century. Around the 1890’s New Imperialism consisted of political as well as economic control over as much territory as possible and it was largely aimed at Africa & Asia.

In India, many Indians revolted against British rule in the Great Rebellion while the British crushed rebellion and established direct rule. White ruling elite considered Indians inferior and even with education, Indian elite worked in politics and adopted Western culture. Indians were still racially discriminated against so they formed the Indian National Congress and demanded racial equality, and later, independence. China’s Qing dynasty seemed to collapse, but made a comeback mainly with the help of effective leaders, such as Tzu Hsi.

Foreign aggression lessened and some Europeans helped China even though the Chinese defeat in the Sino-Japanese War weakened China.

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Qing leaders launched hundred days of reform to establish a republic but Traditionalists rebelled against government in the Boxer Rebellion. Later the Qing dynasty collapsed in 1912, but was replaced by a republic. The Berlin Conference took place between 1884 and 1885. Headed by Otto von Bismark and include the majority of European powers. Divided Africa among the powers without any consent from the Africans. By 1890 only Ethiopia and Libya remained independent states.

Britain quickly became the world’s best market, propelled by the Industrial Revolution and vast colonial empire. Massive foreign investments came out of Europe and the Suez Canal completed. Steel and steam power make shipping industry far more efficient. Telegraph makes communication easier and less expensive.

Traditionalists sought to preserve native culture, Modernizers wanted to adopt Western practices and Anti-imperialists were inspired by Western nationalism & liberalism.

Third world countries such as Latin America, Asia, and most of all Africa fall farther behind the industrialized countries in Europe because of the Industrial Revolution. The pressure of population led to emigration out of Europe in massive quantities. The pressure was created by a population boom in the 19th century because of higher standards of living and the medical improvements. The majority of the migrants were young and hardworking Asian immigrants become poor laborers and are exploited until the 1880’s when the “Great White Walls” came to be, they were laws that discriminated against Asians.

The Industrial Revolution widened the gap between the industrialized countries Europe and North America and non-industrialized which was Africa, Asia, and Latin America. There were a lot of developments that helped world trade such as railroads & steam power which made transportation of goods cheaper.

Britain became world’s best market because of Industrial Revolution & colonial empire. Foreign investments increased and came from countries such as America. The pressure of population led to emigration to areas of European settlement and economic threat from cheap manufactured goods drove out peasants. Social Darwinist theories led Europeans to believe it was just to conquer inferior people. Economic motives were important but the new colonies were too poor to help Europe much. Technological superiority of Europe, Europe at this time had Machine guns, quinine, steamships and telegraphs. Imperialism was used by government to distract society from domestic problems.

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The Fall of the Qing Dynasty of China and the Rise of Great Britain. (2023, May 16). Retrieved from

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