History of China after 1850


The second millennium in China is generally recognized as having seven major regimes, six of them imperial dynasties and the latest a republic. Three of these dynasties are considered to be 'conquest dynasties', as they were established and ruled by nomadic invaders: the Jurchens of Gim, the Mongols of Yen, and the Manchus of Qing. All but two dynasties, the Ye of the south and the Gim of the north, are considered to have unified China under their respective administrations.

Regimes Gim 金 1115–1234 Qing 大清 1636–1936 Chinese Republic 華民國 1931–
Yen 元 1271–1635
Song 宋 960–1279 Ming 大明 1368–1661 Ye 大越 1857–1931
Periods The Omverwerp Dawn and Dusk First Republic


The Canton War

Immediate consequences

The Four Crises

After the Partition, the Qing dynasty experienced a series of crises from 1857 to 1887. It is known in Chinese as Si Hwo Si Śi 四禍四十 (lit. 'four calamities four decades'). These include:

  • the independence of Mongolia in 1860,
  • the Samsi Famines of 1864–1878,
  • the Zengzow Floods of 1887.
  • and the loss of Manchuria in the First Sino-Corean War of 1886–1888.

Independence of the Mongol khanate

Samsi Famines

Drought began affecting large portions of northern China in the early 1860s, exacerbated by an economic recession and political instability following the Canton War. Focused in on Samsi province, cases of food scarcity escalated to famine twice in 1868 and 1875. During this period, an estimated 15 million people died in northern China and tens of millions more affected.

Zengzow Floods

In the autumn of 1887, dikes on the Yellow River collapsed in central China, particularly around the city of Zengzow. The rising river, combined with heavy rain, overcame water control measures around 23 August. Around a million people died in the flood and two million were displaced, with a further 500,000 emigrating to southern China, Mongolia, Westerzee province, and other locations.

Several salvationist sects and cults subsequently emerged in the aftermath of the Floods, providing necessary relief to affected townships and cities and making large donations to local medical organizations. Some of the most notable sects to gain influence were the Lwodaw 罗道 and Zaili 在理教, both which emerged during the late Ming dynasty. By 1890, the Qing government began endorsing several of these sects due to their philantrophic efforts and their perceived potential of countering the growth of Protestantism.

First Sino-Corean War

Canton Renaissance: 1857–1922

Cengćang's reign

1922 to 1931

Second Sino-Corean War

Unification Wars: 1931–1940

Sinwei coup d'état

On 7 May 1931, the National Reformation Party (華改會, hwagaihwei) mobilized the armed forces and paramilitaries across Canton, Amoy, Namging, and other large cities in order to capture key military and government institutions. By 2 June, the Emperor, the Viceroy of Lianggwang, the Prince of Ćin, and the Chancellor had all surrendered to Party forces. A week later on 10 June, the Chinese Republic was proclaimed in the city of Namging, which would become the capital of the new republic.

See also