With the loss of southern China's extensive rice fields in the Canton War, the Qing dynasty began importing small-to-moderate quantities of rice from Corea and Japan. The peasantry, often plagued by food shortages, had to rely on millet and sorghum as staple foods. This substandard standard of living, especially in comparison to the working classes of Canton and Corea, fueled economic discontent.
Currency and finance
The Qing population after the Canton War often relied on foreign silver coins to be used as legal tender. Coreans began to dominate the monetary economy, often collaborating with members of the Manchu ruling class. Independence wars in Mexico and Peru led to the cessation of silver coin exports to China, causing the de-silverization of the economies of the Chinese states and financial chaos. During the European Economic Crisis, the Qing economy began to stabilize. Until its absorption into the Chinese republic, the Qing economy remained lacklustre and flat.
The several famines, epidemics, and wars of the late 19th century led millions of Han Chinese to emigrate. Many of these chose to leave for Tussenland, Mongolia, Coreaand Mexico. Small numbers also left for the Dutch East Indies and other nations.
The later years of the Ming dynasty was rife with internal rebellion, military rot, and political factionalism, leading to its inevitable disintegration in the early 17th century. By the start of the century, they had lost their political sway over Manchuria, Mongolia, and Corea. From the north, the Aisin khanate 金, located in modern northwest Corea, increasingly launched attacks through the Great Wall. In 1618, they entered war with China over the Jodong peninsula, leading to the Manchu clans of the khanate declaring the establishment of Qing 大清 in 1636. After the insurgent Śun dynasty 大順 toppled the Ming administration, the Manchu armies invaded and captured the capital city of Beiging months later in the April of 1644. Joining the occupiers was Ming general & Jodong native U Samgwei 吳三桂 and several of his troops, who were sent to quell Ming loyalism and defeat rival rebel armies.
In 1643, founding emperor Hwang Taići 皇太極 died, being succeeded by his son, the Sunzi Emperor 順治帝. As the Emperor was still young, Prince Regent Dorgon ᡩᠣᡵᡤᠣᠨ ruled on his behalf for several years until his sudden death in 1650. As an independent ruler, the Emperor did much to reduce corruption in the imperial bureaucracy, improve the judicial system, and include non-Manchus in government, beginning the process of assimilation into the Chinese 'style of rule'. He became a devout Buddhist in 1657. In November of the same year, Consort Donggo 董鄂 would give birth to a son, who would be made heir apparent and eventually the Kanggwo Emperor. Tragically, a wave of smallpox soon struck Beiging, killing the Consort and severely damaging the Emperor's health, eventually resulting in his death in 1675.
Foreign relations and migration
By the middle of the 1660s, the Qing had gained control over the vast majority of China. In 1663, they had established an amicable relationship with the new Governor-General in Tauland, Jacob van Aertens. Initially, the Dutch had agreed to limit Chinese immigration to Tauland. Despite this, by the 1670s, immigrants from Hokkien province were entering the island in droves. As a result, the imperial government tightened restrictions on freedom of movement and reiterated the ban on migration. However, this attempt was futile, as by the end of Sunzi's reign, thousands of Chinese were illegally emigrating to southeastern Asia every decade.
Domestically, the new government fixated on settling sparsely populated regions, often provinces located in the interior, with migrants from densely populated coastal regions in order to expand farmlands. Manchuria, Mongolia, Sićwan, and Hunam received upwards of a million immigrants by the start of the 1670s.
Ming loyalist campaigns
Based in Hokkien province and Tauland, the loyalist Zeng family 鄭氏 had established a large maritime trading network, stretching to Japan and the Philippines. Other Ming loyalist regimes, up to eleven de jure ruled by various princes from the House of Źu, were set up along the coast and in the southwest. In the 1653 Battle of Giangdong 江東戰役, the young leader Koxinga's fleet was expelled from mainland China by Manchu and supplementary Corean forces, retreating to the Loetsjoe islands and Japan. The Dutch East India Company's hold over much of Asia, and now the Qing conquest, had hampered the businesses of the Zeng family, leading Koxinga to establish himself in his maternal hometown of Hirado, Japan, where he would participate and tragically die in the Omura Rebellion in 1658.The same year, Governor-General Peter Stuyvesant agreed to cease attacks on Zeng fleets going to and from Japan. The Zeng family had much influence over Chinese merchants in the Dutch East Indies, and had the power to further aggravate rebellions in the area. Following tensions between Qing-aligned Tauland and Japan over the Loetsjoe islands in the 1660s, the Zeng family and its associates began exploiting tensions between the two powers in order to maintain its commercial influence. Their opponents often labeled them with the term 'sea bandits' 倭寇.
It is postulated that Constantine survived and continued the Wanli line, as was claimed by some imperial family members of the Kingdom of Canton. However, it is mostly accepted that account that the Prince of Ningźing 寧靖王, a prince of the Hongu Emperor's line and close affilaite of the Zeng family, is the ancestor of said imperial house, is true. As his place of burial was discovered in 1968 near Hirado, Japan, the prince would have lived in relative obscurity among the members of the Zeng family, with his fifth-generation descendants eventually returning to the public eye in the 19th century and becoming monarchs after the Canton War.