Age of Imperialism: Japan & China Essay examples

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The nineteenth century was a turbulent time of western imperialism and a major Asian power shift. European powers and the United States had a destabilizing effect on the region and the choices Japan and China made in response their imposing expansion was a major contributor to the trajectory of their respective futures. Social factors, such as the differences in national and religious unity, also played a role in the how the two nations emerged from the Age of Imperialism. European trade with China was historically restricted. In 1793, emperor Qianlong denied King George III's request for fewer trade restrictions by declaring, “Our Celestial Empire possesses all things in prolific abundance... There was therefore no need to import …show more content…
Finally, deeply rooted tensions between Britain and China began to come to the surface as the Chinese attempted to crack down on opium use and trade within its borders. The appointment of Lin Tse-hsu as Imperial Commissioner at Canton was the catalyst that changed the trajectory of Chinese-British relations. Tse-hsu immediately began to shut down the opium trade at its source by exposing and punishing corrupt officials and seizing opium supplies without compensation. He wrote a letter to Queen Victoria requesting Britain forego further opium imports to China, citing Britain's banning of its use and trade within its own borders (Hooker). The Queen's refusal enraged Tse-hsu and he threatened to end trade with Britain altogether. Britain responded by using their superior military might to compel them to keep trade channels open and to remove the many trade restrictions currently in place, thus beginning the first opium war. It is important to note that the opium trade was merely the final straw amongst a heap of British-Chinese tensions. With a decisive victory in 1842, the Chinese were forced to sign the Treaty of Nanking, which significantly reduced their autonomy and awarded the British favorable trading conditions. However, by 1856, the British felt China was not abiding by the terms of the treaty and launched another campaign, the second opium war, that ended in 1860, and reduced China to something more
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