East Asia: China, Korea, Japan 1871 CE

East Asian history has taken a radically new direction as Western powers force open the doors of China and Jappan to trade and missionary activity.

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What is happening in East Asia: China, Korea, Japan in 1871CE

Western activity

In a radical departure from the age-long history of the region, recent decades have seen Westerners finally manage to push open the doors of the East Asian nations to trade and missionary activity.

In China, the Opium Wars (1839-42 and 1858-60) defeats at the hands of the British and French led to several “unequal treaties” being imposed on China, entirely favorable to the Europeans. In 1853 Japanese isolation was suddenly ended by a show of force by an American naval squadron, and a similar set of treaties were imposed on Japan as on China. Korea has been the only country in East Asia to successfully isolate itself from the unfriendly forces swirling around it.

Modernization

What has happened since in China and Japan could barely have been in greater contrast. While Japan has single-mindedly set about modernizing herself, China has struggled to deal with the Western challenge. Her attempts at modernization have been fitful and uncoordinated, and she has been handicapped by rebellion on a massive scale (notably the Taiping rebellion, 1850-65). This has gravely dislocated the enormous country, and allowed foreign nations to further impose their will on her government. As a result, the Qing dynasty has become more and more discredited in the eyes of its Chinese subjects.

Next map, East Asia in 1914

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The Qing dynasty (brief article)

Modern China

Japanese civilization

Modern Japan (brief article)

Modern Korea (brief article)

Tibetan civilization (brief article)

European empires

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Modern China: the later imperial period, 1760-1901

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