What is Qing Dynasty?

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  • Written By: Licia Morrow
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  • Last Modified Date: 20 May 2020
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The Qing Dynasty, which lasted from 1644 CE to 1911 CE, was ruled by the Manchus. This dynasty was a time of wealth and peace in China, especially during the first three reigns of the Kangxi Emperor, the Yongzheng Emperor, and the Quianglong Emperor.

A period of growth followed the establishment of the Qing Dynasty and included the repair and maintenance of public works, lower taxes, new literary texts, improved trade, and blossoming artistic practices. A new introduction to China during the Qing Dynasty was Christianity. Missionaries traveled to China and began influencing Chinese thought on science and religion.

The government of the Qing was much like that of the Ming Dynasty with Manchu and Chinese sharing important positions, and troops owned by the emperor being organized into units. Important during this period was the use of banners for each separate unit, and banner men were useful civil servants. The military was kept strong by assigning separate duties to Chinese and Manchu troops. While there were many uprisings, the government of the Qing was able to maintain and expand its borders for many years.

Overall the rulers of the Qing Dynasty were productive and strong Chinese leaders, while holding fast to their own Manchurian culture by revisiting their region during the summers. They did not allow inter-marriage, they spoke their mother tongue, and did not allow the Chinese access to their important documents.

One of the major developments during this period was fashion. The Manchu rulers had a great influence on the styles of the Chinese. Men were required to shave their heads and wear long braids, as well as Manchu clothing. Women were not constricted by clothing laws, but were forbidden from foot binding, although it was difficult to enforce.

Many things led to the collapse of the Qing Dynasty including importation of opium, which hurt China’s agricultural progress. The opium craze also resulted in a failing economy as great sums of money left the country to buy more of the drug for addicted people. Additionally, the rulers of the Qing preferred farming to trade which further damaged the economy. After fighting the Opium Wars with Great Britain, China was forced to relinquish Hong Kong and open their ports to European traders. Eventually, China was weakened to such a point that it operated like a British colony. After several years of weak rulers and internal struggles, rebels took over the final reign of the Qing Dynasty and created the Republic of China in 1911.

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Post 3

@anamur-- I'm sure that some of the Qing Emperors did that. But I know that Emperor Kangxi, who is one of the most well known, was very tolerant, even promoting of Han culture.

Kangxi ruled for more than 60 years and he is the Emperor who remained on the Chinese throne the longest. He was known as valuing Chinese Han intellectuals and leaders. They also say that he personally enjoyed learning about Han culture.

I don't know what the other Qing Emperors' stand was and how they treated the general Chinese public who were of a different ethnic group. But I know that the first several rulers of the Dynasty (Kangxi being the second) enjoyed a lot of prosperity and had a good relationship with the people.

Post 2

I think they Qing Dynasty was a great dynasty. The Qing Emperors conquered so much new territory during their time that rulers before them hadn't been able to. Not just China, but they also conquered Mongolia and Taiwan.

Yes, there were some drawbacks to this dynasty and it was not easy for them to deal with the opium dependence and outside pressures. But despite that, they still ruled China well, I don't think that another dynasty would have been more successful in those circumstances.

Plus, if we look at the different Dynasties ruling China, they all had their successes and failures. Qing Dynasty is no different.

Post 1

I love learning about the different fashion and hair styles of China during different dynasties. People are still talking about the hair styles of men in the Qing Dynasty, but not in a good way.

I've seen pictures of what the hairstyle looked like. The front half of the hair is completely shaved off but the back is left long and then braided into a long braid in the back.

It's really not a very appealing look. Maybe I wouldn't find this hair style so distasteful if I didn't see the Chinese Han hairstyles before the Qing Dynasty. The men had free flowing long beautiful hair and so did the women.

Do you think that the Qing Dynasty rulers had all men do this as a symbol of their rule and power and also because they wanted to make the Chinese more Manchurian culturally?

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