The Opium War struck the first fateful blow to the Qing Dynasty. The 1839-42 British had imported opium from India into China in order to equalise the trade balance between the two main overseas markets. Attempts by the Qing Dynasty to bring a halt to the opium trade led to war with Britain. The Chinese were defeated, betrayed by their own officials.
The rulers were forced to relinquish Hong Kong and to open up five new ports to trade with Europe.
Exploited by their reckless rulers, stupefied by the opium of foreign 1851-64 powers and starving, the Chinese people rose up against the Qing in what was known as the Taiping revolt. They aimed to overthrow their current rulers and build a new and better society. Part of southern China was liberated, including Nanjing which was declared the capital.
In a challenge to Confucian imperial thinking the rebels advocated the teachings of Taoism, Southeast asia travel map introduced the right to own property and sought to create a society in which land was distributed evenly and men and women shared equal rights.
The revolt was bloodily suppressed by the imperial army and foreign troops.
Meanwhile the Europeans took the opportunity to exploit a weakened Chinese government and unleashed another Opium War in order to win further concessions. By marching on Beijing and destroying the Summer Palaces, they unambiguously pressed their case. The Qing were forced to yield, handing over more territory. In the following years, the foreign states waged one war after another in the hope of
First Republic After the First World War the far-reaching changes on the international political scene, in particularthe October Revolution in Russia, provided a favourable environment for the spread of socialist ideas in China. In 1912 Sun Yat-sen founded the nationalist Kuomintang which received support from the Communist Party of China. The latter developed from