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Russian, Ottoman and Chinese reaction to Imperialism

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1 Russian, Ottoman and Chinese reaction to Imperialism

2 The Russian state was eventually included as a part of Europe.
The problems that land-based Eurasian empires faced in regard to European sea-based empires were very similar. The solutions they attempted were not. How do the situations of the Ottoman and Qing Empires in the nineteenth century and their responses to the European challenge compare? The land-based empires were now vulnerable to the military strength and industrial wealth of Western Europe, and some of these land empires fared better than others. The treasuries of these land empires weren’t sufficient to compete with the wealth of Europe or their military might. The Ottoman Empire fared well. It was geographically close to Europe and fairly early began reforms designed to maintain equilibrium with Europe. Those reforms included financial and military modernization, standardizing taxation and land tenure, and eliminating the influence of religious elites from much of the state and the economy. Distant from Europe, both geographically and ideologically, the Qing Empire began reform efforts so late that even the central territories could not unite against European pressure. The Russian state was eventually included as a part of Europe. Being on the eastern border of Russia, the Qing failed to see a connection between Russian expansion and European seaborne expansion to the southeast, and were consequently less prepared for the European challenge.

3 The Taiping Rebellion as the most prominent example of social unrest.
19th century Qing China suffered from both foreign intrusion & social unrest. What was the most obvious demonstration of the Chinese people’s dissatisfaction at midcentury? The Taiping Rebellion as the most prominent example of social unrest. Beginning in the Guangxi region, the rebellion was sparked by an unstable agricultural base and a population that increasingly relied on odious labor, such as carrying human waste. Ethnic divisions were destructive as well. One minority group, the Hakkas, was significant in the rebellion. Influenced by Protestant Christianity, the Hakka Hong Xiuquan, a failed candidate in the examination system, saw himself as a younger brother of Jesus, destined to drive the Qing from China. Hong gathered different ethnic and economic groups to fight against the Qing. The movement was unique in its use of women in warrior brigades. Other villages feared the rebellion’s mix of warrior women, totalitarian rule, and bizarre foreign ideology. Taiping armies controlled the countryside and captured the city of Nanjing, where they barricaded themselves against imperial forces during a ten-year siege. The Qing government was now heavily indebted to Britain and France, and these European powers feared that the Taipings might succeed in the war to overthrow the Qing Empire. At first they hesitated to attack the Taipings, because they understood the Taipings to be Christians. However, they soon concluded that the Taipings were not true Christians. When the Crimean War was ended in 1856, Britain and France were free to turn their attention to China. They briefly attacked Qing port cities as punishment for Qing reluctance to fulfill the obligations of previous treaties, then threw themselves into the war against the Taipings, on the side of the Qing. By 1864 the Taiping Rebellion was suppressed.

4 What are the results of Napoleon’s invasion on Egypt
What are the results of Napoleon’s invasion on Egypt? How does Egypt respond to this European aggression? The invasion of Egypt by Napoleon’s forces and the power vacuum that resulted as the French, Ottoman, and Mamluk forces all failed to govern Egypt effectively. To fill this vacuum was Muhammad Ali. Students should describe Muhammad Ali’s program for reform of Egypt including the military, education, and government. He based his reforms on the European model and paid for them by seizing Muslim lands and selling wheat overseas. His son Ibrahim launched military campaigns to expand the empire into Syria and Anatolia, but European forces stemmed this expansion.

5 What were factors within China and among the Chinese people that explain the powerful British presence in China by 1842. By the early nineteenth century, Qing society had become overburdened by enormous population growth, resulting in a failing agricultural base, a restless and urbanizing population, and a generally failing economy. Several groups of displaced minority peoples, village vigilante organizations, and all those who were tired of corrupt and inefficient government joined in the growing discontent. The Qing, who had maintained equilibrium with their very large Russian neighbors, did not consider the British a serious threat. To the Qing, the British were geographically distant and only mildly interested in trade. However the British were much more than mildly interested, especially in luxury items such as tea and silks. The Chinese were not interested in British goods in return and demanded cash payments. The only item that the British could find to exchange was opium. Although opium imports had long been banned by the Qing government, the ban was seldom enforced. By 1839, opium imports and drug-related problems had increased enormously, and the Qing decided to begin enforcing the ban. The British considered enforcement a restraint on trade and an assault on British economic well-being. Therefore, they sent their naval and marine forces to China to attack Chinese coastal cities. The Qing military was no match for the British forces. The Treaty of Nanking solidified British power by granting the British rights of residence in Chinese “treaty ports,” a low tariff on British imports, and a Qing indemnity.

6 Why was Russia considered more “European” than the Ottoman Empire?
Russia was included by the European powers after Napoleon’s defeat in Russia in 1812. Napoleon invaded Russia prompting a Russian alliance and later Holy Alliance in the reactionary period following the Napoleonic Era. Despite the fact that conservative Europeans viewed Russia as backward and oppressive, they nevertheless acknowledged its immensity and potential power. In many ways Russia and the Ottoman empires were similar. They both were dominated by nobles, had large peasant classes, and had almost no middle class. The Russians and Ottomans both had absolute leaders and lagged behind Europe in industrial development and transportation. Both also had large populations with enormous ethnic and linguistic diversity. Despite many similarities, Europeans included Russia and not the Ottoman Empire because in some ways Russia bore a closer resemblance to European countries than the Ottoman Empire, especially in terms of religion and alphabet.

7 What were the causes of the Crimean War?
Russia had been geographically pressuring the Ottoman Empire for several decades before the Crimean War. It had undermined Ottoman control in Serbia and taken direct control of Hungary, Transylvania, the eastern shores of the Caspian Sea, and the Georgian region of the Caucasus. These were efforts to gain warm water ports and also to unite slavic (Christian) peoples Panslavism Russia also seemed poised to continue seizing Ottoman lands in the Balkans and Central Asia. The Russian Bear alarmed England and France as well, by playing a reactionary role after the Congress of Vienna in 1815. The tsars demanded recognition as the spiritual and political leaders of Orthodox Christians living in Ottoman territories. Backed by promises of support from Britain and France, the Ottomans refused Russian demands and attempted to drive them from the region of present-day Romania. B ritain and France joined the Ottomans in an invasion of the Russian territory of Crimea.

8 The reforms helped modernize the empire.
The Janissary revolt in Serbia and the execution of Selim III taught Ottoman leaders that reform had to be more systematic. The Ottoman response was the Tanzimat Reforms. How effective were those reforms? The Tanzimat Reforms included guaranteed political rights that were similar in some ways to those in the Magna Carta but was restricted to men and the public sphere. The guarantees covered the right to public trials, equal protection under the law for all religious persuasions, limited rights of privacy, equal eligibility of men for military service, education reform, and new tax collection methods, which eliminated the outdated tax farming system. These reforms came on the heels of Mahmud II’s overhaul of the auqaf (charitable trust) system and subsequent limiting of powerful religious elites. The Ottoman Empire thus became a leader in secular reforms within the Islamic world and developed a system that most nearly resembled a constitution. The reforms helped modernize the empire.

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