Qing Dynasty

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The Great Qing [大清] empire was founded in 1644 by the leadership of a newly powerful “Manchu” [满足] coalition of tribal people originating in what is now known in China simply as the "Northeast", but was formerly termed “Manchuria” in foreign circles.

As a dynasty, the Qing lasted nearly 270 years, 1644-1911. During that time, “China” was expanded to more or less its present size, including Taiwan. (For an explanation of the various names of the country over time, click here.) Although we also include a few items for the last years of the preceding Great Ming [大明] empire (e.g., the arrival of the first Jesuits from Europe), the focus of the original course from which our materials were drawn was Qing.

The most important thing to understand about the Qing is its guiding ideology, largely borrowed whole from previous "Chinese" (i.e., "Han") dynasties. It is a universe apart from European world views and lack of understanding that such a thing (a different world view) was even possible, dogged all relations between China and the European powers, from the Ming dynasty certainly, but even today. For your own sake we ask that you begin your tour of this website here.

Aside from the expansion of China’s frontiers to more or less their current extent, the Qing period is known for a number of other particular developments:

If your interest lies in a specific period of the Qing, just click on the appropriate date-range in the sidebar to limit your findings. If, on the other hand, you wish to seek out a specific personality, event, or other topical item, simply enter a keyword in the “Search” box embedded in the page-top banner, or go to “Advanced Search” and fill in some of the boxes there.

click here for background information on the Qing dynasty
click here for more images
click here for a bibliography for further reading