Chinese Imperialism Essay, Research Paper
The treatment of the Chinese by the British during the take over of their country was just like that of the Africans. The British took over the land, the government and took advantage of the people by exploiting them for their resources. The English accomplished these things differently in each situation, but each time, the results were the same.
One of the most important aspects of imperialism is the take over of government. The English accomplished this in several ways. Some of the “Unfair Treaties” forced the Chinese to allow the English ships into their ports and to allow them to have a major role in the trade market. The English wanted tea, porcelain, and silk from China. The Chinese however didn’t want the goods the English offered in return. The English began trading opium in return for the goods. Although it was illegal, many of the money hungry merchants accepted the opium in return for the things that were valuable to the English. Because of this, the first Anglo-Chinese war started. China underestimated the power of England and was defeated.
At the end of the war, they were forced to sign the Treaty of Nanjing (1842). The treaty was one of the first treaties known as the “Unfair Treaties.” Under this treaty, China gave up the island of Hong Kong, abolished the licensed monopoly system of trade, granted English nationals exclusion from Chinese laws, and agreed to give England whatever trading concessions that were given to other countries then and later.
The English also gained power of the Chinese through the Taiping Rebellion. When the revolutionaries began acting out against the Chinese government, the English came to defend the government. Their reasoning behind it was that it was easier to get control of China if the Qing administration was in charge. The rebels were defeated and the English succeeded in fulfilling their intentions.
The imperialism of China also allowed the English to use the people and resources of the country. The opium war was caused by the English trading opium, an illegal drug, to the Chinese in return for goods such as tea, porcelain, and silk. Because the opium was so well accepted by the wealth-seeking merchants, there was a good market. The English used the people because they knew that the Chinese would become addicted to the drug, creating a never-ending market. Also that it would be harder for the Chinese to defend themselves if they were high on the opium.
Another aspect of imperialism is the take over of land. In the case of the English and the Chinese, the English took advantage of the results of many wars. By 1914, England had captured approximately one third of China. One way they gained land was in the Opium War. China’s answer to the drug trafficking was to burn the opium. In 1839, the government burned $6 million worth of English opium that was in Canton. England’s response was to use their navy and advanced war technology to defeat the Chinese and capture Canton.
During the imperialism of Africa, many of the same things occurred. The English took control of the African countries in different ways, but they still got control. With the Africans, the English just went to war with the countries or tribes. They would either defeat them or force them to give up partial or all control of the government. Either way, the English gained control and power because of their strength politically and militarily.
They also practiced imperialism for trade purposes, but very little in Africa. The British economy has always depended heavily on trade, and Britain did want the West Coast of Africa for its palm oil. They took control of it simply because the local government was too unstable for good trade without British control. For trade purposes, they concentrated on practicing imperialism in India and the Caribbean. Since the slave trade in Europe was stamped out in the 1830’s, the British were not very interested in Africa. People had been one of the few resources they were interested in. However, after the 1870’s, the motivations behind British imperialism in Africa changed drastically, for several reasons.
Probably the greatest reason the British took over the land in Africa after 1869 was to protect their biggest moneymaker, India. In 1869 the French completed the Suez Canal in Egypt. This was a quick route to India, but if another country had control of the canal, the possibility existed that they would cut off the British and take India for themselves. In 1875 the British had their opportunity: they bought shares in the canal from the Khedive of Egypt and gained control of it. The French were very upset, to say the least. Later in 1882, the English gained sole control of Egypt after the battles of Tel el Kabir and the Nile.
After 1890, the reasons behind British imperialism in Africa were the same, with a new one added. The British had no allies. Colonies would provide them with allies around the world. The British feared going into war with Germany and not having enough manpower. So this is how they went about getting allies (instead of just getting friendly with the other countries).
In Africa, the people and resources were exploited, but in different ways from the Chinese. The Africans were forced to harvest goods by the English. They didn’t receive nearly anything for their labor and were unable to support themselves. Whether or not the addiction to opium was good, the Chinese still received something for their efforts. However the Africans were actually used as slaves. If the Chinese government and military weren’t as strong as they were the Chinese would probably been enslaved also.
As you can see, the Imperialism of china and Africa were different and the same. The English used different tactics but got the same results. They used politics, treaties, and war in the battle against china, where they basically just used war to defeat the Africans. War alone worked with the Africans because of the different culture and warfare backgrounds. The English had to use different tactics with the Chinese but accomplished the same goals in the long run.
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