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The Treaty of Nanjing

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Sathya Roysmith

on 13 October 2013

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Transcript of The Treaty of Nanjing

The signing of the Treaty of Nanjing by the Emperor of the Qing Dynasty brought the introduction of Western Powers into China, which in turn was a major contributing factor to the decline of the Qing Dynasty. These Western Powers took over the Qing Dynasty, and there was nothing the Qing Emperors could do to stop them. This Treaty, signed August 29th, 1842, was the beginning of a long chain of events that eventually brought the downfall of the Qing Dynasty.
The event that led to the signing of the Treaty of Nanjing, and that also contributed to the decline of the Qing Dynasty was the First Opium War, which went from 1839 until 1842. The War was the reason the Treaty had to be signed, after all, and thus caused the events after it. In the First Opium War, the Qing Emperor decided that he didn’t want the illegal trade of Opium to continue, and so he chemically destroyed the Opium in his country.
Britain were the ones who were leading the illegal trade of the Opium, and when they found out all of their Opium had been destroyed, they became angry with the Qing Government, as it was a great financial loss to them. They then brought war on the Qing Dynasty, and began the First Opium War.
China, believing they were militarily superior to Britain fought back, but then soon realised that Britain were in fact far superior in their army then them. The British Forces obliterated the Qing soldiers, and China sustained terrible amounts of losses. This loss in numbers can also be considered a contribution factor to the destruction of the Qing Dynasty, as the First Opium War greatly depleted the Chinese forces.
The First Opium War
A Chinese Depiction of the War
British Soldiers obliterating the Chinese
The conflict between the two sides
With this abundant loss of Chinese men, the Qing Emperor finally had no choice but to give in to the British forces, and surrender. This caused the next chain of events, said to be one of the major factors that lead to the downfall of the Qing Dynasty. In order for the war to end, Britain’s condition was to have a treaty signed, which gave Britain many advantages.
This treaty was the Treaty of Nanjing, and it stated that China was to give Britain many more trading rights and a large sum of money. This was the first of many Treaties of its kind, later named an ‘Unequal Treaty’, because China got nothing in return. The Treaty was signed in the City of Nanjing, hence the name, and gave Britain many advantages.
The advantages that it gave to Britain included: the ability to trade at 5 ports instead of the previous 1 port they had been trading at, the ability to trade with whoever they wanted, and Britain was payed the equivalent of $21 Million by China, as reimbursement for the Opium that was destroyed. All of these privileges that were given to Britain increased their overall influence in China, and slowly brought the downfall of the Qing Dynasty.
The Treaty
The Treaty of Nanjing
The Signing of the Treaty
A painting of the signing of the Treaty
As of the new trading rights that were given to the Westerners, Britain was now able to trade freely within China. Britain now had more trading ports that they could trade at, and could trade with any of the people there. This greatly increased their presence in and around China, and also increased their interaction with the people. This was what the Qing emperor was trying to avoid, as he was trying to limit the Westerners access into their country and with their people, but now, they had no choice.
With this increase of the presence of the Westerners, there was an increase of the illegal trade of opium in the country. So even after the war and the Treaty, China still had not managed to eradicate Opium from China, and once again, it was beginning to effect the general population of China.
Not only was the Emperor unhappy with the introduction of foreign powers, but so were the people. The people of China blamed the Qing government for the sudden invasion of the western powers, and this conflict caused many uprisings and rebellions against the Qing government, like the Taiping Rebellion. This was a definite blow to the Qing Government, having its own people turn against it, and so this also contributed to that part of the downfall of the Qing Dynasty.
New Trading rights given to Britain
China's general public's addiction to Opium
The Interaction between Westerners and Chinese
Foreign Influence
All of these major events led to the downfall of the Qing Dynasty, especially the Treaty of Nanjing, seeing as it was the cause of the events after it. The Treaty can definitely be considered a major contributing factor in the decline of the Qing Dynasty, as well as all of the events succeeding the signing of the Treaty of Nanjing.
The signing of the Treaty of Nanjing caused and led to many destructive events in the Qing Dynasty in its time. These major events in time can definitely be said to have contributed to the decline of the Qing Dynasty, due to the nature of the events. Events such as the First Opium War before it, which killed thousands of Chinese soldiers, the signing of the Treaty itself, which put China in great financial debt, the introduction of foreign powers into China through trading, and the events afterward such as the Taiping Rebellion.
The Treaty of Nanjing
The Decline of the Qing Dynasty
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