|时间：2019-08-07 20:24:29｜人气：138 |
|Two Republics in China (1)|
|Part One: The First Republic—The Republic of China|
Chapter 1. 1911: How the Last Dynasty Crumbled and Warlords Took Over
Rebellion in Wuchang City
A long line of imperial dynasties had held sway over all (or parts) of China from 2100 BCE to 1911. China was a world unto itself for much of these 4,000 years, but history went off its tracks when the British came in. Smoking opium had been a serious crime in China, but for the British opium was big business. And they made it far bigger by slaughtering and pillaging, overwhelming the Chinese by 1842 and forcing them to open up their nation to foreign trade. Soon, British merchants flooded the market with opium grown in India, and millions, perhaps more than 10 million, Chinese were hopelessly addicted. China was reeling and the Qing Dynasty was on the ropes.
The Qing Dynasty (1644–1911) had been established by the Manchus, people that had originated in northeastern China (Manchuria). Although some of their ancestors had periodically been in power in ancient times, it was the Han people that were (and are now) the largest ethnic group in China. The Han could not bear the oppression of these Manchus, whose officials, the Mandarins, were increasingly corrupt. As the Qing Dynasty sank into misery, the Han rose up in a series of rebellions hoping to overthrow the rulers and regain the imperial throne. In an era when some of the ambitious young elite were already studying abroad and learning modern ways, the imperial leaders still maintained a traditional army using ancient weaponry including lances and spears. So the overthrow was easy enough—but what next? Read on, and we’ll see.