Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911, also known as Manchu, was the last of the Chinese dynasties. During the Qing period, imperial China reached its zenith of power and influence. The Qing dynasty lasted for almost 300 years, extended China’s borders farther than they had ever been before, and perfected the Chinese imperial system. After flourishing in the 18th century, it fell apart in the 19th. Like many complicated systems, it grew brittle and inflexible. It could not adjust as new problems arose. Bad harvests, warfare, rebellions, overpopulation, economic disasters, and foreign imperialism contributed to the dynasty’s collapse.
One reason for the decline of the Qing Dynasty was that the rulers were actually Manchus and instituted many things in China which the Han people did not agree with – one was the practice of shaving the head but leaving the sides and a long tail required for all males – this practice was brought to China by the Manchus and the Han people saw it as an emblem of their domination by non-domestic rulers.
Opium was also a major reason for the fall of the Qing Dynasty. Opium is a drug found in the Opium Poppy Plant and contains the major ingredient in heroin. The British were in possession of a very potent strain of Opium and illegally sold it to China. This cause most people in China to get addicted to Opium. This was detrimental to Chinese society because since everyone was always high on Opium nothing got done in China. Also when China refused to legally trade Opium with the British the British used this as a reason to invade China, resulting in the Opium War.
Multiple rebellions arose from the national population as well. To name one, the Boxer rebellion occurred. Though it was squashed with the help of Western nations it demonstrated the Chinese people were not willing to take being dominated by Manchurians and Westerners. Finally, Western ideology also made its way to China – Sun Yatsen was strongly influenced by republican ideology from the USA and also socialism from Europe. Coming back to China he perpetuated revolutionary ideas, which eventually lead to the 1911 revolution and end of the Qing dynasty.
Economically speaking, the Qing government faced a great problem. The government spent too much time and money on the military aspect and also on the luxurious life of the upper class. The serious corruption of the government worsened the economic problem. By 1800 the economic foundation of the Qing Empire had been badly weakened. By the way the population of China increased, there was not enough arable land to farm, and the unemployed often turned to banditry or became recruits for rebel’s outfits.
The Qing Dynasty was a major Dynasty in China led by the Manchus and it fell due to numerous internal and external problems. Some of them being economic, social, and governmental. More specifically the use of Opium, corruption in the government, boxer rebellion, imperialism, and western ideas.