Boxer Rebellion By: lynn hasselbalch

Summary:

The Boxer Rebellion, Boxer Uprising or Yihequan Movement was an anti-imperialist uprising that took place in China between 1899 and 1901, towards the end of the Qing dynasty. It was initiated by the Militia United in Righteousness (Yihetuan), known in English as the "Boxers", and was motivated by proto-nationalist sentiments and opposition to imperialist expansion and associated Christian missionary activity.

Causes of upset

The combination of extreme weather conditions, Western attempts at colonizing China and growing anti-imperialist sentiment fueled the Boxer Rebellion. First, a drought followed by floods in Shandong province in 1897–1898 forced farmers to flee to cities and seek food. As one observer said, "I am convinced that a few days' heavy rainfall to terminate the long-continued drought ... would do more to restore tranquility than any measures which either the Chinese government or foreign governments can take.

Chinese Muslim troops from Gansu, also known as the Gansu Braves, killed a Japanese diplomat on 11 June 1900. Foreigners called them the "10,000 Islamic rabble.

Boxer war

In January 1900, with a majority of conservatives in the imperial court, Empress Dowager Cixi changed her long standing policy of suppressing Boxers, and issued edicts in their defence, causing protests from foreign powers. In spring 1900, the Boxer movement spread rapidly north from Shandong into the countryside near Beijing. Boxers burned Christian churches, killed Chinese Christians and intimidated Chinese officials who stood in their way. American Minister Edwin H. Conger cabled Washington, "the whole country is swarming with hungry, discontented, hopeless idlers." On 30 May the diplomats, led by British Minister Claude Maxwell MacDonald, requested that foreign soldiers come to Beijing to defend the legations. The Chinese government reluctantly acquiesced, and the next day an international force of 435 navy troops from eight countries disembarked from warships and travelled by train from Dagu (Taku) to Beijing. They set up defensive perimeters around their respective missions

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