Europeans in China

Europeans in China

Europeans in China

Europians and Chinese cultures met, when Marco Polo in 1271 got to China and met emperor Kublay from the Yuan’ mongolian dynasty. When he return to the Venetian republic, people listened to his stories, but nobody believed him. Other contacts of Europeans and Chinese civilizations of that time were through Russia and Mongolian Empire. One of such contacts is known as a Silk Road, in the ancient times the main artery between the East and the West. Any ways all those contacts were merchant. In the 14th с. we can see a Genoese’s colony in the first harbour of China – Zaytun. In the same time we can see Chinese, who try to collaborate with europeans. For example, in 1346 Andolo de Savignone’s embassy was sent to the West to bring “100 horses and other treasures”. We don’t know if they created any colonies, but scientists found a a tombstone with a name Catherine de Villioni, daughter of Dominici on it(she died in the end of the 14th c.)

Then the missionaries came to China. The first monks reached China in 1246, but they didn’t go further than Karakorum. The most famous missionary of the first wave was John of Montecorvino, who translated the New Testament into Mongolian, converted 6000 people, mostly Turks, and converted even the Chinese emperor. who though soon was assassinated. After the overthrown of the Yuan’ dynasty a new mission was sent to China, including 50 men, but it disappeared with no news somewhere in a dessert. Other missionary contacts were suppressed by the black death.

During a couple centuries only Portuguese had access to the Chinese shores. Chins tried to remain a close and traditional empire and it stopped greatly the development of the country. In the second half of the 18th c., when all the countries were looking for markets and colonies somewhere in the world, Europeans again looked at the Chinese empire. In 1793 GB succeed in foundation of a trade mission. However, it was hard for Europeans to trade with China. Chinese emperors still tried to guard this country from any affection. There was an only one seaport available for Europeans, an only one company from the Chinese site, which was allowed to trade.

In the same time Chinese luxuries were needed in Europe, and could be sold for good money, but China didn’t buy anything except of the Russian Furs and Italian Glass. England had to pay with gold only instead of trading with goods. However soon Englishmen found a thing, which they can trade with the Chinese – the Indian opium. Such a trade was really illegal, because the Chinese emperors forbid it. However the profits from it were above the risk and also this trade was supported by the English government. Narkotik spread widely in a couple years. In 1835 it was 3/4 of the whole Chinese import. Too many people were involved onto this trade for the government to do nothing. The first shots were in 1836. In 1841 British troops won the war and Englishmen built a colony on the Hong Kong and all the seaports became open to the English boats. But the wars were not over. From 1856 to 1860 the Second Opium War took a place. After English and France won it together China became an open market for Europeans. Some of it territory was given to England and Europeans could create embassies in Beijing.

A Chinese fort after capturing by European army

The next war between Chinese and Europeans is related to the Boxer Rebellion and the rule of empress Dowager Cixi. Actually, the Boxer Rebellion wasn’t against their government. It was supported by the empress. It was a rebellion against the European rule in China. Thousands of European diplomats and missionaries were killed. The embassies in Beijing were encircled. The army of England, G

ermany, France, Japan, American and Russia, headed by Germans, attacked China. Also in Russian cities more than 8 000 Chinese were killed as an answer to the Boxer Rebellion. 13 August 1900 the Russian army attacked Beijing. The next day Japanese, than American and other armies came to city. In two weeks the whole city was captured. The last “Boxers” were defeated in 1902. Cixi agreed to pay around 500 000 000 yambs to Europeans, not to support military forces with any modern armour, exe

cute 200 000 “Boxers”.

Then the WW2 came. During this war Europeans in China, in the Second United Front(1937 – 1945), protected it from the Japanese conquest. After the war was over China entered a civil war period, after which, in 1949, Mao came to the reign. During the Cold War China was basically on the USSR’s side.


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