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China: Trade, Politics and Culture 1793-1980

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Discover over 200 years of Chinese history, charting the monumental social and political upheaval that recreated China as a modern power.

This digital collection answers a need for English-language primary sources relating to China and the West, 1793-1980. With manuscripts encompassing events from the earliest English embassy to the birth and early years of the People’s Republic, students are given an incredible insight into the changes wrought upon China during this period.

400 colour paintings, maps and drawings by English and Chinese artists provide a rich visual seam to the collection. Photographs, sketches and ephemeral items depicting Chinese people, places, customs and events, and providing a striking visual accompaniment to the documentary images.

Key Topics

This project provides a wide variety of primary source material detailing China’s interaction with the West from Macartney’s first Embassy to China in 1793, through to the Nixon/Heath visits to China in 1972-74. It provides multiple perspectives – from politicians, diplomats, missionaries, business people and tourists – and documents many of the key events that happened in this period, including:

  • The 1792-1794 Macartney Embassy
  • The 1816 Amherst Embassy
  • The settling of Penang
  • The Opium Wars
  • The opening of Hong Kong
  • The Taiping Rebellion
  • Missions in China, 1869-1970
  • The Japanese seizure of Taiwan
  • The 'opening of Korea'
  • The Sino-French and territorial struggles with Germany, Britain, America and Japan
  • The Boxer War
  • The Russo-Japanese war
  • The 1911 Revolution
  • The Republican and Nationalist governments of Sun Yat sen and Jiang Jieshi
  • The Warlord period
  • The Sino-Japanese war
  • The Rape of Nanjing
  • The Communist Revolution led by Mao
  • The Korean War
  • The Great Leap Forward
  • The 1972 Nixon visit to China
  • Rolls-Royce's negotiations regarding the delivery of jet engines to China, 1973-1975
  • The Douglas-Home and Heath visits to China, 1973-74