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Unit 4: Nationalism, Industrialism, and Imperialism

Lesson D: Western Trade Opens Chinese Doors

Opening: China and Imperialism

For most of its history, China has been the politically, economically, and culturally dominant country in East and Southeast Asia. Over time, the Chinese have spread their influence throughout eastern Asia both peacefully and through conquest.

The Chinese were an imperial power in Asia, but with the arrival of the Europeans, the balance of power began to change. The Chinese had believed that they had all that they needed and as other countries were industrializing, the Chinese simply refused to change their economy. Without the technology from industrialization, the Chinese fell behind other countries in terms of weapons. At first the Chinese were able to resist foreign influence, but over time they were not able to resist Western economic imperialism.

Notebook Icon

Written Activity - Notebook

Examine the cartoon below and respond to the following questions in your notebook:

  • What is happening in this cartoon?
  • Which country does each of the individuals in this image represent? How do you know this?
  • What are the various people doing in the cartoon? How are each of them reacting to what is happening?
  • What might the Chinese title this cartoon? What might the others in the image title it? What makes you say this?

Shows China being carved by by European leaders
Shows China being carved by by European leaders

Page Notes:

[1] Source: This image (or other media file) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:China_imperialism_cartoon.jpg is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to Australia, the European Union and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 70 years.