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Unit 4: Nationalism, Industrialism, and Imperialism

Lesson D: Western Trade Opens Chinese Doors

Activity 1: China Rebuffs Europeans

Chinese goods, such as silk, porcelain, and tea, were always highly valued items. Beginning in the 18th century, European traders sought direct trade with China. However, the Chinese preferred a policy of isolationism. The Chinese believed that any foreign influence in China would threaten Chinese culture and autonomy. In addition, the Chinese did not think that the Europeans had anything to offer the Chinese. In 1792, the British sent an envoy to China to establish trade with the Chinese. The Chinese refused British efforts to increase trade with China.

Directions: In this activity, you will examine an image recounting the British envoy to China and consider different perspectives toward the image.

Notebook Icon

Written Activity - Notebook

In your notebook, respond to the following questions using the information that you have gathered from the image:

  • Who do you think created this image? Why do you believe that?
  • How does this caricature show tension between Europe and China?
  • The diplomacy shown in the image failed to establish trade between Great Britain and China. If you were King George III, how else might you try to establish trade?