Chinese history is one of the brightest and most ancient. There are several dynasties that helped to establish the whole civilization. Every dynasty had a great influence: financial, historical and cultural.
In three questions we can observe only the smallest part of Chinese history. It is about dynasties of Ming and Qing.
Was Climate the Major Cause of the Ming Dynasty Collapse? Why or why not?
The Ming dynasty collapse had several causes. The climate was one of the main causes. Actually, there were several reasons, for example, financial crisis. The prices on silver became too high; many people from province were not able to pay taxes; the financial crisis developed, and people suffered from malnutrition (Brook, p. 241-243). The demographic increase has aggravated the situation. There was increase in population and food security was also increased. Peasants had been ruined. They were not able to pay taxes and suffered from famine (Brook, p. 241-243). Inflation and overpopulation also led Ming dynasty to collapse. The financial crisis led to unemployment. There were a lot of beggars, thieves and bandits. Women had to become either housemaids or whores. Winters were severe for a few years and it led to famine. Cannibalism became a common thing.
So, it is obvious, that climate was not the major reason of collapse of Ming dynasty. All the above reasons helped the Manchu to invade the Ming dynasty.
Was the Qing Dynasty Territorial Expansion a Benefit or a Burden to the Empire?
Between the mid-seventeenth and early twentieth centuries a remarkable entity, known as the Great Qing Empire, occupied an expansive and expanding space on the Eurasian continent. In the early period of dynasty Qing there was an expansion of sowing area. The main factor of abundant harvest was the use of irrigation booms.
After invasion of Manchu, the dynasty Qing was founded. During the dynasty Qing there was an expansion of Empire and development of relations with western countries. The first years of Qing dynasty were pretty good; the economics was growing and population increasing. During the dynasty Qing, there were achievements in the sciences and religion. Confucianism was proclaimed the religion of the country. There were medical achievements in the Empire. The country became to grow. The most basic cumulative change faced by the Qing Empire in the nineteenth century was population growth. A conservative estimate of China’s population in 1400 would be about 100 million persons. After the Qing consolidation of power around 1680 and Pax Sinica that followed, combined with dissemination of New World crops, improved agricultural technology, territorial expansion and reclamation of new farmland, the population has tripled in the next two centuries up to 450 million. It grew most rapidly (Rowe, p. 150).
The sales of silk and tea gave a good amount of silver. However, the sales of opium weaken the economics of Qing dynasty. During the last years of dynasty Qing the country was interested in economics development. However, there were several obstacles that did not give an opportunity to improve the economy, such as the competition of foreign countries, weakness, the lack of capital and low motivation (Rowe, p. 131, 2009).
The government was too weak and was not able to do global changes. The capital of dynasty Qing was too small, the part of savings were spent on usury and realty. The attempts to make changes were useless and did not have any results (Rowe, p. 150).
Qing dynasty was supposed to be a great and positive break, but Opium War did not give an opportunity to finish what has been already done. In spite of anything, that dynasty was the last one and had great influence. The great Qing Empire was by far the largest political entity ever to center itself on the piece of earth known today as China.
Did the CantonSystem Participate in the Qing Circulation or Commodity Economy? How?
For Westerners, personal access to most parts of the Qing Empire was dramatically restricted during the early eighteenth century by ban on missionary proselytizing and was further diminished by imposition of so-called “Canton system” governing Sino-Western trade (Rowe, p. 144-145).
Guangzhou was known as Canton. Canton was one of the world`s great trading ports. “Canton system” controlled international trades in the country. The dynasty Qing had great influence on that system. The “Canton system” supported European trades. In 1756 trades from China were extremely successful. However, foreign trades were allowed to come through Chinese merchants, known as Thirteen Hongs. Foreign merchants could not stay permanently in Canton. They had to stay in one of Thirteen Factories.
The “Canton system” influenced the economy. It helped to take charges and collect taxes from the traded goods. It was successful till the Opium War. The tea and silk trades were stopped and there was promoted the trade of opium which destroyed the economy of dynasty Qing. By the late 1830s, both sides seemed to be increasingly dissatisfied with “Canton system”. The British wanted much greater commercial penetration, while the Qing wanted to put an end to the opium traffic. As the result, this has brought about the conflict known, accordingly, as the Opium War or the First Anglo-Chinese War (Rowe, p. 170-171). Nowadays Canton is Guangzhou, commercial and industrial city. It is also one of the most famous historical centers of China.