Boxer rebellion is also called the boxer uprising. It refers to violent anti-Christian and anti-foreign movement that occurred in China almost the end of the dynasty of Qing from 1898 to 1900. Militia United in the Righteousness, called the Boxers or Yihetuan initiated the movement. Proto-nationalist sentiments and foreign imperialism as well as Christianity motivated the movement. Chinese forces were defeated following the intervention of the Great Powers.
Starting from 1898, peasant groups in the Northern part of China started banding together forming a secret society that was called the Righteous and the Harmonious Fists. The Western press called it the Boxers because members of this movement or society practiced callisthenic rituals and boxing. These members believed that callisthenic rituals would enhance their imperviousness to bullets.
The aim of the boxers at first was to destroy Qing dynasty that has ruled for more than 250 years in China. They also wanted to protect China from foreign influence that they considered as a threat to the Chinese culture. However, eventually the boxers turned to solely protecting China from foreign influence after getting support from Empress Dowager.
As of late 1899, boxers’ movement had started massacring the Christian missionaries as well as Christians in China. By 1900 May, Boxer rebellion was now out from the countryside. It was now in the streets of the capital, Peking which is the modern day Beijing. The aim of the boxer rebellion was to help other countrymen and protect China’s interest from foreigners.
However, an international force comprising of 2,100 British, American, French, Japanese, and Italian soldiers was released to quell the rebellion. On 18th June 1900, Empress Dowager ordered for the killing of all foreigners. Some foreign ministered as well as their families died following this order before getting protection from the international force. On 14th August 1900, Peking was taken by the international force and the rebellion was subdued.
The power of Qing dynasty was weakened by the boxer rebellion. It also hastened republican revolution that took place in 1911 overthrowing boy emperor and eventually making China a major republic of the world. Boxer rebellion was necessitated by severe drought as well as disruption that were caused by spheres of influence that were growing in China. Boxer fighters who were convinced that they were no longer vulnerable to the foreign weapons converged in the capital with an aim of exterminating the foreigners. The boxer rebellion was preceded by violence against Christians and foreigners in North China plain and Shandong.
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