While Western European economies were thriving from successful industrialization and money coming over from their overseas colonies, the land-empires of Eurasia were starting to fall apart. Old inefficient ways of governing, lack of industrialization, population growth, and slow agriculture development were a common problem to all the land-based empires of Eurasia. Earlier military expansion had depleted the treasuries leaving the land-based empires vulnerable to European military pressure.
The land-based Eurasian empires either ignored or were oblivious to the growing European pressures and competition. The Crimean and Opium Wars exposed the military weakness of the Ottoman, Russian, and Qing empires and repeated crises would eventually result in the fall of all three.
The Ottoman Empire faced pressure from the British, French, and Russians who wanted less commercial competition in the Mediterranean as well as equality for Christians. The Qing Empire faced pressures from Europeans and Americans who wanted more trade rights and less restrictions. The Russian Empire faced pressure from Britain to end their territorial expansion into Asia which threatened Britain’s Indian colonies.
While the Ottoman and Russian Empires tried to adapt and made attempts at political and military reform, the Qing resisted. The Ottoman and Qing would eventually fall apart from external imperialistic pressures as well as internal civil wars. Russia successfully adapted and reformed and became accepted by the rest of Europe as it now shared many aspects of European culture.
A dispute over who was the protector of Ottoman Christians began when the sultan gave in to W. European pressure and gave this responsibility to France. Russia protested as they had already signed a treaty and claimed this role, but the sultan held firm. Britain was already ant-Russian as they feared Russia would interfere with their stranglehold on India either by land or in the Mediterranean Sea.
Britain and France sided with the Ottoman Empire and with their modern weapons, defeated and humiliated the Russians. After the war, declining state revenues from agriculture yields, overpopulation, and widespread corruption damaged Ottoman finances and the government became increasingly dependant on foreign loans. Ottoman govt. lowered taxes on European imports, opened European banks, and allowed Europeans to follow their own laws and be exempt from Ottoman jurisdiction – a status known as extraterritoriality.
Russia was still viewed as an “alien, backward, and oppressive land” by most Western Europeans. Like Peter the Great, Tsar Alexander had a major impact in the reform of Russia, but all progress stopped when his conservative brother Nicholas succeeded to the throne. Suspicious of Western ideals, Nicholas limited education and literacy, kept peasants in serfdom, and ignored the need to industrialize.
China restricted British trade to 1 port, Canton. Britain had a trade deficit (imported more than it exported) with China. The demand for Chinese tea in Britain forced Britain to find another export to send to China…Opium from India. China banned importing Opium. Britain responded with force.
The Chinese were no match for British weapons and warships. The Chinese had no choice but to agree to sign the Treaty of Nanking which opened up 5 more ports to British trade (eventually 90) gave British residents in China extra rights extraterritoriality lowered taxes on British goods Legalized British opium trade forced China to pay all costs of the war gave Britain the island of Hong Kong. The Opium War marked the beginning of the establishment of Western influence in China.
The land-based empires of Eurasia were vulnerable to the military strength and industrial wealth of Western Europe. The Ottoman Empire fared well. It was geographically close to Europe and fairly early began reforms designed to maintain equilibrium with Europe. Those reforms included financial and military modernization. Distant from Europe, both geographically and ideologically, the Qing Empire began reform efforts so late and could not unite against European pressure. The Qing failed to see a connection between Russian expansion and European seaborne expansion to the southeast, and were consequently less prepared for the European challenge.
1. Decembrist Revolution2. White Lotus Rebellion3. Taiping Rebellion With your group, locate the cause and results of the above revolution/rebellion. Write your findings on the board.
1500’s Ottoman Empire is the strongest in the world Islamic Law (Shari’a) regulates daily life Ottomans begin to lose grip on trade (Indian Ocean) Inflation caused by cheap silver from the New World Tax farming replaces land grants for military service Janisaries challenge authority and rebel 1700’s Ottoman Empire begins to lose power to provincial governors
Muhammad Ali assumes power in Egypt after Napoleon (1805) Adopted French practices, European sciences Strengthened the military Fell to British pressures to limit his army and navy, and allow trade Sultan Selim III (1807) reforms the Ottoman Empire Strengthen the military & central government Standardize taxation & land tenure 1805- Janissaries revolt in Serbia Serbian peasants helped defeat Janissaries Went on to make Serbia independent Greece gained independence 1829 Sultan Mahmud II lost Greece to European powers Britain, France, and Russia aided & regarded it as a triumph for European civilization
Peter the Great (1689-1725) brings reform to Russia Peter had great visions for a warm- water port on the Black Sea Peter brings social/ political reform to Russia Western clothing Western education Form a strong military unit Increase the power of the tsar Increase access to scientific education
After Crimean War- Ottoman Empire continued to establish secular financial and commercial institutions on the European model. Effects- Shifted population from rural to urban Development of professional and wage laborer classes Did not solve fiscal problems. Continued trade deficit, inflation and foreign debt Ottoman Empire favors European trade, laws, and peoples
1700 only 3% lived in cities Fear of political change hindered westernization Russophobia in the West Russian Empire stretched to Pacific and China Britain took steps to halt Russia Reforms of Alexander I promised more then delivered Opposition to reform came from the wealthy
Qing conquered China in 1600’s Restored peace and stability Promoted recovery of agricultural economy Chinese population doubled between 1650-1800 Many people unhappy Government viewed as weak & corrupt Series of rebellions- White Lotus rebellion Qing China looked to expand China’s economic influence to Europe (tea)
Treaty of Nanking and subsequent treaties gave Westerners special privileges Result- colonization of small pockets of Qing territory Gave most-favored-nation status to Britain Prevented the colonization of China
Governors like Zeng Guofon looked to the U.S. as a model Wanted to restore agriculture Reform military Industrialize armaments manufacture Reforms supported by Qing aristocrats but unable to prevent disintegration Split into large power zones-provincial governors exercised authority