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Boxer Rebellion

     The Boxer Rebellion from 1898 to 1901 was the climax of anti-foreign hostility in China. A secret...
Reciprocal Teaching Boxer Rebellion
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Reciprocal Teaching Boxer Rebellion


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A reading selection from ABC-Clio to be used in Mr. Lehr's class over Anti-Colonial Revolutions.

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Reciprocal Teaching Boxer Rebellion

  1. 1. Boxer Rebellion The Boxer Rebellion from 1898 to 1901 was the climax of anti-foreign hostility in China. A secret Chinese society called the Yihequan, or Society of the Righteous Harmonious Fists, was referred to as Boxers by Westerners. The Boxers attempted to drive Westerners out of China, but ultimately they were defeated by an expeditionary force composed of regiments from the United States, Russia, Great Britain, France, and Japan. Training intensively in a martial art that they believed would protect them from bullets, the Boxers, beginning in 1898, were emboldened to attack foreigners to express their frustrations both with the territorial concessions that the Chinese government had made to the Western powers and with the natural disasters that had recently plagued northern China. They were particularly hostile to Christian missionaries and their Chinese converts: they killed thousands of Christians and sacked their churches. The government of Empress Dowager Cixi professed inability to control the Boxers, though it was actually inciting and supporting them. In June 1900, foreign warships began gathering off Tianjin, a major seaport at the mouth of the River Hai. An allied force detached to Beijing was repulsed, but the Taku forts guarding the passage up river were taken by landing parties after heavy fighting. Crowds of Chinese in Beijing laid siege to the foreign legations there and killed the German minister. By August 4, the allied expeditionary force included 4,800 Russian, 3,000 British, 2,500 U.S., and 800 French troops, with other detachments bringing the total to 18,700. Marching along the river and the rail lines, that force advanced on Beijing. Beijing fell to the invaders on August 14. European civilians who had holed up in the British Legation compound for eight weeks were rescued, as were the priests, nuns, and 3,000 Chinese converts who had sought refuge in the compound of Pei Tang, the Catholic cathedral. The allied forces then began punitive missions, and the Russians took the opportunity to occupy Manchuria. The Chinese defeat brought great dishonor to Cixi, who accepted all allied demands on December 26, 1900. Those demands were formalized in the Boxer Protocol of September 1901, which laid a crushing burden on China, including an indemnity of approximately $750 million. Repayment of that indemnity lasted into the 1940s. FURTHER READING Hu, Sheng, From the Opium War to the May Fourth Movement, 1991; Jellicoe, George P., The Boxer Rebellion, 1993; O'Connor, Richard, The Spirit Soldiers: A Historical Narrative of the Boxer Rebellion, 1973. CITATION: MLA STYLE "Boxer Rebellion." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2010. Web. 9 Feb. 2010. <>.