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Manchu External Expansion

Territory ConquestLost
Lioaning 1630 1912
Inner Mongolia 1635
Eighteen Provinces 1644-591912
Korea 16591910
Burma 16591885
Nepal 1659
Siam 1659
Outer Mongolia16971912
East Turkestan1757
During the reign of the Qianglong Emperor, the borders of China were expanded to their greatest extent ever. By the year 1790 the Qing Empire reached a size of 5,700,000 square miles or 14,700,000 square kilometers. The Manchu Chinese Realm included the five great divisions, as follows: 1st, China proper (i.e. the Eighteen Provinces); 2nd, Manchuria; 3rd, Mongolia; 4th, Chinese Turkestan [also known as Soungaria and Little Bukharia, or Eastern Turkistin]; 5th, Tibet. There were also included the island of Tai-wan or Formosa, and the tributary states of of Cho-sen, or Korea, Burma, Nepal, Siam and Tonkin.

The Qing regime was determined to protect itself not only from internal rebellion but also from foreign invasion. After China Proper had been subdued, the Manchus conquered Outer Mongolia (now the Mongolian People's Republic) in the late seventeenth century. In the eighteenth century they gained control of Central Asia as far as the Pamir Mountains and established a protectorate over the area the Chinese call Xizang but commonly known in the West as Tibet.

Chinese Turkestan and Dzungaria are the districts lying respectively S. and N. of the Thian-shan range at the extreme W. of the Chinese Empire, adjoining Independent Turkestan. The names above given bespeak the dominant population, the Turks or Tartars in the one, and the Dzungaries, a branch of the Calmucks, in the other. The two districts are likewise called Thian-ShanNanioo and TMan-Shan-Peloo, referring respectively to the roads south and north of Thian-Shan, names which describe their position relatively to the mountain-chain of Thian-Shan, and on the great inland routes that connect Eastern with Western Asia: for it is through these districts that the stream of commerce finds its way from China to the plains of the Caspian and of the Euphrates. So valuable are these routes that the Chinese government have included within the limits of one of their provinces (Kan-su) a long narrow strip extending from the Great Wall into Thian-ShanPeloo.

When the Chinese invaded Dzungaria they killed off her population to a man of six hundred thousand inhabitants not one remained. In order to repopulate this newly acquired territory, the Dungans (Chinese Mohammedans) were transported from Western China; but the colonists became more powerful than their masters, and Dzungaria was once again the scene of massacres, for Islam rose against Cathay, and the Dungans killed the Celestials by hundreds of thousands. Small wonder, then, that Dzungaria remained unsettled and uncivilized, that she has produced neither cities nor large cultivated areas, and that, although for a time her deserts were at rest, her atmosphere was still one of uncertainty and alarm.

The Qing thus became the first dynasty to eliminate successfully all danger to China Proper from across its land borders. Under Manchu rule the empire grew to include a larger area than before or since. Taiwan, the last outpost of anti-Manchu resistance, was also incorporated into China for the first time in 1683, though China never established or claimed jurisdiction over the entire island. In addition, Qing emperors received tribute from the various border states. They made protectorates out of Tibet, Nepal, Burma, Vietnam, and Siam.

The principal islands of China are Formosa and Haenan, which were both completely exposed to the power of any considerable maritime and commercial nation that may wish to try the experiment of an insular settlement near the coast of China. Formosa, which owes its present name to the Portuguese, who called it Ilha Formosa (the beautiful island), is by far the more desirable region of the two. It lies just opposite the coast of Fokien, from which it is distant about 20 leagues. It is nearly 200 miles long, with an average breadth of about 50 miles: the climate is delightful.

China Proper, as comprising the Eighteen Provinces, was called "the Splendid State", "the Central State"; what was formerly understood by an Outer State, i.e. a State not included within the ancient "nine chow" or great divisions of the Chinese Empire, having desired annexation, was designated "an entailed State".

In the days of the Chow, the Imperial Domain formed a square, the sides of which, extended to a thousand and was surrounded by the "Tributary States" or "Principalities", also named the "Domains of the Nobles", the divisions of which seem to have somewhat differed at different periods. They correspond to the Outer States under the Manchu. The Sovereigns of China, from early times holding the sway of a vast territory, comprehending an area of something like two million square miles or more, and regarding themselves as the sole Monarchs of the Earth, ever maintained the political principle of Universal Supremacy, and with their extending geographical knowledge, extended the application of that principle accordingly; so that, while the boundaries of the habitable Earth expanded, in the ideas of the Chinese Government, from the Empire, held by the Great Yu and the Chow dynasty, to both hemispheres, the actual "China ", had taken the place of the ancient "Imperial Domain", as the remainder of the World, under the name of "the Outer States", had taken that of the ancient "Feudal Territories" or "Principalities".

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Page last modified: 20-11-2011 19:12:25 ZULU