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Essay The Manchu Dynasty The weakness of its government peasant rebellions and the poor condition of its armies toward the middle of the seventeenth century made China easy prey for the Manchu From the north the Manchus invaded and set up the last Imperial dynasty the Qing During the reign of Emperor Kang Xi 1661-1722 Chinese influence was extended to Mongolia Central Asia Tibet Korea Annam Burma and Thailand By the 19th century the dynasty had gone into decline from adherence to obsolete ways corruption within and the opium trade with Europe For the first 150 years of their rule the Manchus gave China good government and strong leadershipThe power of the Manchu had increased at the end of the sixteenth century and they began gradually to extend their conquests In 1644 they installed their emperor in Peking and this city remained the chief center of the imperial government until 1912 The Manchu took over the Ming form of government practically intact and the principal posts in the government were divided about equally between the Manchu and the Chinese The Manchu did little that would upset the Chinese way of life The century and a half of peace that China enjoyed under their rule stimulated commerce with foreign countries and gave new life to Chinese industries The new plants introduced during this period raised the total acreage of arable land enriched the diet and increased the profits of the farmers The opium poppy one of these new plants had extremely harmful results This poppy had been known to the Chinese for centuries chiefly as a medicine It was first imported but early in the sixteenth century the Chinese began producing it themselves Smoking opium had become so widespread by 1729 that the sale and importation of the drug were forbidden Nevertheless the illegal trade continued and led to war with Great Britain The British won the war and opium remained on
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