Boxer Rebellion

The Rise of Japan

East Asia 1900.0616

Boxer Rebellion

The Rise of Japan, the Spanish-American War, and the Boxer Rebellion (16 June 1900)

Historical Map of East Asia & the Western Pacific

In response to the growing foreign domination of China, the isolationist Yihetuan movement - known in the west as Boxers - rose up and began attacking and killing foreigners and Chinese Christians within the country. In January 1900, the Great Powers demanded that China suppress the Boxers, but many Chinese officials were sympathetic to their cause. Facing increasing Boxer activity, an alliance of eight nations invaded northern China.

Main Events

Open Door Note

United States Secretary of State John Hay dispatched his Open Door Note to the major European powers, enunciating US policy to keep China open to trade from all nations and refrain from the political division of the country. All the imperial nations except for Russia agreed to the policy in principle, helping ensure that, although China continued to be exploited, it did not end up partitioned among the powers.

Battle of Senluo Temple

Over 1,000 men of the anti-foreign and anti-Christian Yihetuan ("Militia United in Righteousness" or "Boxers") clashed with Qing government troops near Senluo temple in western Shandong, China. After initial successes, the Boxers were repelled in a second skirmish. The battle marked the beginning of the spread of the Boxer movement and the surge in anti-foreign agitation in northern China.

Tripartite Convention

The United States of America, the German Empire, and the United Kingdom signed the Tripartite Convention, concluding the Second Samoan Civil War. The treaty formally partitioned the Samoan archipelago by the longitude 171 degrees west of Greenwich, with Germany given rights to Upolu, Savaii, and other islands west of that line, and the United States gaining Tutuila and smaller islands to the east. By surrendering their rights to Samoa, the British gained compensation from Germany elsewhere, most notably in Tonga and the Solomon Islands.

International demand on China

On 11 January 1900, Empress Dowager Cixi issued an edict in support of the Boxers. The European powers, Japan, and the United States responded on 27 January by demanding that the Chinese Government protect their citizens, missionaries, and installations from further Boxer attacks. Although the government would officially ban the Boxers in April, Boxer attacks would escalate in May and June.

Russian invasion of Manchuria

After Boxers began threatening the Chinese Eastern Railway, Russia invaded Manchuria from the north and south to protect its concession. The initial invasion force was inadequate and, in July, the Chinese managed to capture Mukden, besiege the Russian garrison in Harbin, and harass Russian shipping on the Amur River. Russian reinforcements arrived later that month, securing Mukden and most of the region by early October.

Seymour Expedition

In response to the growing threat of the Boxers, Vice-Admiral Edward Seymour - commander of the Royal Navy's China Station - assembled a force of more than 2,000 sailors and marines from European, American, and Japanese warships to march on Peking (Beijing). The Chinese Imperial court considered the act an invasion and ambushed the expedition at Langfang, north of Tianjin. Defeated, Seymour retreated to Tianjin, where he held out until relieved by newly arriving forces.

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