In late 1899 and throughout 1900, the Boxers attacked and killed foreigners across China. In response, the Western powers and Japan organized a multinational force.

After taking some losses, this force crushed the Boxers and rescued foreigners besieged in Beijing. The empress Ci Xi had at first supported the Boxers but reversed her policy as they retreated.

Consequences of the Uprising

In the aftermath of the Boxer Uprising, foreign powers forced China to make still more concessions. The defeat, however, forced even Chinese conservatives to support Westernization. In a rush of reforms, China admitted women to schools and stressed science and mathematics in place of Confucian thought. More students were sent abroad to study.

During the early 1900s, China expanded economically. Mining, shipping, railroads, banking, and exports of cash crops grew. Small-scale Chinese industry developed with the help of foreign capital. A Chinese business class emerged, and a new urban working class began to press for rights in the same way Western workers had done.

Growth of Chinese Nationalism

Although the Boxer Uprising failed, the flames of Chinese nationalism spread. Reformers who wanted to strengthen China's government introduced a constitutional monarchy. Some reformers called for a republic.

A passionate spokesman for a Chinese republic was Sun Yixian (soon yee SHYAHN), also known as Sun Yat-sen. In the early 1900s, he organized the Revolutionary Alliance to rebuild China on “Three Principles of the People.” The first principle was nationalism, or freeing China from foreign domination. The second was democracy, or representative government. The third was livelihood, or economic security for all Chinese.

A Republic Is Born

When Ci Xi died in 1908, a two-year-old boy inherited the throne. China slipped into chaos. In 1911, uprisings swiftly spread. Peasants, students, warlords, and even court politicians helped topple the Qing dynasty, ending China's 2000-year old monarchy.

Sun Yixian hurried home from a trip to the United States. In early 1912, he was sworn in as president of the new Chinese republic. The republic faced overwhelming problems and was almost constantly at war with itself or foreign invaders.

Photo of a Chinese man in a suit with short hair in a suit and cropped mustache.

Known as the Father of Modern China, Sun Yixian founded the Chinese Nationalist Party and became the first president of China after the fall of the Qing dynasty.


  1. Sequence Events Describe the sequence of conflicts and their consequences that weakened Qing China.
  2. Generate Explanations How did Western powers gain greater trading rights in China?
  3. Summarize What internal problems threatened the Qing dynasty?
  4. Summarize What were the goals of Chinese reformers?
  5. Synthesize Describe how a republic replaced the Qing dynasty.

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Table of Contents

World History Topic 1 Origins of Civilization (Prehistory–300 B.C.) Topic 2 The Ancient Middle East and Egypt (3200 B.C.–500 B.C.) Topic 3 Ancient India and China (2600 B.C.–A.D. 550) Topic 4 The Americas (Prehistory–A.D. 1570) Topic 5 Ancient Greece (1750 B.C.–133 B.C.) Topic 6 Ancient Rome and the Origins of Christianity (509 B.C.-A.D. 476) Topic 7 Medieval Christian Europe (330–1450) Topic 8 The Muslim World and Africa (730 B.C.-A.D. 1500) Topic 9 Civilizations of Asia (500–1650) Topic 10 The Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1650) Topic 11 New Global Connections (1415–1796) Topic 12 Absolutism and Revolution Topic 13 The Industrial Revolution Topic 14 Nationalism and the Spread of Democracy (1790–1914) Topic 15 The Age of Imperialism (1800–1914) Topic 16 World War I and the Russian Revolution (1914–1924) Topic 17 The World Between the Wars (1910–1939) Topic 18 World War II (1930–1945) Topic 19 The Cold War Era (1945–1991) Topic 20 New Nations Emerge (1945–Present) Topic 21 The World Today (1980-Present) United States Constitution Primary Sources 21st Century Skills Atlas Glossary Index Acknowledgments