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UNIT 20: Imperial Designs

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VIDEO SEGMENT: Imperialism in East Asia

This segment explores the effects of imperialism in China as well as Japan's success in becoming an imperial power in its own right. Imperialism in China began in the aftermath of the Opium Wars, fought between China and Britain in the mid-nineteenth century. The resulting treaty gave victorious Britain privileged trading rights along parts of China's coasts. Soon, other European powers sought to create their own spheres of influence on the Chinese coasts. By the late nineteenth century, China had been carved into a multitude of such spheres, which were used to the advantages of European business and missionary interests alike.

Meanwhile, Americans had forcibly opened Japan to international trade in 1853. This imperial challenge led to a political revolution in Japan in 1868, and to the emergence of a government committed to reform on the Western imperial model. By 1895, Japan had defeated China in a war over Korea, which resulted in the cession of Taiwan to the Japanese. In 1900 Japanese troops helped Europeans and Americans put down the Boxer Rebellion in China (which developed out of resentment toward Western imperialism). In 1904, Japan also defeated Russia in war. Finally, after World War One, Japan-as Britain's ally-was awarded the former German territories in China's Shandong peninsula. By then, it was clear that Japan had become an imperial nation on the Western model. China, in contrast, had been reduced from a powerful empire to a victim of imperialism.

SELECTED IMAGES AND MAPS


Anonymous Japanese, THE CHINESE BATTLESHIP SINKING IN YELLOW SEA (ca. 1894-1895). Courtesy of Library of Congress.

Anonymous, JAPANESE BATTLESHIPS WIN A SEA BATTLE IN THE SINO-JAPANESE WAR (1894). Courtesy of Library of Congress.


Utagawa Hiroshige, FOREIGNER'S SHIP: STEAMSHIP (1861). Courtesy of Library of Congress.

Ando Hiroshige, GOYU [STREET SCENE, FROM 56 STATIONS OF THE TOKAIDO] (ca. 1838-1840). Copyright 2003 Oregon Public Broadcasting and its licensors. All rights reserved.



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