From the beginning of the nineteenth century, Qing prosperity steadily dropped.
China had a population explosion that stretched government resources and capabilities to
the limit.The actions and dealings of foreign powers, who took advantage of the weak
Qing government to gain Chinese trade and territory, rapidly increased the decline.
Factionalism and division at court prevented the Qing dynasty from dealing effectively
with these problems.Eventually, these problems grew so severe that the people began to
take matters into their own hands, and the fall of the Qing dynasty resulted.
The Qing dynasty failed to recognize social problems caused by overpopulation and
the breakdown in their own government administration, and this resulted in a
considerable loss of control over the rural population.During the Qing decline, China's
problems were also compounded by natural calamities of enormous proportions,
including droughts, famines, and floods.Economic tensions, military defeats at Western
hands, and anti-Manchu sentiments all combined to produce widespread unrest
throughout China, especially in the south.South China had been the last region to yield
to the Qing barbarians and thefirst to be exposed to the Western influence.
The Qing's imperial government found it very difficult to control merchants and
missionaries from Europe and the United States.Eventually, the Qing government's
efforts to halt British opium trade led to the Opium War (1839 – 1842) in which the
Chinese government complied to a string of British demands.The Chinese were forced
to open up five ports, to pay an indemnity oftwenty one million dollars to the British, to
hand over the island of Hong Kong, and to legalize the importation of the addictive drug
opium.The Chinese had also agreed to end the monopolistic system of trade tha