top of page




Boxers: Known in Mandarin Chinese as Yihetuan, "Righteous and Harmonious Society," which was derived from Yihequan, "Righteous and Harmonious Fists" (hence the name "Boxers"). The Boxers were a combination of anti-foreign, anti-Qing, and anti-Christian components, with the anti-foreign element strongest.  In 1900, Boxers attacked foreign legations in Beijing and Tianjin. Foreign troops fought back, took both cities, and sacked Beijing. Li Hongzhang negotiated a settlement with the West, which severely punished China.


Cixi: (tsuh she) 1835-1908. Imperial concubine and Empress Dowager during late Qing China. In 1861, Cixi's son was made emperor and she, his regent. Although another concubine was appointed co-regent, Cixi deposed her in 1865. Cixi became sole regent and exercised supreme power.In 1875, Cixi's son {the Emperor) died. Violating the established procedures for succession, she installed her three-year-old nephew as emperor. During her nephew's reign, Cixi continued to rule with absolute authority. She did not relinquish power until her death.


Taiping Rebellion: 1850-1864. Literally, "Great Harmony," usually translated as "Great Peace." Led by Hong Xiuquan, who combined anti-Confucianism with quasi-Christian theories, the Taiping Rebellion was a powerful assault on the Qing dynasty. The Taipings developed out of various frustrations, ranging from dissatisfied minority peoples to reactions against the increasing presence of foreigners in China. The Taiping Rebellion seriously weakened China at a time when it faced increasing pressures, both internal and external.

Glossary    Chapter 3


bottom of page