5     Nineteenth-Century Strife                      



Primary Resources 


Document 5.1

Painting, “View of Guangzhou,” ca. 1800

Document 5.2

Painting, “Factory site, Guangzhou,” 1865

Document 5.3

Excerpts from Lin Zexu’s letter to Queen Victoria, 1839

Document 5.4

Excerpts from William Gladstone's speech to Britain's House of Commons, 1840

Document 5.5

Excerpts from the Treaty of Nanjing, August 1842

Document 5.6

Excerpts from the Treaty of Wangxia, July 3, 1844

Document 5.7

Excerpts from "The Land Systems of the Heavenly Kingdom," 1853




Supplementary Resources


Item 5.A

“Hong Xiuquan and the Taiping Rebellion”, an essay

Item 5.Ba-c

Photographs from the Presidential Palace, Nanjing, commemorating the Taiping Rebellion, 2006

Item 5.C

Replica of a robe worn by Hong Xiuquan, Nanjing, 2006




Suggested Resources




Hanes, W. Travis III and Frank Sanello. The Opium Wars: The Addiction of One Empire and the Corruption of Another. Naperville, Ill.: Sourcebooks, 2002.


Paterson, Katherine. Rebels of the Heavenly Kingdom. New York: Puffin Books, 1983.

A young adult historical novel about how two teenagers experienced the Taiping Rebellion.


Platt, Stephen R. Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012.


Spence, Jonathan D. God’s Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan. New York: W.W. Norton, 1996.

An analysis of Hong Xiuquan who led the Taiping.


Waley, Arthur. The Opium War through Chinese Eyes. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1968.

History of the first Opium War, recording the feelings and sufferings of common people affected by the war.


Wang, Dong. China’s Unequal Treaties: Narrating National History. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2005.

Based on primary sources, this book examines treaties signed by China between 1842 and 1946.




The Opium War and Foreign Encroachment, Asia for Educators

Student readings, primary sources, and discussion questions about the Opium War.


“The Signing of the Treaty of Tien-sin,” The Argus

A digital newspaper article from Melbourne, Australia, about the Treaty of Tianjin between China and Great Britain.


Taiping Rebellion (1850–1864), Asia for Educators

An overview of the Taiping Rebellion with teaching activity suggestions.


The Western Encounter with China, 1600–1900

An online exhibition from McGill University with a brief overview of the time period and primary sources about diplomacy, the Boxer Uprising, and chinoiserie.



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