In 1800 Asia was relatively unknown to the rest of the world. China was the most powerful country in the East. It was headed by the Quing dynasty that came from Manchuria even though Manchurians were a minority in China. China held on to its culture and the Quings did not try to change it. This was the reason that they were able to rule over a majority for such a long period of time. China had 2 major philosophies:.
a. Confucianism- set up a structure in society that taught to respect elders. Everyone knew their place in society and must respect that place. Honorable men were internally moral and also externally moral. Confucius thought that leaders should be honorable. Confucianism tries to preserve to social harmony.
b. Taoism- Concerned with the mystical. Tries to preserve balance in the universe. Taoism means "the way.”.
Peking was the capital of China and the Forbidden City was where the emperor lived. No one else was allowed in the city. The Mandarins ran the government. They took a sort of civil service exam that tested them on various Confucian texts. These people were in the minority because they were wealthy and educated. A vast majority of the people were peasants. These peasants had a higher standard of living that the peasants in Europe. The dynasties than ran the country did so because they had the mandate of heaven. The fell when they lost the mandate of heaven. This happened when there was war, economic problems, or natural disasters. Quing Long was the emperor that brought China to its height. Other countries around China were considered tributaries. China felt that it was the leader of the world and most East Asian countries accepted this. They looked to China as a way to run their culture. .
China restricted Europeans from entering. The city of Canton was set up as a trade port for the Europeans. Merchants could live in special areas of the city for up to 6 months.