Chinese Three Rabbits, scroll painting, Qing Dynasty
Public domain photo of Asian art painting, free to use, no copyright restrictions image - Picryl description
The Qing dynasty was the last imperial dynasty of China, lasting from 1644 to 1912. It was founded by the Manchu people, who came from Manchuria in northeastern China. Their history, language, culture, and identity were distinct from the Chinese population, whom they conquered in 1644 when China was weakened by internal rebellions. The Manchus forged alliances with certain Chinese and Mongol groups that aided their conquest of China. Manchu rule did not completely uproot the government of China or its social and cultural life; instead, Manchu rulers selectively continued and adapted aspects of Chinese life they admired. They developed a style of rule befitting the multiethnic empire they commanded, of which the Chinese were the largest population. The Manchu rulers modeled many of their government practices on those of the previous Chinese Ming dynasty (1368–1644). For example, they employed a civil service examination system much like in previous Chinese dynasties to recruit Chinese government officials. In addition, the emperors were bilingual in Chinese and Manchu. Simultaneously, the Manchu rulers maintained and promoted many Manchu customs at court and within the general populace. The Qing dynasty was known for its strong and centralized government, as well as its accomplishments in art and culture. Some of the most notable emperors of the Qing dynasty include Kangxi, Yongzheng, and Qianlong. The Qing dynasty also saw several significant events, such as the Opium Wars and the Boxer Rebellion. Ultimately, however, the dynasty was unable to adapt to the changes brought about by the industrialization of the West, and it was overthrown in 1912, marking the end of imperial China.