IN 1793 a British envoy, Lord Macartney, arrived at the court of the Chinese emperor, hoping to open an embassy. He brought with him a selection of gifts from his newly industrializing nation. The Qianlong emperor, whose country then accounted for about a third of global GDP, swatted him away: "Your sincere humility and obedience can clearly be seen," he wrote to King George III, but we do not have "the slightest need for your country’s manufactures." The British returned in the 1830s with gunboats to force trade open, and China’s attempts at reform ended in collapse, humiliation and, eventually, Maoism.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
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