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The Boxer Rebellion

Page history last edited by Robert W. Maloy 8 months, 3 weeks ago


external image Siege_of_Peking%2C_Boxer_Rebellion.jpg

The Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901)


The Boxer Uprising

  • This resource is part of the Visualizing Cultures curriculum from MIT



Rebels:  The Boxer Rebellion, from Facing History and Ourselves



When western powers were trying to extend their spheres of influence into the east, and particularly China, a group of "Boxers" emerged in protest.

Early on the Boxers actually were protesting/opposing the weak Manchu Empress Cixi. They believed she was not doing enough to keep the foreigners out of China.


It was only after some clever manipulation by Cixi did the boxers turn their attention the the foreigners themselves, increasing their activities to open armed conflict.


  • The Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists, as they named themselves, were incredibly anti-foreign and anti-Christian in their motives of trying to isolate themselves from the threat of western imperialism in 1899.


  • Gaining success and numbers, these lightly armed but incredibly skilled men who believed their power was derived from the supernatural world attacked foreign officials and Christian Chinese.


  • By 1901, the Eight-Nation Alliance suppressed the rebellion (the Han majority was largely governed by the Manchus)


Image result for empress cixi

Empress Dowager Cixi

As Empress Dowager Cixi was in control during the Boxer Rebellion.


It is important to note that she encouraged the rebellion at first, and at the end of the rebellion, the Empress ordered all Boxers to be executed after the foreign countries got involved.



  • Click here to read a chapter in the book Wealth and Power: China’s Long March to the Twenty-First Century by Orville Schell and John Delury about Empress Cixi and her complicated reputation. 



Empress Cixi was one of 5 women empresses in Chinese history:


  • Lu Zhi  241-180 BCE
  • Wu Zetian  624-705 CE
  • Xiaozhuang  1613-1688
  • Jiang Qing. 1914 -1991 


Click here to read an account of a prisoner of The Boxer Rebellion.

See also, Mapping out the U.S. in China's Boxer Rebellion from a diplomatic history course at Dickinson College.



Here is an informative 3 minute video on The Boxer Rebellion.


Here is a "sound smart" video by the History Channel on The Boxer Rebellion



Red Lanterns

  • Women troops during the Boxer Rebellion were called Red Lanterns. Click here to learn more about them.


  • It is useful to compare the qualities of the Red Lanterns as pure and magical to the Boxers' view on adult women as female pollution who could destroy the Boxer magic.



Educator Resources


  • Click here for an understandable article for students on the Boxer Rebellion including connection questions for a discussion on the article


  • Click here  for an already made lesson plan on the Boxer Rebellion

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