The Boxer Rebellion, Boxer Uprising or Yihetuan Movement, was a violent anti-foreign, anti-Christian, and anti-imperialist uprising in China between 1899 and 1901, towards the end of the Qing dynasty, by the Militia United in Righteousness (Yìhéquán), known in English as Boxers because many of their members had practised Chinese martial arts, referred to at the time as Chinese Boxing.
Top: US troops scale the walls of Beijing
Middle: Japanese soldiers in the Battle of Tientsin
Bottom: British and Japanese soldiers in the Battle of Beijing
|Commanders and leaders|
Adna Chaffee Occupation Force:
Alfred von Waldersee
Occupation of Manchuria:
Paul von Rennenkampf
Mutual Defense Pact of the Southeastern Provinces:
Zhang Decheng †
Empress Dowager Cixi
Commander in Chief:
Nie Shicheng †
Ma Fulu †
China Relief Expedition:
Russian army in Manchuria:
|Casualties and losses|
32,000 Chinese Christians and 200 Western missionaries killed by Chinese Boxers in Northern China|
100,000 total deaths in the conflict (both civilian and military included)
|Literal meaning||Militia United in Righteousness Movement|
After the Sino-Japanese War of 1895 villagers in North China feared the expansion of foreign spheres of influence and resented the extension of privileges to Christian missionaries, who used them to support their followers. In a severe drought, violence spread across Shandong and the North China Plain, destroying foreign property, attacking or murdering Christian missionaries and Chinese Christians. In June 1900, Boxer fighters, convinced they were invulnerable to foreign weapons, converged on Beijing with the slogan "Support the Qing government and exterminate the foreigners." Diplomats, missionaries, soldiers and some Chinese Christians took refuge in the diplomatic Legation Quarter and were besieged for 55 days by the Imperial Army of China and the Boxers.
An Eight Nation Alliance of American, Austro-Hungarian, British, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Russian troops invaded China to lift the siege. The Empress Dowager Cixi, who had initially been hesitant, now supported the Boxers and on 21 June issued an Imperial Decree declaring war on the invading powers. Chinese officialdom was split between those supporting the Boxers and those favoring conciliation, led by Prince Qing. The supreme commander of the Chinese forces, the Manchu General Ronglu (Junglu), later claimed he acted to protect the foreigners. Officials in the southern provinces ignored the imperial order to fight against foreigners.
The Eight-Nation Alliance, after being initially turned back by the Imperial Chinese military and Boxer militia brought 20,000 armed troops to China, defeated the Imperial Army in Tianjin, and arrived in Beijing on 14 August, relieving the siege of the Legations. Uncontrolled plunder of the capital and the surrounding countryside ensued, along with summary execution of those suspected of being Boxers. The Boxer Protocol of 7 September 1901 provided for the execution of government officials who had supported the Boxers, provisions for foreign troops to be stationed in Beijing, and 450 million taels of silver—approximately $10 billion at 2018 silver prices and more than the government's annual tax revenue—to be paid as indemnity over the course of the next 39 years to the eight nations involved.