Asia and the Chinese Empire As They Are To-Day


American economic interest in China near the end of the Boxer Rebellion.

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Economic unrest and dissatisfaction with foreign powers, especially Christian missionaries, among Chinese peasantry was rife in the late 19th century, culminating in what became known as the Boxer Rebellion (named as such because many of its members practiced martial arts). An assault on the international legation quarters in Peking (modern-day Beijing), supported by imperial forces of the Qing Dynasty, led to a 55-day siege that was lifted by an allied force comprised of troops from eight different nations; all of which had financial interests in China.

After a harsh occupation of the capital and surrounding area, the Boxer Protocol was signed in September of 1901 and heavy reparations were imposed on China. This tremendous map information brochure was created by Rand McNally on behalf of the New York Central Railroad in the midst of the tumult.

Two maps are present, including a map of Asia (dated 1900) and A New Map of the Chinese Empire with Korea and Japan (dated 1901). The latter presents a wealth of detailed information about the fractured political situation across China. Several enclaves are labeled as independent and numerous ports are identified under the authority of a European power or Japan.

Text panels on the side provide additional fascinating contemporary information about the ongoing conflict. An excerpt from the U.S. State Department provides America’s official position on China as of July 1900, while an accompanying table of statistics highlights the economic potential among the various treaty ports. Further commentary on the verso is organized into three sections; General Information Regarding China, American Commerce in the Orient, and China and the Chinese.

One notable excerpt reads, “The growth of American commerce with the islands of the Pacific, the oriental countries, and particularly with China, is a subject of vital interest to every American, and with the readjustment of the present differences in China there will undoubtedly be thousands of Americans who will want to visit this, the most ancient empire on the globe, and see for themselves what the prospects are for a market for the surplus of our manufactures and products in the future.”

Map Details

Publication Date: 1901

Author: Rand McNally

Sheet Width (in): 47.00

Sheet Height (in): 19.75

Condition: B+

Condition Description: Map and text originally folded into 24 panels. Creasing and wear along fold lines, including small areas of separation at fold intersections and tiny edge tears, confined to the margins. One area in the lower right has been repaired on the verso with archival tape. A bit of light soiling on the verso does not affect the image, though the sheet is somewhat toned, consistent with age. Good to very good condition overall.


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