What Were Some of the Effects of the Boxer Rebellion on China?

The Boxer Rebellion in China, which was ultimately suppressed by the Eight-Nation Alliance of foreign powers in 1901, severely weakened the Qing Dynasty and its defense capabilities, forced the Chinese to accept the garrisoning of foreign troops within their borders and helped fuel a growing nationalist fervor. Much of the international expeditionary force that invaded China to suppress the rebellion stayed on after the fighting ended and engaged in massive looting, confiscation of property and extreme punitive actions against suspected supporters of the uprising, including civilians. China was also required to pay reparations that would have amounted to more than $60 billion based on a 2010 purchasing power parity.

The Boxer Rebellion, also referred to as the Yihetuan Movement, began in 1898 when opposition to foreign interests operating within China took the form of armed attacks on foreign diplomats, business personnel, soldiers and missionaries. The reaction of the Chinese government was divided and factions of the ruling Qing Dynasty initially supported the Boxers. The Eight-Nation Alliance, consisting of foreign powers which included England, France, Russia, the United States and Japan, captured the major Chinese cities of Beijing and Peking and, by September of 1901, the conflict officially ended when China accepted the Alliance's settlement terms known as the Boxer Protocol.

The Boxer Rebellion took its name from an English mistranslation of a version of the movement's original name, the Fists of Righteous Harmony. There has been some debate among historians regarding which of the terms, "rebellion," "uprising" or "movement," most accurately represents the true nature of the Chinese side of the conflict.