In the 19th and 20th centuries, the Ottoman and Qing Empires waged wars against imperialist powers to save their territorial sovereignty as well as influence over trade and commercial activities in their surrounding regions. In the 19th century, armies of both empires carried their medieval age character which inflicted severe damage during the military confrontations and beyond that as well. The post-war treaties are the best examples how war inflicted loss of morale and wealth. Treaties like Kuchuk Kaynarcha (1774) and Berlin (1876) were destructive blows to the Ottomans. Both treaties were signed with Russians. On the other hand, the Qing Empire on its downward turn, signed the Treaty of Nanking (1842) and Convention of Peking (1860) with the British. These treaties became a focal point for the rise of nationalism and urge for modernization in both these empires to compete against the imperial European powers. In 1908, the Young Turks came to power after a bloodless coup. During the same timeline, the rise of nationalist movement through Xinhai revolution (1911) marked the beginning of conceptualizing and building of a modern nation-state in China. World War I further formulated nationalistic thought among the Turks and Chinese. The comparative analysis of these empires’ approach to build the modern nation-state through adopting ideas and reforming has set examples to others in many respects.
About the Speaker
Dr. Marimuthu Ulaganathan is a Programme Officer at the Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS), New Delhi. He completed his MA in History (with specialization in Indian History) from Pondicherry University. He holds an MPhil degree from the Centre for West Asian Studies, JNU, and recently completed his PhD from the same centre in JNU. His PhD thesis titles Armenian Millet System during Tanzimat Era of the Ottoman Empire 1839-1923.
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