With the Opium War (1839-42) and the subsequent Treaty of Nanking, which forced China to open trade with foreign ports began the penetration of European, and especially British, in the Chinese territory. China was then shaken by several rebellions, from the T'ai-p'ing, exploded in mid-century, the Boxer of the century, but the xenophobic character of these movements did not produce a politically effective national sentiment and able to withstand the commercial and military dominance of the West.
To the challenge of the latter, in Far East, the Japan was able to provide with an answer which, thanks to the restoration of the Meiji imperial power (which allowed the emperor to take control of the whole country) and the decline of China, went to a accelerated industrialization; as it was protected by its widespread and generalized deference toward traditional values and feudal relations. In India, "pearl" of British colonialism, the revolt of the Sipahis regiments in 1857-58 put into question the hegemony of English for many months, but eventually, once subdued the rebels, the British crown was replaced by the Mughal dynasty, pulling out, in the same time, the East India Company which in previous decades had gradually imposed his authority in the government of the country. In Indochina, finally, the French penetration began in the 50s of XIX century. In 1862 the peninsula was gradually occupied. The Anglo-French rivalry along the southeast flank of the continent led to the occupation of Burma by Great Britain and Laos by France. The impact of the European powers had led to direct colonial rule on South Asia, more and more formal independence of China (not possible to occupied due to the size of its territory) and its transformation of Japan into power with hegemonic ambitions in the Pacific. In northern Asia, the Russian Empire, not without colliding with Britain, continued its march and had connected to the port of Vladivostok the city of Moscow thanks to the more than nine thousands kilometers of the Trans-Siberian railway. Meanwhile, the mobile frontier of the United States ventured over to the mainland and continued its momentum with the annexation of Hawaii and the imposition of a protectorate over Cuba and other Caribbean islands, as well as the distant Philippines. Two oceans, the Indian and the Pacific, across the Atlantic, were now irreversibly opened to the commercial circuit of the Western powers: Asia was the center of this gigantic world process.
In the African continent, meanwhile, Algeria had already been occupied by French troops in 1830. The decline of the Ottoman Empire allowed the occupation of Tunisia by France, and Egypt in 1881, although it remained formally independent from Britain in 1882. The eastern side of the continent, on the other hand, after the construction of the Suez Canal (opened in 1867), was subjected to the influence of Britain, which was thus able to secure a full hegemony in the Indian Ocean between Africa and India.
In the south of the continent, the British Cape Colony, after the Napoleonic wars, came into conflict with the Boers (populated by the descendants of Dutch settlers) and incorporated them after a bloody war (1899-1902) in South Africa. The French, however, gained much of the north-western side and equatorial Africa, where they engaged long conflict with the Islamic kingdoms in that area. Even the Germans (Togo, Cameroon, South West Africa, German East Africa) and Belgium (Congo) participated in the division of the continent that the Berlin Conference of 1884-85, enshrining the principle of effective occupation, had regulated. The African and Arab resistance was bloodily suppressed everywhere and only in Sudan, against the Anglo-Egyptians, was successful, with the Mahdi Mohammed Ahmed, for a long period (1885-98). The re-conquest of the Sudan was also the origin of Fashoda incident and the subsequent Anglo-French friction, to which were added a Franco-German rivalry in the north of the continent (Morocco) and the Anglo-German disagreements in the South (Boer War). At the end of the century, only Libya, Morocco and Ethiopia were still independent. France and Italy will occupy these territories.
March 4, 1895
Discipline, preparation and armament of the Japanese army were among the causes of Japan's victory in the conflict with the Chinese juggernaut under the Qing Dynasty. The Battle of Yingkou is one of the best example for the difference between the two armies.