xxxxxAs we have seen (1673 C2), in the first half of his reign the great Manchu leader of China, Emperor K’ang-
K’ang Hsi: detail of painting on silk, 1699, artist unknown – Palace Museum, Beijing. Map (Russia/China): licensed under Creative Commons – en.wikipedia.org. Gobi Desert: by the Mongolian photographer Erdenebayer Erdenesuren – Mongolia Photo Gallery. Map (China): licensed under Creative Commons – mn.wikipedia.org.
xxxxxAs we have seen (1673 C2), the first great Manchu leader of China was the Emperor K'ang-
xxxxxSecure at home, he invaded Taiwan two years later and, after taking the island, opened it up to trade with the mainland, thereby establishing a lucrative industry in the export of silk, tea and chinaware. In like manner he also improved the economy of China, repairing the Grand Canal to improve internal and international commerce, and putting in hand a vast scheme to stop the flooding of the Huang Ho river.
xxxxxBut his greatest challenge came from the north. Here the Russians, having reached the Amur River, had built a chain of forts and carried out raids against the local inhabitants. Characteristically, K'ang-
xxxxxOn the face of it, the settlement favoured the Chinese. The border was drawn along the River Gorbitsa, a tributary of the Amur, and the Stanovoy Range, thus leaving the Amur valley and Manchuria (homeland of the dynasty) within the Chinese empire. Furthermore, the Russians were obliged to remove their forts from the Amur River basin (arrowed), and their access to the Sea of Okhotsk -
xxxxxConfident that the Nerchinsk agreement would hold, K'ang-
The Treaty of
xxxxxBy any standards, K'ang-
xxxxxHis grandson Ch’ien-
xxxxxIncidentally, in 1712 K'ang-