China and the Modern World is a series of digital archive collections sourced from preeminent libraries and archives across the world, including the Second Historical Archives of China and the British Library. The series covers a period of about 180 years (1800s to 1980s) when China experienced radical and often traumatic transformations from an inward-looking imperial dynasty into a globally engaged republic. Consisting of monographs, manuscripts, periodicals, correspondence and letters, historical photos, ephemera, and other kinds of historical documents, these collections provide excellent primary source materials for the understanding and research of the various aspects of China during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, such as diplomacy/international relations, economy/trade, politics, Christianity, sinology, education, science and technology, imperialism, and globalization. Read on for more information about some of the collections published in the series.
1. MISSIONARY, SINOLOGY, AND LITERARY PERIODICALS (1817-1949)
The Missionary, Sinology, and Literary Periodicals collection includes 17 English-language periodicals published in or about China during a period of over 130 years, extending from 1817 until the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. This corresponds to the periods of the late Qing Dynasty and the Republican Era (1911–1949), when China experienced the radical and often traumatic transformation from an inward-looking imperial dynasty into a globally engaged republic.
2. RECORDS OF THE MARITIME CUSTOMS SERVICE OF CHINA 1854-1949
CRecords of the Maritime Customs Service of China 1854–1949 provides an excellent primary source collection for the study of China and its relations with the Imperial West in the late Qing and Republican periods. The records included in this collection—official correspondence, despatches, reports, memoranda, and private and confidential letters—constitute invaluable and often unique evidence of Chinese life, the economy and politics through the Taiping Rebellion, the Boxer Rebellion, the Revolution of 1911, the May 30 Movement, the two Sino-Japanese Wars, and the Chinese Civil War.
3. DIPLOMACY AND POLITICAL SECRETS (1869-1950)
Diplomacy and Political Secrets (1869-1950) comprises a compilation of 4,204 rare China-related historical documents carefully selected from three series within the India Office Records now held at the British library: the Political and Secret Department Records, the Burma Office records, and the Records of the Military Department. These documents consist of manuscripts and monographs in the form of reports, memoranda, correspondence, pamphlets and official publications, intelligence diaries, accounts of political and scientific expeditions, travel diaries, handbooks and maps. Together they reflect the security concerns of British India. The frontier regions of China bordering British India were considered of strategic importance. This is why a large amount of material coming from Xinjiang (Chinese Turkestan), Tibet, and Yunnan was collected by the Political and Secret Department of the India Office, Military Department, and the Burma Office.
4. HONG KONG, BRITAIN AND CHINA (1841-1951)
Hong Kong, Britain and China 1841–1951 presents a collection of British government documents on colonial Hong Kong, spanning a period of over a century. Digitized from the British Colonial Office records grouped under the CO 129 Series titled “War and Colonial Department and Colonial Office: Hong Kong, Original Correspondence,” the collection consists of despatches and correspondence between the governors of Hong Kong and the Colonial Office, as well as letters and telegrams of other government departments and organizations such as the Foreign Office, Home Office, and War Offices. In the form of bound volumes, these records were arranged chronologically till 1926 when arrangement by subject files was introduced. Each volume comes with a contents list, or a précis of each letter giving the name of correspondent, date of letter and subject matter.