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The Southwestern Frontier

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Chapter Summary

Yunnan, the modern Chinese province, lies south of the traditional border between the Chinese empire and the independent kingdoms of the southwest. The incorporation of Yunnan into China was accidental from a military point of view, but in political, social, and economic respects this territorial integration would appear to have been inevitable. ?Chinese-ness? is constructed with references to the country as a political entity, which makes the Chinese issue of ethnicity very different from what it is in the West. The Mongol rule of China for the first time set up a formal state apparatus in the territory inhabited by non-Han peoples. Modifying the existing Chinese system, the Mongols brought significant changes to traditional rule. Chinese nationalism evolved in tandem with Western colonialism. The catalysis was the Opium War (1839?1842).

Keywords: Chinese nationalism; Mongol rule of China; non-Han peoples; Western colonialism; Yunnan

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