The Monetary System of China under the Qing Dynasty

  • Niv HoreshEmail author
Living reference work entry


This chapter delineates the main trends that characterized Qing monetary history. The early Qing (1644–1722) was generally a period when military expenditure relative to fiscal revenue was high and coin casting sites in bad repair. The mid-Qing (1723–1842) was, on the other hand, a period of great territorial expansion, strong central government, and vigorous coin output, mainly under the Qianlong Emperor (r. 1735–1796). The late Qing (1842–1911) was, in turn, a period in which China came under intense foreign pressure and was rattled by the catastrophic Taiping rebellion. It was also a period in which China began suffering from an acute outflow of silver due to an adverse balance of payments. These circumstances eventually led the Qing government to reintroduce paper money. And while Japanese silver and copper imports had helped replenish the Chinese monetary system in the early-Qing period, late-Qing China saw a decline in domestic mining output as well as a drop in Japanese metal imports. These shortfalls were tempered in the mid-Qing era by the influx of Latin American silver, which lasted until the 1800s, as well as by the development of copper mines in Yunnan.


Copper Silver Bimetallism Debasement Paper money 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Durham UniversityDurhamUK
  2. 2.Western Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia

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