Scrapbook of cuttings on the Boxer Rebellion

Scope and Content

Scrapbook of cuttings, largely taken from The Royal Engineers' Journal, 1900-1901, relating to British military operations surrounding the Boxer Rebellion [Yihequan Movement]. Includes map of Peking city defences; plan of the British legation, Peking, showing defences, and Standing Orders for the Chinese Expeditionary Force.

Administrative / Biographical History

Colonel H. E. C. Cowie served as a Lieutenant in the Royal Engineer's, and was involved in the British military activities surrounding the Boxer Rebellion [Boxer Uprising], in Peking [Beijing], 1900. Following the Rebellion he was put in charge of the train which took the Emperor and Empress back to Peking.

In June 1900 in Beijing, Boxer fighters threatened foreigners and forced them to seek refuge in the Legation Quarter. In response, the initially hesitant Empress Dowager Cixi, urged by the conservatives of the Imperial Court, supported the Boxers and declared war on foreign powers. Diplomats, foreign civilians and soldiers, and Chinese Christians in the Legation Quarter were under siege by the Imperial Army of China and the Boxers for 55 days. The Chinese government equivocated between destroying the foreigners in the Legation Quarter and extending olive branches. Clashes were reported between Chinese factions favoring war and those favoring conciliation, the latter led by Prince Qing. The supreme commander of the Chinese forces, Ronglu, claimed three years later that he acted to protect the besieged foreigners. The siege was raised when the Eight-Nation Alliance brought 20,000 armed troops to China, defeated the Imperial Army, and captured Beijing. The Boxer Protocol of 7 September 1901 ended the uprising and provided for severe punishments, including an indemnity of 67 million pounds (450 million taels of silver), more than the government's annual tax revenue, to be paid as indemnity over a course of thirty-nine years to the eight nations involved. [source: Wikipedia]

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Papers donated to SOAS Library in July 2011 by the grandson of Colonel Cowie, having come down to him via his mother who was one of Cowie's two daughters.

Geographical Names