The Qing Dynasty (1636-1911) ruled China between 1644 and 1911. The Qing Dynasty was also called the "Manchu Dynasty" since it was founded by the Aisin Gioro (in Chinese: Aixinjueluo) family, of the Manchus.
The Qing Dynasty was founded in 1616 by Aixinjueluo Nuerhachi under the reign name (Nianhao) of "Tianming". His son Aixinjueluo Huang-tai-ji used during his reign two different reign names, "Tiancong" (1627-1636) and "Chongde" (1636-43). From the "Shunzhi" period, only the reign names are used when refering to the periods. During the last period Aixinjueluo Puyi actually ascended the throne in 1908 while the "Xuantong" reign is counted as started 1909. During the latter part of the Qing dynasty the Empress Dowager Cixi (Born 1835), who became dowager on the death of her husband, Xianfeng, in 1861, exerted a considerable influence on the Late Qing court until she died in 1908.
As the immediate reason for the Manchu's rapid capture of China is considered the general in charge of the Great Wall of China, Wu Sangui who in the immediate civil disorder after the fall of the Ming defected to the Qing, opened the gates of the Great Wall, and allowed the Manchus to enter China proper. The Manchus captured Beijing in 1644.
The southern China was not fully under Qing control before further twenty years of fighting
After the fall of the Qing, Qing control of southern China was tenuous. Rather than exercising direct control, southern China was controlled by the Qing through three generals. In the 1680's, one of the generals decided to retire, and out of protocol the other two generals submitted their resignation, which the Qing emperor unexpectedly accepted. This caused a revolt from the two generals and the son of the retiring third. Ultimately, the Qing was able to break this revolt thereby exercising control over all of southern China.
During this period, China became the most heavily populated country in the world. While the Manchu emperors adopted many aspects of Chinese culture and political philosophy, they also actively strove to retain their native identity. Traditional Chinese art and culture continued to flourish, however, often with imperial sponsorship. Although Qing-dynasty officials practiced Tibetan Buddhism, they sponsored Daoist rituals and maintained a Daoist temple in Beijing.
The Qing dynasty comprises of the following periods: