Imperial China was an ancient, advanced civilization, stretching over a large portion of Asia. Many dynasties ruled over the millennia. From 1840 until 1900, the country was involved unsuccessfully in the Opium Wars and the Boxer Rebellion. This opened the way for foreigners to gain concessions (trading rights). The United States established post offices in Shanghai, overprinting U.S. stamps. China’s ruling dynasty began issuing stamps in 1878, starting with its Dragon Issue. The Manchu empress was deposed in 1911 when China was declared a republic. Issues of the Republic appeared in 1912, with stamps of the Chinese Imperial Post overprinted in black or red.
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