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AHC: Greater Qing Empire


Britain expects that every man will do his duty...
My house, in the middle of the street
There have been a few threads created about China in the Scenarios subforum recently, and @varyar's question about Zeng Guofan got me thinking.

By the end of the 18th century, the Qing Empire had reached its zenith. At the time, it was the second-largest empire the world had ever seen, it ruled more than one-third of the world's population and it had the world's largest economy. The Qianlong Emperor had reigned for more than 60 largely prosperous years. But of course, during the 19th century things fell apart for the Qing, with China experiencing a rapid decline which by some estimates was only truly halted in the 1980s.

However, was this destined to be the case? With a POD no earlier than 1790, how large can China grow, both territorially and economically?