Boxer Rebellion (1900): Beginning in 1898, groups of peasants in northern China began to band together into a secret society known as I-ho ch'üan ("Righteous and Harmonious Fists"), called the "Boxers" by Western press. Members of the secret society practiced boxing and calisthenic rituals (hence the nickname, the "Boxers") which they believed would make them impervious to bullets.
At first, the Boxers wanted to destroy the Ch'ing dynasty (which had ruled China for over 250 years) and wanted to rid China of all foreign influence (which they considered a threat to Chinese culture). When the Empress Dowager backed the Boxers, the Boxers turned solely to ridding China of foreigners.
By late 1899, bands of Boxers were massacring Christian missionaries and Chinese Christians. By May 1900, the Boxer Rebellion had come out of the countryside and was being waged in the capital of Peking (now Beijing). To help their fellow countrymen and to protect their interests in China, an international force of 2,100 American, British, Russian, French, Italian, and Japanese soldiers were sent to subdue the "rebellion."
On June 18, 1900, the Empress Dowager ordered all foreigners to be killed. Several foreign ministers and their families were killed before the international force could protect them. On August 14, 1900, the international force took Peking and subdued the rebellion.
The Boxer Rebellion weakened the Ch'ing dynasty's power and hastened the Republican Revolution of 1911 that overthrew the boy emperor and made China a republic.