Chapter 32: Civilizations in Crisis: The Ottoman Empire, the Islamic Heartland, and Qing ChinaChapter Summary. The still independent parts of Asia after 1750 suffered from political decline and the reactions of their cultures to new challenges. They also faced the threat of Western imperialism and the problems of dealing with the West's industrial lead. China under the Qing dynasty in the 17th century enjoyed growth and prosperity and had the power to limit European intervention. The Ottomans, on thecontrary, were then in full retreat. Russia and Austria seized territories, North African provinces broke away, and local leaders throughout the empire became more independent. Economic and social disruption accompanied the political malaise. Although the Ottoman rulers did not have a solution to their problems, they regained some strength during the 19th century by following Western-style reforms. The Chinese entered a prolonged crisis period. At the end of the century the foundations of Chinese civilization had been demolished by internal and external pressures.In Depth: Western Dominance and the Decline of Civilization. Some general patterns have been associated with the decline of civilizations: internal weakness and external pressures; slow and vulnerable communications systems; ethnic, religious, and regional differences; corruption and the pursuit of pleasure. Nomads took advantage of such weaknesses, but rarely did neighboring civilizations play a major role in the demise of another. The European rise to world dominance from the 18th century fundamentallychanged the patterns of the rise and fall of civilizations. In the Americas European military assaults and diseases destroyed existing civilizations. African and Asian civilizations were able to withstand the early European arrival, but the latter’s continuing development by the end of the 18th century made them dominant. The subordinate civilizations reacted differently. Some retreated into an idealized past; others absorbed ideas from their rulers. The various efforts at resistance did not all succeed. Some civilizations survived; others collapsedFrom Empire to Nation: Ottoman Retreat and the Birth of Turkey. By the early 18th century, the Ottoman Empire was in decline. The weak rulers of the empire left the way open for power struggles between officials, religious experts, and Janissary commanders. Provincial administrators and landholders colluded to drain revenue from the central treasury. The general economy suffered from competition with the West as imported goods ruined local industry. European rivals took advantage of Ottoman weakness. The Austrians pushed the Ottomans from Hungary and the northern Balkans. The strengthened Russian state expanded into the Caucasus and Crimea. The subject Christian peoples of the Balkans challenged their rulers: the Greeks won independence 1830, Serbia in 1867.