The early Manchu rulers intended to protect the empire by a number of buffer zones. The most important ruler, Emperor K'ang Hsi, established protectorates over Mongolia (1696) and Tibet (1724).

Internally an extended period of peace led the population to grow from 100 million in 1680 to 180 million in 1780, but the domination of the giant empire by the small Manchu people could only be secured by police-state methods and by the introduction of dual - occupancy (Manchu / Chinese) of all governmental offices.

In the late 1700's China reached her largest territorial expansion through colonial wars in the East beyond Sinkiang, in Burma (1767-9) and in Tibet (1791-2).