Treaty of Nanking
The Treaty of Nanking (or Nanjing) was signed on 29 August 1842 to mark the end of the First Opium War
First Opium War
The First Anglo-Chinese War , known popularly as the First Opium War or simply the Opium War, was fought between the United Kingdom and the Qing Dynasty of China over their conflicting viewpoints on diplomatic relations, trade, and the administration of justice...

 (1839–42) between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 and the Qing Dynasty
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 of China. It was the first of what the Chinese called the unequal treaties because Britain had no obligations in return.

In the wake of China's military defeat, with British warships poised to attack the city, representatives from the British and Qing Empires negotiated aboard HMS Cornwallis
HMS Cornwallis (1813)
HMS Cornwallis was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 12 May 1813 at Bombay. She was built of teak. The capture of Java by USS Constitution delayed the completion of Cornwallis as Java had been bringing her copper sheathing from England.On 27 April 1815, Cornwallis...

 anchored at Nanking. On 29 August 1842, British representative Sir Henry Pottinger and Qing representatives, Qiying
Qiying was a Manchu statesman during the Qing Dynasty.His name in Chinese means "brave man of about 60 or 70".-Background and early career:...

, Yilibu
Yilibu , also spelt Elepoo, was a Chinese official of the Qing Dynasty. He was Viceroy of Liangjiang from 1839 to 1840. In 1842, he assisted in negotiating the Treaty of Nanking, which ended the First Opium War between the United Kingdom and China....

, and Niujian, signed the treaty. It consisted of thirteen articles and ratification by Queen Victoria and the Daoguang Emperor
Daoguang Emperor
The Daoguang Emperor was the eighth emperor of the Manchurian Qing dynasty and the sixth Qing emperor to rule over China, from 1820 to 1850.-Early years:...

 was exchanged nine months later.

Foreign trade

The fundamental purpose of the treaty was to change the framework of foreign trade which had been in force since 1760 (Canton System
Canton System
The Canton System served as a means for China to control trade with the west within its own country. Seen from the European view, it was a complement to the Old China Trade.-History:...

). The treaty abolished the monopoly of the Thirteen Factories
Thirteen Factories
The Thirteen Factories was an area of Canton , China, where the first foreign trade was allowed in the 18th century since the hai jin ban on maritime activities...

 on foreign trade (Article V) in Canton and instead five ports
Treaty ports
The treaty ports was the name given to the port cities in China, Japan, and Korea that were opened to foreign trade by the Unequal Treaties.-Chinese treaty ports:...

 were opened for trade, Canton
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

 (Shameen Island
Shamian Island
Shamian Island , formerly known as Shameen Island or Shamin Island, from its Cantonese pronunciation, is a sandbank island in the Liwan District of Guangzhou city, Guangdong province, China...

 until 1943), Amoy (Xiamen
Xiamen , also known as Amoy , is a major city on the southeast coast of the People's Republic of China. It is administered as a sub-provincial city of Fujian province with an area of and population of 3.53 million...

 until 1930), Foochowfoo (Fuzhou
Fuzhou is the capital and one of the largest cities in Fujian Province, People's Republic of China. Along with the many counties of Ningde, those of Fuzhou are considered to constitute the Mindong linguistic and cultural area....

), Ningpo (Ningbo
Ningbo is a seaport city of northeastern Zhejiang province, Eastern China. Holding sub-provincial administrative status, the municipality has a population of 7,605,700 inhabitants at the 2010 census whom 3,089,180 in the built up area made of 6 urban districts. It lies south of the Hangzhou Bay,...

) and Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

 (until 1943), where Britons were to be allowed to trade with anyone they wished. Britain also gained the right to send consuls to the treaty ports
Treaty ports
The treaty ports was the name given to the port cities in China, Japan, and Korea that were opened to foreign trade by the Unequal Treaties.-Chinese treaty ports:...

, which were given the right to communicate directly with local Chinese officials (Article II). The treaty stipulated that trade in the treaty ports should be subject to fixed tariffs, which were to be agreed upon between the British and the Qing governments (Article X).

Reparations and demobilisation

The Qing government
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China....

 was obliged to pay the British government six million silver dollars for the opium that had been confiscated by Lin Zexu
Lin Zexu
Lín Zéxú ; 30 August 1785 – 22 November 1850) was a Chinese scholar and official during the Qing Dynasty.He is most recognized for his conduct and his constant position on the "high moral ground" in his fight, as a "shepherd" of his people, against the opium trade in Guangzhou...

 in 1839 (Article IV), 3 million dollars in compensation for debts that the Hong merchants in Canton owed British merchants (Article V), and a further 12 million dollars in war reparations
War reparations
War reparations are payments intended to cover damage or injury during a war. Generally, the term war reparations refers to money or goods changing hands, rather than such property transfers as the annexation of land.- History :...

 for the cost of the war (VI). The total sum of 21 million dollars was to be paid in installments over three years and the Qing government would be charged an annual interest rate of 5 percent for the money that was not paid in a timely manner (Article VII).

The Qing government undertook to release all British prisoners of war (Article VIII) and to give a general amnesty to all Chinese subjects who had cooperated with the British during the war (Article IX).

The British on their part, undertook to withdraw all of their troops from Nanking and the Grand Canal after the emperor had given his assent to the treaty and the first instalment of money had been received (Article XII). British troops would remain in Gulangyu
Gulangyu may refer to:* Gulangyu Island, former Foreign Concession in Xiamen harbour* Gulangyu Subdistrict, formerly district, in Xiamen Municipality, China...

 and Zhoushan
Zhoushan or Zhoushan Archipelago New Area; formerly transliterated as Chusan, is a prefecture-level city in northeastern Zhejiang province of Eastern China. The only prefecture-level city of the People's Republic of China consisting solely of islands, it lies across the mouth of the Hangzhou Bay,...

 until the Qing government had paid reparations in full (Article XII).

Cession of Hong Kong

In 1841, a rough outline for a treaty was sent for the guidance of Plenipotentiary Charles Elliot
Charles Elliot
Sir Charles Elliot, KCB , was a British naval officer, diplomat, and colonial administrator. He became the first administrator of Hong Kong in 1841 while serving as both Plenipotentiary and Chief Superintendent of British Trade in China...

. It had a blank after the words "the cession of the islands of _____". Pottinger sent this old draft treaty on shore, with the letter s struck out of islands and the words Hong Kong placed after it. Robert Montgomery Martin
Robert Montgomery Martin
Robert Montgomery Martin was a British author and civil servant. He was the first Colonial Treasurer of Hong Kong from 1844 to 1845. He was a founding member of the Statistical Society of London , the Colonial Society , and the East India Association .- Further reading :*King, Frank H. H....

, treasurer of Hong Kong, wrote in an official report:

The terms of peace having been read, Elepoo the senior commissioner paused, expecting something more, and at length said "is that all?" Mr. Morrison
John Robert Morrison
John Robert Morrison was the second son from Robert Morrison's first marriage with Mary Morton. He was a translator, diplomat and missionary in China and the Far East, most closely associated with Canton City and Hong Kong...

 enquired of Lieutenant-colonel Malcolm if there was anything else, and being answered in the negative, Elepoo immediately and with great tact closed the negotiation by saying, "all shall be granted—it is settled—it is finished."

The Qing government agreed to make Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong Island is an island in the southern part of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It has a population of 1,289,500 and its population density is 16,390/km², as of 2008...

 a crown colony
Crown colony
A Crown colony, also known in the 17th century as royal colony, was a type of colonial administration of the English and later British Empire....

, ceding it to the British Queen "in perpetuity" to provide British traders with a harbour where they could unload their goods (Article III). Pottinger was later appointed the first governor of Hong Kong.

In 1860, the colony was extended with the Kowloon
Kowloon is an urban area in Hong Kong comprising the Kowloon Peninsula and New Kowloon. It is bordered by the Lei Yue Mun strait in the east, Mei Foo Sun Chuen and Stonecutter's Island in the west, Tate's Cairn and Lion Rock in the north, and Victoria Harbour in the south. It had a population of...

 peninsula and in 1898, the Second Convention of Peking
Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory
The Convention Between Great Britain and China Respecting an Extension of Hong Kong Territory or the Second Convention of Peking was a lease signed between Qing Dynasty and the United Kingdom in 1898.-Background:...

 further expanded the colony with the 99 year lease of the New Territories
New Territories
New Territories is one of the three main regions of Hong Kong, alongside Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula. It makes up 86.2% of Hong Kong's territory. Historically, it is the region described in The Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory...

. In 1984, the governments of the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 (PRC) concluded the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong
Sino-British Joint Declaration
The Sino-British Joint Declaration, formally known as the Joint Declaration of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Question of Hong Kong, was signed by the Prime Ministers, Zhao Ziyang and Margaret...

, under which the sovereignty of the leased territories, together with Hong Kong Island and Kowloon
Kowloon Peninsula
The Kowloon Peninsula is a peninsula that forms the southern part of the main landmass in the territory of Hong Kong. The Kowloon Peninsula and the area of New Kowloon are collectively known as Kowloon....

 (south of Boundary Street) ceded under the Convention of Peking
Convention of Peking
The Convention of Peking or the First Convention of Peking is the name used for three different unequal treaties, which were concluded between Qing China and the United Kingdom, France, and Russia.-Background:...

 (1860), was scheduled to transfer
Transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong
The transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China, referred to as ‘the Return’ or ‘the Reunification’ by the Chinese and ‘the Handover’ by others, took place on 1 July 1997...

 to the PRC on 1 July 1997.

Aftermath and legacy

Since the Treaty of Nanking was brief and with only general stipulations, the British and Chinese representatives agreed that a supplementary treaty be concluded in order to work out more detailed regulations for relations. On 3 October 1843, the supplementary Treaty of the Bogue
Treaty of the Bogue
The Treaty of the Bogue was an agreement between China and the United Kingdom, which was concluded in October 1843 in order to supplement the previous Treaty of Nanking...

 was concluded at Bocca Tigris
Bocca Tigris
The Bocca Tigris, Bogue, or Humen is a narrow strait in the Pearl River Delta, Guangdong, People's Republic of China, where the Pearl River discharges into the South China Sea. The strait is formed by the islands of Chuenpee and Anunghoy on the eastern side and Tycocktow on the western side...

 outside Canton.

Nevertheless, the treaties of 1842–43 left several unsettled issues. In particular it did not resolve the status of the opium
Opium is the dried latex obtained from the opium poppy . Opium contains up to 12% morphine, an alkaloid, which is frequently processed chemically to produce heroin for the illegal drug trade. The latex also includes codeine and non-narcotic alkaloids such as papaverine, thebaine and noscapine...

 trade. Although the American treaty of 1844
Treaty of Wanghia
The Treaty of Wanghia , is a diplomatic agreement between the Qing Dynasty of China and the United States, signed on 3 July 1844 in the Kun Iam Temple...

 explicitly banned Americans from selling opium, the trade continued as both the British and American merchants were only subject to the legal control of their consuls. The opium trade was later legalised in the Treaties of Tianjin, which China concluded after the Second Opium War
Second Opium War
The Second Opium War, the Second Anglo-Chinese War, the Second China War, the Arrow War, or the Anglo-French expedition to China, was a war pitting the British Empire and the Second French Empire against the Qing Dynasty of China, lasting from 1856 to 1860...


The Nanking Treaty ended the old Canton System
Canton System
The Canton System served as a means for China to control trade with the west within its own country. Seen from the European view, it was a complement to the Old China Trade.-History:...

 and created a new framework for China's foreign relations and overseas trade which would last for almost a hundred years. Most injurious were the fixed tariff, extraterritoriality, and the most favoured nation provisions. These were conceded partly out of expediency and partly because the Qing officials did not yet know of international law or understand the long term consequences. The tariff fixed at 5% was higher than the existing tariff, the concept of extraterritoriality seemed to put the burden on foreigners to police themselves, and most favoured nation treatment seemed to set the foreigners one against the others. Although China regained tariff autonomy in the 1920s, extraterritoriality was not formally abolished until 1943.

See also

  • Imperialism in Asia
    Imperialism in Asia
    Imperialism in Asia traces its roots back to the late 15th century with a series of voyages that sought a sea passage to India in the hope of establishing direct trade between Europe and Asia in spices. Before 1500 European economies were largely self-sufficient, only supplemented by minor trade...

  • History of Hong Kong
    History of Hong Kong
    Hong Kong began as a coastal island geographically located off the southern coast of China. While pockets of settlements had taken place in the region with archaeological findings dating back thousands of years, regular written records were not made...

  • Anglo-Chinese relations
    Anglo-Chinese relations
    British–Chinese relations , also known as Sino-British relations and Anglo-Chinese relations, refers to the interstate relations between China and the United Kingdom. Although on opposing sides of the Cold War, both countries were allies during World War II, and are members of the UN...

  • Henry Collen
    Henry Collen
    Henry Collen was a miniature portrait painter to Queen Victoria and the Duchess of Kent. Later in life he turned to photography and was on the cutting edge in photography in mid-19th century in London...

     (photographed the treaty)
  • Opium War

External links

original publication
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