Treaty of Nanking

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The Treaty of Nanking (also spelt Nanjing in pinyin) was a treaty signed on 29 August 1842 to mark the end of the First Opium War (1839–42) between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Qing Dynasty of China. It was the first of what the Chinese called the unequal treaties because Britain had no obligations in return.[1]

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 anchored at Nanking. On 29 August 1842, British representative Sir Henry Pottinger and Qing representatives, Qiying, Elepoo, and Niujian, signed the treaty. It consisted of thirteen articles and was ratified by Queen Victoria and the Daoguang Emperor nine months later.

Contents

Terms

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). The treaty abolished the monopoly of the Thirteen Factories on foreign trade (Article V) in Canton and instead five ports were opened for trade, Canton (Shameen Island until 1943), Amoy (Xiamen until 1930), Foochow (Fuzhou), Ningpo (Ningbo) and Shanghai (until 1943),[2] where Britons were to be allowed to trade with anyone they wished. Britain also gained the right to send consuls to the 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 demobilization

The Qing government was obliged to pay the British government six million silver dollars for the opium that had been confiscated by Lin Zexu 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 compensation 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).

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