si kiang

Treaty ports

This article refers to ports in East Asia. For the Anglo-Irish Treaty ports, see Treaty Ports (Ireland).

Treaty ports were port cities in China, Japan and Korea opened to foreign trade by the Unequal Treaties.

The first five treaty ports in China were established at the conclusion of the First Opium War by the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842. The second group was set up following the end of the Arrow War in 1860 and eventually more than 80 treaty ports were established in China alone, as well as more in other East Asian nations.

Foreigners, who were centered in foreign sections, newly built on the edges of existing port cities, enjoyed legal extraterritoriality as stipulated in Unequal Treaties. Foreign clubs, racecourses, and churches were established in major treaty ports. Some of these port areas were directly leased by foreign powers such as in the concessions in China, effectively removing them from the control of local governments.

Japanese treaty ports

Japan opened two ports to foreign trade, Shimoda and Hakodate, in 1854 (Convention of Kanagawa).

It designated five more ports, Yokohama, Kobe, Nagasaki, Hakodate and Niigata, in 1858 with the Treaty of Amity and Commerce.

Major treaty ports in China

Leased territories

In these the foreign powers obtained, under a lease treaty, not only the right to trade and exemptions for their subjects, but a truly colonial control over each concession territory, de facto annexation:

List of Chinese treaty ports from the Catholic Encyclopaedia

In the early 20th century, these were the treaty ports (many name forms differ from other Western sources) in China:

I. Northern Ports

  • New-chwang, in the imperial Shen-king province, in Manchuria, in accordance with the British Treaty of T'ien-tsin, 1858; custom office opened 9 May 1864; Chinese population, 74,000.
  • Ching-wang-tao, in Chi-li province, also in Manchuria, in accordance with an imperial decree, 31 March 1898; opened 15 December 1901; Chinese population, 5,000.
  • T'ien-tsin, also in Chi-li, in accordance with the British and French Peking Conventions, 1860; opened May, 1861; Chinese population, 750,000.
  • Che-fu, in Shang-tung, in accordance with British and French treaties of T'ien-tsin, 1858; opened March, 1862; Chinese population, 100,000.
  • Kiao-chou, also in Shang-tung, German Convention, 6 March 1898; opened 1 July 1899.

II. Yangtze river Ports

  • Ch'ung-k'ing, in Sze-ch'wan province; opened November 1890; Chinese population, 702,000.
  • I-ch'ang, in Hu-pe, in accordance with Che-fu Convention, 1876; opened 1 April 1877; Chinese population, 50,000.
  • Sha-shi, also in Hu-pe, treaty of Shimoneseki, 1895; opened 1 October 1876; Chinese population, 85,000.
  • Chang-sha, in Hu-nan, opened 1 July 1904; Chinese population, 230,000.
  • Yo-chou, also in Hu-nan, imperial decree of 31 March 1898; opened 13 November 1899; Chinese population, 20,000.
  • Han-kou, also in Hu-pe, provincial regulations, 1861; opened January 1862; Chinese population, 530,000.
  • Kiu-kiang, in Kiang-si, same regulations; opened January 1862; Chinese population, 36,000.
  • Wu-hu, in Ngan-hwei, Che-fu Convention, 1876; opened 1 April 1877; Chinese population, 123,000.
  • Nan-king, in Kiang-su, French Treaty of T'ien-tsin, 1858; opened 1 May 1899; Chinese population, 261,000.
  • Chin-kiang, also in Kiang-su, British Treaty, 1858; opened April, 1861; Chinese population, 170,000.

III. Central Ports

IV. South Coast Ports

  • San-tuao, in Fu-kien province, imperial decree of 31 March 1898; opened 1 May 1899; Chinese population 8000.
  • Fu-chou, also in Fu-kien, Nan-king Treaty, 1842; opened July, 1861; Chinese population 624,000.
  • Amoy, also in Fu-kien, Nan-king Treaty, 1842; opened April, 1862; Chinese population 114,000.
  • Canton = Kanton, in the homonymous province Kwang-tung, Nan-king Treaty, 1842; opened October 1859; Chinese population 900,000.
  • Kow-loon, also in Kwang-tung; opened April, 1887;
  • Lappa, again in Kwang-tung; opened 27 June, 1871;
  • Kong-moon, in Kwang-tung; opened 7 March, 1904; Chinese population, 55,000.
  • San-shui, also in Kwang-tung; Anglo-Chinese Convention, 4 February 1897; opened 4 June 1897; Chinese population, 5000.
  • Swatow, also in Kwang-tung, English, French, and American Treaty of T'ien-tsin, 1858; opened January 1860; Chinese population 65,000.
  • Wu-chou, in Kwang-si; same convention; opened 4 June, 1897; Chinese population, 59,000.
  • Kiung-chou (Hoy-hou), on? Hai-nan *, in? Kwang-tung; French, and English Treaties of T'ien-tsin, 1858; opened April, 1876; Chinese population, 38,000.
  • Pak-hoi, also in Kwang-tung; Che-fu Convention, 1876; opened April, 1877; Chinese population, 20,000.

V. Frontier Ports

  • Lung-chou, in Kwang-si province; French Treaty, 25 June 1887; opened 1 June 1899; Chinese population, 12,000.
  • Meng-tze, in Yun-nan; French Treaty, 1887; opened 30 April 1889; Chinese population, 15,000.
  • Sze-mao, also in Yun-nan; French Convention, 1895; British, 1896; opened 2 January 1897; Chinese population, 15,000.
  • Ten-yueh or Momein, also in Yun-nan; Convention of 4 February 1897; opened 8 May 1902; Chinese population, 10,000.
  • Ya-tung, in (?) Tibet; opened 1 May 1894.
  • Nan-ning, also in Kwang-si, opened by imperial decree, 3 February 1899, but had not (yet?) a customs office.

According to the customs statistics, 6,917,000 Chinese inhabited the treaty ports in 1906. The foreign population included 1837 firms and 38,597 persons, mainly Europeans (British 9356, French 2189, German 1939, Portuguese 3184, Italians 786, Spaniards 389, Belgians 297, Austrians 236, Russians 273, Danes 209, Dutch 225, Norwegians 185, Swedes 135), Americans 3447, Brazilians 16, Japanese 15,548, Koreans 47, subjects of non-treaty powers 236.


  • Japan's Treaty Ports and Foreign Settlements: The Uninvited Guests, 1858-1899 by J.E. Hoare (RoutledgeCurzon, 1995) ISBN 978-1873410264

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