Second Opium War (1857 to 1860)
Second Opium War and the Treaty of Tientsin
Despite the new ports available for trade under the Treaty of Nanking, by 1854 Britain's imports from China had reached nine times their exports to the country. At the same time British imperial finances came under further pressure from the expense of administering the burgeoning colonies of Hong Kong and Singapore in addition to India. Only opium could balance the deficit. During 1856–1860, British forces fought towards legalization of the opium trade, to open all of China to British merchants, and to exempt foreign imports from internal transit duties
With China humiliated and Britain seeking further gains, the situation remained tense. The spark for the second conflict occurred in 1856 when Chinese officers searched a Chinese owned (but British registered) ship and lowered the British flag. In response to this act of lowering the British flag, the British once again dispatched a military expedition, and this time they were joined by the French, who also had aspirations in China and were protesting about the murder of one of their missionaries in the country.
As before, the European powers were too strong for the Chinese. A peace agreement was reached in 1858 resulting in a second group of treaty ports being opened up.
Treaty of Tientsin (1858)
Signing of Tientsin Treaty
By the terms of the Treaty of Tientsin (1858) the Chinese opened new ports to trading and allowed foreigners with passports to travel in the interior. The United States and Russia gained the same privileges in separate treaties.
These treaties opened 11 more treaty ports to Western trade. The major points of the treaty were:
- Britain, France, Russia, and the U.S. would have the right to establish diplomatic legations (small embassies) in Peking (a closed city at the time)
- Ten more Chinese treaty ports would be opened for foreign trade, including Niuzhuang, Tamsui, Hankou, and Nanjing
- The right of all foreign vessels including commercial ships to navigate freely on the Yangtze River
- The right of foreigners to travel in the internal regions of China, which had been formerly banned
- China was to pay an indemnity of four million taels of silver to Britain and two million to France.
In 1859, one year after the signing of Treaty of Tientsin, the Qing government broke off the deal. This led, in 1860, to the arrival of an even larger Anglo-French force, which stormed Beijing. By October, the Chinese had been forced to accept British and French terms that included the right of foreign powers to keep diplomats in Beijing.The opium trade was legalized and Christians were granted full civil rights, including the right to own property, and the right to evangelize.
Please click for Original Text for the Treaty of Tientsin
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