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British Hong Kong

In the 19th century, British trade of Chinese commodities like tea, silk, and porcelain was high but Chinese interest in European manufactured goods was insignificant so that Chinese goods could only be bought with precious metals. To reduce the trade imbalance, the British sold large amounts of Indian opium to China.

In 1839, the Daoguang Emperor rejected proposals to legalize and tax opium and ordered imperial commissioner Lin Zexu to eradicate the opium trade. The commissioner destroyed opium stockpiles and halted all foreign trade, triggering a British military response and the First Opium War. The Qing surrendered early in the war and ceded Hong Kong Island to the United Kingdom in 1842.

Piracy, disease, and hostile Qing policies initially prevented the government from attracting commerce. Conditions on the island improved during the Taiping Rebellion in the 1850s, when many Chinese refugees, including wealthy merchants, fled mainland turbulence and settled in the colony. Further tensions between the British and Qing over the opium trade escalated into the Second Opium War. The Qing were again defeated, and forced to give up the Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutter's Island in the Convention of Peking. By the end of this war, Hong Kong had evolved from a transient colonial outpost into a major port.

The colony was further expanded in 1898 when Britain obtained a 99-year lease of the New Territories. Hong Kong was transferred to China on 1 July 1997, after 156 years of British rule.
Hong Kong--Sampans at a suburb
1846
1846
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1993
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1993
188 Media in collectionpage 1 of 2
Hong Kong &c. as seen from the anchorage

Hong Kong &c. as seen from the anchorage

Shows points of interest. Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image. Previous call number: G7823.H45A35 1846 .H4 AACR2: 651/1; 710/1

Native of Hong Kong

Native of Hong Kong

Photograph shows a Chinese woman, full-length portrait, standing, facing left, holding an umbrella. Title from front of item. Photograph taken by John Thomson in Shanghai, 1870-72. (Source: Regine Thiriez, 2009... more

[Portraits of a Chinese boy with a tray, a woman from Hong Kong, a group of laborers, and three women]

[Portraits of a Chinese boy with a tray, a woman from Hong Kong, a gro...

Title devised by Library staff. Captions on front of item: "Boy with tray" (upper left); "Native of Hong Kong" (upper right); "Group of coolie" (lower left); and "Group of Chinese" (lower right). Captions on ba... more

Grant's world tour China. Hong Kong. Fountain, gardens, and welcome arch. May 16, 1879

Grant's world tour China. Hong Kong. Fountain, gardens, and welcome ar...

Photograph shows pool, fountain, and welcome arch in garden. Title from item. No. 73.

Grant's world tour China. Hong Kong. "The grove." May 16, 1879

Grant's world tour China. Hong Kong. "The grove." May 16, 1879

Photograph shows tree-lined path. Title from item. No. 44.

Hong Kong--Sedan chair and rickshaw

Hong Kong--Sedan chair and rickshaw

One man being pulled in rickshaw and another man being carried on sedan chair, Hong Kong. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress).

Channel to Hong Kong and Macao

Channel to Hong Kong and Macao

Relief shown by shading. Depths shown by soundings. Includes 3 insets. "89 & 102 minories." Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image.

The silver lining to an opium cloud / MA Woolf.

The silver lining to an opium cloud / MA Woolf.

Illustration shows a serene Chinese man sitting at a table, smoking opium in a long opium pipe while being scolded by his wife; a young child is hanging onto the skirt of her kimono. There is a sign that states... more

Chart no. 1, coast of China includes between Hong Kong and the River Yang-Tse /

Chart no. 1, coast of China includes between Hong Kong and the River Y...

Relief shown by hachures. Depth shown by soundings. Includes 5 insets. In upper right corner: Chart no. 181. "Cor. VIII, 83-IX, 83-88X, XI, 89, VII, 90.III." Available also through the Library of Congress Web s... more

Hong Kong--Hong Kong Club

Hong Kong--Hong Kong Club

Exterior of club building. Photo by Mee Fong Studio, Hong Kong. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress). No. 157.

Hong Kong--Sampans at a suburb

Hong Kong--Sampans at a suburb

Sampans in water. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress).

Hong Kong--Cheap labor

Hong Kong--Cheap labor

Laborer carrying two bags on pole across his shoulders. No. 15. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress). Photo by Ming Yuen, Hong Kong.

Hong Kong--Aberdeen Harbor

Hong Kong--Aberdeen Harbor

Sampans on harbor, Hong Kong. No. G(?) 24. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress). Copyright by Mumeya & Sano, Hong Kong.

Hong Kong--Post Office building

Hong Kong--Post Office building

Street scene with Post Office, Hong Kong. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress). Mee Fong Studio. No. 133.

Chinese Americans in an opium den

Chinese Americans in an opium den

Title devised by cataloger. Detroit Publishing Co. no. 30816. Gift; State Historical Society of Colorado; 1949.

Hong Kong--Wharf scene

Hong Kong--Wharf scene

Crowd of vendors on wharf, holding up wares. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress).

Hong Kong--Central market

Hong Kong--Central market

Mee Fong Studio. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress). No. 153.

Hong Kong--Dock workers

Hong Kong--Dock workers

Laborers pulling loaded cart on wharf, Hong Kong. Photo by De Cou. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress). Copyright by Ewing Galloway, New York.

[Exterior of Peak Hotel, Hong Kong, China]

[Exterior of Peak Hotel, Hong Kong, China]

Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection.

Hong Kong--Victoria Peak

Hong Kong--Victoria Peak

Bird's-eye view of buildings on mountain, Hong Kong. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress). Mumeya & Sano, Hong Kong. Copyright by Underwood & Underwood, New York.

Coolies with basket yokes in Hong Kong harbor

Coolies with basket yokes in Hong Kong harbor

Title devised by cataloger. Possibly by William Henry Jackson for the World Transportation Commission. "827" and "1624" on negative. No Detroit Publishing Co. no. Gift; State Historical Society of Colorado; 1949.

Hong Kong - Kowloon city--Rock of King Sung / Mee Fong Studio, Hong Kong.

Hong Kong - Kowloon city--Rock of King Sung / Mee Fong Studio, Hong Ko...

Large rock on top of hill. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress).

Queens Road, Hong Kong

Queens Road, Hong Kong

Title devised by cataloger. Attribution based on World Transportation Commission lantern slide W7-812. "Fung Wah, photographer and portrait painter" on sign in upper right store; Globe Hotel at left. No Detroit... more

The opium fiend, Chinatown, San Francisco

The opium fiend, Chinatown, San Francisco

Title from a similar image in: Old Chinatown : a book of pictures / by Arnold Genthe ; with text by Will Irwin. New York : M. Kennerley, 1913, p. 141. Alternate title from a similar image in: Pictures of old Ch... more

In an opium joint, Chinatown, San Francisco, Cal., U. S. A
[British buildings in Statue Square, Hong Kong, China]

[British buildings in Statue Square, Hong Kong, China]

No. 140. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection.

Pandanu tree and Japanese girls -- Hong Kong, China

Pandanu tree and Japanese girls -- Hong Kong, China

D17527 U.S. Copyright Office. Title from item.

Hong Kong--Supreme Court

Hong Kong--Supreme Court

Mee Fong Studio. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress). No. 127.

View from deck of a Hong Kong steamer at the landing, Canton, China

View from deck of a Hong Kong steamer at the landing, Canton, China

D15649 U.S. Copyright Office. Title from item. No. 2. Copyright 1900 by Underwood & Underwood.

Fair Damsels in the Botanical Gardens of Hong Kong, China

Fair Damsels in the Botanical Gardens of Hong Kong, China

D15719 U.S. Copyright Office. Title from item.

Chinese coolies fishing, Hong Kong, China

Chinese coolies fishing, Hong Kong, China

6559 U.S. Copyright Office. Title from item.

A jungle of tree ferns near Hong Kong, China

A jungle of tree ferns near Hong Kong, China

D15665 U.S. Copyright Office. Title from item.

Hong Kong--Waterfront scene

Hong Kong--Waterfront scene

Bird's-eye view of Hong Kong waterfront. Photo by Mee Fong Studio, Hong Kong. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress).

Fortifications, Peak Hotel and palatial residences -- from mountains top, above Hong Kong
Opium trader, Hong Kong harbor, greatest opium port in the world, China

Opium trader, Hong Kong harbor, greatest opium port in the world, Chin...

Small boat in congested harbor, with large ships in background.

Gigantic honeysuckle in Happy Valley Cemetery. Hong Kong, China

Gigantic honeysuckle in Happy Valley Cemetery. Hong Kong, China

H24486 U.S. Copyright Office. Title from item. No. 124. Copyright 1902 by C.H. Graves.

A Chinese junk, Hong Kong Harbor, Hong Kong, China

A Chinese junk, Hong Kong Harbor, Hong Kong, China

H38932 U.S. Copyright Office. No. 506. Title from item.

Chinese opium joint

Chinese opium joint

Photograph shows Chinese men lying in opium joint smoking. Copyright 1905 by Herbert C. Forbes, Portland, Oreg. Title from copyright registration.

Chinese junks in the harbor, Hong Kong, China

Chinese junks in the harbor, Hong Kong, China

F38016 U.S. Copyright Office. No. 160 Title from item.

The lighthouse station at Hong Kong, China
The lighthouse station at Hong Kong, China

The lighthouse station at Hong Kong, China

F38015 U.S. Copyright Office. No. 159 Title from item.

The police station at Hong Kong, China

The police station at Hong Kong, China

F38014 U.S. Copyright Office. No. 158. Title from item.

[Two Chinese men, on narcotics in opium den]

[Two Chinese men, on narcotics in opium den]

H127632 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Underwood & Underwood. No. U-41933. Wittemann Collection.

View from the wharf, Hong Kong, China

View from the wharf, Hong Kong, China

No. 04701. Title from item.

Gen. Sir C.A. Anderson

Gen. Sir C.A. Anderson

Photograph shows Lieutenant General Sir Charles Alexander Anderson, (1857-1940), Commander of British Troops in South China. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2014)

Hongkong is one of many ports in the Far East where the Red Cross is on the lookout. Putting into port in Peru

Hongkong is one of many ports in the Far East where the Red Cross is o...

No. 4335; 12476. Title from negative or negative sleeve. Date based on date of negatives in same series. Gift; American National Red Cross 1944 and 1952. General information about the American National Red Cros... more

[British propaganda poster intended for Chinese Muslim audience]

[British propaganda poster intended for Chinese Muslim audience]

Poster showing portrait of Imperial Governor Schnee, copy of a letter by him, in German, directing the suppression of Islam in Africa, and two photographs of Fort Mosi (Moshi, Tanzania?) where the letter was fo... more

Treasury, Internal Revenue Dept., Washington, D.C.; methods of smuggling opium

Treasury, Internal Revenue Dept., Washington, D.C.; methods of smuggli...

Title from unverified data provided by the National Photo Company on the negative or negative sleeve. Date from negatives in same range. Gift; Herbert A. French; 1947. General information about the National Pho... more

Treasury, Internal Revenue Dept., Washington, D.C.; opium smokers outfit

Treasury, Internal Revenue Dept., Washington, D.C.; opium smokers outf...

Title from unverified data provided by the National Photo Company on the negative or negative sleeve. Date from negatives in same range. Gift; Herbert A. French; 1947. General information about the National Pho... more

[Interior of Chinese lodging house (opium den?), San Francisco, California]

[Interior of Chinese lodging house (opium den?), San Francisco, Califo...

Four Chinese men smoking opium(?) pipes in Chinatown.

Singing girls, Hong Kong, China

Singing girls, Hong Kong, China

No. 23910. Title from item.

Hong Kong football [soccer] team

Hong Kong football [soccer] team

Photograph by Ming Yuan, Hong Kong. Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress).

[Opium den on Malinta Street, Manila, Philippine Islands]

[Opium den on Malinta Street, Manila, Philippine Islands]

Photo shows an interior view of an opium den with several men reclining, smoking long opium pipes. Title devised by Library staff Forms part of: Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection (Library of Congress).

Nationalist China, Hong Kong, and Macao.

Nationalist China, Hong Kong, and Macao.

"For official use only." Includes inset of Hong Kong and Macao, glossary, and index to Taiwan's administrative divisions. Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image. LC copy mount... more

[Miss April Lou, teacher at PS 1, Manhattan, with six Chinese children, recent arrivals from Hong Kong and Formosa, who are holding up placards giving his or her Chinese name (both in ideographs and in transliteration) and the name to be entered upon the official school records] / World Telegram & Sun photo by Fred Palumbo.

[Miss April Lou, teacher at PS 1, Manhattan, with six Chinese children...

NYWT&S staff photo. New York World-Telegram & Sun Collection.

Opium Tin and Pipes, Soy Jug, and Bowl Fragments

Opium Tin and Pipes, Soy Jug, and Bowl Fragments

Late 19th century Chinese artifacts; photographed at the Lowie Museum, Berkeley

Model of the top of Sino Tower (Harbour Road Tower), Hong Kong, an entry for a 1989 competition sponsored by the Sino Land Company for the tallest building in Asia

Model of the top of Sino Tower (Harbour Road Tower), Hong Kong, an ent...

Title devised by Library staff. Forms part of: The Paul Rudolph Archive. Unprocessed in PR 13 CN 2001.126, PMR-2538, no. 2

[Sino Tower, Hong Kong, China. Photograph of model]

[Sino Tower, Hong Kong, China. Photograph of model]

Title devised by Library staff. Forms part of: The Paul Rudolph Archive. Unprocessed in PR 13 CN 2001:126.

Model detail of Sino Tower (Harbour Road Tower), Hong Kong, an entry for a 1989 competition sponsored by the Sino Land Company for the tallest building in Asia

Model detail of Sino Tower (Harbour Road Tower), Hong Kong, an entry f...

Title devised by Library staff. Forms part of: The Paul Rudolph Archive. Unprocessed in PR 13 CN 2001.126, PMR-2538, no. 1

Queen Street, Hong Kong, China

Queen Street, Hong Kong, China

59589-BB U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Strohmeyer & Wyman. On mount: Sold only by Underwood & Underwood.

Arrival of a Chinese fishing boat, Hong Kong, China

Arrival of a Chinese fishing boat, Hong Kong, China

59602-BB U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Strohmeyer & Wyman. On mount: Sold only by Underwood & Underwood.

One of Hong Kong's business streets, China

One of Hong Kong's business streets, China

59603-BB U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Strohmeyer & Wyman. On mount: Sold only by Underwood & Underwood.