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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 2 of 2
Chinese coolies, Hong Kong, China

Chinese coolies, Hong Kong, China

Chinese laborers gathered on street outside multi-story building. 59601 U.S. Copyright Office. Title transcribed from item. Copyright by Strohmeyer & Wyman.

In the harbor of Hong Kong, China

In the harbor of Hong Kong, China

59599-BB U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Strohmeyer & Wyman.

A street scene in Hong Kong, China

A street scene in Hong Kong, China

People on street, lined with multi-story buildings with shops on ground level. 59604 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Strohmeyer & Wyman.

Queen Street, Hong Kong, China
Queen's Road, Hong Kong

Queen's Road, Hong Kong

People moving about street, fountain in background. D17519 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by R.Y. Young.

The way to the landing pier, Hong Kong, China

The way to the landing pier, Hong Kong, China

D15707 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Underwood & Underwood.

Queen's Road, from Ice-house Road, - looking west - Hong Kong, China

Queen's Road, from Ice-house Road, - looking west - Hong Kong, China

Busy commercial street, lined with rickshaws. D15599 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Underwood & Underwood. Similar image: LC-USZ62-120620.

Indian street musician and child, at Hong Kong, China

Indian street musician and child, at Hong Kong, China

D15672 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Underwood & Underwood.

Front Street, Hong Kong

Front Street, Hong Kong

D17524 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by R.Y. Young.

A glimpse into the Parsee Cemetery, Hong Kong, China

A glimpse into the Parsee Cemetery, Hong Kong, China

Man sitting at bottom of stairs which are decorated with potted plants. D15660 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Underwood & Underwood.

In the Protestant Cemetery at "Happy Valley," Hong Kong, China

In the Protestant Cemetery at "Happy Valley," Hong Kong, China

D15663 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Underwood & Underwood.

Queen's Road from Ice-house Road, - looking west - Hong Kong, China

Queen's Road from Ice-house Road, - looking west - Hong Kong, China

D15600 U.S. Copyright Office. Similiar image: LC-USZ62-120612. Copyright by Underwood & Underwood.

Japanese ladies under a beautiful Mauritius Palm (Chrysolidocarpus) Public Gardens, Hong Kong, China

Japanese ladies under a beautiful Mauritius Palm (Chrysolidocarpus) Pu...

D15721 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Underwood & Underwood.

Unloading a Junk, Hong Kong

Unloading a Junk, Hong Kong

2 Chinese unloading a barrel, suspended from a pole over their shoulders, from a boat. Stereo copyrighted by R.Y. Young - American Stereoscopic Co. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. C... more

Picturesque floating houses Hong Kong

Picturesque floating houses Hong Kong

D17528 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by R.Y. Young.

Fish market - Hong Kong, China

Fish market - Hong Kong, China

6610 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by R.Y. Young.

Fair damsels in the Botanical Gardens of Hong Kong, China

Fair damsels in the Botanical Gardens of Hong Kong, China

D15720 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Underwood & Underwood.

Looking northeast over the bay, from the New Market, Hong Kong, China

Looking northeast over the bay, from the New Market, Hong Kong, China

Several people gathered on pier with boats crowded on both sides, a few ships in the background, mountains in distant background. D15699 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Underwood & Underwood.

The spot two Celestials deigned to grace, - in the Botanical Gardens, Hong Kong

The spot two Celestials deigned to grace, - in the Botanical Gardens, ...

Two Chinese women at the edge of man-made pond in Hong Kong's Botanical Gardens. D15718 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Underwood & Underwood.

On the Praya, (Water-front) harbor of Hong Kong, China

On the Praya, (Water-front) harbor of Hong Kong, China

Several Chinese people standing on dock of congested harbor. H11280 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by H.C. White Co. No. 3703.

Beautiful villas and roadways - from highest point above Hong Kong

Beautiful villas and roadways - from highest point above Hong Kong

H2544 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Underwood & Underwood. Similiar photograph: LC-USZ62-118541.

Fortifications, Peak Hotel and palatial residences--from mountain top, above Hong Kong
Palatial homes of Hong Kong's Merchant Princes on the mountain side above the city - from Bowen Road

Palatial homes of Hong Kong's Merchant Princes on the mountain side ab...

H2556 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Underwood & Underwood.

A Chinese festival party, Hong Kong, China

A Chinese festival party, Hong Kong, China

Group of people walking down street. H11284 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by H.C. White Co. No. 3707.

A street in the native quarter, Hong Kong, China

A street in the native quarter, Hong Kong, China

H11281 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by H.C. White Co. No. 3704.

Queen Street, looking northwest from the Colonnade, Hong Kong, China
Fortifications, Peak Hotel and palatial residences--from mountain top, above Hong Kong
Beautiful villas and roadways - from highest point above Hong Kong

Beautiful villas and roadways - from highest point above Hong Kong

H2543 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Underwood & Underwood.

Britain's rich mart of the Orient - Hong Kong, from the harbor

Britain's rich mart of the Orient - Hong Kong, from the harbor

View of Hong Kong, with men on boats in foreground. H2551 U.S. Copyright Office. Photograph taken by photographer James Ricalton during his trip to China in 1900. (Source: China through the stereoscope; a jour... more

European ladies shopping in Hong Kong, China

European ladies shopping in Hong Kong, China

H1647 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by R.Y. Young.

Singing girls, Hong Kong, China

Singing girls, Hong Kong, China

Two young girls in traditional dress, seated, one holding musical instrument. H2211 U.S. Copyright Office. No. 14165.

The museum from the Colonnade, Hong Kong, China

The museum from the Colonnade, Hong Kong, China

H11282 U.S. Copyright Office. No. 3705.

City office building, Hong Kong, China

City office building, Hong Kong, China

H3481 U.S. Copyright Office. No. 14368.

Looking across the bay to Kowloon and mainland, from Bowen Road, above Hong Kong

Looking across the bay to Kowloon and mainland, from Bowen Road, above...

H2549 U.S. Copyright Office. Photograph taken by photographer James Ricalton during his trip to China in 1900. (Source: China through the stereoscope; a journey through the dragon empire at the time of the Box... more

The American Consulate, Hong Kong, China

The American Consulate, Hong Kong, China

H11285 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by H.C. White Co. No. 3708.

A glimpse in Happy Valley Cemetery--Hong Kong, China

A glimpse in Happy Valley Cemetery--Hong Kong, China

Man seated at the base of fountain with potted plants on ledges, in a garden at Happy Valley Cemetery. H24485 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by C.H. Graves. On mount: The Universal Art Photo Co., Philadelphia. No. 123.

A group of Chinese school boys, Hong Kong, China

A group of Chinese school boys, Hong Kong, China

H24488 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by C.H. Graves. On mount: The Universal Photo Art Co. No. 126.

Victoria Peak from Hong Kong harbor, China

Victoria Peak from Hong Kong harbor, China

H24464 U.S. Copyright Office. On mount: The Universal Photo Art Co. No. 102.

Looking east over the bay and fishing village of Shaukiwan, China

Looking east over the bay and fishing village of Shaukiwan, China

H24535 U.S. Copyright Office. On mount: The Universal Photo Art Co. No. 179.

Queen's buildings along the waterfront, Hong Kong, China

Queen's buildings along the waterfront, Hong Kong, China

H24467 U.S. Copyright Office. "The Universal Photo Art Co" No. 105.

Victoria Peak and residences, Hong Kong, China

Victoria Peak and residences, Hong Kong, China

H24473 U.S. Copyright Office. No. 111. "The Universal Photo Art Co."

Queen's Road on Chinese New Years Day, Hong Kong, China

Queen's Road on Chinese New Years Day, Hong Kong, China

H24470 U.S. Copyright Office. On mount: The Universal Photo Art Co. No. 108.

The great stone quarries, Hong Kong, China

The great stone quarries, Hong Kong, China

H24544 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by C.H. Graves. On mount: The Universal Photo Art Co. No. 138.

Roman Catholic cathedral at Hong Kong, China

Roman Catholic cathedral at Hong Kong, China

H24483 U.S. Copyright Office. On mount: The Universal Photo Art Co. No. 121.

Ancient and modern--Chinese junk and British battleship, Hong Kong, China

Ancient and modern--Chinese junk and British battleship, Hong Kong, Ch...

H24466 U.S. Copyright Office. On mount: The Universal Photo Art Co. Copyright by C.H. Graves. No. 104.

A typical street in Hong Kong, China

A typical street in Hong Kong, China

H24474 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by C.H. Graves. On mount: The Universal Photo Art Co. No. 112.

The great English derby at Hong Kong--A close finish

The great English derby at Hong Kong--A close finish

H24475 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by C.H. Graves. On mount: The Universal Photo Art Co. No. 113.

The wharves at Hong Kong--China

The wharves at Hong Kong--China

Workers going about their tasks on a busy wharf. H24468 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by C.H. Graves. On mount: Universal Photo Art Co. No. 106.

A typical fishing family--Shaukiwan, China

A typical fishing family--Shaukiwan, China

H24537 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright 1902 by C.H. Graves. On mount: Universal Photo Art Co. No. 181.

Chinaman drying fish on the shore at Shaukiwan, China

Chinaman drying fish on the shore at Shaukiwan, China

H24540 U.S. Copyright Office. Title transcribed from item. On Mount: The Universal Photo Art Co. No. 184.

Naval brigade of H.M.S. Albion drilling at Hong Kong--China

Naval brigade of H.M.S. Albion drilling at Hong Kong--China

Troops in line formation on open field. H24480 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by C.H. Graves. On mount: The Universal Photo Art Co., Philadelphia. No. 118.

On the fo'castle of H.M.S. Terrible. Hong Kong, China

On the fo'castle of H.M.S. Terrible. Hong Kong, China

Sailors posed on ship. H24476 U.S. Copyright Office. No. 114.

On the docks in Hong Kong Harbor, China

On the docks in Hong Kong Harbor, China

H38931 U.S. Copyright Office. No. H. 502.

Chinese laundry, Hong Kong, China

Chinese laundry, Hong Kong, China

Person laying laundered clothes on large rocks. H38935 U.S. Copyright Office.

Kowloon Street, in Hong Kong, China

Kowloon Street, in Hong Kong, China

H38941 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by T.W. Ingersoll. No. H. 517.

Some of the beautiful terrace homes, Hong Kong, China

Some of the beautiful terrace homes, Hong Kong, China

H78881 U.S. Copyright Office. No. 12053.

The renowned prospect from "The Peak," Hong Kong, China, showing town and harbor
Queen's Road, the principal thoroughfare of Hong Kong, China

Queen's Road, the principal thoroughfare of Hong Kong, China

H76010 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Whiting Brothers. No. 9090.

A block of tenements in which some of China's floating population dwell, Hong Kong
Monument to Queen Victoria, Hong Kong, China

Monument to Queen Victoria, Hong Kong, China

Two buildings and monument in background, rickshaw in foreground. H87712 U.S. Copyright Office. No. 12061.

In the harbor of Hong Kong - a Chinese junk passing

In the harbor of Hong Kong - a Chinese junk passing

H96530 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by H.C. White & Co. No. 4451.

Street view, Hong Kong

Street view, Hong Kong

H121079 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by J.J. Killelea & Co. No. 04707.

Queen's Road, Hong Kong, China

Queen's Road, Hong Kong, China

H121080 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by J.J. Killelea & Co. On mount: United Photographic Company. New York; The "Eureka" Stereograph. No. 04710.

Where "east and west meet" a modern thoroughfare in picturesque Hong Kong

Where "east and west meet" a modern thoroughfare in picturesque Hong K...

Busy commercial street with pedestrians, rickshaws, and cable car. J185888 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Underwood & Underwood. No. U119887.

A Chinese junk in Hongkong Harbor, China

A Chinese junk in Hongkong Harbor, China

J238577 U.S. Copyright Office. No. 14560.

A genuine Chinese laundry, Hongkong, China

A genuine Chinese laundry, Hongkong, China

Washed clothes strewn on rocks to dry. J238574 U.S. Copyright Office. No. 14561.

A typical fishing family, Shankiwan, China

A typical fishing family, Shankiwan, China

Family on shore near boat. J284716 U.S. Copyright Office. No. 23936.

The governor's residence on "The Peak," Victoria, Hong Kong, China
The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, the Rund, Shanghai, China
Hong Kong
Indian officers of the British Indian Troops, Hong Kong, China

Indian officers of the British Indian Troops, Hong Kong, China

Photograph shows a man, wearing a turban, walking on street in Hong Kong. H24482 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by C.H. Graves. On mount: The Universal Photo Art Co. No. 120. Exhibited: Picturing Hong Kong; p... more

Indian officers of the British Indian Troops, Hong Kong, China

Indian officers of the British Indian Troops, Hong Kong, China

Photograph shows a man, wearing a turban, walking on street in Hong Kong. H24482 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by C.H. Graves. On mount: The Universal Photo Art Co. No. 120. Exhibited: Picturing Hong Kong; p... more

Miesta obshchestvennykh sborishch. Kuril'shchik opiuma

Miesta obshchestvennykh sborishch. Kuril'shchik opiuma

Title from item. Illus. in: Turkestanskīĭ alʹbom, chastʹ ėtnograficheskai︠a︡..., 1871-1872, part 2, vol. 2, pl. 87.

E.W. Wood

E.W. Wood

52377 U.S. Copyright Office "Copyrighted 1899 by E.W. Wood." At head of title: Jee Chung, E.W. Wood. Caption: A genuine opium den. Created by "Richard K. Wood Show Print., N.Y." Forms part of: Theatrical poster... more

Peking [i.e. Hong Kong] - street scene

Peking [i.e. Hong Kong] - street scene

Photo probably shows Hong Kong, based on sign for Wah Chun's photo studio and the number of signs in English. (Source: Terry Bennett, 2012) Gift; William P. Meeker; 1971. Forms part of: Jackson, William Henry, ... more

Peking [i.e. Hong Kong] - street scene

Peking [i.e. Hong Kong] - street scene

Photo probably shows Hong Kong, based on sign for Wah Chun's photo studio and the number of signs in English. (Source: Terry Bennett, 2012) Gift; William P. Meeker; 1971. Forms part of: Jackson, William Henry, ... more

A street market in Hong Kong, China

A street market in Hong Kong, China

Photograph shows a crowded street market in Hong Kong. H24471 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by C.H. Graves. On mount: The Universal Photo Art Co. No. 109. Exhibited: Picturing Hong Kong; photos 1850-1910 ; e... more

A street market in Hong Kong, China

A street market in Hong Kong, China

Photograph shows a crowded street market in Hong Kong. H24471 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by C.H. Graves. On mount: The Universal Photo Art Co. No. 109. Exhibited: Picturing Hong Kong; photos 1850-1910 ; e... more

Looking northeast over the Bay, from the New Market, Hong Kong, China

Looking northeast over the Bay, from the New Market, Hong Kong, China

D15700 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Underwood & Underwood.

Hong Kong from the summit of "The Peak" showing city of Kowloon and the mainland, China

Hong Kong from the summit of "The Peak" showing city of Kowloon and th...

Photograph shows view from heights above city with mainland China in the distance. h78877 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Keystone View Company. Exhibited: Hong Kong: Picturing Hong Kong; photos 1850-1910 ;... more

Hong Kong from the summit of "The Peak" showing city of Kowloon and the mainland, China

Hong Kong from the summit of "The Peak" showing city of Kowloon and th...

Photograph shows view from heights above city with mainland China in the distance. h78877 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by Keystone View Company. Exhibited: Hong Kong: Picturing Hong Kong; photos 1850-1910 ;... more

Distant view from harbor approach

Distant view from harbor approach

Gift; William P. Meeker; 1971. Forms part of: Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942. World's Transportation Commission photograph collection (Library of Congress).

Distant view from harbor approach

Distant view from harbor approach

Gift; William P. Meeker; 1971. Forms part of: Jackson, William Henry, 1843-1942. World's Transportation Commission photograph collection (Library of Congress).

A street in Hong Kong, China
A street in Hong Kong, China
Peak residences on Mt. Gough, Hong Kong, China

Peak residences on Mt. Gough, Hong Kong, China

Photograph shows a man being transported in a seat suspended from poles, in the background are dwellings set on the hillsides. H24472 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by C.H. Graves. On mount: The Universal Pho... more

Peak residences on Mt. Gough, Hong Kong, China

Peak residences on Mt. Gough, Hong Kong, China

Photograph shows a man being transported in a seat suspended from poles, in the background are dwellings set on the hillsides. H24472 U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright by C.H. Graves. On mount: The Universal Pho... more