Hong Kong 1841-1860

Administration . In 1841 Britain took possession of Hong Kong Island; in the Treaty of Nanjing 1842, the Chinese Empire formally ceded the island in perpetuity. Henry Pottinger served as governor 1843-1844, John Francis Davis 1844-1848, Samuel George Bonham 1848-1854, John Bowring 1854-1859, Hercules Robinson 1859-1865. The Legislative Council of Hong Kong was established in 1843.

The Economy . When the British flag was raised in 1841, Hong Kong was an island of little significance. The British had chosen it as a place to establish storage facilities for British merchants; the island was easily defensible by the British navy, provided over an excellent natural harbour, had sufficient supplies of drinking water and was located in close vicinity of Guangzhou (Canton), the regional trading hub. Hong Kong was declared a free port.
In 1842 a proclamation was issued according to which the Mexican and other Silver Dollars, the E.I.C. Rupee and copper cash were valid currencies.

Social History . In 1841, Hong Kong had a population of 7,450; the census of 1865 counted 125,504. The Hong Kong Club (whites only) was established in 1846.

Article History of Colonial Hong Kong 1800s-1930s, Governor of Hong Kong, Legislative Council of Hong Kong, from Wikipedia
Hong Kong, from A Global History of Currencies (B. Taylor)
DOCUMENTS Hong Kong Administrators, from World Statesmen (B. Cahoon), scroll down for Hong Kong
Historical Population Statistics : Hong Kong, from Population Statistics (Jan Lahmeyer)
REFERENCE Frank Welsh, A Borrowed Place, The History of Hong Kong, NY : Kodansha 1993

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 9th 2007

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