Source 4

Treaty of peace and friendship, commerce, indemnity (Treaty of Nanking), 1842. (FO 93/23/1b (5))


Article 3


It being obviously necessary and desirable that British subjects should have some port thereat they may careen and refit their ships when required, and keep stores for that purpose. His Majesty The Emperor of China cedes to Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain the Island of Hongkong to be possessed in perpetuity by Her Britannic Majesty, Her Heirs, and Successors and to be governed by such laws and regulations as Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain shall see fit to direct.


Article 5


The Government of China having compelled the British merchants trading at Canton to deal exclusively with certain Chinese merchants called Hong merchants (or Cohong) who had been licensed by the Chinese government for that purpose, the Emperor of China agrees to abolish that practice in future at all ports where British merchants may reside, and to permit them to carry on their mercantile transactions with whatever persons they please…


« Return to Hong Kong and the Opium Wars

This is an extract from the Nanking Treaty. This is the treaty signed after Great Britain defeated China in the First Opium War.

  1. What is this source? What is its purpose?
  2. What does article 3 give to Britain? Why do you think Britain wanted this?
  3. What does article 5 give to Britain? Why do you think Britain wanted this?
  4. How does this source show the importance of trade to the British Empire at the start of Queen Victoria’s reign?