Second Opium War

Palikao's bridge, on the evening of the battle of Palikao, by Émile Bayard
The Illustrated London News print of the clipper steamship Ly-ee-moon, built for the opium trade, c. 1859
The execution of the Paris Foreign Missions Society missionary Auguste Chapdelaine was the official cause of the French involvement in the Second Opium War.
The capture of Ye Mingchen after the fall of Canton
British troops taking a fort in 1860
Signing of the Treaty of Tientsin in 1858
Cousin-Montauban leading French forces during the 1860 campaign
Looting of the Old Summer Palace by Anglo-French forces in 1860
Ruins of the "Western style" complex in the Old Summer Palace, burnt down by Anglo-French forces
British taking Beijing
Second China War Medal, with Taku Forts 1860 bar.
French medal of the China Campaign ("Médaille de la Campagne de Chine"), 1861, in the Musée de la Légion d'Honneur. The Chinese characters inscribed on the ribbons read 'Beijing'.
Médaille de la Campagne de Chine, as Awarded to a member of the 101st Infantry
Qing flag seized by Anglo-French forces. The flag reads "親兵第五隊右營": Bodyguard, fifth squadron, right battalion (unit types are approximate), Les Invalides.

War, lasting from 1856 to 1860, which pitted the British Empire and the French Empire against the Qing dynasty of China.

- Second Opium War

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Convention of Peking

Agreement comprising three distinct treaties concluded between the Qing dynasty of China and Great Britain, France, and the Russian Empire in 1860.

Prince Gong, photographed by Felice Beato, 2 November 1860, just days after he signed the treaty on 24 October 1860.

On 18 October 1860, at the culmination of the Second Opium War, the British and French troops entered the Forbidden City in Beijing.

British Hong Kong

Colony and dependent territory of the British Empire from 1841 to 1997, apart from a period under Japanese occupation from 1941 to 1945.

Possibly the earliest painting of Hong Kong Island, showing the waterfront settlement which became Victoria City
Spring Garden Lane, 1846
Hong Kong in the 1930s
Japanese troops crossing the border from the mainland, 1941
British forces reoccupy Hong Kong under Rear-Admiral Cecil Harcourt, 30 August 1945
Government House, c. 1873
Victoria Harbour in 1988, showing the Bank of China Tower being built
Statue of Bruce Lee on the Avenue of Stars, a tribute to the city's film industry
The Hong Kong Sevens, considered the premier tournament of the World Rugby Sevens Series, is played each spring.
Police confrontation during the 1967 leftist riots

The colony expanded to include the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 after the Second Opium War.

Old Summer Palace

Complex of palaces and gardens in present-day Haidian District, Beijing, China.

The Imperial Gardens as they once stood
Plan of the Old Summer Palace
Forty Scenes of the Yuanmingyuan
Old Summer Palace historic drawing
Looting of the Old Summer Palace by Anglo-French forces in 1860 during the Second Opium War.
Drawing of formal European gardens in the Xiyang Lou (西洋樓, Western mansions) section
Ruins of the European-style palaces
Historic drawing of Haiyantang (海晏堂)
Ruins of Yuanmingyuan open area tourist map
The pavilion and the stone arch are among the few remaining buildings in the Old Summer Palace
The site of the water Fountain in 2012
Replicas of the 12 heads
Parts of the Zhengjue Temple (正觉寺) of Elegant Spring Garden are being refurbished
Entrance to the Yuanmingyuan Park (site of the original gate to the Elegant Spring Garden)
Front Lake of Jiuzhou (九州前湖), on the other side of the lake lies the site of Jiuzhou Qingyan (九洲清晏)
Apricot Blossom Spring Villa (杏花春馆)
Ruins of The Magnanimous World (坦坦荡荡)
Ruyi Bridge (如意桥) in Yuanmingyuan
Fuhai Lake (福海) south bank (夹镜鸣琴)
A stoneboat in the Yuanmingyuan (别有洞天)
Ruins of Hanjingtang (含经堂)
Yuanyingguan (远瀛观) Ruins North side
Ruins of Haiyantang
Ruins of the Fangwaiguan (方外观)
Restored Huanghuazhen (黄花阵/万花阵) in the Western Mansions (西洋楼) area
Belvedere of the God of Literature, Summer Palace, Beijing, 6–18 October 1860
Porcelain Tower, Summer Palace, Beijing, 6–18 October 1860
Great Imperial Porcelain Palace, Summer Palace, Beijing, 6–18 October 1860
Summer Palace, Beijing, 6–18 October 1860
Pagoda at Old Summer Palace, Yu-chuan Shan, Summer Palace, Beijing, 6–18 October 1860

During the Second Opium War, French and British troops captured the palace on 6 October 1860, looting and destroying the imperial collections over the next few days.

Treaty ports

Treaty ports (条約港) were the port cities in China and Japan that were opened to foreign trade mainly by the unequal treaties forced upon them by Western powers, as well as cities in Korea opened up similarly by the Japanese Empire.

1899 commercial map of China showing treaty ports

The second group of treaty ports was set up following the end of the Arrow War in 1860 and eventually, more than 80 treaty ports were established in China alone, involving many foreign powers.

Taiping Rebellion

Massive rebellion and civil war that was waged in China between the Manchu-led Qing dynasty and the Han, Hakka-led Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.

An 1884 painting of the Battle of Anqing (1861)
A map of the Taiping Rebellion in 1854
A drawing of Hong Xiuquan, dating from about 1860.
A map of the Qing dynasty, c. 1820
The Royal seal of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom.
Qing troops retaking Suzhou city
A historic monument to the Taiping Rebellion in Mengshan town, in Wuzhou, Guangxi, which was an early seat of Government of the Taiping
A battle of the Panthay Rebellion, from the set Victory over the Muslims, set of twelve paintings in ink and color on silk
A miniature of the Palace of Heavenly Kingdom in Nanjing
The Heavenly King's throne in Nanjing
The retaking of Nanjing by Qing troops
A scene of the Taiping Rebellion
A map of the Taiping Rebellion, 1866

The 14-year civil war combined with other internal and external wars weakened the dynasty but provided incentive for an initially successful period of reform and self-strengthening.

First Opium War

Series of military engagements fought between Britain and the Qing dynasty between 1839 and 1842.

The East India Company steamship Nemesis (right background) destroying war junks during the Second Battle of Chuenpi, 7 January 1841
View of Canton with merchant ship of the Dutch East India Company, c. 1665
View of the European factories in Canton
Chinese opium smokers
A depiction of opium ships at Lintin, China by the British artist William John Huggins in 1824
A British lithograph depicting a storehouse filled with opium at the factory of the British East India Company in Patna, India in c. 1850
Graph showing the increase in Chinese opium imports by year.
Commissioner Lin Zexu, dubbed "Lin of Clear Skies" for his moral integrity.
Lin Zexu's "memorial" written directly to Queen Victoria
Contemporary Chinese depiction of the destruction of opium under Commissioner Lin.
1841 painting of the Chinese fort at Kowloon.
Engagement between British and Chinese ships in the First Battle of Chuenpi, 1839.
Capture of Chusan, July 1840
The Battle of Chusan
The Second Battle of Chuenpi
British ships approaching Canton in May 1841
British map of the Pearl River.
Sketch of British soldiers occupying the high ground above Canton in 1841.
HMS Wellesley and the British squadron sailing from Hong Kong for the attack on Amoy in 1841.
British troops at the Battle of Amoy, 1841
the British forces invasion and Second Capture of Chusan
British troops capture Zhenjiang in the last major battle of the war, 21 July 1842
Painting of a battle between Qing matchlock-armed infantry and British line infantry at the Battle of Chinkiang. The retreat of the Qing infantry into the city and the ensuing close-quarters combat led to heavy casualties on both sides.
Entrance of the Opium War Museum in Humen Town, Guangdong, China.
British gold medal, dually dated 1829 and March 1842, London mint. Extracted out of the Chinese silver indemnity payments of the Treaty of Nanking
A Royal Navy steamship destroying a Chinese junk with a Congreve rocket. Lightly armoured Chinese warships were decimated by heavy guns and explosive weaponry.
British line infantry advancing on a Chinese position.
Chinese soldiers armed with a gingal during the First Opium War.

The failure of the treaty to satisfy British goals of improved trade and diplomatic relations led to the Second Opium War (1856–60).

1857 United Kingdom general election

In the 1857 United Kingdom general election, the Whigs, led by Lord Palmerston, won a majority in the House of Commons as the Conservative vote fell significantly.


The election had been provoked by a vote of censure in Palmerston's government over his approach to the Arrow affair which led to the Second Opium War.

James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin

British colonial administrator and diplomat.

Coats of arms of James Bruce
Statue of Elgin in front of the Parliament Building in Quebec
Entry of Lord Elgin into Peking, 1860
Lord Elgin's procession in Peking.
Presentation of HMY Emperor

In 1860, during the Second Opium War in China, he ordered the destruction of the Old Summer Palace in Beijing, an architectural wonder with immeasurable collections of artworks and historic antiques, inflicting incalculable loss of cultural heritage.


State of being exempted from the jurisdiction of local law, usually as the result of diplomatic negotiations.

A hearing of the International Mixed Court at Shanghai, c. 1905

The 1858 Sino-British Treaty of Tientsin, which ended the Second Opium War, expanded the rights of western visitors.

Taku Forts

The Taku Forts or Dagu Forts, also called the Peiho Forts are forts located by the Hai River (Peiho River) estuary in the Binhai New Area, Tianjin, in northeastern China.

67th Foot of the British Army taking the Taku Forts in 1860.
The Capture of the Forts at Taku by Fritz Neumann
Interior of Angle of North Fort Immediately after Its Capture, 21 August 1860
Model of the Taku Forts in the Dagukou Fort Ruins Museum, Tanggu, China.
View of the gun platform from outside the defensive works.
Dedication plaque at the Dagukou Fort Ruins Museum.
View from inside the defensive works.

In June 1858, at the end of the first part of the Second Opium War, the Treaties of Tianjin were signed, which opened Tianjin to foreign trade.