China: Trade, Politics and Culture 1793-1980

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Unique manuscript material relating to the activities and observations of British and American diplomats, missionaries, business people and tourists in China from 1793 to 1980, together with rare periodicals, colour paintings, maps, photographs and drawings. Sources are from the School of Oriental and African Studies and the British Library, London.

This project provides a wide variety of original source material detailing China’s interaction with the West from Macartney’s first Embassy to China in 1793, through to the Nixon/Heath visits to China in 1972-74. It provides multiple perspectives – from politicians, diplomats, missionaries, business people and tourists, and documents many of the key events that happened in this period, including:

  • the 1793 Macartney Embassy
  • the 1816 Amherst Embassy
  • the founding of Singapore
  • the Opium Wars
  • the opening of Hong Kong
  • the Taiping Rebellion
  • Missions in China, 1869-1970
  • the Japanese seizure of Taiwan
  • the 'opening of Korea'
  • the Sino-French and territorial struggles with Germany, Britain, America and Japan
  • the Boxer War
  • the Russo-Japanese war
  • the 1911 Revolution
  • the Republican and Nationalist governments of Sun Yatsen and Jiang
  • the Warlord period
  • the Sino-Japanese war
  • the Rape of Nanjing
  • the Communist Revolution led by Mao
  • the Korean War
  • the Great Leap Forward
  • the 1972 Nixon visit to China
  • Rolls-Royce's negotiations regarding the delivery of jet engines to China, 1973-1975
  • the Douglas-Home and Heath visits to China, 1973-74

There are key documents relating to the Chinese Maritime Customs service, from Robert Hart to Frederick Maze; significant sources describing the lives of missionaries in China; papers of key individuals such as Thomas Stamford Raffles, Lord Aberdeen and Rewi Alley; and extensive, fully searchable runs of the Chinese Recorder, 1867-1941, and Light and Life, 1935-1970.

In addition, this project offers over 400 colour paintings, maps and drawings by English and Chinese artists, as well as countless photographs, sketches and ephemeral items, depicting Chinese people, places, customs and events, which provide a striking visual accompaniment to the documentary images.

(From the website)


Available from Adam Matthew Digital through a CRKN agreement (June 1, 2008 - May 31, 2011).

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