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Arrow War

Arrow War, 1856–60. The casus belli of the war occurred when the ship Arrow was boarded at Canton, in October 1856, by the Chinese, who arrested the crew on suspicion of piracy. Although the crew and owner were Chinese, the ship was registered in Hong Kong and flew the Union Jack. The incident was used by western powers as an opportunity to extract concessions from China. On 29 December 1857 an Anglo-French force occupied Canton and then proceeded to Tientsin where a treaty was signed in June 1858. China agreed to open ports and receive legations at Peking. However, in 1859 British and French ministers were refused permission to enter Peking. A second Anglo-French force landed at Pei-Tang on 1 August 1860 and took Peking in October. On 18 October the treaty of Peking ended hostilities, the Chinese agreed to honour the Tientsin treaty and ceded Kowloon, the mainland opposite Hong Kong, to Britain. See also China wars.

Richard A. Smith

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