The war occurred when the ship Arrow was boarded at Canton, in October 1856, by the Chinese 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. On 29 December 1857 an Anglo‐French force occupied Canton and then proceeded to Tien‐Tsin, 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 Chinese agreed to honour the Tien‐Tsin treaty and ceded Kowloon, the mainland opposite Hong Kong, to Britain. See also China wars.
Subjects: British History.