Map of Asia, c. 1860, Fullarton
Asia, c.1860, Fullarton
1860 marked the end of one of the most significant events in modern Asian history. China - perhaps the most powerful empire on the continent - was embroiled in a war against foreign imperialist powers, Great Britain and France in the Second Opium War. The Qing Dynasty fought to defend their empire against the domination of the colonialists from 1856 to 1860. The British wanted to control trade routes in order to profit off of the increasingly popular opium trade, as well as the so-called "coolie" trade. In this system, Chinese laborers were kidnapped and shipped to Cuba or Peru to work on plantations and in mines.
1859 was a success for the Chinese army. They repeatedly crushed the Anglo-French army, and pushed them farther and farther back. However, in August of 1860, the tide would take a dark turn. A combined force of 17,700 French and British troops (a relatively small number compared to the Chinese army) captured the crucial port cities of Yantai, Dailan Beitang, and Tianjin. The Chinese were infuriated by these losses, and captured Harry Parkes, an English diplomat and his fellow envoys. The Chinese executed the men, but only after torturing them beyond recognition and sending them back to the British. This intimidation technique failed, and only fueled the European assault. On September 21st, the Anglo-French army took the capital of Beijing. As revenge for the torture of the British diplomats, the European soldiers looted centuries of artwork and other valuable possessions from the Summer Palaces. They then proceeded to destroy the buildings, a potent symbol of the British defeat of the Qing Empire itself.
At the Convention of Beijing that same year, the Chinese were forced to open more trade ports, allow the sale of opium, and even permit the Western powers to take indentured Chinese men to foreign ports. This war changed the face of the continent as the defeat of the Chinese Empire sent a harrowing message to all of Asia that the West was a region to be feared and that any resistance would lead to destruction.
This stunning antique map is taken from the Royal Illustrated Atlas created circa 1860. Archibald Fullarton & Co, a prolific printing company from Glasgow, Scotland, is the publisher. The Royal Illustrated Atlas was one of the last atlases in the world to include decorative vignettes.
Sheet size: 23.5" x 19"
Condition: Some minor foxing, but otherwise in excellent condition