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Objective chronological listing of significant events leading up to modern China.

  • 1858 – Second Opium War. British and French forces attack Tianjin and Beijing.

  • 1858 – Treaty of Aigun with Russia. Largest loss of territory in Chinese history.
  • 1858 – Treaties with Britain, France, the United States and Russia. New ports opened for trade.
  • 1859 – British representatives demand entry into Beijing but denied. British forces attack Tianjin but fails. British negotiators executed by Chinese officials.
  • 1860 – British and French forces capture Tianjin and Beijing. The Summer Palace is burned and looted. Emperor Xianfeng flees to Manchuria and dies.
  • 1860 – Treaty of Peking (Beijing) with Britain and France. China pays war indemnities. Tianjin becomes a trading port. Kowloon peninsula becomes part of the British colony in Hong Kong.
  • 1860 – Treaty with Russia. China cedes territories between the Ussuri and the sea. Russia gains port of Vladivostok and access to the Pacific.
  • 1861 – Tongzhi Restoration. Emperor Tongzhi takes the reign at age five. Cixi (Empress Dowager) is in charge behind the scenes.
  • 1862 – Treaty of Saigon. Vietnam cedes three provinces to the French.
  • 1862 – School headed by a missionary is opened in Beijing to teach English. The school would begin to teach French and Russian a year later.
  • 1863 – Henry Wheaton’s Elements of International Law is translated into Chinese.
  • 1864 – Qing army captures Nanjing. Taiping rebellion ends.
  • 1865 – The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation begins operations in Shanghai.
  • 1867 – France takes control of southern Vietnam.

1858 - 1867