Battle of Canton (March 1841)

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First Battle of Canton
Part of First Opium War
Canton River, 26 May 1841.jpg
Map of the forts leading to Canton
Date 18 March 1841
Location Canton, China
Result British victory
United Kingdom United Kingdom Qing Dynasty
Commanders and leaders
James Bremer,
Thomas Herbert
9 ships[1] Unknown number of Bannermen
Casualties and losses
7 wounded[2] 400 casualties,[1]
123 ordnances captured[2]

The First Battle of Canton was fought between British and Chinese forces in Canton, China, on 18 March 1841 during the First Opium War. The capture led to the hoisting of the Union Jack on the British factory in Canton and the resumption of trade between the British and the Chinese.[3]


Following the signature of the Convention of Chuenpee in January 1841, which amongst other clauses ceded the island of Hong Kong to Great Britain, the furious Qing Daoguang Emperor fired Imperial Commissioner Qishan. In his place the emperor appointed his nephew Yishan as "General-pacifier of the Rebellious" (jìngnì 靖逆), with Lungwan (Long Wen, 隆文) and Yang Fang as ministerial attaches to assist him.[4][5] On 20 March, British Plenipotentiary Charles Elliot announced the re-opening of trade after negotiations with Yang Fang as Lungwan and Yishan did not arrive in Canton until 14 April.[6]


  1. ^ a b Bulletins 1841, p. 361
  2. ^ a b Bulletins 1841, p. 362
  3. ^ Bulletins and Other State Intelligence 1841, p. 357.
  4. ^ Waley 1958, p. 145.
  5. ^ Hall & Bernard 1847, p. 159.
  6. ^ The Chinese Repository 1841, p. 234.

Coordinates: 23°06′37″N 113°14′38″E / 23.1104°N 113.2438°E / 23.1104; 113.2438