Charles E. DeLong

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Charles Egbert DeLong (August 13, 1832 – October 26, 1876) was an American diplomat who served as the United States Envoy to Japan during the mid-19th century.[1]

Early life[edit]

DeLong was a native of New York. He relocated with his family to California before he turned twenty. By 1853, he owned several gold claims on the Yuba River in Nevada County.[2] He was elected Deputy Sheriff and admitted to the Bar in 1857.[3] The same year, he was elected to the California State Assembly from Yuba County, and served for two terms.

Diplomat in Japan[edit]

On November 11, 1869, DeLong presented his credentials to Emperor Meiji of Japan as Resident Minister of the United States Consulate in Japan. In the name of the United States, he recognized the legitimacy of Japan's sovereignty over the Ryukyu Islands.[1]

DeLong accompanied the Iwakura Mission on its visit to the United States in 1871.[4] Also in 1871, he negotiated a trade agreement between Hawaii and Japan.[1]

After his return to Japan, he recommended the employment of fellow American Charles LeGendre as a foreign advisor to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, partly to influence the Japanese government to take a more aggressive stance against China, thus preventing the 1871 treaty between Japan and China from turning into a Sino-Japanese alliance against the western powers [5]

His position was elevated to that of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary on June 9, 1872. He continued to serve in that capacity to October 7, 1873, although his career was marked by considerable friction with his superiors in Washington, who often accused him of overstepping his authority.[6]

Later life[edit]

After his return to California from Japan in 1874, he resumed the practice of law at Virginia City, Nevada. He died of typhoid fever in 1876.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric. (2005). "De Long, Charles E." in Japan Encyclopedia, p. 151, p. 151, at Google Books.
  2. ^ Bakken. Practicing Law in Frontier California p.142
  3. ^ Online Archives of California
  4. ^ Iwata, Masakazu. (1964). Ōkubo Toshimichi: the Bismarck of Japan, p. 188. at Google Books
  5. ^ Wray, Japan examined: perspectives on modern Japanese page 138
  6. ^ Hammesmith. Spoilsmen in a "Flowery Fairyland" page 80-100
  7. ^ Yuba County Obits


External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Robert B. Van Valkenburg
Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Japan
Succeeded by
John Bingham