Known to the English as Napier Island, it divides the Pearl River into two branches. On the eastern end was Napier's Fort, named after the British trade envoy to China, Lord Napier. It was a semi-circular fort of stone masonry mounting 35 guns and designed to command the passage on both sides. During the First Opium War (1839–42), British forces took possession of the fort before capturing Canton (Guangzhou) in March 1841. Before the end of the war, the Chinese rebuilt the fort, plus three extra stone forts nearby, mounting nearly 200 guns in total. During the Expedition to Canton in April 1847, the British captured 49 guns on Napier's Fort. It later became one of four forts known as the Barrier Forts, which guarded a narrow opening in the river towards Guangzhou. At the start of the Second Opium War (1856–60), the British captured these strategic locations with only slight opposition in the Battle of Canton on 23 October 1856. American forces recaptured these sites in the Battle of the Barrier Forts in November 1856.
^"Contact Us." American International School of Guangzhou. Retrieved on September 16, 2016. "Ersha Island Campus (Preschool-Gr.5): Address: No. 3 Yan Yu Street South, Ersha Island, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou, PR China, 510105 广州市越秀区二沙岛烟雨南街3号" - Detailed map (Archive)