Foochow Arsenal

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Foochow Arsenal
Foochow Arsenal (1870s)
Traditional Chinese福州造船廠
Simplified Chinese福州造船厂
Literal meaningFuzhou Shipyard
Mawei Arsenal
Traditional Chinese馬尾造船廠
Simplified Chinese马尾造船厂
Literal meaningMawei Shipyard

The Foochow Arsenal, also known as the Fuzhou or Mawei Arsenal, was one of several shipyards in Qing China as part of the Self-Strengthening Movement. The shipyard was constructed under orders from Li Hongzhang and Zuo Zongtang and was situated in Mamoi (now Mawei), a port town within the jurisdiction of Fuzhou (then romanized as "Foochow"), which is several miles up the Min River.[1][2]


Planning for the shipyard, the Fuzhou Naval College (t , s , p Chuánzhèng Xuétáng, w Ch‘uan-cheng Hsüeh-t‘ang), and other facilities began in 1866. Construction began in 1867. Two French Naval officers, Prosper Giquel and Paul d'Aiguebelle, both on leave from the French Imperial Navy, were contracted to recruit a staff of about forty European engineers and mechanics, and to oversee the construction of a metal-working forge, the creation of a Western-style naval dockyard, the construction of eleven transports and five gunboats, and the establishment of schools for training in navigation and marine engineering—all within a five-year period.[3][4][5][6] Chinese authorities provided the materials and labour;[7] The number of labourers rose from an initial figure of 1600 to more than 2000 by 1872.[8] the operating cost over the five years was estimated at 3 million taels, and the cost of maintenance of the ships produced was partly funded by revenue from duties on the import of opium.[9] The first ship produced at the Arsenal, the 150-horsepower Qing Forever (t 萬年, s 万年, p Wànnián Qīng, w Wan-nien Ch‘ing), was launched in June 1869.[10]

The shipyard was almost entirely destroyed by French forces in 1884 during the Sino-French War of 1883-1885,[11] in the battle of Fuzhou. A modern shipyard was later rebuilt on the site.[12]

The Foochow Arsenal under construction, between 1867 and 1871. Three albumen prints joined to form a panorama.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Seltzer 1952, 1133.
  2. ^ Hong Kong Port and Maritime Board.
  3. ^ Pong 1987, 123
  4. ^ Thomson 1982, vol II, pl. XV
  5. ^ Viénet 2002.
  6. ^ Chisholm 1911.
  7. ^ Pong 1987, 123.
  8. ^ Pong 1987, 144.
  9. ^ Pong 1987, 124, 127.
  10. ^ Pong 1987, 127.
  11. ^ Viénet 2002.
  12. ^ Father Shipyard


  • Hong Kong Port and Maritime Board. "Chinese Ports 1996: Fuzhou; Harbour Plan". Accessed 26 September 2002.
  • Wikisource Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Fuchow". Encyclopædia Britannica. 18 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 271–272.
  • Pong, David. "Keeping the Foochow Navy Yard Afloat: Government Finance and China's Early Modern Defence Industry, 1866-75". In Modern Asian Studies, vol. 21, no. 1 (Cambridge University Press, 1987).
  • Seltzer, Leon E., ed. The Columbia Lippincott Gazetteer of the World (New York: Columbia University Press, 1952).
  • Thomson, John. China and its People in Early Photographs: An Unabridged Reprint of the Classic 1873/4 Work (reprint, New York: Dover Publications, 1982).
  • Viénet, René. L'épisode français peu connu des Pescadores. Accessed 24 September 2002.