Treaty of Wanghia

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Treaty of Wanghia
Treaty of peace, amity, and commerce, between the United States of America and the Chinese Empire.
TypeBilateral / Unequal
Signed3 July 1844 (1844-07-03)
LocationKun Iam Temple in Macau, Portuguese Macau
LanguagesEnglish and Chinese
Treaty of Wanghia at Wikisource
Façade of the Kun Iam Temple, where the treaty was signed.

The Treaty of Wanghia (also Treaty of Wangxia, Treaty of Peace, Amity, and Commerce, with tariff of duties, traditional Chinese: 望廈條約; simplified Chinese: 望厦条约; pinyin: Wàngxià tiáoyuē; Cantonese Yale: Mohng Hah) was a diplomatic agreement between Qing-dynasty China and the United States, signed on July 3, 1844 in the Kun Iam Temple. Its official title name is the Treaty of peace, amity, and commerce, between the United States of America and the Chinese Empire.[1] Following passage by the U.S. Congress, it was ratified by President John Tyler on January 17, 1845.[2] It is considered an unequal treaty by some Chinese.

Name of the Treaty[edit]

The treaty was named after a village in northern Macau where the temple is located, called Mong Ha or Wang Hia (traditional Chinese: 望廈; simplified Chinese: 望厦; pinyin: Wàngxià; Cantonese Yale: Mohng Hah).[3] It is now a part of the territory's Our Lady of Fátima Parish.

Treaty contents[edit]

The United States was represented by Caleb Cushing, a Massachusetts lawyer dispatched by President John Tyler under pressure from American merchants concerned about the British dominance in Chinese trade.[3] A physician and missionary, Peter Parker, served as Cushing's Chinese interpreter. The Qing Empire was represented by Keying, the Viceroy of Liangguang, who held responsibility for the provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi.

The treaty was modeled after the Treaties of Nanking and the Bogue between the UK and China, but differed in being more detailed.[3] Among other things, it contained provisions for:

  • Extraterritoriality, where Chinese subjects would be tried and punished under Chinese law and American citizens would be tried and punished under the authority of the American consul or other public functionaries authorised to that effect[3]
  • Fixed tariffs on trade in the treaty ports
  • The right to buy land in the five treaty ports and erect churches and hospitals there
  • The right to learn Chinese by abolishing a law which thitherto forbade foreigners to do so[4]
  • The U.S. received most favoured nation status, resulting in the U.S. receiving the same beneficial treatment China gave to other powers such as Britain, and received the right to modify the treaty after 12 years

The United States also granted the Qing empire powers to confiscate American ships if operating outside treaty ports and withdrew consular protection in cases where American citizens were trading in opium under articles 3 and 33, respectively.[3] Furthermore, the U.S. agreed to hand over any offenders to China.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Treaty of peace, amity, and commerce, between the United States of America ..., Library of Congress
  2. ^ [1] Library of Congress, Treaty of peace, amity, and commerce, between the United States of America ...
  3. ^ a b c d e Cassel, Pär (2012). Grounds of Judgment. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-19-979205-4.
  4. ^ Article 18 of the treaty states, "It shall be lawful for the officers or citizens of the United States to employ scholars and peoples of any part of China…to teach any of the languages of the Empire, and to assist in literary labors ... it shall in like manner be lawful for citizens of the United States to purchase all manner of books in China."


  • Kuo, Ping Chia. "Caleb Cushing and the Treaty of Wanghia, 1844". The Journal of Modern History 5, no. 1 (1933): 34-54. Available through JSTOR.
  • Swisher, Earl, ed. China's Management of the American Barbarians; a Study of Sino-American Relations, 1841–1861, with Documents. New Haven, CT: Published for the Far Eastern Association by Far Eastern Publications, Yale University, 1953.

External links[edit]