Treaty of Wanghia

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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 many sources.

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). It is now a part of the territory's Our Lady of Fátima Parish.

Contents of the Treaty[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. 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. Among other things, it contained:

  • Extraterritoriality, which meant that U.S. citizens could only be tried by U.S. consular officers
  • 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[3]
  • 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

As a gesture of goodwill towards the Qing Empire, the opium trade was declared illegal, and the U.S. agreed to hand over any offenders to China.

The news of China-British Nanjing treaty signed reached Washington, U.S. President John Taylor on December 1842 Congress, asked to send representatives to talk about the establishment of new economic relations. In May 1843, the U.S. government sent Gu Sheng as a special envoy to China, his mission was to urge China to give the United States and Britain equal trading conditions. February 1844, Gu Sheng arrived in Macao. In June 18th, the Qing imperial envoy, viceroy Qiying and Gu Sheng talked in Macao near the village of Wanghia. In the process of negotiations, the United States used blackmail tactics, act tough and talk soft, Chinese negotiators feel very stressful. Qiying succumbed to pressure, holding the "equal" purpose, accepted the draft treaty which drafted by the United states. In July 3rd, both sides signed the "China US trade association" and "Five" customs tariff. By signing in Macao Wang Village, also known as the "Treaty of Wanghia".

The "Treaty of Wanghia" is total of 34 treaties, and with the customs tariff. The main contents of the United States were in the trade and foreign affairs the U.S. could enjoy equal rights in Britain. That is to say, the special interests of Britain through the Opium War in the territory, the United States received all those special interests, and China more harm in many ways:

1 Agreement tariff. The provisions of the Treaty: "if China change the interest rate in the future, China should get agreement from other countries". This is the "Treaty of Nanjing," the provisions of the "tariff agreement" to further expand the scope of the serious damage to China's economy.

2 Expand the scope of consular jurisdiction. The provisions of the Treaty: China national and American National litigation arises, nationals of the United States by the United States consular officials to arrest trial, according to the law and practice of national treatment; in the event of a dispute China and other national, "listen to each country made two note treaties", Chinese officers could not intervened. As a result, the Qing Dynasty lost all judicial powers to arrest, interrogation, and punish the American people.

3 Violation of China's thalassocracy. The United States warships can ship to anywhere of Chinese port "to inspect the trade", the Qing Dynasty port officials had to reception "friendly". Qing Dynasty did not have the right of competency the American business ships which were parked in the Chinese port.

4 The provisions of "revision" clause after 12 years. In addition, the treaty also stipulated that one-sided most favored nation, such as Chinese on to his country in some concessions the United States should share one.

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. ^ Article 18 says: "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 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]