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Captain Elliot and the Founding of Hong Kong (Hardback)

Pearl of the Orient

More History Biographies

By Jon Bursey
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 274
ISBN: 9781526722560
Published: 7th March 2018



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On 26 January 1841 the British took possession of the island of Hong Kong. The Convention of Chuanbi was immediately repudiated by both the British and Chinese governments and their respective negotiators recalled. For the British this was Captain Charles Elliot, whose actions in China became mired in controversy for years to come, even though the ceding of Hong Kong to Britain was subsequently ratified in the treaty of Nanking.

Who was Captain Elliot, and how did he find himself at the centre of this debate? This book traces Elliot's career from his early life through his years in the Royal Navy before focusing on his role in the First Anglo-Chinese War and the founding of what became the Crown Colony of Hong Kong. Elliot has been demonised by China and for the most part poorly regarded by historians. This book shows him to have been a man ahead of his time whose views on slavery, armed conflict, the role of women and racial equality often placed him at variance with contemporary attitudes. Twenty years after the return of Hong Kong to China, his legacy is still with us.

Article: 'First book for retired registrar' by John Baker as featured by

Wiltshire Times, 20th April 2018

This volume is well written and researched. Being biographical in nature it may appeal to readers seeking a straight ‘adventure’ story. It may also be useful to historians interested in the Nineteenth Century Royal Navy. Historians researching British Imperial Policies and actions during the same century may well find it worthy of their attentions, while those seeking in-depth historical data on locations such as China, the ‘British’ Caribbean and the Republic of Texas may also find it of interest.

NZ Crown Mines

About Jon Bursey

Jon Bursey was educated in the UK and Hong Kong. After reading Classics at Durham he followed a career in university administration, becoming Academic Registrar at the London School of Economics and Registrar and Secretary to Council at the University of Bath. He is retired and lives in Wiltshire.

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