An in-depth look at the life of Captain Charles Elliot—from his Royal Navy career to his controversial role in establishing Hong Kong as a British colony.
On January 26, 1841, the British took possession of the island of Hong Kong. The Convention of Chuenpi was immediately repudiated by both the British and Chinese governments and their respective negotiators recalled. For the British this was Capt. Charles Elliot, whose actions in China became mired in controversy for years to come.
Who was Captain Elliot, and how did he find himself at the center 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 demonized 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.