The Russian Commercial Fleet in the Treaty Ports of China in the Second Half of the 19th Century

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Abstract

The article offers a comprehensive analysis of the activity of the Russian merchant fleet in China in the second half of the 19th century. This historical issue is particularly relevant in connection with the active development of modern foreign trade in China and the strengthening of Russian-Chinese trade and economic ties. The historical research is based on the materials of the central archives of Russian Federation (including the Archive of Foreign Policy of the Russian Empire and the Russian State Historical Archive). The methodology is based on a comparative analysis of Russian shipping in China and similar activities of other foreigners, and a system analysis that allows us to study the issue in the context of the overall development of Russian-Chinese trade. An important component of the article is the statistical analysis of data on the development of maritime Russian-Chinese trade, foreign shipping in China, and freight rates. The article considers the development of the organization of maritime Russian-Chinese trade in Odessa and the Far East directions. On the example of several treaty ports (Hankou, Shanghai, and Chifu), the features of the development of Russian commercial navigation in Chinese waters and the accompanying complexities of this process are shown. As a result, the author comes to the conclusion that there is a direct correlation between the level of infrastructure development in the Russian Far East and the expansion of the presence of the Russian merchant fleet in the treaty ports of China at the end of the 19th century.

Full text / tables, figures

Table 1
The total tonnage of the Chinese ports for 1864–1897

Флаг / Flag

Год / Year

1864

1877

1887

1897

Британия / Great Britain

2 862 214

6 497 382

14 171 810

21 891 043

Германия / Germany

580 570

496 908

1 480 083

1 658 094

США / USA

2 609 390

556 112

66 539

269 780

Франция / France

93 099

163 389

180 890

423 122

Япония / Japan

756

115 263

306 169

660 707

Норвегия / Norway

38 195

19 635

41 162

619 742

Россия / Russia

5 058

51 335

145 660

Другие страны / Other countries

396 673

155 330

231 550

264 234

Китай / China

64 588

3 974 544

5 670 123

7 819 980

Всего / Total

6 635 485

11 983 591

22 199 661

33 752 362

Source: Chong S. The foreign trade of China. New York, 1919. P. 295.

 

Table 2. Russian merchant ships arriving at the port of Hankou during 18861891

Year

Date

Steamship

1886

May 14

“Carica”

May 16

“Rossiya”

June 3

“Car”

1887

May 16

“Rossiya”

May 23

“Peterburg”

June 13

“Moskva”

1888

May 18

“Moskva”

May 28

“Rossiya”

June 23

“Kostroma”

June 27

“Peterburg”

1889

May 23

“Moskva”

June 2

“Rossiya”

June 19

“Kostroma”

June 27

“Peterburg”

1890

May 23

“Orel”

May 31

“Peterburg”

June 12

“Kostroma”

June 16

“Москва”

June 23

“Rossiya”

1891

May 22

“Orel”

May 30

“Peterburg”

June 8

“N. Novgorod”

June 14

“Moskva”

June 29

“Kostroma”

Source: Archive of foreign policy of the Russian Empire (AVPRI), f. 143, op. 491, d. 396.

  

Table 3
Export of tea from Hankou to Odessa on Russian and foreign vessels

 Year

Number
of Russian ships

Goods sent,
Russian pounds

Number
of foreign ships

Goods sent,
Russian pounds

Total

1884

5

11 088 872

1

1 739 576

12 828 448

1885

4

6 588 893

1

2 047 780

8 636 673

1886

3

6 882 355

1

3 566 548

10 448 903

1887

3

7 424 104

2

4 921 938

12 346 042

1888

4

10 712 338

2

5 901 235

16 613 573


Source: AVPRI, f. 143, op. 491, d. 396, l. 60.

 

Table 4. Russian steamships in Shanghai in 18861888

Year

Steamship

Company

Arrival date

1886

“Baikal”

Shevelev & Co

March 11

“Baikal”

Shevelev & Co

April 14

“Kostroma”

Dobrovol'nyi flot

June 22

“Baikal”

Shevelev & Co

November 10

1887

“Vladivostok”

Dobrovol'nyi flot

March 6

“Baikal”

Shevelev & Co

March 19

“Vladivostok”

Dobrovol'nyi flot

March 16

“Baikal”

Shevelev & Co

April 11

“Baikal”

Shevelev & Co

November 14

1888

“Baikal”

Shevelev & Co

March 10

“Vladivostok”

Dobrovol'nyi flot

March 16

“Vladivostok”

Dobrovol'nyi flot

March 31

“Baikal”

Shevelev & Co

April 18

“Nizhnii Novgorod”

Dobrovol'nyi flot

June 7

Source: Russian state historical archive (RGIA), f. 20, op. 5, d. 45, l. 2 оb.

 

Table 5
The number of foreign vessels that visited the port of Chifu in the late 19th century

Флаг / Flag

1894

1895

1896

1897

1898

1899

Британский / British

594

512

667

675

583

619

Китайский / Chinese

217

147

330

348

362

409

Германский / German

167

173

114

131

145

203

Японский / Japanese

34

13

82

73

108

201

Шведско-Норвежский / Swedish-Norwegian

32

33

59

50

43

46

Российский / Russian

16

16

12

12

26

160

Американский / American

1

4

3

3

3

Австрийский / Austrian

3

2

1

Датский / Danish

 

2

1

 

6

1

Голландский / Danish

1

1

 

3

1

Французский / French

2

Корейский / Korean

2

2

1

4

4

Всего / Total

1065

905

1269

1297

1281

1646

Source: Russian state historical archive (RGIA), f. 560, op. 29, d. 172, l. 17. 

 

×

About the authors

Ildar R. Hamzin

Ural Federal University

Author for correspondence.
Email: ildar.hamzin1991@mail.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4967-0705

PhD in History, Junior Fellow of laboratory of natural sciences research in humanities

51, Lenin St., Yekaterinburg, 620000, Russia

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