The Thirteen Factories, also known as the Canton Factories, was a neighbourhood along the Pearl River in southwestern Guangzhou (Canton) in the Qing Empire from c. 1684 to 1856 around modern day Xiguan, in Guangzhou's Liwan District. These warehouses and stores were the principal and sole legal site of most Western trade with China from 1757 to 1842. The factories were destroyed by fire in 1822 by accident, in 1841 amid the First Opium War, and in 1856 at the onset of the Second Opium War. The factories' importance diminished after the opening of the treaty ports and the end of the Canton System under the terms of the 1842 Anglo-Chinese Treaty of Nanking. After the Second Opium War, the factories were not rebuilt at their former site south of Guangzhou's old walled city but moved, first to Henan Island across the Pearl River and then to Shamian Island south of Guangzhou's western suburbs. Their former site is now part of Guangzhou Cultural Park.
|Literal meaning||The 13 Trading Houses|
Terminology) in Chinese. This term's Cantonese pronunciation, tai-pan, only came into common English use after the rise of private trading from 1834 on. A private captain might be his own supercargo; a large East Indiamen might have five or more, which were ranked "chief supercargo", "2nd supercargo", and so on. A team of supercargos divided their work, some overseeing sales, others tea purchases, silk purchases, and so forth. Permanent supercargos might divide their work by the order ships arrived. The bookkeepers who attended them were called "writers"; those serving with the ship, who also checked these accounts, "pursers".
"Hong" is the Cantonese pronunciation of 行, the Chinese term for a properly-licensed business. By analogy, it was applied to its chief, the Hong merchant, and its property, the factories themselves. It has also been suggested the term was first applied to the factories as they were arranged in a row along the riverbank, "row" or "rank" being an alternative meaning of the same Chinese character.
Hoppo, or fully the "Canton Sea Customs Minister", was the imperial official responsible for imperial customs and supervised the other officials. The word is Chinese Pidgin English, and some speculated that it derived from Hu Bu (Board of Revenue), but the official had no connection to the Board. The Hoppo was responsible for fixing the charges levied as a ship entered the port, a responsibility that allowed him to become quite rich.
History sent George Macartney to request that ports in northern China be opened to trade but was rejected by the Qianlong Emperor, not due to Macartney's refusal to kowtow in the presence of the Qianlong Emperor, as is commonly believed. A second embassy under Lord Amherst fared no better in 1816–1817. The growth of European (particularly British) tea consumption supplemented the port's heavy trade in silk and porcelain. The balancing trade in goods from Europe was poor so payments had to be settled in large volumes of bullion until the trade in opium rose to take its place.
In 1835, the medical missionary Peter Parker opened an ophthalmic hospital in the area. Parker commissioned Lam Qua, a Western-trained Chinese painter who also had workshops in the area, to paint pre-operative portraits of patients who had large tumors or other major deformities.
The viceroy Lin Zexu's vigorous suppression of the British opium trade precipitated the First Opium War (1839–1842), during which the factories were burnt to the ground. The 1842 Treaty of Nanking ending that war forced the ceding of Hong Kong Island to the British and opened the treaty ports of Shanghai, Ningbo ("Ningpo"), Xiamen ("Amoy"), and Fuzhou ("Fuchow"). It nominally opened the walled city of Guangzhou to the foreigners, but this was subsequently resisted by the city's viceroys on a number of pretexts. The factories were rebuilt at their former location but, with their diminished importance, they were not rebuilt a third time after their destruction at the onset of the Second Opium War. Instead, the foreign traders first operated off of Henan Island on the other side of the Pearl River and then, after the war's conclusion, rebuilt their Guangzhou operations at a new enclave on the Shamian sandbar south of the city's western suburbs.
Organization) and nine others in 1760—were granted a lucrative monopoly on foreign trade in exchange for various payments and obligations to the Qing state. The hongs were organised into a guild known as the cohong, which also oversaw the Thai and domestic trade in the South China Sea. The Hoppo was appointed by the emperor to oversee taxation and customs collection; he also oversaw disputes among the merchants, in an attempt to restrain the foreigners from contacting the imperial government in Beijing directly.
小溪馆 Xiǎoxī Guǎn 怡和行 Yi⁴ Wo⁴ Hong⁴ Dutch Factory 荷蘭館 荷兰馆 Hélán Guǎn 集義行 Jaap⁶ Yi⁶ Hong⁴ British Factory
(New English Factory)
新英國館 新英国馆 Xīn Yīngguó Guǎn 保和行 Bo² Wo⁴ Hong⁴ Fung-tae Factory
炒炒館 炒炒馆 Chǎochǎo Guǎn 豐泰行
Fung¹ Taai³ Hong⁴
Ba¹ Si¹ Hong⁴
Old English Factory 舊英國館 旧英国馆 Jiù Yīngguó Guǎn 隆順行 Lung⁴ Sun⁶ Hong⁴ Swedish Factory 瑞典館 瑞典馆 Ruìdiǎn Guǎn 瑞行 Sui⁶ Hong⁴ "Imperial Factory"
帝國館 帝国馆 Dìguó Guǎn 孖鹰行 Ma¹ Ying¹ Hong⁴ Paoushun Factory 寶順館 宝顺馆 Bǎoshùn Guǎn 寶順行 Bo² Sun⁶ Hong⁴ American Factory 美國館 美国馆 Měiguó Guǎn 廣源行 Gwong² Yuen⁴ Hong⁴ Mingqua's Factory 明官館 明官馆 Míngguān Guǎn 中和行 Jung¹ Wo⁴ Hong⁴ French Factory 法蘭西館 法兰西馆 Fǎlánxī Guǎn 高公行 Go¹ Gung¹ Hong⁴ Spanish Factory 西班牙館 西班牙馆 Xībānyá Guǎn 大呂宋行 lit. 'Great Luzon trade house' Daai⁶ Lui⁵ Sung³ Hong⁴ Danish Factory 丹麥館 丹麦馆 Dānmài Guǎn 黃旗行 lit. 'yellow banner trade house' Wong⁴ Kei⁴ Hong⁴
(New English Factory)
Ba¹ Si¹ Hong⁴
The Chow-Chow Factory was indirectly linked to the British East India Company.