Happy birthday Hong Kong!
180 years ago on 26 January 1841, the British took formal possession of Victoria Island as a direct result of successful military actions ending the first Opium War. Captain Edward Belcher, who surveyed the island in 1841, wrote: “We landed on Monday, the 25th, 1841, at fifteen minutes past eight A. M., and being the bona fide first possessors, Her Majesty’s health was drank with three cheers on Possession Mount.”
Accompanied by officers of the naval squadron the next day, Bremer took formal possession, under a feu de joie from the Royal Marines and a royal salute. The Union Jack was hoisted at Possession Point which has now disappeared from the coastline, but Possession Street near Queen’s Road West reveals its original location.
The treaty of Nanking which officially ended the first Opium War was subsequently signed on 29 August 29 1842. It was the first of the unequal treaties between China and foreign imperialist powers forcing China to pay the British an indemnity and ceding Victoria island. So if you are in Sheung Wan today, make sure you pass by Possession Street to relive history.
To learn more about Hong Kong history, do not hesitate to book a tour with us.