Opium War of 1856–60

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Opium War of 1856–60


(Russian title, Anglo-French-Chinese War of 1856–60; the so-called second Opium War), an aggressive war waged by Great Britain and France against China. Taking advantage of the civil war which was underway in China (the T’ai P’ing Rebellion) in October 1856, Britain began military actions against China in the vicinity of the city of Kuangchou. France joined at the beginning of 1857. At the end of December 1857 the Anglo-French army seized Kuangchou. In the spring of 1858 military operations shifted to the territory of the capital province, Chihli. In May 1858 the Anglo-French army seized the port of Ta Ku; threatening to attack Tientsin and Peking, it forced the Chinese government to sign the one-sided Tientsin Anglo-Chinese Treaty of 1858 and the Tientsin French-Chinese Treaty of 1858. After a year, Britain and France renewed military actions in the expectation of obtaining new concessions from China. In August 1860, Anglo-French forces seized Tientsin and in October 1860, Peking. The Chinese government was bound to new one-sided treaties: the Peking Anglo-Chinese Treaty of 1860 and the Peking French-Chinese Treaty of 1860. The Opium War of 1856–60 was an important landmark in the transformation of China into a semicolony.


Marx, K. “Anglo-kitaiskii konflikt.” In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 12.
Marx, K. “Angliiskie zhestokosti v Kitae.” Ibid.
Marx, K. “Anglo-kitaiskii dogovor.” Ibid.
Marx, K. “Novaia kitaiskaia voina.” In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 13.
Marx, K. “Torgovlia s Kitaem.” Ibid.
Engels, F. “Novaia ekspeditsiia anglichan v Kitai.” In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol.12.
The Second China War, 1856–1860. London, 1954.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.