The Pearl River Delta: South China’s Trading Ports


The Pearl River (Zhujiang), the third longest river in China, flows into the South China Sea through the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. The estuary of the river, called the Bocca Tigris (Humen), allows easy access by seagoing vessels. The provincial capital, the city of Canton, or Guangzhou, 75 miles from the coast, has long been a major trading city and strategic outpost in south China. The islands and shallow waters of the Pearl River protected Canton from most foreign attacks, but allowed trade under government regulation. The settlements along the coast, however, could not grow large, because they suffered frequent pirate attacks. When the Portuguese arrived in the mid 16th century, the Chinese government granted them a permanent settlement in Macau, at the mouth of the river, in order to promote foreign trade and ward off pirates. Foreign ships went first to Macau, then to Lintin Island and the Bocca Tigris, and up to the Whampoa anchorage before sending goods on smaller boats to Canton.


 
MIT Visualizing Cultures
Map of the Pearl River Delta with rollover descriptions related
to the Canton Trade System (1700–1860s)
 
  MIT Visualizing Cultures

On viewing images of a potentially disturbing nature: click here.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology © 2009 Visualizing Cultures  Creative Commons License   Creative Commons - some rights reserved


 
MIT Visualizing Cultures
China in the World
MIT Visualizing Cultures
China in the World
MIT Visualizing CulturesMenu
MIT Visualizing Cultures
Tweet
Rise & Fall of the Canton Trade System II
Units
Essay
MIT Visualizing Cultures VC Units MIT Visualizing Cultures About VC VC Scholars Partner Institutions K-12 Education Outreach Events Contact Help Units Icon View Text View Curriculae Macau Bocca Tigris Whampoa Anchorage Sources & Resources Macau Bocca Tigris Whampoa Anchorage Sources & Resources Macau & Whampoa Anchorage Pearl River Delta Macau Bocca Tigris Whampoa Anchorage Sources
 & Resources MIT Visualizing Cultures MIT Visualizing Cultures MIT Visualizing Cultures MIT Visualizing Cultures MIT Visualizing Cultures Rise & Fall of the Canton Trade System China in the World Canton & Hong Kong Image Galleries Curriculum