Over 10 countries appointed consul to Haikou in the late Qing Dynasty

With the further study on Haikou arcades, the historical consulates in Haikou are known by more people. According to the historical materials that can be found, during the Guangxu(emperor) period from 1872 to 1907, over 10 countries, such as the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Portugal, Italy, Belgium and Norway, successively set up their consulates in Haikou or appointed consul to Hainan.

The Haikou Customs during the period of the Republic of China.

According to "Haikou Chronicles", it was the United States that appointed the earliest consul to Hainan. On June 1872, the American Minister appointed a consul to Hainan on the strong request of a businessman from America, and Burge R. Lewis was appointed as the vice consul, which kicked off the most prosperous "diplomatic era" in the history of Hainan.

Based on the part of foreign affairs in "Haikou Chronicles",  next year Japan also appointed a consul to Hainan, who was the consul of Hongkong as well. In 1875, the British Minister Sir Thomas Wade appointed R. J. Forrest as the consul in Hainan, and indicated not to set up consulate and concession there. In 1901, however, the consulate of British was established in Hainan. After that, Germany (in 1881), France (in 1888), the Austro-Hungarian Empire (in 1895), Portugal (in 1897), Italy (in 1899), Belgium (in 1902) and Norway (in 1907) set up their consular institutions in Haikou respectively.

The photo of some consul and staff of the consulates in Hainan at the end of the 19th century.

The second half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century constituted the most flourishing "diplomatic era" in Hainan, during which the increasingly active foreign exchanges and foreign trades of Hainan Island made it become an important open gateway to southern China.

Responsible editor: 陈书敏
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