Niu-Chwang - Encyclopedia

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NIU-CHWANG, a city of China, in the Manchurian province of Sheng-king (Liao-tung), in 40° 53' N. and 122° 7' E., about 35 m. (go m. by water) from the coast of the Gulf of Liao-tung, on what is now a small branch of the main eastern affluent of the Liao-ho. The population is estimated at 80,000. The city proper is a comparatively unimportant place with broken-down walls, but it is surrounded by a number of large and flourishing suburbs. About the beginning of the Ta-ts'ing dynasty (1644) Niu-chwang was the chief port on the river, but in the reign of K`ien-lung, owing mainly to physical changes, it was supplanted by Tien-chwang-tai farther down the stream, and towards the close of the 18th century this had in turn to give place to Ying-tsze still nearer the mouth. In ignorance of these facts Niu-chwang (now scarcely to be reached by a flat-bottomed river boat) was chosen as one of the ports to be opened to foreign trade by the treaty of Tien-tsin; and, though Ying-tsze had of necessity to be adopted as the site of the foreign settlements, Europeans still continue to speak of it as the port of Niu-chwang. Ying-tsze (otherwise known as Ying-k'ou, Niu-k`ou and in Mandarin as Muh-k`ou-ying) lies on the left bank of the Liao-ho on the lowest dry portion of the plain, not much above high-water mark. The British settlement immediately above the town has a river frontage of moo yds. opposite the deepest of the reaches, and runs back to the highway leading to Niu-chwang. Off the mouth of the river there is an extensive bar of hard mud which can only be crossed by certain channels at high tide, when it is covered by from 18 to 20 ft. of water; and the port is altogether closed by ice for four or five months of the year, between November and May. Niu-chwang has shown considerable vigour as a port of trade, sharing in the general prosperity of the provinces of Manchuria, of which it is the outlet. It was opened to foreign trade in 1858. In 1864 the total value of trade was L934,374, in 1878 £2,606,134, in 18 9 8 L4, 6 34,47 0, while in 1904 the figures reached L5,95 o, 8 95. The principal exports (29%) are beans, bean-cake, bean-oil and wild silk. The bean-cake is a popular article of food with the natives of Kwang-tung and Fuh-kien, and is also largely employed for manuring the rice and sugar fields in the neighbourhood of Shanghai, Amoy, Swatow, &c. Of imports (71%) the principal are cotton yarn and cotton cloth, most of the latter being drawn from the United States in preference to English-made goods. The number of resident foreigners is about 150. Railways connect the port with Tientsin and Peking on the one hand, and with the Russian territories lying to the north on the other. In 1895 Niu-chwang was occupied by Japanese troops, and the town was included in the cession of territory originally granted by the treaty of peace. By a supplementary convention it was retroceded by the Japanese under pressure of France and Russia. Niu-chwang suffered considerably from the disturbances of 1900 and again during the RussoJapanese war. In 1900 the Russians defeated the Chinese troops who attacked the town, and took possession of the port, and administered affairs until they in their turn were driven out by Japanese. At the conclusion of the war the Japanese restored the port to China.

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