|(in China, Japan, and Korea during the second half of the 19th and first half of the 20th century) a city, esp a port, in which foreigners, esp Westerners, were allowed by treaty to conduct trade|
any of the ports that Asian countries, especially China and Japan, opened to foreign trade and residence beginning in the mid-19th century because of pressure from powers such as Britain, France, Germany, the United States, and, in the case of China, Japan and Russia. In China the initial ports were opened to British traders in 1842 following China's defeat in the Chinese-British trade conflict known as the first Opium War (1839-42); the treaty port system began in Japan in 1854 after Commo. Matthew C. Perry of the United States sailed a fleet of gunships into Edo (now Tokyo) Bay and forced the Japanese to allow U.S. merchants into their country. Other Western nations rapidly followed the British and U.S. examples and gained treaty port privileges for their own citizens not only in China and Japan but also in Vietnam, Korea, and Siam (Thailand). Toward the end of the 19th century, as the Western countries demanded still more concessions from China, the number of Chinese treaty ports grew from 5 in 1842 to more than 50 by 1911. The Japanese, having less trade appeal and a stronger military force than the Chinese, were better able to withstand this pressure, and in that country only six ports were opened to foreign trade and residence. No more than two or three ports were ever opened in the smaller countries.
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