Canton in 1853
The Howlands were in Canton
from September 6-9, 1853.
Canton was the first major city up the Pearl River from Macao.
The Europeans called it Guangzhou.
Center for Trade
Prior to the First Opium War,
Canton was the center for trade for foreign merchants:
British, Austrians, Danish, Dutch, French, Spanish, Swedish and Americans.
The traders were only allowed there for the “trading season” – then they had to return to Macao.
They lived in segregated areas called “factories” (also called “hongs” or “merchant shops”)
which were living quarters, warehouses and offices.
This foreign quarter was known as the “Thirteen Factories”.
They flew their nations’ flags.
Foreign Women in Canton
The wives and families of the merchants stayed in the Portuguese colony of Macao.
Before the 1850’s, foreign women were not allowed in Canton.
Those who did go were novelties to the Chinese men who had never seen a Western woman.
Harriet Low and her aunt almost caused an international incident when they dressed as boys, secretly arrived in the city and stayed for 3 weeks!
Harriet Parker, wife of Dr. Peter Parker, was the first Western woman to be permitted residence in China.
Sarah attended the Feast of Lanterns in 1852 in Canton with Dr. and Mrs. Parker.
First Opium War
Tensions developed between the foreign merchants and the Chinese.
In an effort to halt the Opium Trade, the Chinese blockaded the factories.