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When America First Met China Timeline

- 300s BC: Aristotle writes about a woman who weaves silk to make garments,
implying the early silk trade between Europe and China.
- 1757: The Chinese Emperor confines all foreign trade to Canton.
- February 22nd, 1784: Captain John Green sets sail on the American ship
Empress of China, the first American ship to sail to Canton, crossing the Atlantic and
sailing east to Asia.
- 1785 - 1814: over 300 American ships make a total of 618 commercial voyages
to Canton
- 1787-1790: The ship Columbia becomes the first American ship to
circumnavigate the globe.
- August, 1799: The East India Maritime Society is established in Salem. It will
later become the Peabody-Essex Museum and Historical Society.
- 1802: The New American Practical Navigator, a seafaring and nautical
informational book that is still widely used by mariners, commonly known as a
Bowditch (written by Nathaniel Bowditch) is first published.
- 1808: Jeffersons trade embargo meant to punish French & British by
disallowing all foreign trade, actually hurts American & Chinese trade
Punqua Wingchong incident
- December 24, 1814: The Treaty of Ghent ends the War of 1812, marks the
beginning of a new era in American/Chinese trade
- 1821:
- January-February: The ship Hero, captained by Nathaniel
Palmer, travels far south for seal skins and stumbles across Antarctica.
- September: the ship Emily affair occurs, in which Francis
Terranova is accused of drowning a Chinese pottery saleswoman, increasing
foreign and Chinese tensions.
- 1822:
- The mountain island of Lintin begins to be used by the British and
Americans as a trading port for opium when it is not allowed in Canton.
- November: The great fire in Canton wipes out countless Chinese
and foreign factories and other businesses.
- 1829:
- May 29: Harriet Low arrives in Macao as a companion for her
sickly aunt and her merchant uncle William Henry Low; one of the only foreign
women to be allowed in, she also sneaks into Canton and observes conditions
for women, keeping detailed diaries and accounts of her travels
- The ship Glide has an infamous and violent encounter with natives
in Fiji.
- Chang and Eng, two conjoined twins, come to America as part of
a show.
- 1820s: Little to no sandalwood tree trade in Hawaii due to an exhaustion of labor
and resources.
- 1830s: The fur seal skin trade has essentially shrunk to nothing due to the killing
of most fur seals; they have become too scarce to hunt reliably.
- 1834:

- October: Peter Parker, the missionary and surgeon, comes to


Canton and opens his school of medicine.
- October 17: Afong Moy comes to America as a circus attraction
and a curiosity.
- 1839 - August 29th, 1842: The British and the Chinese fight against each other
in the Opium Wars. The Chinese lose and make concessions with the Treaty of Nanking.
- 1843: President John Tyler sends Massachusetts-born Caleb Cushing to China
for the U.S.s first Chinese diplomatic mission. The goal of the mission was to acquire a
Chinese-American trade treaty similar to the one the British had obtained.
- 1845: The clipper ship comes onto the maritime scene with the ships Rainbow
and Sea Witch, bringing unprecedented speed and record times in voyages to China
and the West Coast of the U.S.
- 1861-1865: The U.S. is engaged in the American Civil War; cargo and ships are
repurposed for wartime usage and trade with China falls significantly.