1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Fuchow

FUCHOW, Fu-Chau, Foochow, a city of China, capital of the province of Fu-kien, and one of the principal ports open to foreign commerce. In the local dialect it is called Hokchiu. It is situated on the river Min, about 35 m. from the sea, in 26° 5′ N. and 119° 20′ E., 140 m. N. of Amoy and 280 S. of Hang-chow. The city proper, lying nearly 3 m. from the north bank of the river, is surrounded by a wall about 30 ft. high and 12 ft. thick, which makes a circuit of upwards of 5 m. and is pierced by seven gateways surrounded by tall fantastic watch-towers. The whole district between the city and the river, the island of Nantai, and the southern banks of the Min are occupied by extensive suburbs; and the river itself bears a large floating population. Communication from bank to bank is afforded by a long stone bridge supported by forty solid stone piers in its northern section and by nine in its southern. The most remarkable establishment of Fuchow is the arsenal situated about 3 m. down the stream at Pagoda Island, where the sea-going vessels usually anchor. It was founded in 1867, and is conducted under the direction of French engineers according to European methods. In 1870 it employed about 1000 workmen besides fifty European superintendents, and between that date and 1880 it turned out about 20 or 30 small gunboats. In 1884 it was partially destroyed by the French fleet, and for a number of years the workshops and machinery were allowed to stand idle and go to decay. On the 1st of August 1895 an attack was made on the English mission near the city of Ku-chang, 120 m. west of Fuchow, on which occasion nine missionaries, of whom eight were ladies, were massacred. The port was opened to European commerce in 1842; and in 1853 the firm of Russell and Co. shipped the first cargoes of tea from Fuchow to Europe and America. The total trade in foreign vessels in 1876 was imports to the value of £1,531,617, and exports to the value of £3,330,489. In 1904 the imports amounted to £1,440,351, and the exports to £1,034,436. The number of vessels that entered in 1876 was 275, and of these 211 were British, 27 German, 11 Danish and 9 American. While in 1904, 480 vessels entered the port, 216 of which were British. A large trade is carried on by the native merchants in timber, paper, woollen and cotton goods, oranges and olives; but the foreign houses mainly confine themselves to opium and tea. Commercial intercourse with Australia and New Zealand is on the increase. The principal imports, besides opium, are shirtings, T-cloths, lead and tin, medicines, rice, tobacco, and beans and peas. Two steamboat lines afford regular communication with Hong-Kong twice a month. The town is the seat of several important missions, of which the first was founded in 1846. That supported by the American board had in 1876 issued 1,3000,000 copies of Chinese books and tracts.