1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Kwangchow Bay

27437031911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 15 — Kwangchow Bay

KWANGCHOW BAY (Kwangchow Wan), a coaling station on the south coast of China, acquired, along with other concessions, by the French government in April 1898. It is situated on the east side of the peninsula of Lienchow, in the province of Kwang-tung, and directly north of the island of Hainan. It is held on lease for 99 years on similar terms to those by which Kiaochow is held by Germany, Port Arthur by Japan and Wei-hai-wei by Great Britain. The cession includes the islands lying in the bay; these enclose a roadstead 18 m. long by 6 m. wide, with admirable natural defences and a depth at no part of less than 33 ft. The bay forms the estuary of the Ma-Ts‘e river, navigable by the largest men-of-war for 12 m. from the coast. The limits of the concession inland were fixed in November 1899. On the left bank of the Ma-Ts’e France gained from Kow Chow Fu a strip of territory 11 m. by 6 m., and on the right bank a strip 15 m. by 11 m. from Lei Chow Fu. The country is well populated; the capital and chief town is Lei Chow. The cession carries with it full territorial jurisdiction during the continuance of the lease. In January 1900 it was placed under the authority of the governor-general of Indo-China, who in the same month appointed a civil administrator over the country, which was divided into three districts. The population of the territory is about 189,000. A mixed tribunal has been instituted, but the local organization is maintained for purposes of administration. In addition to the territory acquired, the right has been given to connect the bay by railway with the city and harbour of Ompon, situated on the west side of the peninsula, and in consequence of difficulties which were offered by the provincial government on the occasion of taking possession, and which compelled the French to have recourse to arms, the latter demanded and obtained exclusive mining rights in the three adjoining prefectures. Two lines of French steamships call at the bay. By reason of the great strategical importance of the bay, and the presence of large coal-beds in the near neighbourhood, much importance is attached by the French to the acquirement of Kwangchow Wan.