China

  Gaelic

 

CN01
Rhubarb 

CN02
The East India Company

CN03
Jardine &
Matheson

 

 

CN04
Andrew Melrose Tea

CN05
The Cutty Sark

CN06
Great Tea Race of 1866

 

 

 

CN07
Chinese Students in Scotland

CN08
Eric Liddell: Missionary

CN09
Eric Liddell: Athlete

   

CN10
Hong Kong

The first Scotsman believed to have visited China was one William Carmichael, who visited Macau as early as 1600 whilst serving the government of Portugal. Over a century later, Dr John Bell from Dunbartonshire travelled to China as part of an official embassy from St Petersburg. He was serving as medical officer to the Russian ambassador and undertook the extraordinary overland journey from there to Beijing in 1720, after which he stayed for several years. Bell later wrote a valuable account of his travels, including his experiences in the Chinese imperial court and his observations on life in the country. He also brought the first rhubarb back to Britain from China, initially for its medicinal properties!

The eighteenth century also brought the increasing importance of trade in the Far East to British interests, especially via the East India Company. The trade with China – porcelain, sik, tea, opium – involved many Scottish entrepreneurs, traders and administrators. As the value of the trade boomed it became important that Britain achieved appropriate diplomatic links with China, and in 1774 George Bogel from Glasgow began this process with an expedition to Tibet. He hoped to use the Tibetan leadership as intermediaries for gaining official access to China, but he died before any passport was offered. Bogel’s journey was nevertheless significant, and remains important today in the debate over the relationship between China and Tibet.

Shortly after the commercial and diplomatic ties were established, the first missionaries began their work in China. The first Protestant missionary was Robert Morrison, whose father was Scottish, who translated the Bible in Chinese in the early years of the nineteenth century. His colleague William Milne from Aberdeenshire arrived in Macau in 1813. Together they converted Lang Fa, who became the first Chinese Protestant minister in 1816 after working at Milne’s printing presses publishing their Christian literature.

In 1832, two Scotsmen named William Jardine and James Matheson established a trading company in Canton (Guangzhou). This famous company is still in existence today, although engineering and shipping interests have replaced the original opium trade! After the First Opium War (in which Scottish soldiers served) ended in 1842 the company was influential in the development of Hong Kong, which had been ceded to Britain, as a major international business hub. A view of their 1846 headquarters is pictured above. William Napier of Merchiston was also active in China at this time negotiating trade terms. As overseas trade fuelled the local demand for banking services, Thomas Sutherland decided to establish the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Company Limited (HSBC) in 1865.

In 1835 the Edinburgh-based company of Andrew Melrose was the first to legally import tea from China from outside the control of the East India Company. In just one month in 1836 a thousand cases of tea landed at Leith for Melrose Tea. The brand still exists today. Many of the tea clippers that powered this trade were built on the Clyde, including the famous Cutty Sark.

Scots continued to work in China throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, some as officials like James Stewart-Lockhart (from 1879 to 1902), others as explorers such as Archibald Ross Colquhoun (1881-2), and many as missionaries. Of the latter, Dougald Christie and the Olympian Eric Liddell are the most well-known. In 1919, the Edinburgh man Reginald Johnston (pictured) famously became tutor to Pu Yi, the last Emperor of China.

 

Scotland’s connections with China are considerable and wide-ranging, from botanists to diplomats and just about everything in between. These connections remain alive today and there are flourishing organisations continuing the tradition, encouraging understanding of the historical links as well as establishing new ones.

Sìona

B' e Uilleam MacIlleMhìcheil a’ chiad Albannach a thathar an dùil a thadhail air Sìona, a thadhail ann am Macau cho tràth ri 1600 fhad ’s a bha e ann an seirbheis riaghaltas Phortagail.  Còrr agus ceud bliadhna às dèidh sin, shiubhail An Dr Iain Bell à Siorrachd Dhùn Bhreatainn gu ruig Sìona mar phàirt de dh’ambasaid oifigeil bho St Petersburg. Bha e a’ frithealadh mar oifigear meidigeach don tosgaire Ruiseanach agus ghabh e an turas tìre iongantach seo os làimh às an sin gu Beijing ann an 1720, far an do dh’fhuirich e airson grunn bhliadhnaichean. Sgrìobh Bell cunntas luachmhor air a thursan, a’ gabhail a-steach na thachair dha anns a’ chùirt ìmpireil Shìonach agus a bheachdan air beatha san dùthaich. B’ e cuideachd a thug a’ chiad rùprup air ais a Bhreatainn à Sìona, an toiseach air sgàth nam feartan meidigeach a bh’ ann!

Thug an t-ochdamh linn deug leis cudromachd malairt a’ fàs san Ear Fhada gu cinn-uidhe Breatannach, gu h-àraid tro Chompanaidh nan Ìnnsean an Ear (
East India Company). An lùib na malairt le Sìona obair-crèadha, sìoda, teatha, òipium – bha mòran iomairtichean, luchd-malairt agus luchd-rianachd à Alba. Mar a bha luach na malairt a’ meudachadh dh’fhàs e cudromach gun coileanadh Breatainn ceanglaichean dioplòmasach le Sìona, agus ann an 1774 thòisich Seòras Bogel à Glaschu air a’ phròiseas seo le turas gu ruig Tibet. Bha e an dòchas luchd-ceannais Tibet a chleachdadh mar eadar-mheadhanaich airson slighe a-steach oifigeil a Shìona fhaotainn, ach bhàsaich e mus deach cead sam bith a thairgsinn dha. Bha turas Bogel cudromach ge-tà, agus fhathast cudromach gus an latha an-diugh anns an deasbad mu dheidhinn an dàimh eadar Sìona agus Tibet.

Goirid an dèidh do na ceanglaichean coimearsalta is dioplòmasach a stèidheachadh, thòisich na ciad mhiseanairidhean air an obair ann an Sìona. B’ e Raibeart Moireasdan a’ chiad mhiseanairidh Pròstanach
, le athair à Alba, a dh’eadar-theangaich am Bìoball gu Sìonais tràth san naoidheamh linn deug. Ràinig a cho-oibriche, Uilleam Milne à Siorrachd Obar Dheathain, Macau ann an 1813. Le chèile, dh’iompaich iad Lang Fa a thàinig gu bhith na chiad mhinistear Sìonach Pròstanach ann an 1816 an dèidh a bhith ag obair ann an companaidh clò-bhualaidh a’ foillseachadh an litreachais Chrìosdail.

Ann an
1832, stèidhich dithis Albannach, Uilleam Jardine agus Seumas MacMhathain, companaidh malairt ann an Canton (Guangzhou). Tha an compamnaidh ainmeil seo am follais fhathast ged a tha nithean innleadaireachd is shoithichean-mara an àite na malairt thùsail òipium a bh’ ann! An dèidh a’ Chiad Chogaidh Òipium (san robh saighdearan Albannach a’ frithealadh) tighinn gu crìch ann an 1842, bha an companaidh an sàs ann an leasachadh Hong Kong, a bha air a thoirt suas do Bhreatainn mar phrìomh mhòr-ionad  gnothachais eadar-nàiseanta.  Tha dealbh den phrìomh thogalach ann an 1846 ri fhaicinn gu h-àrd. Bha Uilleam Napier à Merchiston gnìomhach ann an Sìona cuideachd a’ barganachadh chumhachan malairt. Mar a bha malairt bho thall-thairis a’ biathadh iarrtais ionadail airson seirbheisean banca, cho-dhùin Tòmas Sutharlanach Companaidh Bancaidh Shanghai is Hongkong Earranta (HSBC) a stèidheachadh ann an 1865.

nn an
1835, b’ e companaidh Anndra Melrose stèidhichte ann an Dùn Èideann a’ chiad chompanaidh a rinn in-mhalairt laghail air teatha à Sìona agus bho thaobh a-muigh smachd an East India Company. Ann an aon mhìos ann an 1836, thàinig mìle ciste teatha a-steach a Phort Lìte dha Melrose Tea. Tha an t-ainm ann gus an latha an-diugh. Bha mòran de na cliopairean teatha a bhathar a’ cleachdadh anns a’ mhalairt seo air an togail air Abhainn Chluaidh, a’ gabhail a-steach an Cutty Sark ainmeil.

Lean Albannaich air adhart ag obair ann an Sìona tron naoidheamh linn deug agus tron fhicheadamh linn
, cuid mar oifigich leithid Seumas Stiùbhart-Lockhart (bho 1879 gu 1902), feadhainn eile mar luchd-rannsachaidh siubhail leithid Gilleasbaig Rosach Mac a’ Chombaich (1881-2) agus mòran mar mhiseanairidhean. Den fheadhainn mu dheireadh, is e Dùbhghall Christie agus am fear Oilimpigeach Eric Liddell as ainmeile. Ann an 1919, thàinig fear à Dùn Èideann, Reginald MacIain, (san dealbh) gu bhith na oide do   Pu Yi, an t-Ìmpire mu dheireadh ann an Sìona.

Tha ceanglaichean Alba le Sìona cudromach agus farsaing, bho lus-eòlaichean gu riochdairean dioplòmasach agus gach nì eile eatarra. Tha na ceanglaichean sin beò gus an latha an-diugh agus tha buidhnean soirbheachail a’ cumail an traidisean a’ dol, a’ brosnachadh tuigse do na ceanglaichean eachdraidheil a thuilleadh air stèidheachadh fheadhainn ùra.