Map of Shanghai in 1853


The map provides us with information of what Shanghai looked like in 1853 just before the start of the revolution, allowing us to compare it with what it looked like after the revolution and the influence of it. 


What is valuable about this map is that it provides us with a glance at how the English people see Shanghai at that time. From the website of where this map is available, although not mentioned inside the map, the publisher was William Charles Milne, who was an English missionary. [1] [2]Unfortunately, the painter of the map, L. M Becker whose name was written on the bottom of the map was nowhere to be found. 


Another detail that is worth mentioning is the accuracy of the map. Written on the bottom of the map “Engraved on steel by his (L. M Becker) patent process” we can deduce that the map is accurate and drawing in detail, carefully made. And thus the map is worth investigating.


Going to the content and information provided by the map, we can see Shanghai at that time was still very much underdeveloped. Only a small part of the land was developed next to the Hwangpoo river. The opening of the commercial port in Shanghai happened in 1843,[3] which is already ten years before the map was produced. And the changes since 1843 we can see from the map is the extension in the north, which is the English ground, French ground in the middle and a very small part of America ground was shown in the far right of the map. From the map, we can see that English has developed a very big part of Shanghai, almost the same size as the originally developed area by the Chinese. While even though the French and America had the same “right” to develop the concession of their own, the area was far less than Britain.


However, since the map focuses more on the concession ground and the developed part of Shanghai, areas such as the suburbs or the small villages surrounding the developed area have very little information provided to us and they were painted roughly. But in conclusion, this is still a very valuable source of information and made us curious about how the map of Shanghai will look in five years.


[1] “Collections Online | British Museum”. 2020. Britishmuseum.Org.

[2] “China, Shanghai And Its Suburbs, C.1853”. 2020. Openresearch-Repository.Anu.Edu.Au.

[3] “British Supplementary Treaty Of The Bogue | China-United Kingdom [1843]”. 2020. Encyclopedia Britannica.


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