1835 'Chinese Repository' and Map of the Pearl River, Canton, Macao, Hong Kong

Map of the Choo Keang or Pearl River. / Chinese Repository (volume III) - Main View

1835 'Chinese Repository' and Map of the Pearl River, Canton, Macao, Hong Kong


Early Map of the Pearl River Delta published in Canton.


Map of the Choo Keang or Pearl River. / Chinese Repository (volume III)
  1835 (undated)     16.25 x 12.5 in (41.275 x 31.75 cm)     1 : 375000


Published in 1835 in Canton (Guangzhou) this is rare map of the Pearl River, Canton, and Hong Kong. It accompanies the 1835 The Chinese Repository (vol III), the first American journal of Sinology and the first American missionary publication in China. It reflects the increasing American interest in China, originating with 'the China Trade' and expanding into religious and cultural exchange in the early 19th century.
A Closer Look
The Pearl River (Zhujiang) estuary is illustrated from Canton at top-left to Hong Kong ('Hongkong Is.') at bottom-right. Local placenames are transliterated from Cantonese into English and, in some places, written in Chinese characters. Additional descriptive information is provided in English, such as 'low rice grounds.' Hills, islands, pagodas, anchorages, islets, and shoals are illustrated to aid any potential navigators. The foreign factories at Canton, established on Shamian Island just before the walled city, are noted at top-left.
The Early American Presence in China
Though the United States was only a nascent republic in the late 18th century, its ships and traders quickly established themselves as a fixture of the 'China Trade.' Though the British were undoubtedly the main foreign agents active in Canton, Americans also made fortunes through the 'Canton System'. Tea, silks, porcelain, and lacquerware were popular luxury imports, while American traders also learned to profit from the export of opium to China (from the Ottoman Empire instead of India).

Despite restrictions on learning Chinese and proselytizing, American missionaries followed traders and were active by the 1830s. Elijah Coleman Bridgman, founder and editor of The Chinese Repository, was among the first two American Protestant missionaries in Canton, sent by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to China in 1829. Bridgman was encouraged and supported by David Olyphant, an American trader in Canton who was an associate of Robert Morrison (1782 - 1834), Karl Gützlaff (1803 - 1851), and other early Protestant missionaries active in and around Canton.

In 1832, Bridgman founded the The Chinese Repository, the first American missionary publication in China, which he edited until 1847. Though a missionary publication, The Chinese Repository published works of general Sinological interest, such as current events in China, linguistics, and translation. Among Bridgman's many other endeavors was the first Chinese-language history of the United States titled A Brief Account of the United States of America (大美聯邦志略), published in 1837.
Publication History and Census
This map appeared in the accompanying 1835 Chinese Repository, engraved, printed, and published by the American missionary Elijah Coleman Bridgman and his associates in Canton. The map is rare, not being independently cataloged in any institutional collections, while the The Chinese Repository does appear in some collections, though to an uncertain degree given the lack of distinction between digital scans and physical examples.


Bridgeman, E. C., The Chinese Repository, Vol III, (Canton: Elijah Coleman Bridgman) 1835.    


Average. Backed on tissue with some facsimile infill along left side of map: upper and lower left margins. Accompanies 1835 edition of the Chinese Repository, rebound in dark green calf. Some internal damage, repairs, loose pages, and stabilization.