Second China War Medal 1857-60

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Although the ostensible reason for the war was the ill-treatment by the Chinese of the British crew of the ‘Arrow’ in October 1856, this was mainly an excuse to capture more of the Chinese trade – particularly the lucrative opium traffic.T his series of campaigns suffered greatly from the aftermath of the Crimean War and the Indian Mutiny, and resulted in great delays whilst troops were gathered in many scattered posts. In May 1857, the Chinese fleet was caught and destroyed in Fatshan Creek, and after a further delay Canton was besieged and captured in early 1858.This was followed in May 1858 by a naval attack on the Taku Forts, which surrendered. A peace treaty was signed in May 1858, but neither side trusted the other. When the British envoys’ vessel was fired on by the Chinese, a major expedition of 13,000 men was assembled .After the Taku Forts were again captured in August 1860 the force moved inland and captured Pekin [Beijing] in November 1860.