Peter Buck
George Cautherley
Steven Conn
Louise Edwards
Staci Ford
John Haddad
Vincent Ho
Sibing He
Kendall Johnson
Marjorie King
Selina Lai
Aili Li
Qing Liu
Jianping Ni
Robert Nield
Stefani Pfeiffer
Cole Roskam
Eileen Scully
John Wong
Elsha Yiu

Mr. Robert Nield
Independent Scholar and Author; President of The Royal Asiatic Society (Hong Kong Branch); General Editor of the "Echoes" Series, HK University Press.

Paper Title:
The Treaty Port - Not Quite a Colony

Robert Nield is currently the president of the Hong Kong branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. He has lived in Hong Kong for over 30 years, the first 22 of which he spent working as an accountant. After his retirement in 2002, Nield began to indulge his passion for the history of China’s former treaty ports. Last year, he published, The China Coast: Trade and the First Treaty Ports, which offered a detailed look at commerce in the first six ports to be opened to Western trade. He is currently working on a second book project, which will continue and expand this historical look at China’s commercial interaction with the West in these port cities.

Travelling round the world these days it is very hard to find a colony. I was in one recently – The Falkland Islands, where for obvious reasons one of the main streets in the tiny capital is called Thatcher Drive. This proud little British settlement at the opposite end of the world to the “home country” is one of the few reminders of a system that used to be commonplace, and perfectly acceptable (to those that perpetrated it). The Falklands had no indigenous population, and so occupation and settlement by Great Britain was easy. Neither was international recognition of British sovereignty too difficult to achieve, even if inquisitive neighbours had to be put in their place every now and again. Creating colonies around the world was very much the done thing, especially if you had a navy with a mightier fire-power than that of your nearest two rivals taken together...