Treaty of Aigun

Treaty of Aigun

The Treaty of Aigun was the Russian-Chinese treaty that established the modern borders of the Russian Far East and northern China . Its provisions were confirmed by the Beijing Treaty of 1860.

The Russian representative Nikolay Muravyov and the Qing representative Yishan signed the treaty on May 28, 1858, in the town of Aigun.

Since the 1700s, Russia had desired to become a naval power in the Pacific. It did so by establishing naval outposts near the River Amur watershed, encouraging Russians to go there and settle, and slowly developing a strong military presence in the region. China never really governed the region effectively, and these Russian advances went unnoticed.

By the late 19th century, Russia was strong enough, and China weakened enough, for Russia to consider seriously the annexation of the Amur territories to the Russian crown. The Chinese estimates of the strength of the Russians, particularly with regard to their military, were grossly exaggerated. When official protests from Beijing went unheeded and Muravyov threatened China with war, the Qing Dynasty agreed to enter negotiations with Russia.

The resulting treaty established a Russo-Chinese border along the Amur River, further south than the original border. Under the terms of this treaty:
#Russia gained the left bank of the Amur River that had been assigned to China as a result of Treaty of Nerchinsk of 1689. (China would continue to administer the Sixty-Four Villages East of the Heilongjiang River.) The Amur, Sungari, and Ussuri rivers were to be open exclusively to both Chinese and Russian ships. Manchu residents north of the Amur River would be allowed to remain. The territory bounded on the west by the Ussuri, on the north by the Amur, and on the east and south by the Sea of Japan was to be jointly administered by Russia and China -- a "condominium" arrangement similar to that which the British and Americans had agreed upon for the Oregon Territory in the Treaty of 1818.
#The inhabitants along the Amur, Sungari, and Ussuri rivers were to be allowed to trade with each other.
#The Russians would retain Russian and Manchu copies of the text, and the Chinese would retain Manchu and Mongolian copies of the text.
#All restrictions on trade to be lifted along the border.

Significantly, the Treaty of Aigun was never approved by the Xianfeng Emperor, and was largely superseded by the Treaty of Beijing in November 1860.

ee also

* Outer Manchuria
* Unequal Treaties

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