Sir George Bonham, 1st Baronet

Sir George Bonham, 1st Baronet

name=Sir Samuel George Bonham, Bt

office=Governor of Hong Kong
term_start=21 March 1848
term_end=13 April 1854
predecessor=Sir John Francis Davis
successor=Sir John Bowring
birth_date=birth date|1803|9|7
birth_place= London, England, UK
death_date=death date and age|1863|10|8|1803|9|7
spouse=Ellen Emelia Barnard


Sir Samuel George Bonham, 1st Baronet KCB (Chinese Translated Name 文咸 or 般咸) (7 September 1803 - 8 October 1863) was a British colonial governor, who became the 3rd Governor of Hong Kong.

Early life

Samuel George Bonham was born on 7 September 1803. He was the son of Captain George Bonham, of the maritime service of the East India Company. His mother, Isabella, was Captain Bonham's second wife.

Governor of Penang

He was Governor of Penang from 1837 to 1843.

Governor of Hong Kong

After a period of service with the East India Company, Bonham was appointed governor of Straits Settlements between 1837 and 1843. Years later, Bonham became Governor of Hong Kong and plenipotentiary and superintendent of trade in China from 21 March 1848 to April 1854.

During his tenure as Governor of Hong Kong, Bonham cut government spendings to balance the budget and also stimulated the Real Estate market in order to increase government income. His method of increasing government income eventually became the major source of income for the Hong Kong government a century later.

Bonham was also known for his calm demeanor and gentle nature. It was due to these qualities that Bonham gained the trust of the British Government and the good relationship of many Hong Kong people.

During his governorship, the pirates ruled the water. The Navy had a hard battle with Cheung Po Tsai and repulsed them.

Personal life

In 1846, Bonham married Ellen Emelia Barnard. They had one son, George Francis Bonham (28 August 1847 – 31 July 1927). Bonham died on 8 October 1863, aged 60, of undisclosed causes.


* Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, 1850
* Baronet, 1852


The later Malay name for Fort Canning in Singapore was Bukit Tuan Bonham, named after him. Bonham St in Raffles Place, in Singapore. Bonham Road, Bonham Strand, Bonham Strand West, and Bonham Road Public Elementary School on Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong were all named after him.


* [,M1 G.B. Endacott, 1962, A Biographical Sketch-book of Early Hong Kong , Hong Kong University Press]

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