In 1899, a year after the Convention of Peking leased the New
Territories to Britain, the British moved to establish control.
This triggered resistance by the some of the population of the New
Territories. There ensued six days of fighting with heavy Chinese
casualties. This truly forgotten war has been thoroughly researched
for the first time and recounted in lively style by Patrick Hase,
an expert on the people and history of the New Territories.
After brief discussion of British Imperialism in the 1890s and
British military theory of that period on small wars, the heart of
the book is a day-by-day account of the fighting and of the
differences of opinion between the Governor of Hong Kong (Blake)
and the Colonial Secretary (Lockhart) as to how the war should be
fought. Dr Hase uses his deep knowledge of the people and the area
and to give a full picture of the leaders and of the rank-and-file
of the village fighters. New estimates of the casualties are
provided, as are the implications of way these casualties are
down-played in most British accounts.
As a small war of Imperial Expansion, fought at precisely the
high-point of Imperial thinking within the British Empire, The
Six-Day War of 1899 is of interest, not only to historians of
Hong Kong and China, but also to historians of the British Empire
and the British Army, and to general readers interested in
military, imperial and Hong Kong history.
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