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William Jardine

Fictional use of real character

1784 - 1843

Trader and entrepreneur. Born near Lochmaben in Dumfries and Galloway, Jardine became a surgeon with the East India Company before becoming involved in shipping and moving to Canton, China where he joined James Matheson (1796 - 1878 ) in the partnership of Jardine Matheson & Co. The company, founded in the 1820s, prospered through the opium trade with China. The Opium Wars followed as Britain defending its interests in this disreputable trade and led to the occupation of Hong Kong. Jardine returned to Britain in 1839 as an advisor to the government. The mainland interests of the Jardine-Matheson company were nationalised following the communist take-over of China in 1949.

Jardine, Matheson and Co. was formed by William Jardine and James Matheson (1798-1878 ) in July 1832, following the restructuring of the China firm Magniac & Co. After the East India Company lost its monopoly on trade with China, the new company sent the first private shipments of tea to England in 1834. In January 1839 William Jardine retired, leaving James Matheson in charge of the Company, with his nephew Alexander and Henry Wright as partners. Matheson retired from the Far East in 1842.

During the First Chinese War the Company promoted the founding of Hong Kong, buying land in 1841, and moving the main office there in 1844.

Some indicate that he was a 'prime architect' in the decline in Sino-British relations and the build up to the first Opium war. [here]





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Last edited July 4, 2006 6:54 pm by HowardT (diff)