On This Day In History: First US Ship To Trade With China, ‘Empress Of China’ Sails From NY – On Feb 22, 1784

AncientPages.com - On February 22, 1784, the 52nd birthday of President George Washington, a wooden ship was constructed and named "The Empress of China." As the first voyage between China and the US, this ship embarked on its maiden journey from New York to China.

On This Day In History: First US Ship To Trade With China, 'Empress Of China' Sails From NY – On Feb 22, 1784

Artist's rendering of one of three Canadian Pacific Steamship ocean liners which began sailing in 1891 -- postcard, promotional - artist unknown - Public Domain

The development of foreign trade on a large scale was one of the most crucial state strategies for the country.

It was time after the American War for Independence conflict ended, and participating countries declared themselves the independent United States of America (1775-1783),

Significant was the revival of trade with China.

The carrying capacity of "The Empress of China" was 360 tons, with a body length of 104.2 feet, width of 28.4 feet, and submerged depth of 16 feet.
"The Empress of China" entered the Atlantic Ocean and went around the Cape of Good Hope, arriving at the island of Java on July 17, where it met the French vessel "Triton" and sailed side by side.

"The Empress of China" arrived in Macao on August 23 and received a travel pass from the Qing government.

On the 28th, it reached Huangpu Harbor of Guangzhou. The historical voyage lasted a full six months and six days. A large group of merchants arriving by ship stayed in Guangzhou for three months.
The voyage was very successful, and many goods were sold. A large shipload of high-quality Chinese goods, including tea, was purchased.

On December 28, "The Empress of China" set off on her return voyage back to America and reached home in May 1785.


Expand for references


W.W. Wang, 'Maritime Silk Road'