1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Chi-fu

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CHI-FU, Chefoo, or Yen-tʽai (as it is called by the natives), a seaport of northern China, on the southern coast of the Gulf of Chih-li, in the province of Shan-tung, near the mouth of the Yi-ho, about 30 m. E. of the city of Têng-chow-fu. It was formerly quite a small place, and had only the rank of an unwalled village; but it was chosen as the port of Têng-chow, opened to foreign trade in 1858 by the treaty of Tientsin, and it is now the residence of a Tao-tʽai, or intendant of circuit, the centre of a gradually increasing commerce, and the seat of a British consulate, a Chinese custom-house, and a considerable foreign settlement. The native town is yearly extending, and though most of the inhabitants are small shop-keepers and coolies of the lowest class, the houses are for the most part well and solidly built of stone. The foreign settlement occupies a position between the native town and the sea, which neither affords a convenient access for shipping nor allows space for any great extension of area. Its growth, however, has hitherto been steady and rapid. Various streets have been laid out, a large hotel erected for the reception of the visitors who resort to the place as a sanatorium in summer, and the religious wants of the community are supplied by a Roman Catholic and a Protestant church. Though the harbour is deep and extensive, and possessed of excellent anchorage, large vessels have to be moored at a considerable distance from the shore. Chi-fu has continued to show fair progress as a place of trade, but the total volume is inconsiderable, having regard to the area it supplies. In 1880 the total exports and imports were valued at £2,724,000, in 1899 they amounted to £4,228,000, and in 1904 to £4,909,908. In 1895 there entered the port 905 vessels representing a tonnage of 835,248 tons, while in 1905 the number of vessels had risen to 1842, representing a tonnage of 1,492,514 tons. The imports are mainly woollen and cotton goods, iron and opium, and the exports include bean cake, bean oil, peas, raw silk, straw-braid, walnuts, a coarse kind of vermicelli, vegetables and dried fruits. Communication with the interior is only by roads, which are extremely defective, and nearly all the traffic is by pack animals. From its healthy situation and the convenience of its anchorage, Chi-fu has become a favourite rendezvous for the fleets of the European powers in Chinese waters, and consequently it has at times been an important coaling station. It lies in close proximity to Korea, Port Arthur and Wei-hai-Wei, and it shared to some extent in the excitement to which the military and naval operations in these quarters gave rise. The Chi-fu convention was signed here in 1876 by Sir Thomas Wade and Li-Hung-Chang.