The town of Humen holds a special place in Chinas history for it’s role during the first Opium War which ran from 1839-1842. It’s actually quite a famous place in China, where a strong battle was waged against the importing of opium and in that battle a legend was made, namely Lin Zexu.
Many people record that it was due to Lin Zexu’s strong opposition to the import and use of opium, that he saw destroying his community, that led to the first war against the British. As a government official he cracked down strongly on opium traders and even offered British merchants the option to change from dealing opium to tea.
The opium held by the traders in the end was siezed and over 1 million kilograms of the stuff was famously destroyed. Intrestingly his actions were a cataylst to the British settlement, and I guess the later cesation of Hong Kong, as the British traders where forced from the city and fled to the then barren island.
Cutting a long story short, it wasn’t long before British ships sailed in and many long battles ensued.
What remains today as a memory of these battles is the forts and cannon defence systems that were built during the time and also the nearby Sea Battle Museum.
The fortification and artillery continues up the hill and around the other side theres another fort. You can also catch a boat out to an island which contains even more fortification and artillery.
The nearby Sea Battle Museum contains a history of the events during the war told using models, articfacts from the time and paintings. The museum also has a dedicated section which promotes the current anti-drug use campaign.
We were here during Chinas ‘Golden Week,’ a week long public holiday, and lucky for us entry was free. The downside was the huge crowds, and guards continually screaming at people to move along, if they didn’t there’d just be a staggering human traffic jam.
Theres also a large public square in Humen which contains a monument to the fight against opium trade and it’s use.
Theres a couple more museums and forts in Humen, and I later discovered theres a couple of temple like structures that look intresting, but that will have to be for next time. Now it’s time to catch a bus for the 1 and half hour ride to nearby Guanghzuo.