Another name for the second Opium War which pitted the West against imperial
China in 1856-1858.
The Arrow was a small ship, chinese-owned and registered in Hong Kong sailing under
the British flag. When the Chinese raided the ship they suspected of smuggling opium
and engaging in piracy and forced it to lower its British ensign, they provided the
British with a pretext for hostilities intended to gain more concessions than they
already had in the first Opium War. The British were joined by the French in attacking
China while the United States and Russia supported the campaign.
By 1858 the Anglo-French forces were threatening Beijing and forced the Chinese into
signing the treaty of Tientsin, confirmed by the Peking Convention which formally
ended the war in 1860. The Chinese had to concede shipping rights to foreigners, permit
the opium trade and allow embassies to be established in the hitherto closed city of
Beijing. They also granted Britain a perpetual lease on the Kowloon peninsula, which
was of strategic importance to the British since it bordered Hong Kong.