Matthew Perry, the Black Ships and the Anglo-Satsuma War

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Senior Airman
Dec 17, 2004
Matthew Perry was in charge of the "Black Ships", a group of warships that visited Tokyo bay (then known as Edo) in 1853. He threatened naval bombardment unless the authorities of the "Closed Country" of Japan opened up for trade.

Having no equivalent to the cannons, the authorities eventually agreed but the threat of force was not a good intro

These treaties were widely regarded by Japanese intellectuals as unequal, having been forced on Japan through gunboat diplomacy, and as a sign of the West's desire to incorporate Japan into the imperialism that had been taking hold of the continent. Among other measures, they gave the Western nations unequivocal control of tariffs on imports and the right of extraterritoriality to all their visiting nationals. They would remain a sticking point in Japan's relations with the West up to the turn of the century.

There was also the Anglo-Satsuma War, during which 5 were killed by british bombardment, and 13 of the british were killed (including the Captain of the British flagship)
The British victims were caused by accidents due to the usage of Breech-loading guns developed by the English engineer William George Armstrong.

The actions of these UK and US military leaders were not exactly a good intro and of course wmust have provided militaristic Japanese leaders with anti-UK US propaganda.

If the UK captain and Perry had handled the meetings more peacefully, then history may have been different

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