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威海衛

Weihaiwèi was a 285 square mile territory in China's Shandong province, located around the present-day city of Weihai, incorporating a good part of Weihai and the adjacent island of Liu Kung Tau. The Japanese navy decimated the Chinese navy there in 1895, and then occupied Weihaiwei under the provisions of Article 8 of the Treaty of Shimonoseki.

Britain then held Weihaiwei from 1898 to 1930. Russia had just established a base at Dalian (aka Dairen, aka Port Arthur), on the other side of the Bohai, the gulf that leads to Tianjin and the Beijing region. Britain wanted Weihaiwei in order to balance Russian naval superiority at this critical choke point into northern China. So the British leased the island from China and agreed to return it as soon as Russia vacated Dalian.

Despite the fact that Weihaiwei was the Royal Navy's most forward base in the Far East, it never saw extensive action. During World War I, the offensives against the German port at Qingdao were carried out by RN squadrons from Hong Kong, even though Weihai was almost right next to Qingdao.

The British gave Weihaiwei back to the Republican government in 1930. Without British help, the local government and economy quickly collapsed, and by the time Japan returned in 1938, Weihaiwei was a total mess. Today, however, the region is a well-developed commercial center.

During the British era, Weihaiwei was also known as Port Edward.

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