1902 Encyclopedia > Nagasaki, Japan

Nagasaki, Japan

NAGASAKI, or sometimes Nangasaki, the leading seaport on the western coasts of Japan, is situated in 32° 44’ N. lat. and 129° 52’ E. long., in the island of Kiu-shiu, and gives its name to a ken (province of Hizen or Hi-shiu). The harbor is formed by a beautiful inlet of the sea, stretching northward for a distance of about 4 miles, with an average width of about a mile, enclosed on both sides by a delightful framework of hills (1500 feet), and adorned by a number of the most picturesque-looking islands. the city lies near the upper end of the inlet on its eastern side, extending about a mile in length and _ of a mile inbreadth. Immediately to the south, and connected with the mainland by a bridge, lies the half-artificial island of Desima (600 feet by 240), which, originally occupied by the Portuguese (1637-39), was for more than two hundred years (1641-1854) the trading post and orison-house of the Dutch traders. Southwards along the shore, on ground largely reclaimed from the sea, runs the foreign settlement, with the American, British, French, and Portuguese consulates on the hilly ground behind. The magnificent dock (460 feet long,. 89 wide, and 28 deep), commenced by the prince of Hizen in 1865, and rebuilt in 1874-79, occupies a deep gorge between two hills at tatagami, on the western side of the firth opposite the city; a few hundred yards to the north of the dock are the engine-works of Akaonura (with an area of 7 acres); and at Koski there is a fine patent slip constructed for the prince of Satsuma (the prince of Hizen’s rival). Nagasaki is laid out with great regularity and neatness, the streets crossing each other at right angles; beginning to climb the hills, they not infrequently end in stairs. Among the public buildings may be mentioned the hospital established in 1861, the oldest in Japan, and the great Government school, with its department for European languages and sciences, attended by hundreds of Japanese of all ages and ranks. Population about 80,000.

In 1825 the trade of the Dutch monopolists, who were allowed to have only two vessels, amounted to upward of 100,000 pounds (31,154 pounds imports and 72,373 pounds exports). By 1871, twelve years after the opening of the port, this sum was multiplied more than sevenfold (317,270 pounds imports, 449,855 pounds exports), and since then there has been a slight additional increase – 755,180 pounds being the average of the four years 1878-81). There principal exports are coal (228,000 pounds in 1881), camphor, rice (now largely sent to Australia), tea, tobacco, dried fish, and vegetable wax. Most of the coal, which makes excellent coke, and is freely used by men-of-war and merchant-steamers, is brought from the Takashima mines about 6 miles distant, which give employment to 4000 workmen. The export of camphor has steadily increased from 2380 piculs in 1877 to 11,640 piculs (worth 42,928 pounds) in 1881. of the 333 vessels which entered the port in 1881,280 were British. Nagasaki has regular steamship communication with Shanghai, and is the terminus of submarine telegraphs from that city and from Vladivostok.

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