Consulate General of the United States, Guangzhou

Guangzhou, China

Consulate General of the United States, Guangzhou

The Consulate General of United States, Guangzhou (Chinese: 美国驻广州总领事馆) is one of seven American diplomatic and consular posts in China. It is one of America's earliest diplomatic posts in the Far East. The consulate serves the South China region, covering the provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan and Fujian, an area which, according to the latest census in 2020, has a resident population of over 220 million. The consulate general is also the only U.S. mission in Mainland China to process American adoptions and immigrant visas, making it one of the U.S. Department of State’s busiest consular-related posts.

The beginning of the American consulate in Guangzhou dates back over two centuries to the founding years of the American republic, even before George Washington was elected as the first President of the United States. Consulate Guangzhou (known as Canton at that time), as America’s oldest diplomatic post in China and one of America’s oldest posts in the Far East, has played a pivotal role in promoting America’s relationship with China. In 1784, the American merchant ship Empress of China reached what was then known as the port of Canton transporting ginseng to trade for Chinese black tea. The ship also carried on it Major Samuel Shaw, a 29-year-old former Revolutionary War artillery officer, who served as the business agent for this first American trade effort to the "Middle Kingdom." Shaw wrote to Secretary of Foreign Affairs John Jay, recommending that the young United States appoint a consul and vice consul to Canton. "Such officers," he noted, "would have a degree of weight and respect which private adventurers cannot readily acquire, and which would enable them to render essential services to their countrymen." Major Shaw was appointed the first American consul to China, although he would serve "with neither salary nor perquisites but with the confidence and esteem of the United States."

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