In 1860, Shanghai, China, was just seventeen years old. Along with other treaty ports it had been wrung from the xenophobic Manchu Emperor of China who smirked slyly at giving away a few acres of swamp so foul even coolies could not live in it. But the White Men were tough, and in a few years a thriving municipality arose from rice paddies where no one believed it possible. Pilings driven into the soft alluvial earth supported buildings housing half a million souls. Drainage ditches and crude sewage canals came into being. The Hwangpo river was controlled by a bund over which fabulous cargoes moved to and from hundreds of ships moored in the swift flowing stream. Office buildings and godowns overlooked the busy shores and palatial homes housed wealthy merchants who lived sumptuously from enormous profits. And there were bistros and clubs and liquor and more than a few bordellos. Aye, in a few short years the White Man had performed a miracle; he had erected a city in a mud puddle. A lusty, brawling, bawdy, congested city, monumental to his energy and in his own image!
Frederick Townsend Ward: The Mandarin from Salem
By Captain Richard Oakes Patterson, U. S. Naval Reserve