Europe 1857: The Great Game
The Crimean War halted Russian expansion against Turkey for two decades, but Russian consolidation in the Caucasus and expansion into Central Asia and the Chinese Empire only increased. The British, who were expanding in the opposite direction from India, viewed these moves with suspicion and as a potential threat to their own empire.
8 Oct 1856–24 Oct 1860 Second Opium War▲
When the Chinese government seized the British-registered cargo ship Arrow on suspicion of piracy, the British responded by bombarding Canton. The French joined the British the following year after the execution of one of their missionaries, and together the two European powers forced China to sign a peace treaty in 1858. When the treaty fell through, the Allies returned and occupied Peking (Beijing), forcing the Chinese to come to terms.
25 Oct 1856 Persia occupies Herat▲
On 25 October 1856, Persia occupied the historically Persian city of Herat.
1 Nov 1856–4 Mar 1857 Anglo-Persian War▲
The Persian occupation of Herat alarmed the British, who believed that Persia was unduly influenced by the Russian Empire. In response, British forces invaded southwestern Persia, convincing the ruling Qajar dynasty to withdraw from Herat.