Shanghai history

The Stories Cities Tell: Discovering Shanghai’s Rich Tapestry of History and Cultur

If you are curious enough, a city has many tales to tell. If you look close enough, you will notice that a city lives in its details. These tales and details are what change and rewire us.

Like famous cities such as New York, Mumbai, and Istanbul, hashtag#Shanghai thrives on its prime location, where history, culture, and business come together.

Geography is destiny.

During its time in the British Empire, Shanghai was a lively and colourful place, bustling with energy and stories at every turn. This city has always been a melting pot, attracting people of all backgrounds from around the world.

Did you know that the term “Shanghaied” in English refers to being kidnapped? This phrase originated from the city’s notorious past when sailors were forcibly recruited into ship crews.

Shanghai’s modern origins are rooted in the aftermath of the Opium Wars when China, defeated, was compelled to open up to international trade. Among the five ports opened by the British, Shanghai quickly rose to prominence.
During  British influence, Shanghai became a magnet for traders and adventurers.

One notable figure was David Sassoon, an Iraqi Jew. The Sassoons, known in Mumbai for the iconic #Sassoon Dock, were often referred to as the “Rothschilds of the East,” a family with a history tracing back 800 years.

David Sassoon’s childhood was marked by adversity; he was kidnapped by the Ottoman Empire, and his family secured his release only through a hefty ransom. This incident prompted their move to Bombay.

With Shanghai’s opening to foreign trade, David Sassoon shifted his base to the happening city. He saw an opportunity in the opium trade and amassed a fortune from it.

But after the British banned opium in China, he moved on to real estate. He was instrumental in shaping the early skyline of Shanghai, constructing notable landmarks like The Cathay Hotel, now known as the Peace Hotel.

Sassoon also played a crucial role in aiding Jewish migration to Shanghai. Among those he helped was Elly Kadoori, a clerk who would rise to prominence and eventually rival #Sassoon, establishing the renowned #Peninsula Hotel. The #Kadoori family continues to be influential in Hong Kong, managing enterprises from luxury hotels to public utilities.

Interestingly, David Sassoon didn’t have a direct heir to his business empire and eventually moved to the Bahamas to evade taxes, losing his hotel during the communist takeover in China.

Through the business endeavours of these two men, Shanghai became open to international trade and became what it is today.

#Travel introduces you to the most exciting stories filled with interesting characters.

The more you travel, the more you connect these places and faces and the more interesting the world becomes.

It kindles your interest to become someone like David Sassoon and Elly Kadoori – to go to a faraway strange land – and make fame and fortune.

That is the kind of life I like to lead – mixing business with learning and adventure.

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