Macao Expedition

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Macao Expedition
Chronological list of Wars and Campaigns
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Location: Macao, China
East India Company: Bengal The "French"
Result: Withdrawal
Category: Napoleonic War


Lord Minto sent the 1809 expedition with Rear Admiral Drury to defend Portuguese colonial interests at Macao (Macau)[1] against the French after Napoleon occupied Portugal.

Seeing it as disrespectful, the Chinese objected and stopped trading with the East India Company. With no credible French threat to Macau, and not wishing to upset relations with China, the British withdrew and returned to India.

The East India Company's tea exports from Canton - up river from Macau - were economically too valuable to lose (at this time the only tea came from China).

Major Thomas Mathias Weguelin[2] of the Bengal European Regiment led the expedition, a local rank of Colonel was awarded to him for the expedition, to ensure rank seniority to any Portugese troops encountered. Then Colonel Weguelin, he participated in the Battle of Mauritius 1810-12 - the defence of another Portugese interest, serving as the Commissariat General.


Bengal Troops

  • Bengal European Regiment: 200 rank and file
  • Volunteer Battalion: 650 Bengal flintlocks
  • European Artillery: 100 including eight 18-pounders, four 12-pounders, two 8 inch mortars

Madras Troops

Departed: June & July 1809 from Madras and Calcutta
Arrived Macau: 11 September and 20th October 1809
Departed Macau: 23 December 1809
Returned to Bengal: Feb 1809[3]

External Links

Macao Expedition Google Books


  1. Macau Expedition in The History of India Vol 2, John Clark Marshman (1867)
  2. Dictionary Of Indian Biography C. E. Buckland, 1906
  3. East India Military Calendar Vol 1, p182-184