Nagasaki (i. e., Long Cape), a seaport town of Japan, in the province of Ilizen, in the west of the island of Kiushiu, the seat of government of the Teen or prefecture of the same name; pop. about 30,000. The city is surrounded by hills on every side except toward the harbor. It is laid out in rectangles, and a stream of water crossed by 21 bridges flows through it. The hills are covered with temples and groves. The foreign concession is separated from the native town by an arm of the bay. The historic isle of Deshima (outer island) lies in front of the native town, shaped like an open fan, the handle toward the shore. The harbor is landlocked, deep, spacious, and one of the finest in the world. The surrounding scenery is of exquisite beauty. The city contains a Chinese quarter, in which live nearly 1,000 Chinamen, who carry on a large trade with their own country in medicines, dried fish, isinglass, seaweed, and mushrooms. The exports to Europe and America are tea, tobacco, coal, camphor, and porcelain. Nagasaki is the terminus of two telegraph cables, one to Shanghai, the other to Vladivostok; it is also connected by telegraph with Tokio and Hakodate. It contains a government hospital and college, a patent slip, and dry dock.
The surrounding country is rich in metallic wealth, and its vicinity to the collieries of Takashima, Karatsu, and Matsushima makes it a good coaling station for the many steamers that ply in the Inland sea and Pacific ocean. It is the chief depot of the trade with China, and the mart for the potteries of Hizen; but the lack of good land approaches hinders its growth. The value of the exports in 1873 was $1,899,-793, and of the imports $1,626,775, carried in 328 vessels, of 280,972 tons. - Until 1568 Nagasaki was a mere fishing village. The daimio of Omura invited the Portuguese merchants and missionaries to reside here, and conversions and trade multiplied until the village grew into a large city. During the 100 years of Jesuit proselytizing in Japan Nagasaki was the ecclesiastical centre of the new faith, and the annals of missionary zeal, persecution, and massacre have given it great historical prominence. After the expulsion of the Portuguese, the Dutch were ordered to leave their factory at Hirado, and come to Deshima, in which they lived under surveillance, only one Dutch ship being allowed to come annually to Nagasaki for more than two centuries. In 1854, by the Perry treaty, the harbor was specified as a place of anchorage and supplies for foreign vessels.
By the Harris treaty it was opened to foreign commerce. Although S. of the usual course of the typhoons which ravage the coasts of Japan, a cyclone of unusual violence visited Nagasaki in August, 1874, sinking more than 100 junks, damaging steamers, and causing great destruction of life and property in the city. Pappenberg, the precipitous rocky island from which thousands of the native Christians were driven into the sea in 1643, lies in the bay in sight of the city.