Li Fengbao 1834-1887

Born in Jiangsu province near Shanghai, Li's intellectual interests included astronomy, mathematics and cartography. Recommanded by Di Richang, the Governor of Jiangsu, he was employed by Zeng Guofan at the Jiangnan Arsenal to help make a modern map of the world. At the Arsenal he collaborated with the American Carl T. Kreyer in translating Western military material, and some works on international relations. He also helped draw up a comparative table of world history, which recorded events from 2349 BC to 1861 AD. In March 1877, he took a contingent of navy cadets to Britain and France to learn shipbuilding and piloting. In August 1878 he was appointed acting ambassador to Germany and was made roving ambassador to Austria, Italy and Holland in 1881. In 1884 he was appointed acting ambassador to France, but was recalled to China in 1885 because of Sino-French conflicts over Annam. He retired south to his native place, and spent the remaining two years of his life writing and translating works on military technology and strategy.