Commerce continued, including the controversial opium trade, and with Hong Kong in hand and new ports open for commerce, the British influence in the Asian nation increased. Also, the presence of other foreign powers, notably the French with their eyes on Southeast Asia, and the Americans who looked to Japan as their China. The Treaty of Nanking.
China lost both wars. The terms of its defeat were a bitter pill to swallow: China had to cede the territory of Hong Kong to British control, open treaty ports to trade with foreigners, and grant special rights to foreigners operating within the treaty ports. In addition, the Chinese government had to stand by as the British increased their opium sales to people in China.
The British did this in the name of free trade and without regard to the consequences for the Chinese government and Chinese people. The First Opium War In the midth century, western imperial powers such as Great Britain, France, and the United States were aggressively expanding their influence around the world through their economic and military strength and by spreading religion, mostly through the activities of Christian missionaries.
These countries embraced the idea of free trade, and their militaries had become so powerful that they could impose such ideas on others. In one sense, China was relatively effective in responding to this foreign encroachment; unlike its neighbours, including present-day India, Burma now MyanmarMalaya now MalaysiaIndonesia, and Vietnam, China did not become a full-fledged, formal colony of the West.
Nineteenth-century China was a large, mostly land-based empire see Map 1administered by a c. All of these things made China, in some ways, dramatically different from the European powers of the day, and it struggled to deal effectively with their encroachment.
This ineffectiveness resulted in, or at least added to, longer-term problems for China, such as unequal treaties which will be described laterrepeated foreign military invasions, massive internal rebellions, internal political fights, and social upheaval.
China's Borders as of An earlier version of this system had been put in place by China under the Ming Dynasty —and further developed by its replacement, the Qing Dynasty, also known as the Manchu Dynasty. The Manchus were the ethnic group that ruled China during the Qing period. This effectively restricted foreign trade and subjected it to regulations imposed by the Chinese government.
For many years, Great Britain worked within this system to run a three country trade operation: One major reason was that British consumers had developed a strong liking for Chinese tea, as well as other goods like porcelain and silk.
But Chinese consumers had no similar preference for any goods produced in Britain. Because of this trade imbalance, Britain increasingly had to use silver to pay for its expanding purchases of Chinese goods.
In the late s, Britain tried to alter this balance by replacing cotton with opium, also grown in India. The Scourge and Profit of Opium The opium that the British sold in China was made from the sap of poppy plants, and had been used for medicinal and sometimes recreational purposes in China and other parts of Eurasia for centuries.
After the British colonized large parts of India in the 17th century, the British East India Company, which was created to take advantage of trade with East Asia and India, invested heavily in growing and processing opium, especially in the eastern Indian province of Bengal.
Bodies lie on a slope in the interior of North Taku Fort, near the French Entrance, during the Second Opium War on August 21, in China. Felice Beato / Getty Images The First Opium War was fought from March 18, to August 29, and was also known as the First Anglo-Chinese War. 69 British. On the eve of the first Opium War, the British were shipping some 40, chests to China annually. By this date, it was estimated that there were probably around ten million opium smokers in China, two million of them addicts. Jul 03, · HONG KONG — In , Britain went to war with China over questions of trade, diplomacy, national dignity and, most importantly, drug trafficking. While British officials tried to .
In fact, the British developed a profitable monopoly over the cultivation of opium that would be shipped to and sold in China. By the early 19th century, more and more Chinese were smoking British opium as a recreational drug. But for many, what started as recreation soon became a punishing addiction: Once addicted, people would often do almost anything to continue to get access to the drug.
The Chinese government recognized that opium was becoming a serious social problem and, in the yearit banned both the production and the importation of opium. Init went a step further by outlawing the smoking of opium and imposing a punishment of beating offenders times.
Opium smoking in China.
Chinese smugglers bought the opium from British and American ships anchored off the Guangzhou coast and distributed it within China through a network of Chinese middlemen.
This reached a crisis point when, inthe British East India Company lost its monopoly over British opium. To compete for customers, dealers lowered their selling price, which made it easier for more people in China to buy opium, thus spreading further use and addition.
In less than 30 years—from to —opium imports to China increased from 4, chests the large containers used to ship the drug to 40, As Chinese consumed more and more imported opium, the outflow of silver to pay for it increased, from about two million ounces in the early s to over nine million ounces a decade later.
Inthe Chinese emperor, already angry that opium traders were breaking local laws and increasing addiction and smuggling, discovered that members of his army and government and even students were engaged in smoking opium.
The Users Versus Pushers Debate Bythe Chinese government began to get more serious about enforcing the ban. It closed opium dens and executed Chinese dealers.
But the problem only grew worse. The emperor called for a debate among Chinese officials on how best to deal with the crisis. Opinion were polarized into two sides. One side took a pragmatic approach that is, an approach not focused on the morality of the issue.Bodies lie on a slope in the interior of North Taku Fort, near the French Entrance, during the Second Opium War on August 21, in China.
Felice Beato / Getty Images The First Opium War was fought from March 18, to August 29, and was also known as the First Anglo-Chinese War. 69 British. The Opium Wars: The Bloody Conflicts That Destroyed Imperial China by Sebastien Roblin In , England went to war with China because it was upset that Chinese officials had shut down its drug.
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Opium Wars BIBLIOGRAPHY  Opium Wars is a term referring to two wars that Britain  fought against imperial China  in the middle of the nineteenth century, presumably over the attempts of the Chinese authorities to stop the growing influx of foreign-produced opium.
Opium Wars, two armed conflicts in China in the midth century between the forces of Western countries and of the Qing dynasty, which ruled China from to / The first Opium War (–42) was fought between China and Britain, and the .
Julia Lovell is Senior Lecturer in Chinese History at Birbeck, University of London and is the author of The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams and the Making of China (Picador, ). Victorian England China Historiography.
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