Chinas First Opium War

In: Historical Events

Submitted By kernzt2
Words 2327
Pages 10
Chinas Opium War
By: Zachary Kern

In this paper, I will discuss Chinas opium problem within the 1830’s. At this point, the British Empire has established a routine shipping triangle between ports in England to ports in India; here British merchants would pick up large shipments of opium. From India, the merchants headed towards China, Canton in particular. From here the large shipments were sold to merchants using large British clipper ships, who distributed the large shipments of opium to smaller smuggling ships called “fast dragons” to be dispersed amongst the vast provinces of China. I will discuss the impact of this trade triangle for both the British and the Chinese. Also to be discussed is Imperial Commissioner Lin and his anti-opium campaign in China as well as on the British front. The Chinese and British had contrasting views on Lin and his campaign to end the mass profits the British were collecting from poisoning the Chinese community. Ultimately the opium war would conclude with the Nanjing treaty signed by the Chinese in 1842. Britain forced China to sign via threat of military and naval conquest, a tactic called gunboat diplomacy. Before we delve too far into the characters that were directly involved in the diplomacy regarding the opium situation in China, we must get a better understanding of the market conditions that the situation arose from. There is a very clear line that separates the two types of trade between the British and Chinese empires respectively. There was legal trade which consisted of mostly Chinese exports such as; tea, rice, silk, plus other forms of textiles and goods. On this side of trade the Chinese exported high volumes of goods while importing virtually nothing from the British. In turn, this results in a trade deficit for the British as they are importing much more than they are export. This leads us to the other side…...

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