The Impact Of The Opium Wars In China

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One of the most significant Chinese historical events, one that the people of China will not be able to forget, is the Opium Wars which happened in the mid-19th century. The first Opium War was fought between China and Britain from 1839 to 1842 while the second Opium War saw China fighting against Britain and France from 1856 to 1860. China lost both wars which led to the downfall of the Qing dynasty. The impact of the Opium Wars is not limited to just that time period, but its effects are still being seen in China today.
In the 19th century, western powers such as Britain were increasing their influence across the world and were engaging in free trade to improve their economic position. One of Britain’s biggest trading partner was China and there was a huge demand for Chinese products such as Chinese tea, porcelain and silk by the British. However, the Chinese had no interest in buying the products offered by the British and this led to Britain facing a huge trade deficit. In response to this, British traders began to illegally ship opium from India to China which led to a widespread addiction to opium in China that caused many economic and social problems in China. In order to control this addiction, the Chinese government led by Lin Zexu confiscated and destroyed over 20,000 chests of opium from British merchants. This act of destroying the opium, coupled with more clashes between China and Britian eventually led to the first Opium War. Overwhelmed by the British

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