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The Opium Wars

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The Opium Wars came from China 's attempts to suppress the trade and consumption f Opium. The first war took place from 1839 to 1842 and the second war was from 1856 to 1860. The Opium wars marked a new beginning in terms of China’s relationship with the west. Regular trade had been going on with the British since the arrival of the Portuguese in the 1600’s. As European economic power rose, Chines goods such as silk, porcelain and tea became highly sought after. However, at the time Britain had no Chinese product that created a greater demand than tea, with which the British fell madly in love with. Two problems occurred, firstly, British merchants were highly restricted in China. They were forced to stay in a small port town near Canton, and…show more content…
The British companies flooded the Black Market with tones and tones of opium leading to upwards of twelve million Chinese getting addicted to the harmful drug by the 1830’s. The Daoguang emperor decided to take action in 1838. He sent commissioner Lin Zexu to Canton to take care of the situation. Lin declared death penalty to be applied to anyone caught in possession of opium. He also confiscated over one thousand tones of opium following a blockade of the merchant’s quarter. HE then destroyed the opium in 1839. The British were enraged and demanded compensation for their stolen goods. The British merchant demanded compensation for the seized goods, which Superintendent Charles Elliot assured would be provided by the British Government. However, unsurprisingly, the British were unwilling to compensate their own merchants for the seized Opium and believed that the Chinese had to do that instead. A fierce and prolonged public battle took place on the matter. Parliament voted in April 1840 that a British ship be sent to China stating their demands. Compensation for seized opium, end to Cohong monopoly, and the right to occupy and island of the coast to use as a base. This was the first of the unfair treaties. By June, a British expeditionary force had arrived on the Chinese
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