Opium War

Topics: China, Opium, Opium Wars Pages: 3 (988 words) Published: July 13, 2007
Jeffrey Koala
Revolutionary China

Professor Lu


The Opium War, which began in 1839, pitted two of history's most independently industrious strongholds against each other. It was not only hugely detrimental to China's potential of progress, but was as well equally as unavoidably inevitable. The War also had major consequences to the later relations between China and Britain. The brutal fighting that ensued between the two countries served as the conclusion of several fundamental disparities that transmitted each onto separate, vastly divided platforms of culture, governmental ideals, as well as trade systems.

Trade restrictions placed into effect by the Qing Dynasty made it both inefficient and economically illogical to trade in low-value manufactured goods easily accessible to the Chinese. Quickly, the main products being traded were tea, from China to Great Britain, and silver from Great Britain to China. Britain found in opium the hugely profitable, highly demanded, and easily produced merchandise to market to China's huge, mostly untapped demographic which it had been desperately been seeking. The opium trade which unfolded upon China's population much like a swarm of locusts unto a vast field of grain placed much pressure and anxiety on the shoulders of the Qing rulers. Opium, being a dangerously debilitating drug, held its users in a death-grip of deep addiction that was sullen and depressive; not to mention, deadly. Such a huge supply of opium being provided so easily and eagerly by foreigners had China's throne and ruling council both furious and nervous that these ties to the outside world would lead to the inner demise of China. Those in charge of China found themselves increasingly "alarmed by the prospect of dealing with a useless and narcotized population dependent on foreign merchants for their "fix"'. They grew ever weary of these always-distrusted...
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