The History Of Opium War

Opium Wars

Opium war is one of the most popular history topics among learners and professional researchers nowadays. Hundreds of blogs and informative content in the form of sample pages can found on multiple academic help websites that offer best dissertation writing services in UK. This blog will add a few more historical facts to the bulk of information already available on the internet regarding the Opium War.

In the mid-19th century, two wars on opium carried out between western powers and the Qing Empire. First war on opium fought between the United Kingdom and Qing China in 1839-1842. This conflict was triggered by the campaign of the dynasty, which was enforcing opium prohibition against American and British merchants, who were selling Indian and Turkish merchants produced opium.

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Second war on opium was fought between the United Kingdom and France and the Qing in 1856-1860. In both wars, Qing lost it to Europeans as they were not able to compete against modern military technology. Consequently, the Qing government was forced to grant reparations and territory, favorable tariffs and trade concessions to the Europeans.

Subsequently imposed treaties due to these wars had severely weakened and damaged the Qing imperial government. It had forced China to open distinctive treaty ports such as Shanghai to handle all the trade with imperial authorities and power. China also had to give sovereignty over Hong Kong to the UK. There were many problems raised because of the direct enforcement of opium trade in China. Their economy also contracted after the war. It also caused the Dungan Revolt and Taiping Rebellion (1849-1864).

Importance Of History

Though history is a dry subject that leads the students to buy dissertation online when they reach the final stage of their PhD degrees concerning the subject of history. Still, the importance of this subject cannot be undetermined. History can teach us many important lessons through the events of the past which helps understand the factors that have shaped the present world, what are other cultures, how we have become as a society, identification of our own identities and an insight to today’s problem.

First Opium War

In 1839, the first opium war broke out over diplomatic status, open trade and trading rights. There was a trade surplus of China with Europe to sell tea, silk and porcelain in exchange for silver. According to the research done by our UK dissertation help experts, the British East India Company enlarged the cultivation of opium there in Indian Bengal territories, in the Late 18th century. It was being sold to private traders who were then transporting it to China and this was also being passed to Chinese smugglers. At the time in 1787, 4000 chests of opium were being sent by the company.

Opium was previously being used as a medicine which was harmless to its consumers, but this use was changed into other recreational activities such as practice of smoking etc. Which tremendously increased the demand for opium due to its addiction factor to its users. Then in 1729, 1799, 1814 and 1831, the Chinese Emperor issued an order making opium illegal. But this was of no use as due to colluding officials and smugglers sought profit, this was being imported extensively. There were some Americans who started the opium smuggling from Turkey to China. This includes the name of Warren Delano Jr, who is the grandfather of 20th century American President Franklin Roosevelt. This is also referred to as the old China Trade in American Historiography as well. At the time in 1831, 30,000 chests of opium were trafficked. The East India Company was selling opium to Chinese smugglers and it was stored in their warehouses.

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East India Company monopoly ceased on China trade in 1834, as illegal trade of opium was expanded extensively. The Emperor charged Lin Tse-hsu High Commissioner with closing the opium trade because of two reasons, firstly for the outflow of silver and secondly for the people’s morality. After that in 1839, Lin Commissioner published an open letter in Canton to the English Ruler for the ending to opium trading. Thou, this letter never arrived to the Queen. But later in the London Times it got printed as a direct call to British people. On 18th March another edict passed down from Daoguang Emperor that emphasized on serious sanctions on opium smuggling. In trading companies, Canton, and companies under foreign governments were all ordered by Lin for the opium seizure. Companies also had to give a token amount to Lin for its trading. Lin’s deadline expired but it was not followed, then within 3 days Chief Superintendent Trade in China arrived for the enforced blockade and shutdown of these factories by Chinese soldiers. This blockade was ended when 20,000 chests were handed over to Lin along with the payment made to him on credit from the British government by Elliot, in spite of an inadequate official command for the purchase.

Elliot later advised the utilization of military force through a letter to London, against the Chinese. There occurred a conflict between Chinese vessels and the British in 1839 in the Kowloon estuary. And then in 1840, after almost a year, the British government for the future security of trade, decided to send troops in Canton as a compensation of the financial losses bearded by British traders. In Macao on 21st June 1840, British naval forces arrived to attack the Dinghai port. As a result of the Chinese Empire, the Royal Navy also used their guns and superior ships to impose a chain of firm defeats.

In 1842, this war was ended by a treaty known as the Treaty of Nanking (Nanjing). Between western powers and China, it was the first unequal treaty. As this treaty forced China to surrender smaller islands and Hong Kong to the UK. It had also established five ports under the treaty at Amoy, Canton, Foochow, Shanghai and Ningbo. Six million was paid instantly under the treaty and another twenty-one million dollar payment was there to be received through installments later. In the following year, there appeared one more treaty which gave supplementary benefits for British extra territories and other most esteemed status to the British Empire. Treaties of 1843 and 1844 gave the same allowances to France.

Second Opium War

By Taiping Rebellion in 1853, northern China was agitated. Which made Nanking its capital. Despite this at Canton, Commissioner Ye Mingchen was assigned as a new Imperial, who was then stamping the trade for opium. And this was illegal technically. In 1856, a ship-the Arrow, which was the British registered ship got seized and its members were shackled. Hong Kong British governor, Sir John Bowring, called the most senior commissioner of navy Sir Michael Seymour’s at China and Indies Station to capture and bombard the Pearl River forts. This happened when they approached Canton and continued the bombardment of Canton itself, but for holding the city they had insufficient forces. Again in that year on 15th December, an outrage broke out in the city on European commercial properties. It was set on fire and required military intervention from Bowring. They had support from France on   the execution of a French missionary in these riots.

France and the United Kingdom, the European allies, sought tremendous concessions from China on the expansion of transportation of laborers, legalization for the trade of opium, for opening China to opium traffickers and British merchants and on the exemption from internal transit duties for foreign imports. Treaty of Tientsin formed in 1858 as a result, which enforced China for the payment of reparations and penalties on the recent war expenses incurred. It has also formed an opening of ten ports in Europe commerce as a second group and opium trade legalization. This treaty also granted missionaries and foreign traders the rights for traveling within China. After the second stage of fighting, in 1860 Convention of Peking confirmed a treaty that contained a place in Beijing the Forbidden City palace complex and an Old Summer Palace.

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Aftermath Of These Opium Wars

There were many treaties introduced after these wars and soon these treaties also brought the same arrangements with France and the United Kingdom with the British. Later on, these treaties became popular as unequal treaties. And according to some Chinese historians these opium wars showed the start of China’s century of humiliation.

Later British prime minister William Wart Gladstone showed animosity to opium trades later. In particular, he has referred to these wars as the most atrocious and infamous. Gladstone showed great remorse and hatred to the British trade of opium in China and fiercely opposed these Opium Wars. Palmerstone’s Opium War was lambasted by him and remarked that in fearful of God’s judgments upon England for the national immorality towards China in 1840 May. He also remarked as a criticism that these wars had brought permanent disgrace to their country and these wars were unjust to its core. He was very hostile towards opium as its effects reached to his sister Helen. Gladstone was reluctant before 1841 to join the peel government due to first opium was agitated by Palmerston.


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