Opium War

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade October 2001

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Opium War From 1839 to 1842, China was engaged in a hopeless war with England. Western powers were focusing on setting up protectorates and spheres of influences during the phase of new imperialism. The Western Powers were occupying Africa and Asia, and China was no exception. India had been under the control of England's East India Company for a period of time and the East India Company was looking to trade with China. This war began because of the trade between Britain and China of Opium, a harmful narcotic that is very addictive. China wanted to put a stop to it. This war is very significant in that China was forced to open its doors to the western world that ended a very long period of isolation. The opium trade itself is the main reason that the war began and was a major hot spot of tension between the two countries.

The different important sections of the war were the Opium trade, Initial Conflict, British methods, the Chinese methods and the Treaty of Nanking, which ended the war.

The opium trade was started in China long ago by the Arabs and Indians. Opium was first introduced by the Arabs in the 8th century. The Poppy flower, from which Opium is made, grows naturally in India and so was also introduced to China by the Indians. The Chinese originally used medicinally as a painkiller and not recreationally as narcotic opium. When the British began to trade it, opium addiction became a widespread problem in China. Opium was a common substance, but it was the British who made it an ample substance.

The British had nothing that the Chinese wanted to trade for. The Chinese were very self-sufficient economically. China is a very large country and so they were able to...

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