Opium War

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The Qing Dynasty of China before the Opium Wars were isolationist and not fond of foreign trade and import. The Opium Wars were two conflicts between China and Britain with disputes over trade and diplomatic relations. The Opium Wars were centered around the British smuggling of opium, a highly addictive drug into China after it was prohibited. The Chinese lost both wars and were forced to sign “unequal” treaties which favored the British. The Opium Wars had many effects on China, but there were more negative effects on China than positive.
Before the First Opium War trade between China and other nations was limited if non-existent, but many Europeans were interested in starting a two way trade with China. There were more exports from China than imports because they didn’t want outside ideas and religions to influence the people. With goods from China like porcelain, silk, spices, and tea becoming lucrative in Europe; the canton system was established which restricted trade with Chinese merchants and only allowed people to trade in what is now known as Canton. With Britain importing more from China than exporting and China only accepting payment with silver, this put stress on Britain’s economy. The British began cultivating and exporting opium to try and balance the amount of imports and exports from Britain. After the people in China started to be lazy and unproductive it took a toll on China, which caused opium to be outlawed. Even after the Emperors ban on opium, Britain did not followed the ban and the illegal opium trade was still growing. The Emperor appointed Lin Zexu in charge of governing trade in Canton and eradicating opium trade. Lin closed Canton and held the British traders hostage, while demanding that British mer...

... middle of paper ... ratify the treaty. They landed near Pei Tang and started to march towards Beijing. With their superior fire power they defeated the defense forces and entered Beijing to find that Emperor Xianfeng fled the capital to a summer palace. To force the Chinese to ratify the treaty Lord Elgin ordered the burning of the old summer palace, Yuan Ming Yuan, but not before it was looted. The Emperor left Prince Gong in charge of negotiations and on October 18, 1860 the Treaty of Tianjin was ratified in the Convention of Peking which ended the Second Opium War. Tianjin opened its ports, No. 1 District of Kowloon was ceded to Britain, Freedom of religion was established in China, the opium trade was legalized, China had to pay 8 million silver taels each to Britain and France, and British ships were allowed to take Chinese indentured servants to America.
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