The First Opium War And Its Effects On China

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Throughout Chinese history, political and economic events have almost always led to drastic changes in China itself. Many of these events have been internal struggles with China. Some events have been external, such as the First Opium War. The First Opium war, which lasted from 1839 to 1842, led to several economic and political changes in China. The Opium War is considered more that just a war, the results created a deep impact on China and the Western World. For hundreds of years, China had isolated themselves from the world and from foreign trade, but a single dispute over trading rights led to a huge war, which dictated the future of China. The first Opium War was because of the trade imbalance between England and China. This paper will discuss what caused the first Opium War and its after effects on China.

China had long been aware of opium as a medicine, and its addictive qualities had also been known. In 1723, its sale and consumption within China had been made illegal. With a rapid growth in population, the demand for opium was high. The British were users of opium, and sold it across many apothecary shops in London. They did not see opium addiction as a problem. British merchants violated the Chinese opium ban and bribed Chinese officials to begin importing opium into the country. The British had “been illegally exporting opium mainly from India to China since the 18th century, but the trade grew dramatically from about 1820.” (Opium Wars, Kenneth Pletcher,
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