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The Opium Wars

Decent Essays
The Opium Wars

The two Opium Wars, which took place from 1839-1860, were the starting point of modern Chinese history. To start off, the First Opium War was a major turning point for modern chinese history. Secondly, during the wars many treaties were signed to try and create peace. Finally, without these events, China would not be the major world power that it is today. Therefore, the Opium Wars were the most important part of modern world history because they changed and created the foundation of China. There are many reasons why the first Opium War was significant, but one of the main points is that it was the beginning of modern Chinese history. To start off, before the first war even took place, the Qing government was shut off from the world. Their economy was poor and it wasn’t improving. During this time period, Britain didn’t have enough silver to trade for Chinese tea. To solve this problem, they began to illegally ship opium, a substance used for pain relief, to China for silver. As this went on, the Qing government decided that they weren’t going to allow opium to poison their people. Wanting to solve this problem, the Tao-Kuang emperor ordered his governor general, Lin Tse-hsu, to get rid of the opium trade. Following orders, Lin Tse-hsu “destroyed 19,187 boxes and 2119 bags of opium in three days” (Huang). This event was known as the “Destruction of opium at Humen”. With this act of destruction the British became very angered, giving them the excuse to start
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