A Brief Note On The First Opium War Essay

1355 Words Dec 15th, 2016 6 Pages
The First Opium War took place between Great Britain and China from 1839-1842 over Great Britain’s right to trade opium, and to a lesser extent to preserve international trade in Asian Continent. While the war itself is interesting, several significant economic insights can be obtained by observing how the economic conditions of the time brought about war. At the turn of the 18th Century, China saw itself as the best country in the world. They were almost completely self-sufficient and had been for centuries, which contributed towards China’s lack of interest in international trade. Any foreign trade was, by Chinese culture, considered a tribute to the Emperor, for which he would give small gifts in return. (The Economic…) Their excessive pride in their economic ability was somewhat unfounded, as their standard of living had been falling for decades due to increased government corruption and their culture’s rejection of “extravagant” goods. Britain, on the heels of the Industrial Revolution, sought economic relations with China, as China had the means of producing popular goods like porcelain, silk, and especially tea. However, Britain’s trade in China was limited to only one port with government traders, under serious regulations. In addition, Britain’s ability to trade was diminished by the fact that the Chinese traders were not interested in what the British had to offer in the form of cotton and scientific advancements that the Chinese had seen centuries before. This…

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