Opium Wars: The Qing Dynasty

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In 1644, The Qing Dynasty were not accepting any Western ambassadors because they did not want to proclaim as supreme above their own heads of state prohibited entry into Chinese territory. Although foreigners — even on trade ships — were banned from entering China, there was one exception to the rule, the exception was the southeastern region of China, Canton. Foreigners were allowed to trade in the Thirteen Factories district with payments made exclusively in silver. The British began to send ships packed with silver in order to exchange them for tea and porcelain. The only problem was that at the British had limited supply of silver and so they had to come up with something else to trade with that the Chinese were interested in and so their …show more content…
Despite opium’s long history of medicinal use in China, the Qing banned its use in 1729 due to its harmful and imposed harsh penalties for violators of the ban due to its addictive nature. However, the ban was not effective as they continued importing opium and using this drug. Following several unsuccessful edicts to ban the imports 1839, he ordered for Canton to be completely closed to ships importing opium since it was the only port open for foreign trade. Even with this, the British captains found a way to smuggle chests of opium into China, with help from eager local pirates. By 1838, Opium was so widespread that nine out of ten of the citizens in Canton were addicts. As a response to this news, the Chinese Emperor hired a new High Commissioner to Canton, Lin Zexu. Lin was sent specific orders to get rid of opium in the whole country once and for all. Known as the strict, stubborn person that he is, he was perfect for the job and so he took this mission very seriously, and the British found his stubborn rectitude most irritating. (“How China Got Rid of Opium”, 1977) One of the many trials to prevent any opium in the country was to send out a letter to Queen Victoria in 1839 which she most probably never read. This was a private letter that was written by Lin Zexu, the "commissioner" of China, to Queen Victoria of Britain before the …show more content…
China opened up its port to foreign trade due to the treaties of Nanking and Tientsin. As a result, the major increase in trade allowed the tea and silk industries to modernize. The cost of the wars and the reparations paid to foreign countries fell on the farmers as the Manchu government could no longer protect and provide for its people. (“Lasting Effects of the Opium Wars”, 2006) In addition to that, the government knew that they had not exhausted all possible options before they signed the Treaty of Nanking which was a disgrace to the government itself and this alongside the growing issues of poverty inspired uprisings against the government. China, after the wars realized that the country could not remain to be so segregated from its neighbouring countries. On August 29, 1842, Queen Victoria of Great Britain sent representatives to discuss an agreement with the Daoguang Emperor of China. They both consented to a peace bargain called the Treaty of Nanking, otherwise called the First Unequal Treaty, since Britain separated many real concessions from the Chinese and having nothing to offer consequently aside from a stop to all the savagery that the British were doing to China. The Treaty of Nanking opened five ports to British merchants, rather than opening the exchange to just Canton. Britan was agreed "most supported country" exchange status, and its

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