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Running Head: IMPERIAL PHANTASMAGORIA1Imperial Phantasmagoria – A Brief Look at The Opium WarsDavid MariottHIS 104 World Civilizations IIInstructor: Dr. Joel McMahonNovember 16, 2015
IMPERIAL PHANTASMAGORIA – A BRIEF LOOK AT THE OPIUM WARS2In the September 1821 issue of the “London Magazine”, amongst the advertisements forGentlemen’s Beaver hats, Buckwight compasses, and a rendering of William Hilton theYounger’s “Nature Blowing Bubbles for her Children” there appeared a narrative which iswidely regarded by modern literati as the earliest example of what would eventually be classifiedas Western addiction literature. English essayist Thomas De Quincey’s “Confessions Of AnEnglish Opium-Eater: Being An Extract From The Life Of A Scholar” is a chronicle of both thepleasures and pains associated with Opium addiction which, De Quincy noted leads any manwho begins an addiction to the tears of the poppy to an existence of: “penitential loneliness”(Wordsworth, 1859, para.9). Eighteen years after De Quincy published his treatise on the evilsassociated with Opium use, Chinese official Lin Zexu ordered the seizure and burning of 20,000crates of opium that had been imported to his country by British merchants. With this act, Zexulit the fuse on the first of the Opium wars which would last until the signing of the treaty ofNanjing and would see 90 percent of the Chinese male population addicted to opium, the rise ofBritish Imperialism, and the relinquishment of the City of Hong Kong and trading rights in theports of Canton and Shanghai to the British Empire in 1842 (Gray, 20002, p.68).The rise of British imperialism in China because of the Opium wars began with aneconomic crisis. Four centuries before the opium wars, the east to west trade routes traveledalong the Silk Road in order to acquire Chinese tea, silk and porcelain. However, by the 19thcentury, the British government had a problem – they no longer possessed sufficient silver totrade with the Qing Empire. In order to maintain their trade alliances, the British governmentbegan a policy of bartering with Chinese merchants, trading Indian opium for Chinese goods.

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Term
Fall
Professor
Bernard
Tags
Opium Wars, Week 3 Assignment, First Opium War

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