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VellaJenna VellaJason HollowayHIST 111213 November 2014The Chinese Opium WarsUp until 1839, China was a tremendous importer of opium. Opium was comingfrom Great Britain and Great Britain was making huge profits off of the opium trade.Opium is now an illegal narcotic that is made from the poppy flower. Before 1839, opiumwas used regularly in China as a social drug. In 1839, everything changed. The Daoguangemperor rejected the proposal to allow legalized and taxed regulation of opium andtherefore the opium trade was abolished. A war, the First Opium War, broke out betweenBritain and China, and eventually the First Unequal Treaty was signed. It was this treatythat led to the Second Opium War, because Great Britain was not satisfied with it. Lastingeffects of the Chinese Opium Wars are still seen today.Opium is a narcotic drug that is produced from the drying resin of unripe seedcapsules of the poppy flower. The painkilling properties found in the molecules of opiatesare similar to endorphins, which are produced naturally by the body. For users, a euphoricand pleasurable high is obtained at first, but with continuous use, the body demandslarger amounts of the drug for it to be as effective to the user. Addicts experience a1
Vellapainful withdrawal from the use of opium, and many times would rather keep abusing thedrug to avoid the uncomfortable pain. The first real addiction problems arose whensmoking opium was introduced to China toward the middle of the 17thcentury. Beforethat, opium was typically being taken as a solid or with a beverage, as long ago as 100AD (“Opium”).It was this prevalent addiction of opium use in China that led to the abolishmentof opium trade into China. During the 17thand 18thcenturies, China was a mostly self-sufficient country. There weren’t many items on the European market that China wasinterested in. However, the demand for Chinese products such as porcelain, silk, andespecially tea were so high in Europe that it created a trade imbalance. There was a heavy