GEH Essay.docx - The Opium Wars History Analysis and rise of British and Western Influences Introduction For a long period of time China held one of the

GEH Essay.docx - The Opium Wars History Analysis and rise...

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The Opium Wars: History, Analysis and rise of British and Western Influences Introduction For a long period of time, China held one of the world’s largest economies. The production of high-quality silk, tea, and porcelain were just a few of the items greatly desired by many countries around the globe and allowed China to be at a trading advantage, up until the 19 th century. It was around this time that Western countries began to arrive and immerse themselves into various trade relations. China had set up trade using a closed economic system through its main and only port, Canton Harbor. Government officials felt working in a closed economic system would best benefit the social aspects of its economy, and this remained true until the Western nations migrated into Asian with the motive to integrate their own ideologies. For China, the primary reasoning behind making political and economic decisions was for the benefit of the people and the social order which exists within its community. Through analyzing the history, the foundation of most religious practices, and even through the foundation of the dynasties, it is clear to see that the Chinese focus heavily on social and ethical attributions. For Western countries, during this time, the primary focus relied on strengthening the economy by any means possible. So much so, that the British desire to gain access to new markets and establish free trade agreements, forced China into a recession and ultimately only served to help strengthen the British economies, as seen through the aftermath of the Opium Wars. This paper will evaluate China before, during and after the Opium Wars in order to construct a whole-rounded perspective of the effects of the wars. This will require analyzing the presence of opium in China prior to the wars and the triangle trade relationship between Britain,
India and China. In reviewing the history and supplementing the information alongside the economic data during the time, the paper will prove that even though India was the primary provider of the Opium exported to China, Britain benefit the most from the triangle trade relationship through means of exploitation and the determination to strengthen its economy. Opium and its History in China Before the Wars Opium is a narcotic drug that is found from the unripe seedpods of the opium poppy, also known as Papaver Somniferum. The opium is obtained by, “slightly incising the seed capsules of the poppy after the plant’s flower petals have fallen; the slit seedpods exude a milky latex that coagulates and changes color upon exposure to air” 1 . Opium was first cultivated in lower the medical field. However, in as early as 1515, “a well-known physician Li Ting, warned that opium ‘can kill like a sword… and needs to be taken in moderation” 2 . He was the first physician to speak out on the addictive effects the drug could instill in people, however, government officials at the time believed that the restorative qualities outweighed the risk of addiction. As such, it remained a part of the medical field, and slowly made its way into the

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