Week 4 Lecture WOH

Week 4 Lecture WOH - Opium Wars Population pressure,...

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Opium Wars Population pressure, government corruption, and domestic rebellions played a role in the collapse of the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) in China. Foreign aggression also played a part. The Opium Wars in particular have come to symbolize the catastrophic confrontation between China’s long standing imperial system and European imperialism. By the late eighteenth century, the persistence of European traders compelled China to establish the Canton System. This system confined European merchants to the port of Guangzhou (Canton) in warehouses called factories, and restricted them to doing business with the Cohong ( gonghang ), a small number of Chinese firms granted the monopoly on foreign trade. As Great Britain’s empire and global influence expanded, British merchants increasingly resented Chinese obstacles to free trade, especially because commerce with China was far more lucrative for the Chinese. Chinese tea became a necessity for the British, and demand at home grew for other Chinese goods, such as silk and porcelain. The Cohong merchants became wealthy, and the trade imbalance continued, until the British found a commodity that would appeal to the Chinese in the poppy fields of India: opium British merchants did not introduce opium to China, but they did recognize and feed growing Chinese demand for the drug by not only encouraging its cultivation in British-controlled India, but also exporting it to China. The Chinese came to perceive the drug as a problem long before Britain introduced restrictions on its use. By the early nineteenth century, the Chinese prohibited
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This note was uploaded on 10/01/2010 for the course WOH 1013 taught by Professor Richardson during the Fall '10 term at Edison State College.

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Week 4 Lecture WOH - Opium Wars Population pressure,...

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