Opium_Trade_in_China - In this paper, I will discuss Chinas...

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In this paper, I will discuss Chinas opium problem within the 1830’s. At this point, the British Empire has established a routine shipping triangle between ports in England to ports in India; here British merchants would pick up large shipments of opium. From India, the merchants headed towards China, Canton in particular. From here the large shipments were sold to merchants using large British clipper ships, who distributed the large shipments of opium to smaller smuggling ships called “fast dragons” to be dispersed amongst the vast provinces of China. I will discuss the impact of this trade triangle for both the British and the Chinese. Also to be discussed is Imperial Commissioner Lin and his anti-opium campaign in China as well as on the British front. The Chinese and British had contrasting views on Lin and his campaign to end the mass profits the British were collecting from poisoning the Chinese community. Ultimately the opium war would conclude with the Nanjing treaty signed by the Chinese in 1842. Britain forced China to sign via threat of military and naval conquest, a tactic called gunboat diplomacy. Before we delve too far into the characters that were directly involved in the diplomacy regarding the opium situation in China, we must get a better understanding of the market conditions that the situation arose from. There is a very clear line that separates the two types of trade between the British and Chinese empires respectively. There was legal trade which consisted of mostly Chinese exports such as; tea, rice, silk, plus other forms of textiles and goods. On this side of trade the Chinese exported high volumes of goods while importing virtually nothing from the British. In turn, this results in a trade deficit for the British as they are importing much more than they are export. This leads us to the other side of the trade line previously discussed, the illegal trade. To settle Britain’s trade deficit and turn the flow of currency inward instead of outward to the Chinese the British turned to a substance they could move in large quantities, opium. The East India Trading Company (EIC) had control of British territory in India that produced vast amounts of the drug in its warmer climate. This second black market created by opium, saw escalating profits and up to a 400% increase in business over time. All of this while China watched millions in silver leave its borders. At the expense of the millions of opium addicts in China, Britain’s trade deficit soon turned into a trade surplus. Britain continued pouring Opium through the only port available to the west, Canton and into China while simultaneously watching profits soar. It seems as though the illegal trade market was spurred on by a British trade deficit and a need by the British to find a way to balance it. The opium trade allowed Britain to reverse their deficit and form a surplus. The British view themselves as superior to those in their empire and other foreigners. Even though opium profits filled the pockets of the British, they were careful
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This note was uploaded on 02/18/2012 for the course HISTORY hs101 taught by Professor Lynch during the Spring '12 term at Dublin City University.

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Opium_Trade_in_China - In this paper, I will discuss Chinas...

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