Chinese officials wished to stop what was perceived as an outflow of silver and to control the spread of opium, and confiscated supplies of opium from British traders. The British government, although not officially denying China's right to control imports, objected to this seizure and used its newly developed military power to enforce violent redress.
In 1842, the Treaty of Nanking—the first of what the Chinese later called the unequal treaties—granted an indemnity to Britain, the opening of five treaty ports, and the cession of Hong Kong Island, thereby ending the trade monopoly of the Canton System. The failure of the treaty to satisfy British goals of improved trade and diplomatic relations led to the Second Opium War (1856–60). The war is now considered in China as the beginning of modern Chinese history.
1.1 Tea & silver trade
1.2 Opium trade
2 Kowloon incident (July 1839)
3 Opium War (1839–42)
5 See also
From the inception of the Canton System by the Qing Dynasty in 1756, trade in goods from China was extremely lucrative for European and Chinese merchants alike. The system granted a monopoly to the British East India Company, on one side, and the Thirteen Hongs on the other, and maritime trade was only allowed to take place in Canton (Guangzhou). Foreigners could only live in one of the Thirteen Factories, on Shameen Island, and were not allowed to enter, much less live or trade in, any other part of China.
The Emperor decreed "China is the centre of the world and has everything we could ever need and that all Chinese... [continues]
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