The Opium War

Topics: First Opium War, Qing Dynasty, China Pages: 4 (1376 words) Published: May 6, 2011
Chinese Culture and History

The Opium War

In this descriptive essay the movement for china to prohibit opium and the formation and the devolution of the first opium war from 1839 till 1842 and its aftermaths for china will be shown. The Opium War was one of the most important points of inflexion in the history of china. Before this war, china was an autonomous feudal state that administrates the state without interventions of other states. After the repression of the Qing Dynasty by the British and the signing of the disparate contract of Nanjing in 1842, china converted step by step to a half feudal and half colonial state.

Already in the forties of the 19th century, Great Britain was a high developed, capitalistic State. After it has tightened its colonial control about India, their aggressions adjust against china. In this time china was still a self isolated feudal state with a dominant autarkic agricultural economic system. British industrial goods were not liked and couldn’t be sold in china in this time, so that Britain had to pay big amounts of silver to buy Chinese products like silk and tea. To avoid these high costs, Britain starts to bribe Chinese functionaries by opium. It was brought in rising high amounts to china. For example in contrast to 1820 where they brought 4000 cases with 600 kilo of opium for each to china, they transported 40000 cases of that in 1838 to the empire of the middle, which means that a very high amount of silver leaves china in this years. The price of silver was rising high so that the burden of the Farmers gains and the Qing Dynasty get into financial problems consequently. Thereby the number of opium smokers elevates, the feudal functionaries getting more and more corrupt and the fighting power of the Chinese army was enervated. Finally the Emperor of the Qing Dynasty Daoguang (from 1821 till 1850) was frightened of his authority. Because of that he sends the general governor of Hunan and Hubei, Lin Zexu, as a...
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