Opium Wars

Topics: Opium, First Opium War, Opium Wars Pages: 5 (1701 words) Published: November 15, 2008
Drugs have been around for hundreds of years and it modifies normal body functions depending on the drug. During the 19th century, the Chinese had become a victim under the dangerous drug of Opium. When opium was first introduce in China it was like any other drug, addictive and harmful to the human body but the Chinese weren’t aware of the opium negative effects. Opium the narcotic drug is derived of from immature seed pods of poppy plants. Opium was used for pain relieving, it was one of the first drugs able to relieve pain before morphine was invented, and morphine is safer drug then opium and they both came from the same plant. Before the opium war, foreign trade to Western countries was limited and strictly controlled by the government since the Chinese believes they won’t benefit from the Western countries such as England. The Chinese felt very superior comparing to the Western Countries and ironically England is actually more superior then China in every aspect; political dominance, military dominance and economical in particular. The Opium wars are conflicts between China and England over trading rights on the dangerous narcotic of opium, periods of the two conflicts are between 1839-1842, & 1856-1860. The English and Chinese hostilities ended with the Treaty of Nanjing for the first conflict and convention of Peking for the second conflict. The Chinese suffered one of their most humiliating defeats from the opium wars, when they lost to a country that they considered barbaric.

Britain’s military triumph over China’s military has dictated the results of the Opium Wars. By the end of the Opium wars Britain had asserted a dominant military force and influenced the importance of Western technology into military. When the Chinese was bombarded with the newly steam iron ship, Nemesis, Lin Zexu urges the Chinese government to start adapting towards western technologies to balance out their military disadvantages. Technology into the military plays a key role for England’s success with their powerful weapons and war machines. With the threat of England’s military, Chinese is forced to appease England to cease the invading army from further actions. This is an embarrassment for China and very significant, with the appeasement to England it shows that the Chinese government gave up on its own military and submitting to foreign presence even against their own morale and beliefs. Since China has submitted into England’s needs once, England used its Military threat to appease them more granting their needs and become prosperous while China is losing its international rights and slowly fall apart internally. Though the military capability on land isn’t that bad for China, the main concern was the naval difference while England uses steam iron ships, China’s naval power consists of wooden fire ships incapable to inflict serious amount of damage to the English navy. Lacking the advanced industrial economy needed to build up sea authority, “China remains exposed to attacks by sea until the first half of the 20th century.” (Roberts, 33). The only victory China had against England was fending off landed British and Indian forces in May 29, 1841 when villagers in Sanyuanli was provoked by the invaders for ridiculing Chinese tombs. Their victory in Sanyuanli has questioned the Chinese military if it’s reliable to protect their country if they can’t even protect themselves from the English. The Chinese Empire self proclaim them to be superior to the rest of the world and its aloofness against the Europeans but this condescending attitude was unacceptable to Great Britain leaving them to shatter the Chinese composure (Kuo, 9). It’s safe to say China is completely demoralized after been crushed by the more superior nation and leaving China in shambles. Prevailing military is required to sustain the more superior nation in battle.

Chinese wealth is incomparable to the vast amount of riches that England has. Most of England’s income...
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