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excerpts from:
http://www.angelfire.com/ca3/jphuck/BOOK3Ch5.html

OPIUM FINDS ITS WAY TO ASIA

"...Southeast Asia got its first dose of opium in 1500 when Portuguese, while trading along the East China Sea, initiated the smoking of opium. Within two centuries the Dutch were exporting shipments of Indian opium to China and the islands of Southeast Asia. In 1729 Chinese emperor Yung Cheng issued an edict which prohibited the smoking of opium and its domestic sale, except under license for use as medicine. Nevertheless, the use of opium increased, and by 1750 the British East India Company assumed control of Bengal and Bihar, the opium-growing districts of India. British shipping dominated the opium trade out of Calcutta to China. By 1767 opium exports by the British East India Company to China reached a staggering two thousand chests of opium per year. In 1793, the British East India Company established a monopoly on the opium trade. All poppy growers in India were forbidden to sell opium to competitor trading companies.

In 1799 Chinese emperor Kia King banned opium completely, making trade and poppy cultivation illegal. Foreign merchants then turned to smuggling...."

"...In 1839 the first Opium War broke out, and the Chinese ordered all foreign traders to surrender their opium. The British responded by sending warships to China. [note: U.S. warships aided the British] Two years later, the Chinese were defeated by the British which demanded heavy reparations, including the cession of Hong Kong to Great Britain. The Second Opium War erupted in 1856, and the British again demanded indemnities from China, forcing the emperor to legalize opium. By the turn of the century and after 150 years of failed attempts to rid the country of opium, the Chinese finally convinced the British to dismantle the India-China opium trade.

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