Opium Wars Chris, Alec and Eli

Prior to the War:

Prior to the Opium conflicts, India has been illegally shipping opium to China since the 18th century and trade increased further in the 1820’s. The british used the tool to increase trade with China, who had previously not wanted to trade with European countries. With the tool Britain was able to secure trade with China, and lead to further addiction in China, and further increasing British trade with them. However, the long term selling of opium to China lead to widespread social disruption and economic despair within the country. Prior to the conflict, China began to dispose of Opium found, and two drunk British sailor killed a chinese villager, and Britain would not hand them to the Chinese legal system.

What role did Europeans play:

Britain went to war against China after China’s attempts to suppress the opium trade

Britain refused to turn over a group of men who killed a Chinese citizen which escalated tensions

Prior to second Opium War, Britain attempted to extend their trade rights in China

Chinese burned trading ports in Canton leading to France teaming up with Britain

Britain and France invaded and captured Beijing which led to the Beijing Convention

Ceded the British of the southern portion of the Kowloon Peninsula

Describe rejection against colonization:

The Chinese constantly challenged the European colonization of their land because they seeks to abuse their resources for the gain of their own nation. For example, the Europeans introduced Opium which they used to control the Chinese by getting them addicted and constantly raising the prices to maintain the absolute control over them. In response, the Chinese people revolted to this colonialism that suppressed them through consoling their supply of opium. In conclusion, the Chinese response to this totalitarian control was their constant revolts against this corrupt system that seeked only to control them.


In total there were two main “Opium Wars” between the Chinese people and European countries. The first Opium War was between the British and China where China was angry because the illegal opium trade Britain has been conducting has had a negative influence on social and economic China. The war ended with Britain obtaining Hong Kong from China and more ports for trade being opened. The second Opium War was a conflict that began with Britain and China where China burned down a British seaside port from anger of the trade Britain had been conducting. France entered in on Britain’s side and captured Beijing. This led to the Beijing convention where China ceded the Kowloon peninsula to Britain.


The Opium wars showcased the power and dominance of the European powers in foreign affairs and the impact that imperialism had on the nations that were conquered. Similarly, with the control that the European powers had they were able to maintain commercial privileges in Asia and continue to become economic giants.

This war also showcased the power of Britain and France in foreign affairs and the growing presence of both of them as super powers

Similarly, the wars helped give essential territorial gains in China, giving the European powers an essential claim in Asia to continue power in the future, and to further lead to future conflicts in Asia.

The conflict was marked the start of the era of unequal treaties, limiting the power of the Qing dynasty and “ultimately topple the dynasty in favour of republican China in the early 20th century.”

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