Since the seventeenth-century the East India Company had been exporting silver from London to China in order to purchase tea for sale in London, and thence around the world. By the nineteenth century this trade had grown to enormous proportions, and the East India Company had become the de facto government of India. Servants of the Company realised the advantages of exporting goods from India to China in order to pay for the purchase of tea, and in particular Indian cotton goods and opium, both of which were in demand in China. The Chinese government had made the importation of opium illegal in an attempt to reduce the dire social effects of growing addiction, and in November 1839 seized illegal stocks of opium held in the East India …
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Editors. "First Anglo-Chinese Opium War". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 February 2010
[https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=4798, accessed 12 December 2017.]