First Opium War


The Opium War between China and Great Britain breaks out when the Chinese ordered the destruction of illegal opium stored by foreign merchants. The East India Company had promoted the use of opium by its Chinese workers.

As trade developed between China and Europe, a trade imbalance ensued. The Europeans purchased much more goods from China than the Chinese did. To balance the trade, the Europeans led by the English began to sell Opium to the Chinese. This quickly led to an epidemic in China vastly increasing the number of opium addicts. The Chinese Emperor decided to ban all Opium sales in China. The Chinese confiscated British opium and confined the traders.

The British government objected to the way their traders were treated and send a naval force to China.The frist battle of the war was fought on September 4, 1839. The British navy quickly defeated the Chinese in a series of one-sided battles. The Chinese were forced to sign the Treaty of Nanking on August 29, 1842. Under the treat the Chinese were force to pay a fine to the British, they opened up five ports for their traders and gave the British the port of Hong Kong.