Monday, February 21, 2005

China, Western challenge, 1839–60

The opium question, the direct cause of the first Sino-British clash in the 19th century, began with a late 18th-century British attempt to counterbalance their unfavourable China trade with traffic in Indian opium. After monopolizing the opium trade in 1779, the East India Company's government began to sell the drug at auction to private British traders in India, who shipped


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