Opium Wars, 1839 - 1860

By~Isabella A., Alexis, Isabella S. Ava, and Haley

How It All Started~

British and American merchants wanted to trade with China for tea and some of their land. They wanted to trade with China cotton but China already had cotton. So they finally found something that China did not have and wanted, Opium. Opium was a kind of drug that was made out of poppy and later on killed everyone in China. The Chinese people didn't know at first that this will kill them.

The Outbreaks~

This war really has no logical reason to it. Britain was very addicted to China's tea and their land so of course Britain will do anything for it. Chinese people started to die and get drunk from Opium. The Chinese government later then realize that Opium was bad for their people and banished it from China. Some Chinese traders kept the Opium and sold it to the people. The Emperor at that time, Lin Ze-xu, took swift action with 1,600 arrests and confiscated 11,000 pounds of Opium. In June he ordered the seizure of 20,000 crates of Opium from factories, holding the merchants under arrest until they surrendered the 9 million dollars worth of Opium. Later on British found out about this and got mad. China had banded selling/trading drugs so now Britain is left with no choice but to deal with it. Britain chose to do something even worse, fight. This is why I say that this was a useless war. Britain started the Opium just because China was dying form Opium and China didn't want anymore. That was my summary of the Opium war.


This Opium war was the first in which thousands were killed in the name of free trade. The opium war also had no logical reason to begin, China was the main target in most of this. Everyone wanted their tea and etc. with china or the products they had with them. So the Chinese government learned after all that the opium was bad for there people and that concludes the Opium war.
Opium Wars Documentary