What do scholars consider the most important effect of the Opium War?
The Opium War, which was war between China and Britain that took place between 1839 and 1860. In reality, there were two different wars: the first began in 1839 and lasted until 1842 and the second began in 1856 and ended in 1860. The background to this war is linked to the need for more open trade routes for Europeans as Chinese emperors had adopted isolationist policies, which affected trade. The deteriorating trade balance began to hurt Europeans, and the British began to sell opium. Attempts by Chinese rulers to ban the importation of opium, which became a major public health problem, led the British to attack Hong Kong, which started the war. China conceded and signed trade treaties that allowed opium to be sold.
After the British troops defeated the Chinese troops the Chinese surrendered and ceded the island of Hong Kong to the United Kingdom and accepted the opening of its ports to international trade. The British East India Company, which trade opium in India in the 1800s were allowed to trade opium in China from 1858 legally, which before had previously brought to China illegally from Indian traders. Legalization of the opium trade increased profits for the British trades, but he Chinese authorities were still focused on limiting the opium trade. Opium trade had grown gradually in China before the 1858 legalization and there was a ready market.
Europe had always looked to the East as a place with great commercial possibilities and the Europeans sought to find a route to reach Asia markets easily. The trade imbalance between imports and exports was large and favorable to Asians before opium legalization and opium to sale was one way to alleviate the deficits. Britain had long focused on establishing trade routes with China, where they imported tea or silk, but few products to export to the Asian market until opium because a major trading commodity.
The British economic interests influenced the Opium war and subsequent opium legalization, which in turn led to the decline and fall of imperial China While Opium was a drug that was traditionally used in China since even before the 19th Europeans formed relations with Chinese drug traffickers, and sold large amounts of opium in the early 19th century. In return they received luxurious Chinese items. Trade grew at the end of the 18th century and, although the Qing emperor tried to stop the trade the 1830s opium was increasingly consumed in China and this was a caused huge cost to China as the Qing dynasty fell, partly because it signed unfavorable treaties and some sections were imposed on China.
China followed a restrictive policy in the years prior to the Opium War, but was then force to open up to foreign trade in the nineteenth century, which benefited British merchants dealing in opium. Foreign trade interests influenced foreign trade after 1858 as the Qing emperor had less power to restrict trade in opium. Chinese ports wee attractive to Europeans looking for new trade routes, and it is the British East India Company, which took full advantage of trade openness to profit from the Asian region. In the 19th century trade between Britain and China was mostly based on opium trafficking and this was to the detriment of China’s economy and people.