FIRST OPIUM WAR

Nov 2, 2017
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Examine the various interests in the Chinese Trade. What according to you lead to the First Sino-British War?The First Sino-Anglo War of 1839-42 is an important landmark event in the history of Chinese history. Many scholars consider it to be the first milestone in modern Chinese history because of its profound impact. However, the causes and nature of this war are a matter of great debate. Some believe that it occurred due to a clash of civilizations as a result of the traditional value system of the Chinese based on Confucianism and the prevailing notion of ‘Sino-centrism’, which influenced her attitude towards the foreigners; while others believe that it was the clash of economic interests between the British and the Chinese Empire that brought the two of them into open warfare against each other. Thus, before we go into this debate it is important to understand the context and the background to the war especially with respect to the Chinese polity, economy and society and its relations with foreigners.

Prior to the Opium Wars China was closed or more accurately, it highly controlled its contacts with the outside world. Thus relations between China and its neighbours, and later the Westerners, till the first Opium War were essentially relations of inequality, maintained on Chinese terms, in accordance with the basic tenets of Chinese philosophy.

This dominant Chinese philosophy which governed Chinese life in all spheres was Confucianism. Developed over the years it was the official state philosophy aimed at achieving social harmony and political stability. It had become a way of life for a large number of Chinese people, giving them a pragmatic and practical code of ethics and values by which to lead their lives. The continuity of Chinese culture and the conservatism that both caused it and followed from it rested on a firm base of tradition, one of the most fully formed, fixed, and binding the world has known.

The Chinese society was knit together by Confucianism. The Emperor occupied the highest position in society, who was seen as the “son of heaven”-an intermediary between heaven and mankind and his right to rule was based on the mandate of heaven. Thus, this meant that a ruler’s reign was conditional depending upon his performance. The society was further divided into classes and the merchants or traders came last in this social hierarchy. Thus, it can be seen that trade was looked down upon and traders were always seen with suspicion as they could finance any anti-government activity or encourage foreign invasions. Hence, foreign traders were also distrusted. There was no system of commercial laws to protect the merchant from official interference. Thus the merchant was under the strict control of the bureaucracy. This factor affected Sino-Western trade relations as well.
Another belief in its own superiority lead the Chinese to look down upon any relations with the Westerners. They believed that the heaven was round, and the Earth was square and the area under the shadow projected by the heaven was the “Heavenly Middle Kingdom” or China. The corners of the square not under the celestial emanations were ruled by the foreign ‘barbarians’. Thus, morally to the Chinese, the “foreign devils” could not be on equal grounds with the Chinese.

All this was part of the notion of what had been termed as ‘Sino-centrism’, whereby the Chinese saw themselves as a distinct and separate cultural identity, based on a sense of pride and superiority. However, it was the misconception of the Americans who coined this term that the Chinese were a closed and insular society. Sino-centrism was an important part of China’s perception of itself and the outside world. The traditional Chinese attitude to foreigners was characterized by a degree of complacency, bordering on arrogance. However, it also had an element of pragmatism and it was due to the Chinese desire to protect themselves that they further closed the doors to western countries. The Chinese believed that exposure to the foreigners would endanger their social values or incite the local population into rebelling against the Manchu dynasty. 

Finally, in the economic sphere the Chinese were very self-sufficient.  Primary emphasis was given to agriculture and exports like tea and silk were products of traditional labour intensive farm handicrafts that were not much susceptible to modernization. The demand of the local population for imported goods was also not much and all the demands were usually met by local production. It was this self-sustainability which made the Chinese believe that they had nothing to gain from foreign trade and much to lose.
Thus it can be seen that this false sense of superiority and economic self-sufficiency lead China to seal itself off from foreign intrusion. Whatever trade existed with the foreigners was highly restrictive and took place on Chinese terms.  Such a system was highly frustrating for the westerners, especially the British, at a time when they were trying to expand their economic interests all over the world.

English trade was carried out mainly through the East India Company, which by the middle of the 18th century, had outstripped all of its competitors. The desire was now to set up regular trade and formal political relations with China, but China still refused. The foreign merchants made constant attempts to improve their bargaining position. This constant pressure to enter China led to the emergence of a highly formal system of trade relations between the Chinese and the West in 1757 – the Canton or the Cohong System. Although some of its practices had existed earlier as well, it was now recognized as the only system of interaction with the West, and continued till the defeat in the First Opium War in 1842.
 
According to the system, the traders were allowed to maintain their factories and trading establishments only at Canton. Their residence would be at Macao, and they would be allowed to remain in Canton only during the trading season (August-March). Foreign ships were also not allowed to anchor anywhere but at Whampoa. In return for the privilege to trade, the Western traders were expected to follow a set of 12 rules and regulations that were formally laid down. There was a restriction on their movement and no foreigner was permitted to go beyond Canton. Even there, they were always kept out of the city walls of Canton and confined to the riverbank area known as ‘Thirteen Factories’. They were not allowed to interact with the local Chinese, or buy or sell land, and they were under the jurisdiction of Chinese law. They also had no say in the regulation of the tariff policy – the conditions of trade were determined exclusively by the Chinese. Their trading activities were confined to the Cohong merchants, who in turn were responsible to the Chinese government for the good conduct of the foreigners and for the payment of taxes and fees imposed by the government. They were supervised by the Hoppo, the Canton Customs Superintendent, a high officer deputed from Peking. The highest official was the local governor-general, who was called the Viceroy.

The Cohong merchants were a small group of Chinese merchants who had been granted an imperial license to trade with the Westerners. They bought everything the Westerners brought to China, and sold them everything they wanted to take back.

One of the peculiarities of the Canton system was that it was largely one-sided. The Chinese did not desire European products, while the Europeans were willing to make long voyages and take grave risks to secure Chinese goods. The Chinese consequently came to believe that they were dependent on China for their well-being. They came, therefore, to look upon a threat to stop the trade as a very effective weapon to be used in controlling the foreign merchants. The Chinese attitude postulated that the benevolent Emperor allowed trade as a mark of favour to foreigners. Hence trade was not a right to be insisted upon, but a privilege that could be withdrawn by China for any misbehavior. To the Westerners, the conditions of trade were highly objectionable, but they did not want to endanger the highly profitable trade. Thus from late 18th century, continuous efforts were made to bring about revisions in the regulations through petitions. Their governments also began to take interest in the matter as the trade in China was carried out through corporations like the English East India Company, which were backed by the government. Their shareholders also occupied important positions in the Parliament. So a number of formal diplomatic missions, and sometimes royal missions, were sent from London to China.  The Company officials wanted to trade at other ports and to station a representative at Peking. However, any attempts to alter the Canton system met with complete failure and it continued unchanged by any diplomatic effort. It was one factor that provided the context to the Opium War.

Another factor lay in the actual trade conditions between the British and the Chinese, and a trading nexus that developed between England, China and India. By the late 18th century, there was a flourishing triangular trade. The immediate background to Opium War can be traced to the British search for a commodity to use in exchange for Chinese tea and silk. The balance of trade in the 18th century was very much in China’s favour. The Westerners purchased large quantities of tea, silk and rhubarb and had to bring in bullion or specie to purchase these products. This was due to the fact that the Chinese had very little demand for foreign products given the self-sustainability of their economy.

Tea especially was in great demand in Britain, becoming popular in factories in place of alcohol. England also had to supply tea to the whole of Europe, since it had a monopoly over the trade. In 1793, the total value of tea exports from China was 19 million pounds; by 1830, this had exceeded 30 million pounds. However, this resulted in a heavy outflow of bullion from England, making it a weak economy according to the principles of laissez-faire. During 1775 and 1795, the Company’s imports of goods and bullion into China amounted to 31.5 million taels, against an export of 56.6 million taels, resulting in a 25.1 million-tael deficit. This was a cause of worry and the British began their search for commodities to balance their Chinese trade. This search came to an end in the late 1790s when opium entered the trade. By 1820s, the situation was reversed and it was China that was losing bullion to the West in exchange for opium. Initially, the British tried to introduce woolen products into China, which were manufactured in plenty by the textile manufacturers of Manchester and Liverpool. They put pressure on the East India Company to find overseas markets for their woolens, especially in China, where the Company was looking for commodities acceptable to the Chinese in order to balance the trade. However the woolens which the Company took to Canton were sold at a loss since there was no market for it in South China, where the warm climate was unsuitable.

Simultaneously, around late 18th century, a new problem faced the East India Company in India. This was the issue of remittances, i.e., how the revenue collected from India should be transferred to England. This problem came up as the Lancashire and Manchester manufacturers wanted to end the import of Indian yarn, which was earlier sponsored by these profits in order to protect the nascent cotton industry in Britain. This issue became even more serious after the Charter Act of 1813, by which the East India Company’s monopoly over Indian trade was ended and private trade showed a rapid increase. This problem was soon linked with the Chinese trade, which was now employed to remit colonial gains from India. China and India were thus tied together and became mutually dependent. This resulted in the formation of what can be termed as the ‘First Trade Triangle’.  
At first Indian coarse cotton yarn was sent to China. It achieved limited success. However, Britain could not takeover the Chinese cotton industries, as it had done in India. Thus by the late 1790s, the English could not recover the cost price of the huge cotton supplies brought from India. The value of all British goods imported into China from 1781 to 1793, including woolen fabrics, cot ton yarn and cloth and metals products, amount ed to only one-sixth of the value of the teas China exported to Britain. Once again, silver was used to pay for Chinese goods. It is estimated that the export of specie to China from 1784 to 1852 amounted to no less than 180 million dollars. This time, however, Indian silver was used, i.e., the profits obtained from India were used to compensate for the demand for tea and make one part of Britain’s Asian trade to pay for the other. However it was soon recognized that this was as bad as the payment using British bullion. Hence they began to search for alternative goods. The Western traders finally discovered a very profitable product for the Chinese markets – opium. This led to the creation of the ‘Second Trade Triangle’. The British sold manufactured goods in India and used Indian opium to trade in tea with China. Opium was a narcotic substance derived from the poppy flower. It was first introduced into China by the Arabs and the Turks in the late 7th-early 8th century. It was towards the end of the 17th century that the practice of Opium smoking spread all over China and soon attained the proportions of a national vice. Many of the officials and the gentry, together with people from all classes who could afford it, became addicts. Objections to its use were raised from an early time and Opium was a banned substance. This however did not really discourage the trade. Instead the whole opium traffic now became illicit. Officials were ordered to bring it to an end, but they found it too profitable as a source of “squeeze”. Opium thus became a new source of corruption and the quantity of opium kept growing unchecked. Most of the opium came from India, some from Persia, and, towards the last, some Turkish opium was imported by the Americans. In 1729, the annual import of opium from India was 200 chests. In 1767, this increased to 1000 chests a year. From 1800 to 1821, the average was about 4500 chests a year, but the annual total grew to some 10,000 chests by 1830 and over 40,000 chests by 1838-39. (A chest usually contained 133 pounds.) By then, the balance of trade had become unfavourable to China and the value of opium imported alone exceeded that of all the commodities exported. The increase in importation was also indicative of an increasing number of users. By the late 1830s, official records mention that there were as many as 10 million addicts in China.

The British took over the lead in opium importation from the Portuguese when the East India Company acquired access to a large amount of opium. In 1765, it got control over opium grown in large quantities in the Bengal province, after the Treaty of Allahabad. In 1773, it established a monopoly of the opium cultivation – Bengal opium was cultivated under Company control and sold officially to private traders at auctions in Calcutta. In 1813, Malwa was annexed, which was known for opium cultivation. By the 1830s, the Company had got control of the ports of shipment, like Bombay, which enabled it to levy a transit tax and profit accordingly. In the meantime, the competition between Bengal and western India had stimulated the production of more opium at lower prices.

Initially, the Company was directly involved in the opium trade. But after 1796, the Company disengaged itself officially from the opium trade by leaving its distribution to the country ships (under private traders) which sailed under the Company’s license. They had the same privileges as the East India Company. Thus the Company perfected the technique of growing opium cheaply and abundantly in India, while piously disowning it in China. Legally and officially, it was not involved in the illicit trade. In 1833, the British government abolished the monopoly of the East India Company over the China trade through the Second Charter Act. This led to a further increase in the activities of private traders, giving an immense boost to the already existing opium smuggling. New firms now entered the trade, such as Russell & Company, an American firm. The leading British private firm, Jardine, Matheson & Company handled roughly one-third of the total opium trade in China. Within China itself, a sophisticated network for distribution of opium emerged. This included Chinese collaborators as well. The opium trade could not have flourished without this support. The country traders unloaded the consignments along the coast at the island of Lintin since they were not allowed to any further. From there, it was the Chinese that used the inland routes to transport it in the interiors. They also made huge profits, while the higher officials turned a blind eye in return for bribes. Thus the opium trade was pushed from both sides. Opium trade solved the twin problems facing England. Not only had Britain’s commercial expansion become dependent on opium, the trade had become entrenched in China as a powerfully organized smuggling system which corrupted the government. Opium had merely increased the unofficial revenue.

By the beginning of the 19th century, the situation had become alarming. Opium addiction soon became widespread. Virtually all sections of society became addicts- government officials, merchants, scholars, women, army men and even monks, nuns and priests. Drug use thus threatened to undermine only family morals, but also social and moral foundations of the empire. Opium also had a negative impact on Chinese society and economy. First, drug addition affected the workforce and undermined production, thus opening the way for foreign imports to increase at the expense of China’s domestic industries. Also, large areas which had earlier been used to grow food crops were now being planted with poppy in order to get the opium cheaper. A major part of the meagre income of an ordinary Chinese was spent on opium. This caused a stagnation in the demand for other commodities, with a consequent general sluggishness in the market. Business slowed down, the standard of living fell and public services no longer worked smoothly. Another serious repercussion was the drain of silver, the basis of China’s currency, beginning sometime after 1821. As opium imports increased, China for the first time began to suffer a net loss of silver, mainly taken out to India as bullion to pay for opium. British statistics indicate that the outflow of silver from China to Britain between 1823 and 1834 was worth 25.2 million dollars. The exchange rate between the copper cash used in everyday transactions and the silver bullion (in the unit of weight and fineness known as the tael) began to rise. This imposed hardship at all levels of society – peasants had to pay more as taxes, merchants charged more for their sales, official tax collectors meeting their quotas in silver had less copper cash left over as private squeeze and overall government revenue declined. Opium smuggling, together with the activities of the foreign firms in Canton, also created a problem of authority that challenged the ability of the state to rule. Canton and other southeastern ports became centres of insubordination and corruption. Thus, this combined with the prevailing internal crisis and external threat to create severe conditions in China. The position of the Emperor, the existing social hierarchy and Confucianism all came under attack, even before the Opium War had begun. 

Faced with such a problem, the Chinese government opened a debate among Manchus and senior officials. The debate lasted for about two years and in the end, a minority group which favoured an uncompromising and even stricter stand against Opium trade was adopted. In 1839, an imperial statute in 39 articles levied extreme punishments (including death penalty) both for trading in and consumption of opium. The imperial government appointed a High Commissioner to Canton to suppress opium trade, Lin Tse-hsu (1785-1850). He arrived at Canton on March 10th 1839, and to the surprise of the foreign merchants, took immediate drastic action. He made 1600 arrests and confiscated 11,000 pounds of Opium in two months. He also forced foreign merchants to hand over 20,000 chests of Opium. He burned the Opium in a public demonstration and scattered the ashes across the sea. When Lin gave the order that Canton should be completely closed to foreign trade, the British opened hostilities and started the Opium War. Many Chinese saw the war as unprovoked aggression by the British to continue trade in opium. It represented a flagrant example of imperialist aggression, and Chinese resistance was a patriotic attempt to stamp out the evil sapping the Chinese people of their riches and health. The role played by the local militia and peasant groups was later looked upon by Communists as the nurturing of already present patriotic and nationalistic groups. The British, on the other hand, viewed the war from a different vantage point. For them, it was in the interests of free trade and fair justice and introduced a new era in China, which woke her from her slumber and put on track of progress. Since then, the Opium War has been a topic of much academic controversy. The debate is essentially on two issues – whether the war was inevitable, regardless of opium; and whether onus for the war lies on the Chinese or the Western powers. Tan Chung has identified 3 broad categories of explanations. Opium is recognized by all as being the immediate cause of war. However the extent of importance given to it has led to different terms being used for the war – while some call it the first Sino-British conflict, others call it the First Opium War. It should also be noted that the term ‘Opium War’ is not of Chinese origin. It was suggested by Sir Henry Pottinger, a British official. Old Chinese tradition shunned admission of defeat and till the 20th century, alluded to it as Yu-hsin (Foreign Provocation).

John Quincy Adams, the 6th President of the United States, began the debate in December 1841, when he said that the cause of war was kowtow, “the arrogant and insupportable pretensions of China, that she will hold commercial intercourse…not upon equal reciprocity but upon the insulting and degrading forms of relation between lord and vassal”. W.A.P. Martin, a US missionary-scholar, modified this into a rationalized argument in his book, The Awakening of China, viewing the war as “the result of a series of collisions between the conservatism of the extreme orient and the progressive spirit of the western world”. These form part of the explanation which Tan Chung terms as the ‘Cultural War Theory’. According to this view, opium was not important for the British at all. The main concern was their unequal relations with the Chinese government. They were not pleased with their treatment as just another tribute-bearing nation and demanded diplomatic equality. When the Chinese refused this demand, the British felt justified in going to war. Li Chien-nung called the war “a conflict of western and eastern cultures”, over 3 issues – international relations, commerce and foreign trade, and jurisdiction. This is similar to the views of a US scholar, E.H. Pritchard, who spoke of cultural difficulties over “the idea of equality”, the social status of the mercantile class, and “the different attitude towards justice”. Leslie Merchant sees the war as a doctrinal, philosophical clash between two cultures and two notions of government and society. John K. Fairbank, in his earlier works, also expounded this theory, saying that Sino-centrism and the regressive judicial system were the causative factors in the conflict between a dynamic Britain trying to “civilize” a backward, stagnant China.

It was the legal system of China and its enforcement which became the major source of grievance for the foreigners. Chinese legal concepts and practices of law differed greatly from those practices in the West. There was “no due process of law” nor was there advise of counsel in court. The judiciary was not an independent branch of the government but it was the local judge who presided over all matters. Moreover, the Chinese law worked on the premise of taking confessions before holding “trials”. All this was alien and “barbarous” to the foreigners. They wanted their citizens to be exempt from the Chinese law because of the strange way they discharged justice and the harshness of their sentences. This naturally was not acceptable to the Chinese. It was finally the ‘Lady Hughes’ incident of 1784 that really antagonized the relations between the two nations. This country ship had fired a salute and accidently killed two people. As the gunner managed to escape the captain of the ship was caught and all trade was banned until the gunner surrendered. It was only when he surrendered was trade allowed to be resumed. The gunner was then strangulated to death. It was this incident and the Chinese explanation that it was a light punishment as they took only one life for the loss of two which shocked the foreigners. Moreover, it was the harshness and apparent inhumanness of the Chinese punishments; lack of trials according to European standards and the concept of holding everyone responsible till the culprit was punished angered, frustrated and scared the Foreigners.

This view has been criticized by Chinese communist historians. Tan Chung says that wars cannot be fought merely on cultural grounds, which are subjective, physiological elements that never remain constant; there are always vested material interests. Also, he points out that the chances of a cultural clash, if any, were more probable when the Westerners had settled in Canton for the first time, rather than nearly 150 years later. Even after the war, no major cultural changes were witnessed in China. Moreover, the Chinese tributary system had already worn out itself to a large extent by the middle of the 18th century, when it had been exposed to 2 disruptive influences – the rise of the Chinese junk trade with Southeast Asia (Nan-yang); and the Canton system of trade.

The next set of explanations has been classified as the ‘Trade War Perspective’ by Tan Chung. This theory argues after the Industrial Revolution, Britain was rapidly expanding and hence desired raw materials as well as newer markets for its manufactured goods. China resisted this. Victor Purcell concluded that it was the Industrial Revolution, the principle of unrestricted trade and the practice of free competition, which the Chinese did not accept, that contributed to British frustration against China. Also, war was seen as a product of the “trade-obsessed” England’s quest for “foreign markets”. Fairbank too agreed in his later works, saying that it was China’s resistance to the long-term trading interest of the post-industrial trading society of Britain that made the war “unavoidable”, a case of Western expansion clashing with China’s traditional order. For him, one of the fundamental causes of the Opium War “was the expansion of trade beyond the limits of the ancient Canton system of regulation”. These arguments consider the larger aim of the conflict to be the settlement of commercial relations with China on British terms.

This view argues that opium was only a coincidental factor that led to the eventual war. Hsin-poa Chang said opium was a variable, which could have been substituted by any other commodity; he writes, “…had there been an effective alternative to opium, say molasses or rice, the conflict might have been called the Molasses War or the Rice War”. Opium was thus only an instrument of British commercial expansion. Vinacke called opium the occasion, and not the cause, of the war, which he explained by the conditions of Canton trade. Michael Greenburg also suggested that war could have been fought on any ‘x’ commodity. Thus war would have taken place sooner or later, even in the absence of opium, since the points of difference were the mode of trade in China and the British merchants’ desire to acquire a favourable market in China for the British manufacturers.
The constant attempts made by the British to change the Canton Commercial System were all in vain as the Chinese had no desire to concede to the western demands. Such failures presented the British with three alternatives: (1) abandon the China trade; (2) submit to the Chinese treatment or (3) change the situation by military means. For Britain, the most powerful commercial empire in the world, the first two options were unthinkable, leaving them only with the third alternative- use of force. Thus, the time was fast approaching for a showdown between the two countries.

Some scholars have pointed out the flaws in this theory. Canton was a well-developed port and none of the restrictions hampered the conduct of trade. Moreover, while the system was monopolistic character, even on the British side the lucrative trade was a monopoly of the East India Company till 1833. It can be also argued that even in Britain, there had always been government measures to curb certain mercantile freedoms which were regarded as injurious to national interest. So the Chinese government must also be granted a similar right to defend its interest in whatever manner it considered best, including imposing restrictions on foreigners’ activities on Chinese soil. Anyway, it is evident that by 1836, the Canton system had fallen apart. Trade was no longer confined to Canton, the Cohong no longer monopolized it and the Company monopoly had given way to competing private traders. If it had existed, opium smuggling in the way in which it developed would not have been possible. Thus while the Canton System definitely provided the context of the Opium War, it can’t explain its outbreak. The idea of opium as an accidental cause has been also rejected by Tan Chung as one of the many meaningless ‘ifs’ in history – Opium is given more prominence.

The final perspective on the war has been called the ‘Opium War Theory’ by Tan Chung. According to this view, Anglo-Chinese conflict was inevitable due to the addictive drug, opium and its serious repercussions on Chinese economy, society and polity. It has been propounded by scholars like S.W. Williams, Hu Sheng, Maurice Collins and Tan Chung himself. Westel Woodbury Willoughby, a US scholar, said there is overwhelming evidence that the war is justifiably called an Opium War. However, he relies for his “evidence” only on what S.W. Williams has written – that the Chinese “seizure and destruction” of British opium ignited Sino-British hostility; and that China was asked to pay “an indemnity of six million dollars for the opium thus seized and destroyed according to the provision of the Treaty of Nanking”. Hsin-pao Chang has furnished other important evidence to support that opium was the cause of the war.

Tan Chung says that the cheap and abundant availability of opium in India and the huge profits accrued by British merchants in the trade helped to keep it alive. Opium was a commodity that would never reach a saturation point, unlike cotton. Also, the British needed no pretext to enter China for trade, since the Canton system was already weakening rapidly in the 1830s. That opium was called for to balance Britain’s unfavourable trade vis-à-vis China was a myth created by the East India Company. He says that Britain had already achieved a balance of trade by introducing Indian cotton in China in the 1780s. So the British justification that opium was introduced to balance the trade cannot be accepted. The main issue then was to tilt this trade in Britain’s favour. This could be, and was, achieved by opium alone, not any other commodity like rice or molasses. It was their obstinacy to continue this trade even after Chinese attempts to stop it that led to war. Thus opium was solely held responsible for the war.

The theoretical weakness of this view has been questioned by Fairbank, who says that British interest in opium was only a recent addition to the long continued British desire for commercial expansion. Thus the theory fails to recognize the other important aspects of the conflict. Opium provided the “occasion rather than the sole cause of the war”. As evidence, he points to the fact that opium trade was not legalized even after the war. Most of the clauses of the post-war treaties, in fact, served British commercial interests. However, this view can be critiqued by pointing out the immediate cause of war was the Manchu government’s attempt to suppress opium traffic. Secondly, the absence of opium in the Treaty was because of the stubborn resistance of the Manchus. In any case, the British government had always officially dissociated itself from the opium trade. In fact, the volume of smuggled opium continued to increase after 1842.

Thus, in conclusion, it can be said that while British expansionist needs were probably the dominant causes behind the war, the other two theories also cannot be discounted. Sino-centrism was an important psychological belief that acted as a catalyst in the war. The very fact that certain unresolved issues remained, which resulted in the Second Opium War, shows that cultural differences, as well as opium, were also factors that influenced the war.

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