12 - The War on Drugs #1: Britain & China Clash over Opium


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Want more FOH? Visit footnotesofhistory.com/join Shownotes at footnotesofhistory.com/12 Staying with the Eastern theme, this episode takes our listeners a few hundred miles west and a few decades earlier of Episode 11, presenting them with scenes that may seem all too familiar. Drawn by an insatiable appetite for Chinese goods such as silk, porcelain and - most importantly - tea, British and European traders had been familiar with China for centuries. This was even despite constant friction with the rulers (e.g. the creation of the Canton trading system, where foreigners were allowed to enter and trade in only one port). However, the "trade deficit" - or loss of Britain's gold and other metal resources that were being exchanged for vast amounts of tea - caused concern in the 1830s. There was simply no appetite among Chinese traders for any of Britain's other goods, meaning - in the eyes of the government - that Britain was "losing" gold to China. That is, until opium came along. Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/footnotesofhistory/message

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