The Opium War

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When was the zenith of Qing dynasty reached?
1760s-1780s
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What are aspects of the relationship between China and Europe?
Jesuits, Canton, Macartney Mission, commerce, and consumption
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What must be remembered about European consumption of Chinese goods? (Simkin)
Much higher than vice versa
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1687 Preface to Confucius Sinarum Philosophus
"Never has Reason, deprived of divine Revelation, appeared so well developed, nor with so much power"
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How did 1840s-50s Ralph Waldo Emerson speak about China?
"But China, reverend dullness! hoary ideiot!, all she can say at the convocation at nations must be - "I made the tea."
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What characteristics can be seen as part of the 'race for oriental opulence'?
Portugese in Macau, Spanish in Manila, setting up of various East India Companies
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Portugese in Macau
1530s-1550s
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Spanish in Manila
1550s-1570s
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When was the VOC established?
1598
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What is the Dutch East India Company called?
VOC
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When was the Dutch East India Company in Batavia?
1602
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When was the English East India Company established?
1600
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When was the Danish East India Company established?
1616
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When was the French East India Company established?
1664
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When was the Swedish East India Company established?
1731
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Prior to 1800 where did cotton, tobacco, sugar, coffee and silver come from?
North/South America
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Prior to 1800 what moved from Britain to India?
Textiles and silver
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Prior to 1800 what moved from India to China?
Silver
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Prior to 1800 what moved from China to Britain?
Tea
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After 1800 how can the trade between Britain, India and China be described?
"Anglo-Indian-China triangle"
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After 1800 what moved from Britain to India?
Textiles
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After 1800 what moved from India to China?
Opium
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After 1800 what moved from China to Britain?
Silver
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Why were Britain's coffers bleeding dry prior to 1800?
China only accepted silver as payment; silver going in but none of it was coming out
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When was the EIC license to have the monopoly of the China trade revoked due to the competition of free trade?
1834
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Why was tea becoming an increasingly imported product?
Middle classes became richer in Britain due to Industrial Revolution and joined consumption
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What does Maxine Berg consider about consumption of opium by British middle classes?
Addiction?
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What was significant about the fact that Britain was importing tea from China?
China did not have a great demand for European goods and would only take silver as payment
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What happened after numerous attempts with different products?
China accepted opium
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Although opium was being originally traded by the EIC what happened?
Outdone by private companies
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What was the most important private company?
Jardine Matheson
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In 1820 how many chests of opium went to China?
4,244 chests of opium
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In 1830 how many chests of opium went to China?
18,956 chests of opium
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In 1839 how many chests of opium went to China?
40,200 chests of opium
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What was significant about both tea and opium?
It was now consumed by lower classes
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What caused the rising demand for opium?
It was now being consumed by lower classes
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Why did the increase of opium being sold in China lead to social problems?
Crippled society
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What did the increase in opium being sold in China also lead to?
Increase in silver leaving China
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From 1801 to 1826 how many taels of silver left China?
74 million taels
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From 1827 to 1849 how many taels of silver left China?
133 million taels
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What did the Daoguang Emperor do after increase in opium sales?
Declared war on opium
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Who was appointed by Daoguang Emperor as governor of Canton to eliminate the opium trade?
Lin Zexu
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When did Lin Zexu arrive in Canton?
March 1839
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What did Lin Zexu demand?
All foreign merchants to give their opium
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What happened to Canton and the Thirteen Factories from March to May 1839?
"confined"
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What did Charles Elliot decide?
Agrees to give the opium after Lin Zexu's order but China needs to pay
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Who was Charles Elliot?
Plenipotentiary of British trade in China
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What happened to 20,283 mostly British-owned opium chests on 3 June 1839?
Covered with lime and salt and burned
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What happened on 7 July 1839?
Lin Weixi, shop owner was killed by British and American seamen
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What caused the battle of Kowloon in September 1839?
The death of Lin Weixi on 7 July
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When was the first expedition led by Charles Elliot to Tianjin?
June 1840
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What happened to the first expedition led by Charles Elliot to Tianjin?
Sent back to Canton (Convention of Chuanpi)
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What happened in May 1841?
Sanyuanli incident
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What was the significance of the Sanyuanli incident to the British?
Minor skirmish
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What was the significance of the Sanyuanli incident to the Chinese?
Widely regarded as the first example of a spontaneous uprising by the Chinese people in response to the actions of invading foreign power
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What was the Sanyuanli incident?
Military conflict between regular troops of the British Army and an irregular force made up of Chinese militia and local citizens that took place around Sanyuanli village on the outskirts of Canton
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Why was Charles Elliot eventually fired?
Did not manage to obtain a treaty with China and he was too "soft"
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Who led the second expedition to China in August 1841?
Henry Pottinger
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What happened after several battles in August 1842?
Henry Pottinger managed to obtain the Treaty of Nanjing
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Who became the new governor of Hong Kong after the Treaty of Nanjing?
Henry Pottinger
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What were the short term consequences of the First Opium War?
War inemnity, Hong Kong, ports, Lin Zexu, Second Opium War, Treaty of Nanjing
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Consequences of the First Opium War - War Indemnity
16 million taels of silver
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Consequences of the First Opium War - Hong Kong
Became British territory
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Consequences of the First Opium War - Ports
5 other ports are opened up for British trade and missionary work
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What were the ports opened up for British trade and missionary work following the First Opium War?
Canton, Shanghai, Ningbo, Amoy and Fuzhou
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Who became a scapegoat for the First Opium War?
Lin Zexu
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The First Opium War led to the Second Opium War. When was the Second Opium War?
1856-1860
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What did the Treaty of Nanjing begin?
"century of unequal treaties"
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When was the century of unequal treaties?
1842-1945
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What can be seen to be consequences of the First Opium War
Sino-Manchu animosity and quickening of Qing decline (did it?)
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What did the First Opium War aid?
Development of Chinese nationalism
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What are some ways to consider the First Opium War?
Clash because of economic/trade reasons, clash because of cultural reasons, clash because of opium, globalisation?
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What must be considered about the origins of the First Opium War?
Why do many historians trace them back to Qianlong's letter to King George III?
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What is something it might be useful to consider about the tea trade?
How it affected Sino-British relations
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What was significant about the Enlightenment?
Society based on scientific reason and trying to get away from mysticism and tradition
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Why did European powers go to China in the 'race for oriental opulence'?
Went to collect nutmeg, clove etc. Tea, porcelain, silk and other luxury products that were interesting for the upper classes in Europe
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What can be said about the products that were brought back in the 17th century from Asia to Europe?
Mainly for aristocratic households
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At one stage prior to 1800 how much of the world's silver did China have?
75%
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What is significant about Lin Zexu?
Fervent Confucian scholar who was considered to have impeccable moral values
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What was significant about the fact that Lin Zexu was made the governor of Canton?
This was where the thirteen factories were
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Why was Lin Weixi killed in Hong Kong?
Most likely killed by mistake after refusing to sell British and American seamen alcohol
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What did the Chinese say about the people who killed Lin Weixi?
Have to be governed by Chinese laws; execution for killing Chinese person on Chinese soil
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What is the Sanyuanli incident seen by Marxist historians as?
The first incident of nationalism in China; people in Canton angry over what was happening between China and Britain
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Why was Charles Elliot not particularly aggressive?
Had lived in China for nine years before became plenipotentiary in Canton and had seen the consequences of opium
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On a personal level, was Charles Elliot a great supporter of legalising the opium trade in China?
No
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What were the Chinese scared of?
Naval force of the British
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Why is the 'century of unequal treaties' thought to be the most humiliating century in Chinese history?
Domination by foreign powers - first the west and then Japan
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What did extraterritoriality mean, in place as a consequence of the First Opium War?
Meant that if British citizen on Chinese soil committed crime would be tried according to British law not Chinese
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What was the original punishment for Lin Zexu and what was this transmuted to?
Execution reduced to exile
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What was the issue associated with British extraterritoriality?
Other European powers want extraterritoriality and access to new markets such as Shanghai; in the Second Opium War the other countries try to branch out
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What can be said about the economic and demographic development of China by 1500?
Could only be sustained by vigorous overseas expansion
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What is significant about opium?
Had become illicit in China whereas simultaneously it was a legal British monopoly in India
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What did the Emperor issue an edict forbidding in 1796?
Import of opium as well as the export of Chinese silver that was being used as a medium of exchange
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What did a Chinese imperial edict of around 1800 prohibit?
Domestic cultivation of opium and reiterated the prohibition against the import, sale and consumption of opium
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Did edicts continue to be issued on the theme of opium after 1800?
Yes, continued to be issued and reiterated prohibitions against the import, sale and consumption of opium
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Did imperial edicts against opium have much practical effect?
No, opium trading soon resumed at the port of Canton
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What was an essential element in the expansion of the British opium trade?
Profitability of the opium trade to Chinese merchant class - supply preceded demand
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What did the Tao-Kuang Emperor mention for the first time in 1830?
Money wasted on consumption of opium, together with its moral and health effects
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What precipitated vigorous Chinese action against the import and spread of opium?
Threat to sovereignty and the economic crisis due to loss of silver
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What did the defeat of the Chinese in the First Opium War do?
Annulled Chinese efforts to prohibit importation
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What was the consequence of the First Opium War for Hong Kong?
Ceded to the British
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What does Richard Harvey Brown describe China as being as a result of the First Opium War?
"China was now 'open' to the West"
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What happened despite British efforts to sell opium and other goods?
China's exports increasingly exceeded imports.
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In 1853, British purchases in China were how many times larger than sales?
Three times higher
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Why was opium a solution for Britain's mercantile problem of imbalance in trade?
Made it unnecessary for Western firms to bring silver to China for the purchase of Chinese exports
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In the ten years following the treaty of 1842 what happened to levels of opium trafficked to China?
Doubled
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What happened in 1850?
Tao Kuang, the emperor who had failed to end opium smoking, died.
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Who was Tao Kuang Emperor succeeded by?
Hsieu-feng
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What did Hsieu-feng oppose?
Authority of foreigners over Chinese life and the weakness of official resistance
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Following the Chinese defeat in the Second Opium War and the legalisation of opium, what did taxes on opium help support?
Failing Chinese government
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What played an important role in opium?
China's political and genealogical intimacy with south-east Asia and particularly Taiwan
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What was the introduction of opium as a luxury item intimately connected to?
China's maritime trade and Chinese diplomacy
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What flourished after the Zheng He expeditions?
Triubute trade
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What happened to tribute trade as governmnent sponsored expeditions died out?
Tribute trade slowed down from the mid to late fifteenth century
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What happened with the slowing down of tribute trade?
Opened the door to commercial guilds, enterprising individuals and pirates
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How was opium consumption introduced to the mainland of China?
Smoking
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What did Huang Shujing claim about opium smoke?
'several times better than ordinary tobacco'
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Both in area and in population what can be said about China around 1840?
Was the largest country in the world.
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In his diary how did Lin Zexu refer to the British?
"rebels"
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What did Lin Zexu think about the British activities in Canton?
Disturbed the political order and the harmony of political and social relations
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As well as the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842, what other treaties radically modified the West's conditions of access to China?
"supplementary treaty" between China and Great Britain of 1843, treaty between France and China singed at Huangpu in 1844 and the treaty between China and the US in 1844
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What were Chinese customs duties limited to?
5% - which was sixty to seventty percent lower than previous tarriffs
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In 1838 what percentage of all Chinese imports was opium? (Stockwell 2003)
57%
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In 1839 how much did the Chinese opium smokers spend?
100 million taels
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In 1839 what was the government's entire annual revenue?
40 million taels
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What did Lin Zexu write to the emperor regarding silver?
"If we continue to allow this trade to flourish, in a few dozen years, we will find ourselves not only with no soldiers to resist the enemy, but also with no money to equip the army"
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What did John K. Fairbank (1953) say about the opium trade?
"The most long continued and systematic international crime of modern times"
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When was the death penalty imposed for Chinese drug traffickers?
1838
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Li Zexu twice wrote letters to Queen Victoria seeking her intercession. What did his first letter, published in the London Times, request?
British to cease all opium trade because of its harmful effects
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What did Li Zexu say in his second letter?
Argued that since Britain had made the trade and consumption of opium illegal in England it therefore should not export this addictive substance to harm others
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Li Zexu on opium
"The wealth of China is used to profit the barbarians... By what right do they in return use the poisonous drug to injure the Chinese people?... Let me ask where is their conscience?"
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How many chests of opium in 1838? (Stockwell,2003)
40,000 chests
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How many chests of opium in 1850? (Stockwell, 2003)
50,000 chests
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How many chests of opium in 1853? (Stockwell, 2003)
80,000 chests
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When was the opium trade officially legalised?
Second Opium War
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According to Polachek what did the Chinese think after the signing of the Treaty of Nanjing?
"the Qing bureaucracy had allowed to many spineless officials... to clamber into high office... it was but one small additional step to the conclusion that perhaps the whole war... had been deliberately sabotaged by mediocre bureaucrats."
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