The Opium Wars: How Britain's trade policies and drug pushing led to the decline of the Qing dynasty

TLDR The Opium Wars were a result of Britain's trade deficit with China and their decision to trade opium with the Chinese, leading to widespread opium addiction and a lopsided conflict with the British Navy. These wars resulted in the cession of Hong Kong to the British, the opening of more trade ports in China, and a period of foreign domination known as the Century of Humiliation.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The Opium Wars were a result of complicated trade policies and entrenched attitudes in the Qing dynasty, as well as Britain's national policy of pushing drugs.
02:21 The Qing dynasty in China was experiencing a decline and pressure from European naval powers, leading to complications in trade policies and a demand for silver from the Chinese.
04:30 The British, facing a trade deficit with China, began trading opium with the Chinese to reduce their deficit, with opium production in India being controlled by the British.
06:44 Opium addiction in China became an epidemic in the 19th century, affecting all social classes, and despite multiple bans on opium importation, the problem continued to worsen.
09:06 The British Navy's overwhelming power led to a lopsided conflict with China, resulting in the Treaty of Nanking which ceded Hong Kong to the British, opened up more trade ports, and forced China to pay reparations for the war and lost opium, while subsequent treaties further favored Western powers.
11:21 The Second Opium War resulted in the British and French seizing multiple cities in China, the signing of the Treaties of Tianjin which opened up more Chinese ports for trade and forced China to pay more reparations, and the British sacking Beijing and burning the Imperial Summer Palace.
13:26 The Opium Wars led to a period of domination by foreign countries in China, known as the Century of Humiliation, which still impacts Chinese foreign policy today.
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