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        Opium Wars | The Story of China

        Learn about the events leading to conflict between Britain and China with this clip from The Story of China. Imports into China rose from 200 chests in 1729 to 40,000 chests in 1838. China was aware, not only of the damaging effects on its people, but also of the drain on its silver reserves, and tried to ban opium. But the highly profitable trade continued. In 1839, Chinese official Commissioner Lin Zexu demanded the foreigners hand over their opium stocks, and destroyed them. British commercial interests pushed for war with China, and the British sent in gunboats. In what became known as the First Opium War, the British easily defeated the Chinese, who were forced to sign the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842.


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