Antiqua Print Gallery Opium Wars
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Opium Wars

The Opium Wars , also known as the Anglo-Chinese Wars, lasted from 1839 to 1842 and 1856 to 1860, the climax of a trade dispute between China under the Qing Dynasty and the British Empire. British smuggling of opium from British India into China in defiance of China's drug laws erupted into open warfare between Britain and China. China's defeat in both wars left its government having to tolerate the opium trade. Britain forced the Chinese government into signing the Treaty of Nanjing and the Treaty of Tianjin, also known as the Unequal Treaties, which included provisions for the opening of additional ports to foreign trade, for fixed tariffs; for the recognition of both countries as equal in correspondence; and for the cession of Hong Kong to Britain. The British also gained extraterritorial rights. Several countries followed Britain and sought similar agreements with China. Many Chinese found these agreements humiliating and these sentiments are considered to have contributed to the Taiping Rebellion (1850-1864), the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901), and the downfall of the Qing Dynasty in 1912, putting an end to dynastic China. The Opium Wars forcefully and suddenly opened China to the world. (Wikipedia)