Opium Wars were two different armed conflicts between the Qing dynasty of China on one side and the British Empire on the other.
France entered the second opium war on the side of the British forces. Both wars occurred in the mid-19th century on the territory of China.
Both times, the reason for the conflict was the British trade of Opium that was illegal in China, as well as China’s sovereignty.
The western powers won both wars, which weakened the Chinese economy and the Qing dynasty.
For that reason, the Chinese government confiscated and immediately destroyed over 20,000 chests (about 1,400 tons) of opium that belonged to the British.
Other countries, such as the USA and France, quickly asked for – and got – the same privileges.
For example, they wanted to be free from internal transit duties as they import their merchandises (mostly opium). The British also wanted to expand trade in unskilled, cheap laborers, called the coolies.
A couple of crew members – all Chinese – got arrested, and the British flag was allegedly lowered.
In December, some foreign trading warehouses and factories were burned down by the Chinese.
In 1857, the western allies captured Canton, and the next year they took Tianjin.
According to the peace terms, foreign representatives could reside in Beijing, and a number of new ports could be used by foreigners.
Eventually, the importation of opium was legalized in Shanghai.
Now the westerners got even 80 ports. Hong Kong, as well as the southern part of the Kowloon Peninsula, was ceded to the British.
How many opium wars there were?
There were two opium wars.
What was the goal of the British side in the opium wars?
The British wanted free opium trade in China.
What were the terms of the Treaty of Nanjing?
China was forced to pay indemnity to Britain, allow the British to trade freely, and give Hong Kong Island to them.
Who joined the British in the second opium war?
France joined Britain.