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.
First Opium War
- Since the 18thcentury, British and other traders exported opium from India to China. This was illegal in China, but the authorities could not find a means to stop it.
- It got even worse around 1820. The Chinese became so addicted to opium that the economy dropped significantly.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.
- After several incidents, the British sent an expeditionary force to Hong Kong, China in 1840. During the next two years, British forces captured several Chinese cities.
- The war ended in the Treaty of Nanjing. China had to pay indemnity to Britain, give Hong Kong Island to them, and allow them to trade and reside in several treaty ports, rather than just one.
- In 1843, the British demanded and were given several privileges, such as extraterritoriality and most-favored-nation status.Other countries, such as the USA and France, quickly asked for – and got – the same privileges.
Second Opium War
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.