Posts Tagged: opium war

Lessons from China’s First Defeat

Wei Yuan and China took several important lessons from the First Opium War: China lacked the tactical and technical knowledge to compete with Western militaries. China’s diplomatic skills and understanding of international relations trailed far behind the West’s. China needed to get better at “using the barbarians to manage the barbarians,” or yiyizhiyi (以夷治夷). China could… Read more »

The First Opium War

In 1839, British conflict with Lin Zexu’s policies in Guangdong led to the outbreak of the First Opium War. The technologically superior British overwhelmed the more numerous Chinese. The victorious British forced the Chinese into the first of many “unequal treaties,” the Treaty of Nanjing. This treaty marked the beginning of China’s century of humiliation,… Read more »

China’s First Drug Czar

Lin Zexu (1785-1850) was sent by the Daoguang Emperor to Canton (now Guangzhou) in 1839 with orders to halt the British trade in opium. Upon arrival, he systematically collected and destroyed all the opium he could find. The British, who were eager to expand the drug trade beyond the southern port city, used Lin’s actions… Read more »