THE OPIUM WAR

The Setting

In the spring of 1839, faced with rampant opium abuse ravaging the lives and families of China, Emperor Daoguang appointed Liu Xexu to combat this epidemic. Convicted opium peddlers were hanged to death by the Pearl River in Guangzhou and, in June, over 20,000 cases of the drug were confiscated and burnt marking the earliest and largest movement of burning drugs in the world.

Claiming that the Qing Dynasty government burnt property belonging to the British government, the British parliament, voting 271 to 262, agreed to earmark the invasion against Cina, Qi Shan replaced Lin as the Emperor's special envoy to negotiate with the British government. Facing warships and a looming invasion in Tianjin, Qi promised to ask the Emperor's permission to cede Hong Kong, a desolate island in the South China Sea. Meanwhile, the British launched an attack on Tianjin infuriating Emperor Daoguang who then dismissed Qi and decided to fight the British forces.

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