Opium War

The term Opium War actually refers to a pair of wars fought between Britain and China in the early 1800s.

The first Opium War took place from 1839-1842. British traders were importing opium from India into China, against the wishes of the Chinese government. The Chinese destroyed a warehouse full of opium, and the British responded by sending a fleet of warships to the China coast. The Treaty of Nanjing brought an end to the conflict.

The treaty also ceded Hong Kong to Britain.

The second Opium War took place from 1856-1860, and began when Chinese officials boarded a British ship and searched it. The French joined the British in sending an invasion force to China, and the city of Beijing was occupied before the conflict ended with a treaty.

One of the British objectives in the Opium Wars was to increase trade with China, and that was essentially accomplished.

Also Known As: China Wars