Combat at Guangzhou (Canton) during the Second Opium War
| United Kingdom
United States (1856 and 1859 only)
|Commanders and leaders|
| Michael Seymour
Jean-Baptiste Louis Gros
Auguste Léopold Protet
American: 287 troops,
|Casualties and losses|
|over 2,800 killed or wounded||47,790 killed or wounded|
The Opium Wars (1839–42 and 1856–60) were two wars between China and Western countries. The first was between Great Britain and China. The Second Opium War was from 1856 to 1860. The Second Opium War was also known as the Arrow War or Anglo-French War in China. Early in the 19th century, British merchants began secretly taking opium into China. They wanted to balance their purchases of tea for export to Britain. In 1839, China said that opium was not allowed. They destroyed at Guangzhou (Canton) much opium that they had taken from British merchants. Great Britain sent gunboats to attack Chinese coastal cities. China was not developed in modern weapons. They were defeated. China was forced to sign the Treaty of Nanjing (1842) and the British Supplementary Treaty of the Bogue (1843).
The wars were about many other things than opium. They were also about opening China to European and American trade and colonizations.
Beginning of the opium trade[change]
The British merchants began selling opium to China. At that time, opium was growing in India. Opium is an addictive drug. It is sometimes used to treat disease. However, opium can also be used as a drug that changes the user's state of mind. Usually this makes the user feel, for a short time, that they are happy and peaceful. Opium had been used in China for a long time before the British came, mostly to treat disease. When the British began importing large amounts of the drug, Chinese began using opium for its mind-changing effect. More and more people grew addicted to opium. So, the British were able to export more and more opium. By selling this drug, the British slowly began to make more money on their exports to China than they spent on their imports of Chinese goods. British exports of opium to China increased greatly. They went from an estimated 15 tons in 1730, to 75 tons in 1773. Opium was shipped in over two thousand "chests". Every chest had 140 pounds (67 kilograms) of opium inside. Opium is a naturally occurring substance found in the seeds of the opium poppy. Opium, which contains morphine, is extracted from the poppy seeds and used to produce heroin. Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive drug and its use is a serious problem in America. It is both the most abused and the most rapidly acting of the opiates.
- Hanes, William Travis; Frank Sanello (2002). Opium Wars: The Addiction of One Empire and the Corruption of Another. pp. 3.
- "Opium Wars (Chinese history) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia". britannica.com. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/430163/Opium-Wars. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- "Opium Wars — FactMonster.com". factmonster.com. http://www.factmonster.com/ce6/history/A0836734.html. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- Koontz, Terri; Mark Sidwell, S.M.Bunker. World Studies. Greenville, South Carolina 29614: Bob Jones University Press. ISBN 1-59166-431-4.