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Imperialism in India and China - 19th Century

Global 10 / FHS / Rachford-Stokes

Gayle Rachford

on 20 January 2015

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Transcript of Imperialism in India and China - 19th Century

..."Mumbai" today
..."Kolkata" today
..."Chennai" today
..."Sri Lanka" today
indigo dye
Bay of
British East India Company
The British East India Co. was a private joint-stock company founded by investors in the year 1600AD.

The company traded in:
In 1757, the company, itself, defeated the last of the Mughal maharajahs and ruled over India with its own governors and military. The leaders were all British but the soldiers in the British East India Co. army were Indian - called "
British East India Co. gaining the right to rule India, 1757
was considered the "
Jewel in the Crown
" of Britain's vast imperial empire because of its vast wealth in raw materials and its population of over 300 million people.

The British established trading outposts in India at Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta while the Moghals still ruled in the 1600s.
British Imperialism in India & China -
19th Century

The period between 1815 and 1914, is known by many as "Pax Britannica" because of Great Britain's global domination of land and sea.

The kingdom controlled approximately 10,000,000 sq/mls and over 400,000,000 people. The phrase "
The sun never sets on English soil
." was coined during this century of overwhelming imperialism.
England was "
the world's workshop
" and English merchants constantly demanded greater access to
raw materials
for trade.

This trend inspired over a century of British imperialism in the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
The British East India Company was given a
on trade between India and Great Britain.

The company, itself, ruled India as a conquering power from 1757 to 1857.
Sepoy soldier
The British used opium as currency in its trade deals in China for tea and silks.

This practice had grave consequences for both the British and the people of China.
Hindu tradition in India dictated strict social and cultural rules for the Indian people which the British observed and used to their advantage.
British officials openly communicated racist attitudes against the Indian people and worked to keep traditional beliefs about
the caste system
in place to protect their power and authority.
Inspired by growing feelings of nationalism and resentment over British domination, the Sepoy soldiers rebelled in 1857.
Terrified that the British East India Company could no longer secure India, the British government took control of the Indian
and began its direct rule, which lasted until India won its independence in 1947.
1857 to 1947 is known as the "British Raj" in India.
British Empire - in total
The Qing Empire ruled China from 1644 to 1912.
England didn’t return Hong Kong to China until 1997!
A more complete pillage could not be conceived than took place. Every house was broken open, every drawer and box ransacked, the streets strewn with fragments of furniture, pictures, tables, chairs, grain of all sorts -- the whole set off by the dead or the living bodies of those who had been unable to leave the city from the wounds received from our merciless guns. ... The plunder ceased only when there was nothing left to take or destroy."
The India Gazette, a British publication, wrote about the sack of Chusan in 1840:
“Nothing Left to Take or Destroy”
British warships destroy the small Chinese ships.
The Opium War of 1839-42 started when the Chinese government confronted foreign merchant ships and demanded they surrender their illegal cargo.
Let the War Begin…
Lin Tse-Hsu had three proposals to “solve” China’s drug problem. He was able to put his first two proposals into effect easily.

Addicts were rounded up and forced into a rehab program

Chinese drug dealers were harshly punished, often with execution.

Lin’s third objective was to confiscate foreign shops and force foreign merchants to sign pledges of good conduct, agreeing never to trade in opium and to be punished by Chinese law if ever found in violation.

It was this last objective that eventually brought war.
China Confronts Britain
A 19th century lithograph of a
Cantonese Opium Den
Note some of the people are in
western clothes
Reason #1
During the 1700’s, the British became a nation of tea drinkers and the demand for Chinese tea rose astronomically.

By about 1840, it is estimated that the average London worker spent five percent of his or her total household budget on tea.
So…why were the British importing so much from China?
Western dominance of China began
with the Opium War of 1839-1842

This war proved once and for all that
industrial powers could completely
dominate any non-industrial nation—
even great nations such as China

The Opium War, between the English
& the Chinese, is often seen as the
ultimate example of Imperialism
The Big Picture, part 2
By 1900, China was completely
dominated by the industrial
powers of Europe, the
USA & Japan.

How did this come to pass?
As in Africa and India, the industrial nations had superior technology and more advanced economies. This will help them take control of the less-industrialized China.
The Big Picture
The end result of the war was a humiliating defeat for China. In 1842, they signed a peace treaty that would have consequences that lasted to 1990’s!
Among other things, the Treaty of Nanjing stated:

China would honor the
extraterritorial rights
of all British citizens; this meant that all British would be subjected to British, not Chinese, law if they committed any crime on Chinese soil.

There would be
no further restrictions placed on British trade
as a consequence, opium trade more than doubled in the three decades following the Treaty.
This agreement, the Treaty of Nanjing, was the first of the "unequal treaties," that opened China to the West and marked the beginning of western exploitation of the nation

In effect, this treaty forced the Chinese government to surrender its control in its own country.
The Treaty of Nanjing
During 1840 and 1841, British naval forces destroyed Chinese military resistance and visited destruction on the cities of China’s Pacific coast & inland rivers.

Using steam-powered gunboats, the British Royal Navy could navigate upstream into each of China’s major rivers.

China’s obsolete artillery could not seriously threaten the British gunboats

This gave the British the ability to completely control China’s transportation of food & goods
“Nothing Left to Take or Destroy”

The cost to Chinese society was enormous. The drug weakened a large percentage of the population (some estimate that 10-20 percent of the population regularly used opium by the late nineteenth century), and cash began to flow out of the country to pay for the opium

The Chinese were fully aware of the harms of addiction, so in 1838 the Chinese emperor decided to send one of his most able officials, Lin Tse-Hsu, to the Chinese city of Canton to do whatever was necessary to end the traffic forever.
Opium sales had risen gradually from 2,330 chests in 1788 to 4,968 chests in 1810. (A standard ‘chest’ was equal to roughly 250 pounds of opium.) This increased to 17,257 chests by 1835.

Britain continued to make organized, government-backed plans for increased opium sales in China. Britain's governor-general of India wrote in 1830, "We are taking measures for extending the cultivation of the poppy, with a view to a large increase in the supply of opium.“

While increasing supply, the British also did all they could to increase the trade. They bribed officials, helped local Chinese work out elaborate smuggling schemes to get the opium into China's interior, and distributed free samples of the drug in order to increase demand.
England could not balance its trade through exporting manufactured goods, mainly because the people and government of China did not have any interest in buying them.

As far as the British were concerned, the best solution was to increase the amount of goods they exported to China from their lands in India to pay for Chinese luxuries such as tea and silk.

Increasingly, in the 1700’s & 1800’s, the item exported to China was opium, produced in England’s Indian colonies
So…the British had a dilemma: How do we increase our exports to China?
Reason #2
Northern Chinese merchants began to sell Chinese cotton to compete with Indian cotton the British were selling.

Previously, Britain had used their
cotton sales to help ‘balance’ its tea
imports & consumption habits.
So…why were the British importing so much from China?
Every nation tries to export (sell) MORE than it imports (buys). This is referred to as the nation’s “Trade Balance”

If a nation imports (buys) more than it exports (sells), it means that the nation is losing money. This weakens the economy because the nation then has less money to spend on other things.

By 1800 (or so) England was having some difficulty maintaining its trade balance with China because it was buying much more from the Chinese than it was able to sell to them.
By 1800, England felt it desperately
needed to boost exports to China. Why?
Economic Background
The Opium Wars
European Imperialism in China
Copy of the Treaty of Nanjing
The Chinese Emperor and leaders of the British forces meet to discuss the points of the treaty of Nanjing.
Battles at Sea
British warships were sent to Hong Kong, a trading center on the Chinese coast, where they protected opium-carrying merchant vessels.

Chinese ships sent by the emperor didn't stand a chance against the British warships and were destroyed by the dozen.
The British carried on this trade in spite of the fact that Opium use & sales had been declared illegal in China

The British government allowed this trade in spite of the fact that sale & use of Opium was illegal in England

As a result, by the 1830's, the British East India Company had become the World’s first international drug-trafficking organization

The East India Company shipped thousands of tons of opium through the Chinese port of Canton, which it traded for Chinese manufactured goods and for tea.

This trade produced, quite literally, a country filled with drug addicts, as opium parlors proliferated China in the early part of the 1800’s.
The World’s First Drug War
Boxer Rebellion
1898 - 1901
Between 1898 and 1901, members of the Righteous Harmony Society in China made an effort to rid the country of foreign influence.
The Boxers were fighting against:
foreign influence in China
Christian missionaries
European economic spheres of influence
extraterritorial rights and privileges of foreigners
Initially, Dowager Empress Cixi did not support the Boxer Movement. However, she eventually sent imperial troops to aid in their efforts to "raise their fists against the foreign devils" in China.
The Boxers were eventually defeated by a joint force of international troops from Europe, Japan, and the United States.
Traditional Indian social hierarchy.

This system was called...
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