The First Opium War

The First Opium War was a chorological series of engagements between the United Kingdom and China. The initiation of this war between the super powers began when China attempted to step in a suppress the opium trade. This suppression lit a fire under the United Kingdom because the United Kingdom was participating in the illegal exportation of opium from India to China since the beginning of the 18th century. From this, the addiction rates in China skyrocketed causing China’s economy and social wellbeing to ultimately deplete at an exponentially fast rate. During the Spring of 1839, the Chinese government managed to seize copious amounts of opium from British traders. In 1840, United Kingdom decided to send a task force to Hong Kong China with orders to occupy and attack the city. The UK government continued these attacks for Chinese forces for an entire year. In 1842, the UK government and Chinese government decided to make amends and created the Treaty of Nanjing which ultimately ended the violent wars between the two super powers. The theme of drug addiction, specifically opium within The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is extremely prevalent. In several passages of the novel, Arthur Huntington is oftentimes described be addicted to opium in excess and the addiction is credited as one of his reasons of declination.

Brontë, Anne, and Margaret Lane. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall ; Agnes Grey. Dent, 1980.

“Opium Wars.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.,

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