Assess the Impact the Foreign Powers Had on China in the 19th Century (1800-1900)

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Assess the impact the foreign powers had on china in the 19th century (1800-1900) Foreign powers had a largely substantial impact on China in the 19th century. In the early 1800's, China, was still largely cut off from trade with the outside world. All trade with Europe was through one port, Canton. Even there, Europeans could only trade through specially designated Chinese agents known as co-hong. Several Chinese products, such as silk and porcelain, were in high demand in Europe, but the most popular trade item in the early 1800's was tea. The British East India Company, desperate for something to fix the trade imbalance, found solution in opium, which not only upset China's balance of trade, but the stability of its whole society. Two other factors revolving around the differing moral outlooks of these two cultures added to the growing tensions. First of all, they had two very different attitudes toward trade. The Chinese government viewed trade as a monopoly controlled through its agents, in this case the co-hong. Up until the 1800's, this was not such a problem, since most Europeans traded quite the same by using the government. The Chinese traditionally saw themselves as the Middle Kingdom and all other peoples as inferior barbarians. Any goods brought as gifts to the Chinese court were interpreted as tribute that did not acknowledge and stuffed them away in large buildings. In contrast the British had a strong democratic tradition that refused to recognize another nation's superiority. All these economic and philosophical tensions came to a head when the Chinese government had many supplies of the British East India Company's opium burned. This threatened the tea trade, in which the British government had a vested interest. The result was the First Opium War between Britain and China. The British navy, with its modern weaponry, quickly and

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