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The opium wars
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The early nineteenth century saw the relationship between Britain and China sour, thus jeopardising the ever-growing tea market. Chinese goods were in great demand in Britain, but there was little of British manufacture that the Chinese wanted in return. The East India Company embarked on an illegal trade with the Chinese in Bengal opium, and this in turn led to two Opium Wars between Britain and China in the early years of Victoria’s reign, and again at the end of the 1850s.


The opium wars

Rolling Along – Two Tea Clippers by Montague Dawson




The Wars changed the face of the tea trade for ever; in 1839 almost all the tea consumed in the United Kingdom came from China, but by 1860 85 percent came from India and Ceylon, and only 12 percent from China. Once more, tea became expensive, and Fortnum’s rejoiced in the fact that its tea customers were amongst the wealthiest in the land.


The opium wars

Rolling Along – The Gleaner by Montague Dawson







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