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Date of Award

Spring 2007

Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. A. Linwood Holton, Jr.

Second Advisor

Rose Lee Yong Tan


Between 1839 and 1842, the southem Chinese port city of Canton was the primary staging ground of one of the most unusual military confrontations in history. After decades of watching the opium trade lead to the addiction of millions of Chinese citizens and the depletion of the national treasury's silver supplies, the imperial govenment of China resolved in 1838 to break the tightening grip of opium on the nation 's economy and culture. Once it had instituted stringent measures aimed at discouraging and punishing Chinese users of the drug, the government turned its focus toward the foreigners responsible for bringing opium into China. These foreigners were merchants, primarily of British or Indian origin, who had grown wealthy off the increasingly lucrative trade of opium imported from India to be sold in China.