Opium Wars Timeline


British exports of opium to China was estimated to be 15 tons



British exports of opium to China increased to an estimated 75 tons



The Qing Empire established a ban on Opium products



The British dependence on opium use reaches an all time high, importing 22,000 pounds of opium from Turkey and India.

The mandate to rule and dictate the trade policies of British India are no longer in effect.

Jardine-Matheson & Company of London inherit India and its opium from the British East India Company



Elizabeth Barrett Browning falls under the effects of morphine.



Lin Tse-Hsu, imperial Chinese commissioner in charge of suppressing the opium traffic, orders all foreign traders to surrender their opium.

The British send expeditionary warships to the coast of China, beginning The First Opium War.



New Englanders bring 24,000 pounds of opium into the United States.

U.S. Customs promptly puts a duty fee on the import.

Charles Elliot asked the Portuguese governor to let British ships use Macau as a port and they would pay rents and any duties.

The governor denied this request for fear that the Qing Government would halt the supply of food and other necessities to Macau. 

The Qing Emperor asked all foreigners in China to halt material assistance to the British in China.

In retaliation, British attacked Guangdong.



The British captured the Bogue forts

The Chinese are defeated by the British in the First Opium War.

Hong Kong is ceded to the British.



The British had defeated the Chinese at the mouth of the Yangtze and occupied Shanghai

The Treaty of Nanking was signed between Britain and China.



Dr. Alexander Wood of Edinburgh discovers a new technique of administering morphine, injection with a syringe.

He finds the effects of morphine on his patients instantaneous and three times more potent.


1852 :

The British arrive in lower Burma

They import large amounts of opium from India and sell it through a government-controlled opium monopoly.



The British and French renew their hostilities against China in the Second Opium War.

The British attacked Guangzhou from the Pearl River

There was an attempt to poison the British Superintendent of Trade in Hong Kong



The Xianfeng Emperor ordered the Mongolian general to guard the Taku Forts near Tianjin


British forces blew up the iron obstacles that the Chinese had placed in the Baihe River


British-French sailed from Hong Kong and captured the port cities of Yantai and Dalian to seal the Bohai Gulf.

At the Battle of Palikao, 10,000 Chinese troops were completely annihilated by British-French forces.

China has to pay another indemnity, 8 million taels to Britain and France.

The importation of opium is legalized.

The Russians were granted a diplomatic presence in Beijing permanently.