Episode 1.8 – Less Money More Problems

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The name “Opium War” was first given to the war by a British newspaper opposed to the conflict. It was a derogatory label that implied the great British Empire, emancipator of slaves, was being lowered to doing the bidding of a bunch of British drug dealers selling opium mostly grown in British-controlled regions of India by a giant, private corporation.

In this episode, we’ll discuss how the war might just as easily go by the less catchy name “Silver Crunch War of 1839”. A global silver shortage combined with the unique vulnerabilities of the Qing economy to the resulting increase in silver prices will drive the Daoguang Emperor to crack down on a bunch of unruly British drug dealers.

*Image by: Numismática Pliego – Numismática Pliego, CC BY-SA 3.0

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