On This Day: June 3rd

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On the 3rd of June 1839 Lin Zexu, who was a Chinese official, had 1.2 million kg of opium which had been confiscated from British merchants. He was praised for keeping to the moral high ground and the Daoguang Emperor endorsed the hard-line policies advocated by Lin, but later blamed Lin for the resulting disastrous war. The First Opium War was the result of Lin Zexu’s hard-line approach to British opium dealings, with the destruction on the 3rd of June a notable point of friction, which caused the war.

The First Opium War was disastrous and embarrassing for China, despite holding the moral high ground the war was won by the British East India Company fighting under the banner of the British Empire. The Chinese outnumbered the British 200,000 troops to 19,000, around 20,000 Chinese were killed to less than 100 British. The war led to the Treaty of Nanking which led to the Chinese having to pay for the confiscated opium, trade ports were opened for the British and Hong Kong Island was ceded to Britain.

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