Instructions: Do not include statements such as great work, or excellent post. Try to include information that is challenging and respectful and that will stimulate debate. Additionally, please remember that simply posting the main post and a student colleague response post does not end the forum; the discussion forum should be dialogue that is continual until the Sunday deadline. Also, be mindful of including references and citations whenever citing facts to support your position. 300 words and 1 reference for support is also the minimal expectation.
Also the content of the Forum Assignment will often ask the student to take a position on a particular topic. However, this is not a strict opinion paper in which you the student can just make a statement of what you think or what your experiences are on a topic. Instead, the student needs to support their opinion or experiences with qualifying research from academic source. APA 6th edition citations and references must be used always.
After conducting research on the opium poppy, it is clear that opium has had an extremely long, complicated, and diverse history throughout history around the world. Opium throughout history has touched or has an effect on each civilization and country that has risen and fell. Opium has been consumed since antiquity and is a substance that is extracted from the opium poppy, or papaver somniferum L (Heydari, Hashempur, & Zargaran, 2013). Through extensive study, it is believed that the Sumerians in 3400 BC were the first civilization to cultivate opium poppies in Mesopotamia (Heydari, Hashempur, & Zargaran, 2013). Opium cultivation in the fields of Spain, Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia are thought to be the oldest poppy cultivation regions on the planet (Wright, 2011). Poppy juice was consumed by the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Egyptians in the Middle East, and by the Greeks in the west in a variety of ways including juice and tablet form (Heydari, Hashempur, & Zargaran, 2013).
Early Egyptian texts discovered on papyrus Sumerian tablets estimated to be from 1550 BC, described the opium drug as the ‘drug of joy’ in the third millennium (Wright, 2011). From the earliest known writings, opium has been revered for its ability to change or alter mood and has been used for this purpose for centuries.
As with many other drugs throughout history, opium had become associated with religion and religious ceremonies (Wright, 2011). Opium or poppies appear in Egyptian art and Roman sculptures which in turn has had a profound effect on the religious, cultural, and literary history. SO prevalent in Middle Eastern life, Egyptian Pharaohs were entombed with opium artifacts along with the Greek and Roman Gods of Sleep, Hypnos and Somnus, who were depicted with poppies (Wright, 2011). Poppies and opium were engrained into early civilized societies through art, literature, religion/religious ceremonies, and medicine. It was so well-engrained into life in general that opium, or at least derivatives of opium still exist today and are commonly used every day.
Early uses of opium for medicine were commonly known as Laudanum or ‘tincture of opium’ which was an alcoholic herbal preparation containing pure opium alkaloids and was sold until the early 20th century (Wright, 2011). Opium was often used throughout history to treat ailments such as headaches, menstrual cramps, general aches and pains, insomnia, and anxiety (Wright, 2011).
Opium was a mainstay in civilizations leading up to the First Opium War which took place between Britain and China from 1839 to 1842 (Bruner, 2010). Chinese rulers seeing the effects opium was having on its population began to become deeply alarmed on the social and economic life of the empire in which they controlled (Brown, 2004). By the 1830s, it is estimated that 30,000 chests of opium were entering China each year primarily by British merchants, fueling this crisis in China. The consequence of large importations of opium dramatically increased drug addiction by Chinese people which led Emperor Tao Kuang (1831-1851) and his official, Confucian, to take drastic action which ultimately laid the foundation for the First Opium War (Marchant, 2002).
In an effort to stop the opium epidemic in China, Lin Tsehsu, who was seen as the most incorruptible official was assigned to stamp out the trade (Brown, 2004). Lin first appealed to the British on moral grounds and wrote a letter directly to Queen Victoria, asking that no more opium be shipped into China, but for some unknown reason, the letter never reached the Queen (Brown, 2004). Due to the inability to stop the importation of opium in China, Lin placed thousands of addicts into hospitals for treatment and arrested merchants, opium den owners and opium dealers (Brown, 2004).
In a final attempt to stop opium imports, Lin in March 1839 surrounded the factories in Canton (only approved import facilities), with troops and demanded all the opium be surrendered to them (Brown, 2004). The British Superintendent fearing a massacre, had all opium turned over more than 21,000 cases of opium to Chinese troops and were subsequently expelled all foreigners for the time being (Brown, 2004). Merchants sailed to the desolate island of Hong Kong and were subsequently supplied needed supplies by British warships (Brown, 2004). This has led to further clashes between the Chinese and British.
Brown, J. (2004). The Opium Wars. Military History, 21(1), 34–42
Bruner, J. (2010). Inquiring into empire: Princeton Seminary’s Society of Inquiry on missions, the British Empire, and the opium trade, Ca. 1830-1850. Mission Studies: Journal of the International Association for Mission Studies, 27(2), 194–219. doi: 10.1163/157338310X536438
Wright, J. (2011). A history of opium, from medical to recreational use. British Journal of School Nursing, 6(10), 512–513.
Heydari, M., Hashempur, M. H., & Zargaran, A. (2013). Medicinal aspects of opium as described in Avicenna’s Canon of Medicine. Acta Medico-Historica Adriatica: AMHA, 11(1), 101–112.
Marchant, L. R. (2002). The Wars of the Poppies. History Today, 52(5), 42.
#2- Over the last several thousand years Chinese dynasties have come to power and faded away for a variety of reasons. The Qing dynasty was established in 1644 and was referred to as the “Manchi” from “Manchuria” and “Da Qing” meaning great purity (Manchu Dynasty, 2013). The Qing Dynasty was known for its great territorial control, economic, and commercial expansion during their reign which lasted from the mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth century (Manchu Dynasty, 2013). The Qing Dynasty rulers din not originate from the heart of China but originated from the Jurchen Tribes. The tribes conquered northern China between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries leading to a long reign of power (Manchu Dynasty, 2013).
One area of contention that brought about contention within the Qing dynasty was the fact that they were not traditionally viewed as Chinese. Qing rulers had to work hard to convince the population that they were Chinese by modifying and changing long-standing traditions and behaviors such as hairstyles, etc. These changes often caused animosity in the population. One significant change implemented under the Qing rule was allowing “Western” traders to enter China, specifically the Canton (Guangzhou area) for trade, which was barred under Ming rule (Bello, 2003). China previously had extremely limited and tightly controlled trading methods and was typically viewed as a closed or hermit type of society. Opening China to outside influences and traders was significant as outside goods were now flowing into China giving the population new and unusual goods, including readily available and pre-maid opium. The Qing Dynasty refused to fully allow foreign merchandise for anything and maintained the strict view that trade with China by foreigners was a privilege and not a right (Manchu Dynasty, 2013). With the outside influences entering China came an explosion of opportunity for criminal elements within China to capitalize on supplies and demand. This can include everything from simple goods to drugs such as opium which were highly sought after.
The opium smuggling trade that Britain was primarily responsible for eventually became the symbol of China’s century-long descent into political and social chaos (Bello, 2003). Even though opium was a symbol of the elite within the Qing Dynasty, most people linked it to drug addiction and poverty (Huang, 2019). This opium trade was exacerbated by the criminal elements within China capitalizing on this desire by the Chinese people for cheap and readily available opium. Opium usage was rampant within Chinese society. The Chinese government actively worked to stomp out opium usage by barring traders, contacting the British Monarchy directly, and relying on drug treatment and jailing offenders, which all had little success. The Qing dynasty was fearful of the silver reserves flowing out of China instead of in due to this epidemic (Mosquito, Neel, Dykema, & Swain, 2013). This outflow of silver reserves from China to Britain, primarily, allowed Britain to gain their wealth back on the backs of the Chinese people and their addiction to opium which Britain was primarily supplying (Mosquito, Neel, Dykema, & Swain, 2013). Opium hurt the Chinese people and slowly drained the wealth of the country, weakening the Dynasty, and growing the criminal element within its own borders.
Standard historical narratives of China and Euro-America believe that opium was the primary medium through which the Qing Dynasty encountered the modern economic, social, and political institutions of the West (Bello, 2003). Consequently, opium and the importation of opium to the Chinese people created distinct problems of control for the Qing Dynasty rulers, eventually leading to the downfall of the Dynasty. Once control was lost, infighting and criminal elements grew, eventually leading to the collapse of the Dynasty in 1911. Criminal elements still exist today and are well entrenched in Chinese society, controlling the drug and illicit items trade under the current rule.
Bello, D. (2003). The venomous course of southwestern opium: Qing prohibition in Yunnan, Sichuan, and Guizhou in the early nineteenth century. The Journal of Asian Studies, 62(4), 1109–1142. doi: 10.2307/3591761
Huang, J. (2019). The historical face of narcotic revisited: A Chinese city’s fifty-year quest for hygienic modernity, 1900–49. Medical History, 63(1), 82–94. doi: 10.1017/mdh.2018.64
Manchu Dynasty. (2013). Retrieved from http://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/sharpewt/manchu_dynasty/0
Mosquito, L., Neel, C., Dykema, P., & Swain, J. (2013). Qing perspectives of the British: The development of the Chinese Sino-centric ideology and its ramifications for the nineteenth-century conflict between the Qing and British empires (ProQuest Dissertations Publishing). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1475266434/