1800-1859 | Opium

Cabinet backs war with China after opium traders are held hostage

[ 1 October 1839 ] On 1 October 1839, the Cabinet decided on a war with China after the Emperor’s Special Commissioner at Canton, Lin Zexu, enforced an imperial decree banning the trade in opium and took several traders and British officials hostage until the 20,000 chests of the drug on the ships anchored offshore…

1800-1859 | Opium

Chinese destroy British opium leading to the First Opium War

3 June 1839 On 3 June 1839, Lin Zexu, an imperial commissioner of Qing China, ordered the destruction of illegal opium imports, which were being smuggled in increasing quantities by British traders.  China had banned the import of opium in 1800, but until 1839, traders had been able to purchase supplies from the British East…

1800-1859 | Yemen

British naval ships reduce Aden to rubble

19 January 1839 On the morning of 19 January 1839, Royal Navy and East India Company ships bombarded the settlement of Aden, a fishing port inhabited by what The Asiatic Journal described as ‘a miserable population of 600 composed of Jews, Banians, Arabs and Samahlies.’1 The concentrated fire of 69 cannons soon flattened most of the defences and houses,…

1800-1859 | Afghanistan

10 MARCH

SLAVE REBELLION EVOKES BRUTAL EXECUTIONS IN TOBAGO [ 10 March 1774 ] On 10 March 1774, two hundred slaves staged a rebellion on a plantation at Queen’s Bay, Tobago, owned by two wealthy planters, Sir William Young and Robert Stewart. BRITAIN’S FIRST WAR TO IMPOSE REGIME CHANGE IN AFGHANISTAN [ 10 March 1839 ] Today…