First China, the Chinese were a very proud people, especially concerning thier ancient culture. China always tried to remain self-sufficent and always looked down upon foreigners. Eventually, in 1793, the Qing dynasty's current emperor agreed to welcome an English ambassador. This ambassador brought many of England's technological advancements to share with the Chinese, but the emperor had no care for these "trinkets." The Chinese were certain they had all they needed. .
Soon later though the Spanish and Portuguese brought many other crops that the Chinese could use and wanted badly. Some of these were maize, sweet potatoes and peanuts, when before the chinese crop was mainly rice. With these new foods thhe Chinese could now feed their more than 300 million people.
The Chinese continued the profit off of the British, who needed their tea and in return gave silver, terribly dwindelling their silver supply. This cause the Europeans to attept to find something that they could trade and the Chinese would want. This is where opium came in. Opium, one of the first narcotics, the Europeans found that the Chinese had been using it for healing porposes. Now, the British smuggled some of their own opium into China and by 1835, over 12 million Chinese were addicted. .
In 1839 war broke out. The emperor of China was fuereous and wrote a letter the England's Queen Victoria to stop opium trade. This caused the beginning of the Opium War of 1839. The Chinese much more primative weapons were no match for England's cannons and steel gunships, so they suffered a very humiliating defeat. Then in 1842, the two countries signed the Treaty of Nanjing and then another in 1844. These two treaties gave Britain and the United States much power in the regions of China. Giving England the power to continue the opium trade.
This time of opium trade with England lasted for many years, never subsiding, bring many other problems into China.