Commodities price chart dating to 1700
Merchants were no longer able to sustain the China trade through profits made by selling Chinese goods in the West and were forced to take bullion out of circulation in Europe to buy goods in China.
of the world's silver with 30% of it eventually ending up in China (largely because of British merchants who used it to purchase exotic Chinese commodities).
That process was so widespread that local Chinese government officials would demand taxes to be paid in silver to the point that silver eventually backed all of China's economy.
As the increasing supply of silver from the Spanish and other European powers caused the price of silver to inflate, however, China's over-reliance on that precious metal eventually fueled the Ming Dynasty's collapse. Traditional coins were useful, but the amount of coins needed for large purchases could be bulky and dangerous to transport.
Its use is prohibited by law." Following a debate at court in 1836 on whether to legalize the drug or crack down on its use, the emperor decided on the latter.
An upright official, Commissioner Lin Zexu led the campaign against opium as a kind of "drug czar." The British, offended by the seizure of their property in opium, sent a large naval expedition to China to end the restrictive conditions under which they had long traded with that country.