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Duration 39:38

An Embarrassing Question: Opium, Britain and China 1856-1860

The war between Britain and China from 1856 to 1860 became widely known as the Second Opium War, but what part did opium play in the conflict? Using a variety of records in The National Archives, online resources and published works, this podcast explores that question with reference to the violent clashes that took place, the trade and consumption of opium in China, and British reactions to these events.

Caroline Dawson has worked at The National Archives for six years. Her current research interest is in the relationship between Britain and China in the 19th century. She is a Reader Advisor in the Advice and Records Knowledge Department.