BBC In Our Time - Opium Wars Listening Guide

This is an optional listening guide to help you complete the assigned material. Below you will find questions to consider as you listen, as well important vocabulary and time codes to look up particular segments. Note that time codes may not work on mobile phones.

Topics Covered: Qing dynasty, Lin Zexu, Opium Wars, Treaty of Nanjing, Guangdong (Canton), Hong Kong

Links: BBC In Our Time [with download option]
Youtube [alternate link]
Soundcloud [alternate link]

[0:19] Introduction - Note the name Lin Zexu.

[2:02] How important was China in the 1800's? Where did China's wealth come from? Who was Lord Macartney? Vocabulary: kowtow

[4:22] What was the Qing's dynasty contact with other powers like? What was the trade balance before the Opium Wars?

[6:36] How did the opium trade begin? Why is opium valuable?

[9:40] What was the demand for tea in Britain like? Vocabulary: commodity

[11:19] What was the Qing motivation for banning opium?

[12:23] Who was Lin Zexu and what did he do? Vocabulary: seige

[14:36] How did the British react to Lin Zexu's actions? Vocabulary: flout

[17:09] How did the First Opium War start? Vocabulary: intervene

[18:44] What was the Battle of Kowloon?

[20:24] Why was the Treaty of Nanjing (or Treaty of Nanking) considered "unequal"? Vocabulary: indemnity, barren

[22:40] How was the Treaty of Nanjing received at the time? Note how and why the speakers disagree on this point. Vocabulary: literati

[25:11] What are the conditions that lead to the Second Opium War? What is the Treaty of Tianjin (Treaty of Tientsin)?

[26:46] What difficulties did the Qing government face? Vocabulary: millenarian

[28:31] What were the effects of the Second Opium War and the Treaty of Tianjin? Vocabulary: imposition, urbanization

[33:15] What happens to the Qing dynasty after the Opium Wars?

[34:39] What are some of the ways the Opium Wars are seen today? Vocabulary: resentful, ensteel, leverage, rectify

[37:13] When and how did the opium trade end?

[38:20] What economic contributions did the wars have on later China? How could these interpretations be controversial? What other role did Lin Zexu have? Vocabulary: extraterritoriality


kowtow, commodity, seige, flout, intervene, indemnity, barren, literati, millenarian, imposition, urbanization, resentful, ensteel, leverage, rectify, extraterritoriality