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Did the Opium Wars have a positive or negative effect on the world?

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The Opium Wars (1839–42 and 1856–60) had a negative effect on both China and the world. China was the victim of Western aggression and imperialism. Britain, later joined by France, took advantage of China's internal weaknesses and forced it to comply with unreasonable demands. The humiliation China endured was not forgotten by its people. Encouraged by their successes in subjugating China, the Western powers went on to colonize most of Africa later in the nineteenth century.

The first of the two wars was between China and Britain. Britain was illegally selling opium—a highly addictive drug—in China. China attempted to stop this trade, and hostilities erupted. After the British victory, the Chinese were forced to open their ports and cede Hong Kong to...

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