Empire’s opium trade

It starts with piracy in the Caribbean, which gives way to growing sugar there – and forcing slaves from Africa to work them. Trade with India brings wealth to men like Robert Clive who progress from trader to governor. The empire grows piecemeal as chartered companies take over large tracts of foreign territory – answering only to head office in the City of London. Illegal opium sold to China makes a fortune for British businessmen – but sparks a war with the Chinese emperor.

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3 minutes


Role Contributor
PresenterJeremy Paxman
DirectorRobin Dashwood
Executive ProducerBasil Comely

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