Lead: In the early 1840s, to protect its merchants and their trading interests, Great Britain was seeking a trading base on the east coast of China. Captain Charles Elliot was in charge of the search.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Until the mid-1900s China, from ancient time the superior civilization in Asia, regarded all foreigners as barbarians. Concessions by Qing Dynasty of Emperors permitted European trade but only through the City of Guangzhou (or Canton). Foreign merchants had to stay in small enclosures called factories erected on the outside of the City. The British had been trying to secure diplomatic relations and a liberalized trade policy, but the Chinese rejected such overtures because this would have reflected equality. Dispute over the import of opium, however, gave the British the opportunity they needed. The Opium Wars demonstrated western military superiority and forced China to deal.