History of Shanghai
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History of Shanghai


History of Shanghai - Origin of the City

Shanghai was a wetland, until 7th century. It was called Shen or Hudu (named after a local fishing tool, today Hu is an abbreviation of Shanghai, and you can see this from the local license plates). In fact, most part of the modern area in Shanghai did not exist before the canalization in 17th century. The early inhabitants lived at the confluence of Shanghai River (disappeared long ago) and Huangpu River.

History of Shanghai – the History Related to Opium in Qing Dynasty

In early Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the British East India Company did business in Guangzhou secretly - the only port open to the western countries at that time. The tea, silk, and china they bought were much more expensive than the wool and perfume bought by Chinese. At the end of 18th century, in order to balance the trade deficit they required silver in return for opium, and then used the silver to buy Chinese products. The addiction of the Chinese for opium gradually caught up with the interests of the British for tea. This fatal poison created the later Shanghai.

In terms of business, the opium trade is a big success since it flooded every corner of the society. Its strong addiction and enormous market supply made it be a choice of all the social levels, including the most humble ones in the bottom of the society. The profitable trade empire of Yihe Foreign Firm was built on the base of the opium trade.

Actually, the Opium War between British and China is just a war pushed by Britain. They planned to take use of opium to get concession from China. The Nanjing Treaty finished the First Opium War. It was a turning point for Shanghai since it declared the death of the old Shanghai, and a barbaric and hopeful city will stand on Huangpu River.

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