22. The First Opium War started due to the British smuggling opium into China and ended with the Empire taking Hong Kong control… but that wasn’t enough.
The British East India Company began smuggling opium into China before the American Revolution, and by the turn of the 19th century Great Britain was the leading supplier of opium to China, though far from the only one. The United States and France maintained a high level of opium trade into China as well. In 1839, the First Opium War was fought between the British Empire and the Chinese, ending with the Treaty of Nanking in 1842. Great Britain claimed Hong Kong for all time in the treaty, and achieved most favored nation status, and created the free trade ports of Canton, Shanghai, Ningbo, Fuzhou, and Amoy. Despite Chinese protests to the British government, traders from Great Britain continued to import opium into China.