(Not Quite) Frivolous Friday: High Tea and the Opium War

Have you ever wondered how you might have fared as an opium trader in the early decades of the nineteenth century? Maybe not . . . but now you can try your hand at the trade nevertheless. UC Irvine grad student Christopher Heselton alerted us to this opportunity by sending along a link to High Tea, available free online from Armor Games. Players are given a tea order that they have to meet by a certain deadline, but must first raise capital to buy the tea by joining the ranks of opium smugglers operating around the Pearl River Delta. Watch out for the Qing authorities!

For a more serious look at the Opium Wars, check out the excellent Visualizing Cultures website at MIT, where there are several features on the Canton trading system and the wars, including a unit on the Opium War as seen from Japan.

There are also two forthcoming books that those with an interest in the topic should pick up. The first is The Scramble for China: Foreign Devils in the Qing Empire, 1832-1914 by Robert Bickers, due out later this month in the UK, though no US publication date has been announced yet. The second, which will be available later in 2011, is The Opium War and Its Aftermath by Julia Lovell; for previous writing by Lovell on this subject, see her 2009 China Beat post, “It’s Just History: Patriotic Education in the PRC.”

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