A drug on the market: Opium and the Chinese in Southeast Asia, 1750-1880

Trocki, Carl A. (2005) A drug on the market: Opium and the Chinese in Southeast Asia, 1750-1880. Journal of the Chinese Overseas, 1(2), pp. 1-17.


The eighteenth and nineteenth century saw the meeting to two waves in Southeast Asia. One was the movement of Chinese, junk traders and laborers coming from the east to make a living in the Nanyang. The other was the expansion of the British country trade in opium, coming from India. Their meeting was a fateful one for both Europeans and Chinese. Opium and Chinese mercantile skills and labor power provided the nerves and sinews of the European empire in Asia between 1750 and 1950. Chinese laborers produced the commodities upon which the global economy came to rely. These same laborers spent their hard-earned wages purchasing opium to make their grim lives a bit more bearable. Their purchases provided wealth for the opium farmers and supported colonial governments from Hong Kong to Singapore and from Bangkok to Batavia. This paper focuses on the interaction between the Chinese diaspora and European capital in Southeast Asia. In particular it explores the role of opium in capturing the value of Chinese efforts for European investors and at the same time, providing an avenue for the expansion and development of Chinese capital in the region.

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ID Code: 8623
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the journal’s website (see hypertext link) or contact the author.
Author contact details: c.trocki@qut.edu.au
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Southeast Asia, Chinese, opium, opium farms, history
ISSN: 1793-0391
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY (210000) > HISTORICAL STUDIES (210300) > Asian History (210302)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 Journal of the Chinese Overseas
Deposited On: 16 Jul 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:11

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