Chapter 5 Emperor Xianfeng and the Chinese Windlass

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In the summer of 1860, the Second Opium War was reaching its climax. Three years earlier, Britain and France had invaded Canton, China, in order to expand their trade in such disagreeable and corrupting commodities as opium. The Chinese Emperor at the time was Xianfeng, one of the last supremely powerful rulers of China.

Xianfeng did not like what the Western invaders were attempting, so he fought back by sending his soldiers to stop the British from trading in such unsavory goods. But Xianfeng’s troops were badly matched against the far better armed Europeans. Unwilling to capitulate ...

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