China was largely self sufficient due to its healthy agricultural economy
China's mining and manufacturing industries also provided work for thousands of people and produced large quantities of resources and goods
When the Qing emperor agreed to receive an ambassador from England, he was not impressed with the gifts he brought
We are not interested in your strange objects.
The Chinese had little interest in trading with the West. They only allowed foreigners to do business at the southern port of Guangzhou, and they earned much more from exports than they spent on imports
Determined to find a product the Chinese would buy, they illegally smuggled in opium for nonmedical use, leading to millions of people becoming addicted
The Qing emperor was furious, but Britain refused to stop trading opium. This resulted in the Opium War of 1839, with battles mostly taking place at sea. China suffered a humiliating defeat due to Britain's far more advanced gunboats