Term Paper: East Asia Exports to Western Europe in the 18th and 19th Centuries

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E.Asia export to Westen Europe in 18th and 19th century

China Export to Western Europe

The Chinese tea is probably the most well-known product of the country. China's tradition in producing and serving tea is a fascinating subject for many consumers. The development of the country's tea export to Western Europe is another interesting subject that must be studied.

China Tea Production

Tea is produced on a large scale in China, in more than 20 provinces. China is considered to be the place where the tea culture was discovered in ancient times and continuouslky developed. The most important areas where tea is produced in China include: the Jiangnan area, the Jiangbei area, the Southwest area, and the Lingnan area.

The Jiangnan area is situated south of the Changjiang River. This is the most important area where ea is produced in China. The tea production in this region is mostly represented by green varieties, and by some black ones. The area has a warm and wet climate that is ideal for agriculture, which was one of the main occupations of Chinese people from ancient times to present. Given the favorable climate, people in this area were able to successfully cultivate tea and rice that were intended to be used on local level for consumption and for trade. Another advantage of the region is represented by the fact that Jiangnan is located near the Changjiang River, allowing for easy transportation methods that encouraged trade.

The Jiangbei area is situated in the north of this river. In this region, the temperature is lower, allowing for green tea to be successfully produced here. In addition to this, some of the provinces in this region produced compressed tea that is intended to supply the minority areas in the Northwest.

The Southwest area is well-known for its black, green, and compressed teas production. Some of these varieties are responsible for successful commercialization in China and in Western Europe. The tea cultivated in this region, which is currently referred to as ancient tea, was mainly used for the daily drinking of locals. They were not necessarily interested in selling it, but engaged in trade activities, given the increased interest of European traders.

The Lingnan area is well-known for producing the Wulong tea, which is very appreciated. The area has a hot and humid climate. This weather determines the frequent drinking of the tea cultivated in this area. The Wulong tea cultivated in this region is appreciated for its milk flavor.

The history of tea in China is a very long one. In this country, tea has been produced and consumed for several millennia. In the beginning, tea was consumed as a medicine, in order to help diminish the effects of certain diseases, as a symbol of nobles' social status, or simply for its flavor by common people.

Tea was a wild plant when it was discovered by a Chinese emperor. Given the fact that tea was initially consumed as a medicine herb that was thought to be an antidote of poison, it was cultivated in small plantations in several areas of China. The different climate conditions in these areas allowed for diverse types of tea to be cultivated. Chinese tea cultivators were not satisfied with the simple cultivation of the tea plant, but also tried to enhance it, by introducing diverse flavors to some of the tea types.

Therefore, tea was cultivated on small family plantations. As the use of tea increased, the production had to increase also. As a consequence, tea started to be cultivated in large plantations intended to satisfy national consumption. In accordance with this, the tea brewing became more complex. Drinking tea became an art that can be observed in most Asian countries, especially in China. The art of serving and drinking tea is the subject of numerous studies, documentaries, and books that describe the process that is considered to be fascinating by Western countries.

Tea production was managed and organized by the Chinese part only. This is because the Chinese government isolated the country and only allowed reduced, limited relationships between European traders and Chinese producers. The technological development of China during that period determined the Chinese government to acknowledge the country's superiority and to refuse significant economic relationships between China and European countries. Therefore, it was not possible for European traders to influence tea production. They had reduced control regarding the price of the tea, given the fact that China had the position of power and the ability to negotiate.

The workers that were used on these tea plantations were mainly locals that resided in the areas where the plantations were located. They did not receive significant wages for their work on the tea plantations. In exchange of their services, they sometimes received food or other goods required for satisfying primary needs. Cultivating tea required certain skills that these workers were obliged to have. However, given the fact that tea was cultivated for individual use also, it was easy for these workers to develop such skills. The large surfaces of tea plantations and the fact that the workers had to manage a significant volume, they were forced to develop ways in which they could improve their efficiency.

China Tea Export to Western Europe

Tea was not easily introduced in Europe. During the 17th century European traders that were doing business with Chinese partners thought that tea, which was extensively used in China could present an interest to Europeans also. As a consequence, they started to import the product in European countries, but in small quantities, in order to test the market.

But it was not easy to develop a reliable trade relationship with China. This is because the rulers in China believed their country to be superior to others, and that China did not need to develop economic relationships with such countries. They practically isolated China from the rest of the world (China Knowledge, 2000). The Chinese government only allowed trade to take place in the region of Canton. Even so, a small number of European traders were allowed to involve in this business activity.

Although tea was expensive for most consumers and only the rich were able to purchase it, Europeans liked drinking tea. The demand for this product rapidly increased. The main tea trader in the 18th and the 19th century was represented by the English East India Company. The company used its relations and influence in order to increase the tea quantities brought in Europe.

However, the European traders experienced significant difficulties in maintaining their economic relationships with the Chinese party. The problem was represented by the fact that China was not interested in any of the products that the European traders had to offer. As a consequence, the traders accumulated large trade deficits (Tea Merchant, 2003).

In order to reduce this deficit, the European traders started to introduce opium to the Chinese party. It seems that traders in China were very interested in opium, leading to significantly increased demand for this product. The results of this situation were different for the European and Chinese parties. For example, the English party managed to reduce its trade deficit and to obtain profit, while China was experiencing a high number of opium addicts.

The situation led to one of the most important crises in the Chinese history. Obviously, the government did not approve with the situation, and destroyed massive amounts of opium. The English traders observed that the situation was turning against them and their profits were threatened.

This led to the Opium War between China and England. The war was won by the English side that was therefore able to impose its terms on the Chinese side. The Chinese government was forced to draw the country from its imposed isolation. In addition to this, China was forced to open several ports for foreign trade. Hong Kong was controlled by England.

As a consequence, the country's tea trade significantly expanded. The production increased in accordance with this trade expansion. But European farmers started to successfully cultivate tea. England became the most important tea exporter. As a consequence, the Chinese tea production and trade suffered important setbacks.

There were several trade routes discovered by Europeans. These routes were mainly used for the spice trade. The economic competition Between European countries intensified, determining their traders to develop strategies that would allow them to gain profit.

For example, it was not very profitable for these traders to bring spices and other products to Europe. This is because the demand in Europe for spices and similar products was not a significant one. In accordance with the low demand, the prices were also low, the spices trade activity not proving to be profitable for European traders. Therefore, these traders started to address different areas of Southern and Eastern Asia. Trading between these areas was more profitable for European traders. Although English traders are the most important ones, tea was initially introduced in other European countries. The Portuguese discovered tea as a drink and started to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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