How did the British establish their monopoly over opium trade?
- By 1773, the British government in Bengal had established a monopoly over opium trade.
- No one else was legally permitted to trade in opium.
- By the 1820s, the British found that opium production in their territories was rapidly declining and outside its territories, the production was increasing.
- It was produced in the princely states where local traders were offering much higher prices to peasants and exporting opium to China.
- To the British, this trade was illegal; it was smuggling and it had to be stopped. Government monopoly had to be retained.
- It therefore, instructed its agents posted in the princely states to confiscate all opium and destroy the crops.