Japan pattern saucer, part of a breakfast service that belonged to Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805). The saucer is painted in colours and gilt. The centre is decorated with a basket of flowers and there are three panels of flowers on…
- NMMExhibitions's collections
- The maritime world of Asia
- Spices: trading for spices in Asia
- Textiles: supplying cloth to the world
- Tea: breaking into the tea trade
- The Company in crisis
- The Bombardment of Algiers, 1816
- Christmas collections
- Re·Think: Environment
- Map of the Moon by Hugh Percy Wilkins
Tea: breaking into the tea trade
The East India Company’s trading patterns changed in the late
1700s. By then it made most of its money from the
trade in China tea, as tea-drinking became popular in
Britain. But buying tea was tightly controlled by Chinese
officials and paid for with huge quantities of silver
exported from Britain.
The Company tried to bypass Chinese restrictions on trade to meet the growing British demand for tea. By encouraging opium production in India, the Company raised taxes from private merchants exporting the drug to China. This tax money then funded much of the Company’s profitable tea business.
However, selling opium broke Chinese law, leading to war between Britain and China.
Find out more about the Traders gallery.