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The British Presence in Macau, 1635-1793$
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Rogerio Miguel Puga

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9789888139798

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888139798.001.0001

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The “scramble for the use of Macau”1

The “scramble for the use of Macau”1

(p.97) 9 The “scramble for the use of Macau”1
The British Presence in Macau, 1635-1793

Rogério Miguel Puga

Hong Kong University Press

Throughout the eighteenth century, British trade became dependent on opium. The trade was conducted by three entities, the Company as the regulator, private traders that sailed under the EIC license and the country traders that operated between India and China. The Mandarinate has issued edicts in 1729 and 1799 to ban the opium trade, yet they came to no effect. Between 1764 and 1796, the Senate and successive governors had tried to ban and confiscate opium from foreigners. Yet the dependence of local traders on foreign trade merely intensified. The EIC’s conflicts with independent traders also grew during this period, as the independent traders evaded the Company’s control by assuming Portuguese names or entering other nation’s diplomatic services. Faced with competition from British smuggling and the EIC, the Senate aimed to concentrate the activity in Macau from the late eighteenth century onward.

Keywords:   Opium, Opium smuggling, Opium trade, Mandarinate’s edicts, East India Company, Macau, China, British Overseas

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