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The brief history of Chinese tea export

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Introduction

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China has a unique culture and tradition, including its tea, which has been exported to other parts of the world for centuries. Chinese tea trade has been a significant source of income for the country, helping to establish trade relationships with different nations. This essay explores the brief history of Chinese tea export, from the Song-Yuan period to the Opium War and the expansion of the tea trade.

Tea Trade in China

Blackened tea leaves

The tea trade has been one of the most important exports from China for centuries. Chinese tea has been exported to different parts of the world, including Japan, Europe, and the United States. The Chinese used tea not only as a medicinal drink but also as a tribute to the emperor. The tea trade began to expand during the Song dynasty when China started trading with Japan, and the Japanese imported Chinese tea in large quantities. During the Ming dynasty, the Chinese started to export tea to Europe, and the demand for tea grew rapidly.

Song-Yuan period(960-1368)

ceramic teacup

The Song-Yuan period marked the beginning of Chinese tea export. During this period, tea was mainly consumed in China as a medicinal drink. The tea trade began to expand during the Song dynasty when China started trading with Japan. The demand for Chinese tea was high in Japan, and they started importing it in large quantities.

Ming dynasty (1360 -1644)

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The Chinese began to export tea to Europe during the Ming dynasty. The Portuguese were the first to import Chinese tea to Europe in the early 16th century. The demand for tea in Europe grew rapidly, and the Chinese tea trade became a significant source of income for the country.

To the world –the early stage of Imperial era (1700s- 1800s)

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The Chinese tea trade continued to grow during the early stage of the Imperial era. The British, who had established a trading relationship with China, started to import Chinese tea in large quantities. The British East India Company was one of the major importers of Chinese tea during this period. The demand for tea in Britain grew, and the British began to explore different parts of China to find the best tea.

The Opium War(1840-1860)expanded Chinese tea export

Tea

The Opium War was a turning point in Chinese tea export. The British wanted more tea, but the Chinese refused to increase the supply. In retaliation, the British started importing opium into China, which led to a decline in the Chinese economy. The Chinese government tried to stop the opium trade, but the British refused to comply. This led to the Opium War, which saw the British defeat the Chinese. As part of the treaty, the Chinese had to open more ports for trade, including the port of Canton. This expanded the Chinese tea trade and led to an increase in tea exports.

Conclusion

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The Chinese tea trade has a rich history, from its humble beginnings during the Song-Yuan period to the Opium War and beyond. It has been an essential source of income for the country and has introduced Chinese culture to different parts of the world. Today, Chinese tea is still a popular drink, and the Chinese tea trade continues to thrive.

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