The Lion and the Dragon: Britain’s Opium Wars with China 1839-1860

Author(s): Mark Simner 

ISBN: 9781781557174
$26.00 $38.00
The story of Britain’s devastating drug wars with China, fought between 1839-1842 and 1857-1860.
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  • A new in-depth military history of the Anglo-Chinese Wars

  • Written in a lively manner as if the author had witnessed events for himself

  • Extensive use of primary and period sources, which present the reader with greater detail on the subject than ever before

  • A large number of period images and maps, many of which have not appeared in print for over a century 

During the mid-19th century, Britain and China would twice go to war over trade and opium in particular.

The Chinese had become addicted to the narcotic, a habit that British merchants were more than happy to feed from their opium poppy fields in India. When the Qing dynasty rulers attempted to supress this trade – due to the serious social and economic problems it caused – the British Government responded with force.

The first conflict, known as the First Anglo-Chinese War or First Opium War (1839-42), ended in British victory and the Treaty of Nanking. However, this treaty was heavily biased in favour of the British, and it would not be long before there was a renewal of hostilities, taking the form of what became known as the Second Anglo-Chinese War or Second Opium War (1856-60).

Again, the second conflict would end with an ‘unequal treaty’ that was heavily biased towards the victor.

The Lion and the Dragon: Britain’s Opium Wars with China 1839-1860 examines the causes and ensuing military history of these tragic conflicts, as well as their bitter legacies.

BOOK ISBN 9781781557174
FORMAT 234 x 156 mm
BINDING Hardback
PAGES 224 pages
ILLUSTRATIONS 61 black-and-white illustrations



Mark Simner has been interested in British military history since childhood, having widely read and researched the period of 1700 to 1945. In 2007, he setup the incredibly successful Victorian Wars Forum, which was followed by the equally popular Napoleonic Wars Forum in 2011. His first book, An Illustrated Introduction to the Battle of Waterloo, was published in May 2015 and he has since written a number of other titles and articles. Pathan Rising: Jihad on the North West Frontier of India 1897-1898 is his first book for Fonthill Media.