Opium fleet in India, 1850s

Opium fleet in India, 1850s

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Credit: BRITISH LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Opium fleet in India. 19th-century artwork of an opium fleet in India sailing down the Ganges (Ganga) river to Calcutta (Kolkata). Canoes clear the river ahead. The raft will provide wood for packing cases for the drug, prepared from the opium poppy. During the 19th century, the British East India Company gained much wealth from opium traded between India and China. Campaigns against the drug led to a Royal Commission in the 1890s which backed the trade. Artwork from 'The Truth about Opium Smoking' in the 24 June 1882 issue of the British weekly illustrated newspaper 'The Graphic'. The original artwork, by W. S. Sherwill, dates from circa 1850.

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