Opium factory in India, 1850s

Opium factory in India, 1850s

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Credit: BRITISH LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Opium factory in India. 19th-century artwork of workers stacking opium balls for the British East India Company in Patna, Bengal. The 1.5-kilogram balls of raw opium, wrapped in the leaves of the opium poppy, were dried on shelves and shipped to China and Europe. During the 19th century, the British 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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