Academic journal article Historical Journal of Massachusetts

When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail

Academic journal article Historical Journal of Massachusetts

When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail

Article excerpt

When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail. By Eric Jay Dolin. New York, NY: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2012. 394 pages. $27.93 (hardcover).

When America First Met China: An Exotic History of Tea, Drugs, and Money in the Age of Sail by Eric Jay Dolin presents a fascinating account of the early American-Chinese trade. Less dramatic than Commodore Matthew Perry's opening of Japan to trade with the West, the formative nature of the United States' initial relations with China are not as well known to most Americans. This book, therefore, brings great insight to the topic, providing a panoramic and entertaining history of the United States' early dealings with the Middle Kingdom.

The scope of this informative narrative begins with America's first private expedition to China soon after the American Revolution. It encompasses the subsequent trade and diplomatic missions until the late 1860's, when steamships and railroads eclipsed the fast and beautiful clipper ships which were built expressly for the China trade.

American contact with China was driven primarily by the huge profits to be won. Vast fortunes were amassed by enterprising visionaries, many of whom were from Massachusetts and New York. The famous three-cornered trade between New England, the Pacific Northwest, and China contributed to the wealth of many Massachusetts seaport communities. This trade also denuded the west coast of fur seals and sea otters, whose fur was one of the few items the Chinese desired from the U.S., other than ginseng. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.