Definition of Opium Wars in US English:

Opium Wars

proper noun

  • Two wars involving Britain and China regarding the question of trading rights.

That between Britain and China (1839–42) followed China's attempt to prohibit the illegal importation of opium from British India into China. The second, involving Britain and France against China (1856–60), followed Chinese restrictions on foreign trade. Defeat of the Chinese resulted in the ceding of Hong Kong to Britain and the opening of five “treaty ports” to traders