Bodies and Structures 2.0: Deep-Mapping Modern East Asian History

Bombay (Mumbai)

Our Opium Market has fluctuated very little since the date of last advices, the 28th ultimo, particularly at Whampoa; while along the Coast prices have been better maintained, but the deliveries have been on a reduced scale. In Macao Malwa fell to 345 dollars per chest, and several hundreds of chests were sent out to Lintin, when the prices, of all kinds, improved a little.

William Jardine in Canton to Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy in Bombay, 13 March 1838.*

Bombay (Mumbai) was the site of auction for Malwa opium, the alternative to Bengal (Patna, Benares) opium exported from Calcutta. Pictured above is a hospital built in 1843 by the eminent Parsee trader Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, a close associate of William Jardine and a major figure in the Malwa opium trade. In the quote above we see William Jardine advising Jejeebhoy of the prices and market fluctuations in Malwa opium during early 1838, as tensions were mounting with the Chinese government in Guangzhou.

*Source: China Trade and Empire: Jardine, Matheson & Co. And the Origins of British Rule in Hong Kong 1827-1843, ed. Alain le Pichon (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), p. 337.

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