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The Great Tea Trade – China to England in the 1800s
Cutty Sark under sail

The Great Tea Trade – China to England in the 1800s

For a brief period of time, the fastest sailing ships in the world sailed from the coast of China to London - racing to arrive with the fresh crop of tea for British tea drinkers. The British East India Company held a near monopoly on trade with India and China for more than 100 years. But in 1834, the East India company surrendered its monopoly on Asian trade, and so, a competition developed as a number of merchant companies decided they could make money by shipping goods from China to Europe. After the first Anglo-Qing war (somewhat misleadingly called the 1st Opium War), five Treaty Ports were opened to British trade. The most important ports were Canton, and Shanghai. After 1840, the British also took possession of Hong Kong which…

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Prices in Imperial China

In an earlier blog post (Currency In China) I described my currency and some of the actual currency used in China during the Imperial era.  Today, I want to talk about prices. In The Burning Tower, my characters are given some salt notes and they exchange four of them for ten silver cats and six strings of coins. With this money they buy some goods and they also donate some of this money to the local temple of Sho'Ash help repair the statue of their god, as well as making improvements to the building. Later, Sandun offers two silver cats and, in return, he is given a top quality Serica-glass vase, though this was perhaps not the most accurate price. And this relates to China how? Imperial China covers a…

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Currency in China

In my books, there are three main forms of currency. First, we have copper coins. They are worth very little (for example, a good Serice pancake costs around 100-150 copper coins). Copper coins are typically carried with a string through the open hole in the middle, and a string of coins is usually close to 1,000 coins.  The second unit of currency is the silver cat, which is a small ingot of silver, roughly shaped like a sleeping cat with its tail curled around (forming an oval shape). The silver cat in Serica is roughly equal to a string of 1,000 copper coins. A person can barely get by on an income of one silver cat per month.  The third unit of currency is the Salt Note. A salt note…

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A Great Map of Medieval Trade Routes

This map was created around 2012 and it shows many trade routes and important cities that existed in Eurasia and Africa circa 1200. There are lots of small inaccuracies so the specialists get to nit-pick. Medieval Trade Routes of Eurasia and Africa - circa 1200 My world is not the same as the real world but I draw a lot of inspiration from the world of our past. Medieval World Trade Routes

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