Tea: Addiction,Exploitation and Empire
by Roy Moxham
The British were slow to take up tea, lagging behind the Portuguese and Dutch, and even the French. When they finally took it to their hearts, ... Show synopsis The British were slow to take up tea, lagging behind the Portuguese and Dutch, and even the French. When they finally took it to their hearts, however, it became a national obsession. They covered their kingdom with tea gardens and tea shops. The taxation of tea led to massive smuggling, and the loss of their American empire. To guarantee their supply of tea they went to war against the Chinese. Intrepid planters cleared the jungles of the empire - in India, Ceylon and Africa - to plant up tea. They moved over a million people to work on the plantations, where hundreds of thousands of them died of ill treatment. Eventually the British gained control over most of the world tea trade. Moxham tells the story of this monumental enterprise, and its impact on four centuries of British and world history. Once a tea-planter himself, he explains how tea was traded, grown, manufactured and marketed to satisfy the British thirst for fine tea and large profits.