Book cover of Empires of Vice: The Rise of Opium Prohibition across Southeast Asia by Diana Kim
Asia

Empires of Vice: The Rise of Opium Prohibition across Southeast Asia

A history of opium’s dramatic fall from favor in colonial Southeast Asia

During the late nineteenth century, opium was integral to European colonial rule in Southeast Asia. The taxation of opium was a major source of revenue for British and French colonizers, who also derived moral authority from imposing a tax on a peculiar vice of their non-European subjects. Yet between the 1890s and the 1940s, colonial states began to ban opium, upsetting the very foundations of overseas rule―how did this happen? […Learn More]