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


Opium shipped from Singapore between 24-31 January: Syed Khan, 580 chests, Red Rover, 1000 chests, Water Witch, 1100 chests, Cowasjee Family, 1170 chests.

W.R. George on board the Cowasjee Family to William Jardine in Canton, February 26th, 1836.*

Singapore, located at a strategic squeeze point along the maritime route between the Indian subcontinent and China, was a hugely important site within the Jardine-Matheson global network. Because Singapore was where much of the Indian opium was transshipped for China, it also became a major site for Jardine-Matheson's insurance business. The above quote, a list of opium shipped to China over the course of just five days, illustrates why insurance was so important: these four ships carried a combined total of 3,850 chests of opium to China. Based on prices in Shenhu Bay during February of 1836 (approx. $830 / chest), the combined cargo of these four ships was worth a stunning wholesale value of $3,195,500.

*Source: MS.JM/B7 10 [Reel 505], George to Jardine, 2.26.1836

This page has paths:

This page has tags: