Addiction, Exploitation, and Empire
By Roy Moxham
(Running Press, Hardcover, 9780786712274, 224pp.)
Publication Date: September 2003
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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Tea came late to popularity in Englandafter its arrival in Portugal, Holland, and Francebut it quickly became a national obsession. And business. Tea gardens and tea shops sprang up everywhere in seventeenth-century England. Demand soon spread to the colonies, where the heavy taxation on tea led to smuggling on a massive scale and, in the New World, cost England her American empire. Tea also drove the British to war with China, to guarantee the supply of pekoe, and it prompted colonists to clear jungles in India, Ceylon, and Africa for huge tea plantations. In time the cultivation of tea would subject more than one million laborers to wretched, often inhuman working conditions. Hundreds of thousands of them would die for the commodity that for four centuries propelled Britain's economy and epitomized the reach of its empire. Bringing colorful detail and narrative skill to this history, author Roy Moxhamonce a tea planter himselfmaps the impact of a monumental and imperial British enterprise. In this book, he offers a fully fascinating, and frequently shocking, tale of England's tea tradeof the lands it claimed, the people it exploited, the profits it garnered, and the cups it filled.
Roy Moxham, formerly a tea planter and gallery owner, is currently Conservator of the University of London Library as well as a teacher and Associate Fellow in the university’s Institute of English Studies. Moxham is also the author of The Great Hedge of India. He lives in London.