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Global History


Opium in Primary Sources

This is a guide to topics in global history, focused on primary sources available at Boston College.

Opium in World History

Derived from the unripe seed of the poppy, opium is commonly used as a narcotics and in analgesics. See the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World for a short discussion of the use and trade of opium in human history. 

What's on the Page by Type

    Broad Collections

    Sources: Correspondence (mainly British)

    Sources: Relevant Publications

    Sources: Treaties and Gov. Docs.

    Burns Box


    In our very own special collections library (Burns), you'll find a selection of material on your topic. Consider visiting the library and seeing history in your hands. To do so, you should start by searching for material through BC Libraries' catalog and then ordering it (if you haven't registered, you'll be prompted). For a guide on the process, check out the "Finding Burns Material" page.  You might also check out the following recommendations: 

    Opium -- trade 

    Opium abuse

    English Literature

    Botany -- Medical and Herbals

    China -- Trade and Commerce 

    For additional help

    For additional recommendations, contact your subject liaison (Dr. Bee Lehman) at or schedule an appointment with them.