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Empires of ViceThe Rise of Opium Prohibition across Southeast Asia$
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Diana S. Kim

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691172408

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691172408.001.0001

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The Different Lives of Southeast Asia’s Opium Monopolies

The Different Lives of Southeast Asia’s Opium Monopolies

(p.54) 3 The Different Lives of Southeast Asia’s Opium Monopolies
Empires of Vice

Diana S. Kim

Princeton University Press

This chapter surveys the opium monopolies of Southeast Asia from the 1890s to the 1940s. It lays out differences in regulatory reforms for restricting opium sales and popular consumption. The chapter also provides background on key events and developments that inform existing scholarship on colonial opium prohibition: the decline of the India–China trade, the US annexation of the Philippines, and imperial entry into Southeast Asia, as well as the emergence of medicalized drug control regimes in Britain, France, and internationally under the League of Nations. The chapter also aims to persuade those already familiar with this history to be more puzzled about the colonial institution of an opium monopoly. Looking across multiple empires, it shows how differently European powers implemented policies restricting opium that not only differ on a colony-by-colony basis in ways that challenge conventional understandings of opium monopolies as arrangements for maximizing revenue collection, but also do not map neatly onto major metropolitan and international developments.

Keywords:   opium monopolies, colonial opium prohibition, drug control, metropolitan developments, international developments, colonial history

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