Canton factories The British had no more ended their war in the Western Hemisphere when a new conflict threatened across the world in the Eastern Hemisphere. China had been a major target for trade for the Western powers for a long time, but the West had little to offer the Middle Kingdom. So the British East India Company resorted to supplementing their trade with opium, which they shipped through to China by circuitous routes once the Chinese Emperor forbade its open trade at the factories of Canton, the only place foreigners were allowed to trade with Chinese in Qing China. However, the combination of a further crack-down on opium smuggling by Chinese officials under the leadership of Lin Zexu and the strain on British funds by the Slaver Uprising put China and Britain on a collision course resulting in 1840 in the Opium War. The well blooded, modern navy that had won against Confederationist forces just a few years before tore through the Chinese War Junks like rice paper, demonstrating in an undeniable manner that China had slipped behind the West in prowess. The war lasted only a year before the Chinese were forced to come to terms. Britain was able to break the monopolies and open up trade directly with the Chinese, have right to learn the Chinese language, gained Hong Kong as a British base, but ironically, no definite agreement could be made on the opium issue, which was left for another day.