Tea: Addiction, Exploitation and Empire

Front Cover
Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2003 - Business & Economics - 271 pages
6 Reviews
Tea came late to popularity in England—after its arrival in Portugal, Holland, and France—but 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 Moxham—once a tea planter himself—maps 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 trade—of the lands it claimed, the people it exploited, the profits it garnered, and the cups it filled.

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Review: Tea: Addiction, Exploitation, and Empire

User Review  - Bill - Goodreads

Tea served as a vehicle for British imperialism in it worst form. The plantation system virtually enslaved large population of workers for the sake of a cheap drink in England. I would have like more ... Read full review

Review: Tea: Addiction, Exploitation, and Empire

User Review  - Heather - Goodreads

An interesting exploration of the history of tea cultivation and its impact on the various regions of the world. It starts and ends as a memoir of the author as a young man working in a tea plantation in Africa. Read full review

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About the author (2003)

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.

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