Battles involving England - Opium Wars
Poem claimed to be inspired by an opium-induced dream
Opium was not prohibited in Britain, but it was in China. It was smuggled by the East India Company into China in defiance of Chinese prohibition laws. Open warfare between Britain and China broke out in 1839. British warships wreaked havoc on coastal towns. After the British took Canton, they sailed up the Yangtzeand took the tax barges, a devastating blow to the Chinese Emperor. In 1842 China sued for peace. The peace treaty gave Hong Kong (location) to Britain.
Burning of the Summer Palaces in Beijing 1860 (location)
Further disputes over the treatment of British merchants in Chinese ports resulted in the Second Opium War which started in 1856. France and Britain attacked Canton and advanced on Beijing, where British troops burned the Summer Palace. The treaty at the end of this war ceded Kowloon (near Hong Kong) to the British as well.
Hong Kong became a higly prosperous port. In 1997, Hong Kong and Kowloon were returned to Chinese rule, although Hong Kong retains its laws and a high degree of autonomy for at least fifty years after the transfer.
Battle-scene from the First Chinese Opium War (1839-42)
Coleridge claimed that the poem was inspired by an opium-induced dream, but that the composition was interrupted by a person from Porlock, and on his return to his room, found that he still retained some vague and dim recollection of the general purport of the vision, yet, with the exception of some eight or ten scattered lines and images, all the rest had passed away like the images on the surface of a stream into which a stone has been cast.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
So twice five miles of fertile ground
But oh ! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
A damsel with a dulcimer
Wikipedia (external site) for further information - Battles index