1524 - 1707 CE
Opium cultivation and trade under the Mughal Dynasty

Babur, after several failed attempts, establishes his Mughal Dynasty on the Indian subcontinent, and he becomes the first Mughal emperor (1524-1530). Under his rule poppy cultivation and the sale of opium become state monopolies. Opium becomes an important article of trade with China where it is used mostly for medicinal purposes.

Durinq the reign of the great Moghul emperor Akbar (1556-1605), poppy land is a regular source of revenue to the state, and production is carefully monitored. According to the testimonies of 16th-century travelers, opium eating in India (usually in beverage form) is common, but not smoking.

The opium trade was important throughout the Mughal Empire until its collapse c. 1707. At that point control of the opium trade was taken over by merchants in Patna, by then a centre for British involvement in international trade.

Source: Austin, G. A. (1979). Perspectives on the history of psychoactive substance use. NIDA.

Drugs: Opium (morphine, heroin, opioids)
Regions: Asia, India
Topics: Cultivation, production and trade