The Sassoon family is of Jewish descent and was originally based in Baghdad, Iraq, before moving to Mumbai, India and then spreading to China, England, and other countries. From the 18th century, the Sassoon’s were one of the wealthiest families in the world, with a merchant empire spanning the continent of Asia. The Jewish Encyclopaedia of 1905, states that Sassoon expanded his opium trade into China and Japan. He placed his eight sons in charge of the various major opium exchanges in China. According to the 1944 Jewish Encyclopaedia “he employed only Jews in his business, and wherever he sent them he built synagogues and schools for them. He imported whole families of fellow Jews . . . and put them to work.” Between 1830 and 1831 they had trafficked 18,956 chests of opium earning millions of dollars. In the year 1836 the trade increased to over 30,000 chests and addiction to this mind-destroying drug became endemic in coastal cities. Yet Sir Edward Albert Sassoon (1856 – 1912), the son of Albert, settled in England and married Aline Caroline de Rothschild and was a Conservative member of Parliament from 1899 until his death. The seat was then inherited by his son Sir Philip Sassoon (1888 – 1939) from 1912 until his death.