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Old 11-07-2011, 03:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FutureMarine View Post
History reminds US that like Japan, China was a very late bloomer, even called itself the Middle kingdom due to the population being focused in the center of the country. When western influence reached China they were very far behind and were easily pushed around. so when the Chinese kingdom started to advance it was to late to do any massive colonization work
That ignores the fact that from say the 1100's, to the late 1600's, China was easily the equal of if not the superior to the technology and capabilities of European nations. Indeed China was not "cracked" open for western colonial interests until well into the 1800's and was predicated on taking advantage of internal weaknesses which were often fomented by western powers. The Chinese were hardly the backwards people you are painting them as.
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Old 11-07-2011, 03:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Maybe the question, instead of concentrating on the Chinese, is more salient when asking why ONLY the Europeans entered into an ongoing and methodical colonial era of several centuries.

The answer to that was that colonialism is only practical upon the discovery of a population that can be profitably colonized, and the Europeans were on the rim of an ocean across which a suitable opportunity for colonialism presented itself.

Wherever Chinese traders went, the lands were already pretty well civilized with established cultures, economies and infrastructures. To colonize them would have meant going to war against peoples who were already somewhat sophisticated in the arts of defense.

At the outset, European colonialism was limited to establishing way stations en route to trading partners. It then evolved into whatever riches were then found for the grabbing.
Very true on the development level of the other cultures the Chinese ran into. They were interested in trade with these people and in receiving tribute from them, but they were not interested in fighting a war with them to gain far flung influence.

Chinese militarism really didn't pick up in their own immediate sphere, outside of fighting the Mongols, until the end of the Qing Dynasty as they attempted to assert their influence in their own backyard.

I go back to the pressure of competition as the driving force behind European exploration. That exploration uncovered lands that contained people who could be dominated and exploited, hence colonialism, which was just another extent of that same competition for influence and resources back in Europe. The Chinese were under no similar pressure and the people that they did reach were much better as trading partners and tribute payers, than they would have been as adversaries on the battlefield.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:42 PM
 
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you mention advanced but the Chinese did not have the sea going vessels established in Europe in the 1400's
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:49 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FutureMarine View Post
you mention advanced but the Chinese did not have the sea going vessels established in Europe in the 1400's

Actually they did. But an emperor decreed that they all be sunk/burned and the Chinese sailors limit themselves to coastal ships.

The Rise & Fall of 15th Century Chinese Seapower
http://library.thinkquest.org/20176/chengho.htm
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:52 PM
 
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thus explains china's inability to explore
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Old 11-08-2011, 08:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by FutureMarine View Post
thus explains china's inability to explore
My problem is the use of the word "inability". Inability implies they were not capable of doing it, which is simply untrue. What they lacked was a desire or drive to engage in colonialism like the nations of Europe. Which was the point of the thread, they were obviously capable, so why didn't they?

Do a little reading on the voyages of Admiral Zheng He, which the wiki article is a good place to start:

Zheng He - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Zheng He's expeditions were occurring at a time when the Portugese were barely exploring the west coast of Africa in caravels and happened 70 years before Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope.
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Old 11-08-2011, 09:51 AM
 
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The ships of Zheng He's fleet far surpassed anything that the Europeans had in terms of size, speed and cargo capability.

About the only thing that the European ships had that the Chinese lacked were cannon - draw your own conclusions.

****

Check that - the largest ships were reported to carry 24 bronze cannons.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treasure_ship
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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In any case, the fact remains that the Europeans methodically colonized all the world they could reach, in a continuing enterprise that lasted for a half a millennium and persists to this day. And the Muslims did so in earlier era, as far as they could without transoceanic marine technology.

Zheng He and other Chinese interests may have had a passing fling with overseas hegemony, but it came and went, leaving barely a trace, and certainly was not a defining feature of their culture or politics.
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Old 11-09-2011, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Whiteville Tennessee
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Originally Posted by MrRational View Post
The countries who sent out and supported colonizers had one main thing in common: a LACK of land area to expand into.
China did not have this problem.
Or lack of resources to sustain either a growing population or to aid in what was then "manufacturing."
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Old 11-09-2011, 10:13 PM
 
Location: Maryland about 20 miles NW of DC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FutureMarine View Post
you mention advanced but the Chinese did not have the sea going vessels established in Europe in the 1400's

Not correct, China built large sea going vessels, knew how to tack, knew what a spinacker was, had the compass a clock and knew how to sail by the stars and by the 1420s a Chinese Admiral Zhang Ho sailed to India, Persian Gulf, Red Sea and East Africa. Chinese vessels could have crossed the Pacific and Chinese maps exist which have a fairly accurate depection of the Americas The catch is the maps were drawn in the 15th century before 1492.The big mystery is why the Chinese didn't keep going and reached Europe before Columbus and Vasco de Gama made their great voyages.
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