China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
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18-07-2017, 04:31 PM
RE: China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
(18-07-2017 04:17 PM)Dr H Wrote:  
(17-07-2017 11:40 PM)earmuffs Wrote:  I think it was here where someone raised a good point that those ships of the time period were not designed to travel across an open ocean like the Pacific or Atlantic.
The Vikings did it because they went via Norway - Iceland - Greenland - Newfoundland. And I'm not sure how well the Chinese could have cross the Bering Sea, it's pretty fucking cold up there. Also besides, you gotta take into account that when Columbia "discovered" the Americas, Europe was in a position where they were able to capitalize (well... 100 years or so later) on the discovery. I'm not sure the Chinese would have been so inclined to start up colonization like the Europeans were. China is/was mostly made up of peasants. It's had a long history of infighting, changing Dynasties (IIRC it changed from the Yuan to the Ming around the 1300-1400's?), fighting other Asian nations etc...
Europe was probably more reliant on trade goods which fueled expansionist ideas.
Hell, the Polynesians explored and settled islands spread out over 300,000 km of ocean in canoes, beginning at least 2000 years ago.

The difference being that canoes don't break up as easily as a poorly designed multi-masted shipt.
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18-07-2017, 04:53 PM
RE: China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
(14-07-2017 07:41 PM)RedgraveStorm Wrote:  Greetings,

Recently I came across this article from The Independent, about the Chinese naval fleet in the 14th century. It's fascinating thinking of how China could have ruled the seas long before Europe did. Imagine if China had discovered the America's first, or Australia. Would they have been better to the indigenous populations than Europeans? I doubt it. But this is still a fun little thought experiment and would make for a fascinating alternate history novel.

Here's the article in question:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/...12276.html

The Chinese were not interested in world domination. They thought they already had and were the most enlightened and favored people on the planet. Their maps demonstrate they were aware of a wider world where the barbarians lived. The ships were real.
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18-07-2017, 05:43 PM
RE: China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
(18-07-2017 04:17 PM)Dr H Wrote:  
(17-07-2017 11:40 PM)earmuffs Wrote:  I think it was here where someone raised a good point that those ships of the time period were not designed to travel across an open ocean like the Pacific or Atlantic.
The Vikings did it because they went via Norway - Iceland - Greenland - Newfoundland. And I'm not sure how well the Chinese could have cross the Bering Sea, it's pretty fucking cold up there. Also besides, you gotta take into account that when Columbia "discovered" the Americas, Europe was in a position where they were able to capitalize (well... 100 years or so later) on the discovery. I'm not sure the Chinese would have been so inclined to start up colonization like the Europeans were. China is/was mostly made up of peasants. It's had a long history of infighting, changing Dynasties (IIRC it changed from the Yuan to the Ming around the 1300-1400's?), fighting other Asian nations etc...
Europe was probably more reliant on trade goods which fueled expansionist ideas.
Hell, the Polynesians explored and settled islands spread out over 300,000 km of ocean in canoes, beginning at least 2000 years ago.

True, and they did make it as far west as Easter Island. Though those that discovered and settled Easter Island it's believed (if I remember my Polynesian history right, and I should considering I live in the South Pacific) were exiles and Easter Island wasn't included in the trade network of the Polynesian world because noone outside Easter Island knew it existed.

The Polynesians were also very good at navigation and were used to navigating the Pacific. And those canoes were not tiny one man sitting down with a paddle canoes. They were designed for the ocean. Also, at some period the trade between Polynesian nations did cease. This might have been in part due to the difficulty of getting between Islands.

In saying that my argument isn't so much that the Chinese couldn't have done it but more that they wouldn't have taken over the Americas in the same way the Europeans did. It's one thing getting there, it's entirely different matter setting up colonies, having a reliable way to get back and forth in order to stay connected and actually trade, it has to be profitable and there has to be the will to do it.
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18-07-2017, 05:46 PM
RE: China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
The Chinese colonies in America didn't have to have two way communications with the mother country. Chinese liked to exile people who caused problem. Formosa was good because "the natives are cannibals."
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18-07-2017, 05:49 PM
RE: China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
(18-07-2017 05:46 PM)Gawdzilla Wrote:  The Chinese colonies in America didn't have to have two way communications with the mother country. Chinese liked to exile people who caused problem. Formosa was good because "the natives are cannibals."

Yabut, they're not gonna pay to send people across the Pacific when there's perfectly good cannibals a short hop away.
They're not British.
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18-07-2017, 05:51 PM
RE: China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
(18-07-2017 05:49 PM)earmuffs Wrote:  
(18-07-2017 05:46 PM)Gawdzilla Wrote:  The Chinese colonies in America didn't have to have two way communications with the mother country. Chinese liked to exile people who caused problem. Formosa was good because "the natives are cannibals."

Yabut, they're not gonna pay to send people across the Pacific when there's perfectly good cannibals a short hop away.
Look up Wang Ching-wei.
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18-07-2017, 10:55 PM
RE: China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
touche'
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19-07-2017, 03:42 PM
RE: China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
(18-07-2017 04:31 PM)Gawdzilla Wrote:  The difference being that canoes don't break up as easily as a poorly designed multi-masted shipt.

Maybe so, but as far back as a thousand years ago the Polynesians were using sailing canoes.

China had a pretty high level of technology going while Europe was still muddling through the "dark ages"; they also have a lot of coast line. It's hard to believe that all they had were "poorly designed" ships. They had a navy as far back as the seventh century BCE, that included at least a half-dozen specialized ship types. See John Needham's Science and Civilization in China, esp. Volume 4, Part 3.

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19-07-2017, 04:03 PM
RE: China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
(18-07-2017 05:43 PM)earmuffs Wrote:  True, and they did make it as far west as Easter Island. Though those that discovered and settled Easter Island it's believed (if I remember my Polynesian history right, and I should considering I live in the South Pacific) were exiles and Easter Island wasn't included in the trade network of the Polynesian world because noone outside Easter Island knew it existed.

The Polynesians were also very good at navigation and were used to navigating the Pacific. And those canoes were not tiny one man sitting down with a paddle canoes. They were designed for the ocean. Also, at some period the trade between Polynesian nations did cease. This might have been in part due to the difficulty of getting between Islands.
There is some evidence of Asian trade with North America at least a couple hundred years before Columbus. The evidence for Chinese contact is sketchier, and remains mostly speculative.

Quote:In saying that my argument isn't so much that the Chinese couldn't have done it but more that they wouldn't have taken over the Americas in the same way the Europeans did. It's one thing getting there, it's entirely different matter setting up colonies, having a reliable way to get back and forth in order to stay connected and actually trade, it has to be profitable and there has to be the will to do it.
Fair enough.

There is good evidence of a Norse presence in North America as far back as the 11th century, that went on sporadically for a few hundred years. That contact eventually fell off, probably for reasons similar to those you state: difficulty of travel and low profit from the little trade that did get carried on.

No doubt the Americas would be a very different place had the Chinese become well-established here prior to the European invasion. Whether or not this would have been better for the indigenous peoples is hard to say. The Chinese also had the technology to dominate the natives, were they so inclined.

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20-07-2017, 08:39 AM
RE: China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
If the Chinese did colonize the west coast the Europeans still would have colonized the east coast. And the east coast and the Carribean Islands and South America and Mexico is where the majority of the colonization was taking place. If the Chinese colonized the east coast of modern day US/Canada I image the two worlds would have basically just ignored each other militarily. The people that went west just never would have gone so far west. There may have been British-China wars for the Americas or part of the Americas (likely the parts most profitable). But I think not. I think it would have been very profitable for the British to work with an established Chinese American colony. This is because the British, to trade with China, had to sail the Pacific or go via India if they wanted to sell them American furs or whatever. If there's an established Chinese colony the British could have traded with the Chinese easily and left the transportation of goods from America to China across the Pacific to the Chinese themselves. Likewise, the British might have been able to buy Chinese goods far easier. It might have created a booming trade across the Pacific between China and the Chinese colony which would then trade with the Europeans. I dunno, just thinking out loud.
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