China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
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20-07-2017, 10:26 AM
RE: China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
(19-07-2017 03:42 PM)Dr H Wrote:  
(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.
Not sure what the bolded part is meant to convey.

And I meant "poorly designed" to mean that they weren't up to modern standards. They made all kinds of mistakes and errors of judgment in building sailing ships. A raft, on the other hand, just needed to hang together. I imagine that they often didn't.
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20-07-2017, 11:06 AM
RE: China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
I'm surprised no one's mentioned "Guns, Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond.
He goes into great lengths about the geographic and environmental reasons why the Europeans pursued colonialism and the Chinese did not.

I sometimes disagree with his generalizations, but he presents an interesting perspective on the subject.

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20-07-2017, 12:02 PM
RE: China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
(20-07-2017 08:39 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  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.

Plausible speculation, I think.

Don't forget, though, that a goodly amount of European colonization happened in Central America and Mexico, and then expanded north and northwest. Had the Chinese established in the NW and expanded southwards, it's quite likely they would have eventually encountered the Spanish coming north. The question is, would they have found a peaceful interaction more to their liking or, as so often happened elsewhere, started fighting over territory?

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20-07-2017, 12:09 PM
RE: China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
(20-07-2017 10:26 AM)Gawdzilla Wrote:  
(19-07-2017 03:42 PM)Dr H Wrote:  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.
Not sure what the bolded part is meant to convey.
That the trip had already been made by primitive sailing vessels.

Quote:And I meant "poorly designed" to mean that they weren't up to modern standards. They made all kinds of mistakes and errors of judgment in building sailing ships.
No doubt.

Although the same could be said of 18th century British ships, and the Brits managed to extend their empire around the world with them.




Quote:A raft, on the other hand, just needed to hang together. I imagine that they often didn't.
Polynesian craft were a good deal more sophisticated than mere rafts.

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20-07-2017, 12:31 PM
RE: China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
Okay then.
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26-07-2017, 07:58 PM
RE: China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
(14-07-2017 07:41 PM)RedgraveStorm Wrote:  Would they have been better to the indigenous populations than Europeans? I doubt it.

The result would have largely been the same for the most part. I say most part because something like 90%(ish) of the Native American population was killed by diseases they just had no immunity to, not just the settlers but their animals too, which would be the same case with Asian colonists.

Then you had tribes allying with the settlers to help them wipe out other tribes they had been warring with for generations which was surprisingly common. The Siege of Tenochtitlan by Hernán Cortés for example included some 80,000- 200,000 native allies from tribes that had been fucking bruuuuutalized by the Aztec empire for generations and allied with Cortés for good reason imo.

Human nature is largely just human nature.

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26-07-2017, 11:30 PM
RE: China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
(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.

There is good evidence that the Chinese sailed to both the west coast of South America and the east coast of Africa in the era under discussion. There were, I think, a few reasons why their explorations weren't world-changing.

First, it seems to me that they weren't terribly interested in outside knowledge. They had at the time a very rich and fecund culture which came up with world-changing inventions (gunpowder, movable type) on their own. In a land that large, there were bound to be plenty of smart people.

Another reason if I remember correctly is that shortly after Cheng-Ho's fleet returned from East Africa, the emperor died and the new ruler decided to disband the fleet to free up funds for other uses.
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28-07-2017, 05:00 AM
RE: China once had a naval fleet 3500 strong
History was written by the victor.

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