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Difference and Similarities of Chinese and European Expansion in the 15th Century - Essay Example

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Differences and Similarities of Chinese and European Expansion in the 15th Century Mid- to late 15th century is referred to by scholars as the Age of Exploration and Discovery. It is in this period when Europeans have left the comfort of their homes in the Old World to embark on a journey and adventure to the unknown world…
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Difference and Similarities of Chinese and European Expansion in the 15th Century
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Difference and Similarities of Chinese and European Expansion in the 15th Century

Download file to see previous pages... They have reached India, Arabia and Africa, fifty years before the Europeans decided it was time to learn about the world. The conquest of the Europeans are well known – in their explorations they have created contacts all over the world, from Africa, to the Americas, and finally in Asia. In an effort to create more profit for his country, Henry the Navigator sent out ships to explore new routes for the slave and gold trade. He sponsored numerous expeditions to discover the expanse of Muslim territories and he sought to find Christian allies in the distant lands. Other expeditions by European countries have discovered new territories which served as a new market for their own products as well as a source of cheap resource for various industries. Meanwhile in 1403, Ming emperor Zhu Di ordered the construction of an imperial fleet in order to find Jianwen’s escaped emperor. The fleet of warships was large enough to reopen trade with the western and southern regions which was first initiated during the Yuan Dynasty. Discovery of relics from the period showed that the Chinese ships were much bigger than their European counterparts which were typically 100 feet in length. Moreover, the Chinese ships were multi-masted for centuries while the Portuguese develop the technology only in the 15th century with their secret caravel design. The Chinese were also using watertight compartments years before the first European ship has set sail across the ocean. With regards to sail, Europeans used square rigs which ran good, until the upwind starts. Meanwhile, the Chinese have used fore-and-aft lugsails which allowed the ships to run efficiently even in an upwind. The Chinese have also developed the first magnetic compass, and later on, the true mariner’s compass which was used in their expeditions. In summary, when it comes to oceangoing ship technology, the Chinese were far ahead from the Europeans because they have been traversing ocean routes longer. When it comes to navigation, however, the Europeans were far ahead, allowing them to discover new territories, open new trade partnership and colonize new lands. Another difference between the Chinese and European expeditions is the unified Chinese efforts. In European scenario, several countries were vying for territories and there was no single ruler directing the efforts of discovery. There were hundreds of principalities seeking for support. Meanwhile China was more centralized because it was the Ming emperor who directed and funded the expeditions. It is important to note, however, that Asia as a continent was not unified – there were no single rulers and tribes warred against each other. In both Ming China and 15th century Europe, external threats were abundant. Continental and maritime threat in China came from the Mongols in the north, the Annams in the south, Korea and Japan in the northeast. Meanwhile in Europe, Spain was relatively secure because of the land borders so its defense strategies focused in maritime. Britain, and Holland also focused in maritime. Only France and Germany were continental powers, hence, they did not develop maritime defense immediately. In both China and Europe maritime technology developed because of their need to defend the seas and to start ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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