Asian Transitions in an Age of Global Change Chapter 22 Early Modern Era 1450-1750
European exploration from the 14th century forward wanted to find an all-water route to the wealthy civilizations of Asia.
Portuguese Vasco da Gama’s voyage to India, completed in 1498, opened the way for the Europeans to the Indies. Europeans were disappointed because: Asians were not interested in European trade goods, and Asians were not interested in converting to Christianity. At Calicut, Portuguese traders learned their products were of little value. Their initial response was to apply military force to obtain Asian goods; however, despite their military armaments, they could not be successful against the larger populations of the Asian kingdoms. Muslim traders were already there and would be serious trade rivals as well as missionary rivals.
Asian Trade Network Mainland kingdoms & island states fed raw materials such as precious metals & forest products into the trading network. Spices were the most highly valued exports from Asia. Rice was more likely to be exchanged within a zone. Sea routes were mostly along the coastlines, avoiding the open seas. The most crucial “choke point” was the straits of Malacca. There was not central control to the network, but force was not usually a part of exchanges.
Portuguese Portuguese were unwilling to exchange bullion for products: theory of mercantilism was that possession of bullion = power; must keep a balance of trade Portuguese thought they could force their participation with more maneuverable ships & being better armed than their opponents. They managed to monopolize some spices in limited areas, but lacked the manpower & ships to keep the monopoly.
Dutch & English into the trade Peaceful commerce came to be more profitable than forcible control. Monopolies were aimed at European rivals rather than Asian rivals.
Spanish Claims Magellan’s voyage, 1521, claimed The Philippines for Spain, but they only conquered the north; Mindanao was never conquered. Roman Catholic missionaries had some success with outcaste groups in Indian coastal regions. Filipino conversions were like conversions in the Americas: a creative blend of earlier beliefs & practices with Christianity.
European contributions to the Asian sea trading network: • Addition of new routes, including the sea link around the Cape of Good Hope • Introduction of sea warfare into the Asian trade network • Global flow of silver starting in the Americas & ending in China • NO exchange of crops & diseases (like the Columbian Exchange) established
Ming China Reforms included severe punishments for corruption & incompetence: beatings!
Ming Society Under the continued influence of neo-Confucian ideas, Ming society remained rigidly stratified with emphasis on deference of youth to elders & women to men.
Ming China The population of the Yangtze River region was partly due to the introduction of crops from the Americas that could be cultivated on inferior soils & did not require irrigation. Foreigners were permitted to do business only at Macao & Canton (Quanzhou). Chinese merchant wealth was invested in land = social advancement! Ming literature = novel
Ming China and the Zheng HeExpedition, 1405-1433 Ming emperor Yunglo launched commercial expeditions under his trusted slave, Zheng He. They were sent out to explore other lands & proclaim the glory of the Ming empire as well as find trade goods. After 7 expeditions, they were called back; they were seen by some as having little value for the Chinese to import in trade, and voyages were expensive. Rivalry with the scholar-gentry was also a reason.
Jesuits Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic order of priests and brothers founded half a millennium ago by the soldier-turned-mystic Ignatius Loyola Jesuit missionaries were able to maintain their positions at the Ming court by demonstrating knowledge of scientific & technological skills. Beatification Process Begins for Chinese Missionary Jesuit Father Matteo Ricci February 19, 2014 — The Vatican has received an official request for the beatification of Matteo Ricci, a 16th-century Italian Jesuit priest known for his efforts to evangelize China.
Qing Dynasty of China (Xia) Shang Zhou Qin Han Sui Tang Song Yuan (Mongol) Ming Qing People’s Republic of China (current) The Ming Dynasty was overthrown by the Jurchens or Manchus, a nomadic people from beyond the Great Wall (not the Mongols!) in the region of Manchuria. This established the Qing Dynasty that ruled China for nearly three and a half centuries, the last of a succession of imperial houses that extended back more than two millennia!
Nagasaki Bay, Island of Deshima (Dejima - Japanese) Trading post for the Dutch and Chinese, 1641-1845, during Japan’s self-imposed isolation 1832 1850
Global Connections: An Age of Eurasian Protoglobalization • Summary of the impact of early globalization • Decline of some indigenous commercial centers • Exchange not as striking or destructive as Columbian Exchange • Some plants introduced • Limited impact of European ideas • Asia impacted only on the periphery