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Old January 20th, 2015, 03:33 AM   #21
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Antagonism had nothing to do with it. It was the scientific and trading revolution that came earlier in Europe than in China.
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Old January 23rd, 2015, 02:02 PM   #22
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Before the late 19th century with the industrial revolution, military prowess in battle did not correspond to technological superiority.

A primitive tribe armed with bladed weapons and a few matlchlock muskets could easily defeat and slaughter an invading western force armed with flintlock or even percussion cap rifles on their home terrain.

China defeated the Portuguese twice at Tunmen in 1521 and Xicaowan in 1522 and simply managed to blow up one of the Portuguese caravels just by a shot which hit their gunpowder magazine, in spite of having inferior cannons. The Chinese forces then captured and reverse engineered the new Portuguese breech loading cannon and put it into mass production as the "Folangji" cannon.

When China went to war with the Dutch in the Pescadores and defeated Dutch raids on Chinese ports, the Dutch were forced to sue for peace in 1624 and flee the Pescadores to Taiwan after a Chinese naval fleet surrounded their fort. The Dutch cannon was judged to be more advanced than the Chinese cannon but it didn't help them.

In 1633 Zheng Zhilong managed inflict a devastating defeat on the Dutch by first using fireships to attack the Dutch fleet before going in blasting them with cannon and boarding with hand to hand combat.

In 1662 when Zheng Chenggong (Koxinga) attacked the Dutch in Taiwan at Fort Zeelandia, even though China was already making gunpowder firearms like matchlock muskets, the Chinese troops did not even bother to use those. Instead, Zheng equipped his troops with rattan shields, swords, arrows and bows and sent them against the Dutch armed with muskets.

His rattan shield troops managed to smash through the Dutch lines and inflicted massive damage upon the musket armed Dutch so much that after the initial engagement the Dutch fled back to the fort. A Chinese soldier armed with an arrow and bow continued to fire arrows at the Dutch despite being shot repeatedly by Dutch musket fire, and only when an African slave shot back him with an arrow did the soldier give up but managed to crawl back to his camp (while still alive).

The Dutch were forced to surrender after the siege and surrendered Taiwan to the Chinese forces.

The Qing dynasty went to war with Russia against at Albazin. The Qing defeated the Cossacks and killed hundreds at a time in the 1650s. The Qing sent some of Koxinga's former rattan shield soldiers up to Albazin to fight in the 1680's, and the rattan shield troops armed with swords and shields managed to defeat and kill all enemy Cossacks. Albazin lost 700 out of 800 men in one siege and was twice forced to surrender to the Qing before the war ended with Russia agreeing to withdraw from the disputed land.

The Russians already had flintlock technology at the time while most Qing troops used bows and arrows or matchlock muskets, and often preferred bows and arrows to the muskets.

Taiwanese Aboriginals armed with simple melee weapons like bladed spears and matchlock muskets defeated American marines in the 1867 Formosa Expedition. The Americans were armed with percussion cap rifles.

An entire British army armed with flintlock rifles were slaughtered to a man by Afghans in the First Anglo Afghan War, with the Afghans armed with primitive matchlock muskets, swords, and spears.

The Spanish were armed with superior cannon and guns while Moro Muslims mainly had bladed melee weapons like bolo and kris knives, and a few gunpowder weapons like matchlock muskets and small hand held culverins. The Moros managed to repeatedly defeat Spanish invasions for 300 years and raid the Spanish held Philippines and maintain their Sulu Sultanate right up to the Spanish American war.

A single Moro Juramentados armed with bolo and kris knives could kill multiple Spanish troops in suicide attacks even in the late 19th century when the Spanish had modern guns. The Spanish never succesfully conquered them despite their attempts to and it took the Americans over a decade to take control of the Moro lands. America was forced to develop the .45 ACP caliber pistol in 1911 because the .38 caliber revolver failed to stop charging Moro Juramentado suicide attackers, who would keep hacking at American troops with Bolo knives despite being shot repeatedly.

The point of no return (the point where technological superiority guaranteed victory 99%) was not reached until the second half of the 19th century. Then the machine guns, repeating magazine rifles, repeating pistols ironclad warships, explosive shells and other things appeared.

Western technology failed to stop Ming China from repeatedly defeating the Portuguese and Dutch. Even a bow and arrow can outmatch a musket.
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