Best militaries of the colonial era?

May 2018
100
On earth.
#1
By this, I’m asking what were the most powerful militaries during the age of colonization, not including the colonizers themselves (sorry Europe, if you were on the table, you’d win instantly). In other words, anyone from China, to the Zulu is on the table.
 
May 2018
100
On earth.
#2
My personal sphere of knowledge is limited, but in Africa, I’d say that the Ethiopians were the most formidable. Able to call on massive armies, armed with pretty good weapons and known to be skilled at using them, and brave as heck, to say the least.
 
Feb 2016
4,260
Japan
#4
If your talking about 1700-1900s Asia, Africa and America.

You’d probably have to say various Indian states.... Mysore at one point had a very strong military, the Sikhs too operated a very modern military. Indians also had lots of artillery...

Next I’d say the Maori, Fante, Zulu, Matabele and Ghurkas. Not powerful but excellent soldiers.
 
Feb 2018
227
Manila
#5
During the 16th Century, the most powerful were Spain and Portugal in the world.

During the 19th Century, France and Britain were the strongest in the world.
 
Apr 2018
278
USA
#7
For the 16th-17th centuries it would probably be the Ottomans, relatively modern, good mix of professional and levied troops, and even as Europeans slowly caught up to their power and started to eek out victories, they still couldn't match the sutan's ability to field 150,000+ horsemen in a single battle.

After them the strongest would likely be either the Ming or the Qing.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,148
Portugal
#8
Yes. But the OP specified non European during the colonial period.. which I assume means 1700-1900?
For that late colonial period (1700-1900), or more correctly to the last decades of the 19th century, I would like to mention the Gaza Empire, that gave some troubles to the Portuguese. I am not arguing that they were the best, even less without establishing quantitative criteria, but it was a relatively less know state outside the Portuguese historiography that deserves to be mentioned.
 
May 2018
100
On earth.
#9
I should’ve been more clear. What i meant was out of Asia (excluding Japan), Africa, and native Americans, from the 1600s to the end of the scramble for africa, who had the best military?
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,148
Portugal
#10
I should’ve been more clear. What i meant was out of Asia (excluding Japan), Africa, and native Americans, from the 1600s to the end of the scramble for africa, who had the best military?
Apart from Japan, that you didn’t mention and could be ambiguous, that was my understanding of your first post.

Another one that I could add as interesting were the Rifian people in the north of Morocco, that fought both the French and the Spanish. Some could even recall some French Foreign Legion movies about the theme, and it was a conflict that also led to the creation of the Spanish Foreign Legion (El Tercio de Extranjeros/La Legión), but these conflicts enter well in the 20th century, so a bit out of the timeline.

Another similar less known conflict and African military in the North of Africa was the Senussi resistance to the Italians in Libya, after its conquest in 1911/2, in the sequence of the Italo-Turkish War.
 
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