Why did East Asian countries never become seafaring and explorer countries like Western European countries did?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,327
SoCal
What I find interesting was that the Age of Exploration was exclusively a European effort. In turn, this raises the question as to why Europeans were so much more interested in exploration and seafaring than East Asians were during this time. I mean, Yes, China had Zheng He's voyages, but afterwards things sort of petered out for China while the Age of Exploration for Europe really skyrocketed. Why was this the case? Why did China (and Korea, and Japan) not become a seafaring and explorer country like Western European countries did?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,327
SoCal
Could it be that China didn't really need the barbarian world, but Europeans had a demand for the commodities from the East? They were luxury goods in Europe.
Is that literally the only reason that Western Europe engaged in exploration?
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,829
There was pretty massive cross-oceanic trade in the Indian Ocean and far east up to and including China. It wasn't primarily done by the Chinese but through Muslim trade networks, which had a strong foothold in south China as well. Lots of things went to China through Muslims. It wasn't really a coincidence that Zheng He was one either.

The advent of the westerners in those waters also saw a hostile take-over of the trade by them. First and most so by the Portugese, then largely supplanted by the Dutch, who actually did some rather interesting things with re-integrating the Indian Ocean.
 
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Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,829
There was pretty massive cross-oceanic trade in the Indian Ocean and far east up to and including China. It wasn't primarily done by the Chinese but through Muslim trade networks, which had a strong foothold in south China as well. Lots of things went to China through Muslims. It wasn't really a coincidence that Zheng He was one.

The advent of the westerners in those waters also saw a hostile take-over of the trade by them. First and most so by the Portugese, then largely supplanted by the Dutch, who actually did some rather interesting things with re-integrating the Indian Ocean.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,829
Could it be that China didn't really need the barbarian world, but Europeans had a demand for the commodities from the East? They were luxury goods in Europe.
That would depend on who makes the call of what is in fact a "need". Which is where the suspicion of different kinds of social and economic dynamics at the different ends get proposed.
 
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Apr 2019
410
India
There was pretty massive cross-oceanic trade in the Indian Ocean and far east up to and including China. It wasn't primarily done by the Chinese but through Muslim trade networks, which had a strong foothold in south China as well. Lots of things went to China through Muslims. It wasn't really a coincidence that Zheng He was one either.

The advent of the westerners in those waters also saw a hostile take-over of the trade by them. First and most so by the Portugese, then largely supplanted by the Dutch, who actually did some rather interesting things with re-integrating the Indian Ocean.
Well we won't call it 'muslim' trade network because it existed since pre-historic time. India was a giant trading hub and the major player in that network. Infact muslim dominance is directly associated with the downfall of Indian influence (due to repeated plundering). Unfortunately Indian people were not keen on writing biographies and large number of records were destroyed so we would never know that part of the history.
 
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Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,829
Well we won't call it 'muslim' trade network because it existed since pre-historic time. India was a giant trading hub and the major player in that network. Infact muslim dominance is directly associated with the downfall of Indian influence (due to repeated plundering). Unfortunately Indian people were not keen on writing biographies and large number of records were destroyed so we would never know that part of the history.
Then we might not call it a European trade network either. It was global after all, everyone got dragged in eventually.
 
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