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

Feb 2014
328
Miami
Venice attempted to make a deal with the Mamelukes to build a Suez Canal in the 1500s?
THE VENETIANS by Paul Strathern | Kirkus Reviews pg 175. It was a pipe dream, but the Venetians were desperate after the Portuguese rounded Africa.

That's in the first amendment to our constitution
They have the best food and the best women.
Self-torture?


Are you talking to me here? If so, then Yes, I guess that I might have been too unfair to the Polynesians. However, were the Polynesians anywhere near as good at navigation and mapmaking as Europeans were? In other words, did Polynesians know where various Pacific islands were located and how to go back where they came from?
Four centuries of Polynesian trade moved stone tools over 2,000km
This article suggests the polynesia trade extended a decent time period and they didn't just wander out into the ocean to never be seen again. Some of the trade goods they had, even suggested they made contact with the Inca or south Americans due to the sweet potato.
 
Dec 2009
969
UK
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?
This is a relatively easy answer tbf.

China had an Empire.

England, France, Germany and Spain's competitive Kingdoms are what drove European expansion.

England in particular always had trouble matching France and Spains economic clout, in becoming a Naval nation and controlling the seas which in the 16th Century Europeans had realised that you could have global trading via sea lanes is the only reason Britain went from a competing Kingdom to the no1 spot.

Lets look back and remember why Spain went to the America's in the first place, to look for gold.

That single event drove the entire European push for Naval exploration, they were not just looking for lands, they were looking for additional resources and trade routes.

If one of the big 3 (Spain, England or France) didn't participate in these naval excusions they'd be left behind in resources and ultimately military might.

China didn't need to expand via sea, it was clearly the single biggest power in its region and had a mass of land to cultivate and millions of people to rule over.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,381
T'Republic of Yorkshire
I believe the Chinese expeditions were eventually banned due to cost. China didn't need the trade that the treasure ships were bringing in - they were more of a symbol of the power of the Emperor than out of any need.

The Japanese ban though, was to maintain stability. They had seen first hand the disruption that the Portuguese had brought in the form of Christianity, and after the Tokugawa unified the country, they limited foreign contact to the Dutch via Dejima island and the Chinese via the Ryukyus.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,357
SoCal
I believe the Chinese expeditions were eventually banned due to cost. China didn't need the trade that the treasure ships were bringing in - they were more of a symbol of the power of the Emperor than out of any need.
Was Europe more dependent on overseas trade?

The Japanese ban though, was to maintain stability. They had seen first hand the disruption that the Portuguese had brought in the form of Christianity, and after the Tokugawa unified the country, they limited foreign contact to the Dutch via Dejima island and the Chinese via the Ryukyus.
Interestingly enough, Christianity does appear to have acquired some popularity in East Asia once those countries subsequently opened up. After all, isn't something like a quarter of South Korea's population Christian nowadays? If so, did it negatively affect South Korea in any way?
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,381
T'Republic of Yorkshire
Was Europe more dependent on overseas trade?
Yes.

Interestingly enough, Christianity does appear to have acquired some popularity in East Asia once those countries subsequently opened up. After all, isn't something like a quarter of South Korea's population Christian nowadays? If so, did it negatively affect South Korea in any way?
Don't know. Don't care.
 
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