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The World of the 15th Century Part 2

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The World of the 15th Century Part 2

  1. 1. The World of the 15th Century Strayer Chapter 13 Part II: China and Europe Compared
  2. 2. Part II: China and Europe compared BIG THEMES: • Complex civilizations • Large city-centered state-based societies • Dense population centers • Powerful and innovative • Unequal in terms of class and gender • Influenced large numbers of people, though most people identified themselves based on local communities
  3. 3. Ming Dynasty China (1368-1644) • Defeated the Mongols in 1368 • Reestablished Confucian based government • Attempted to eliminate all signs of foreign rule • Moved the capital to the Forbidden City in Beijing
  4. 4. • Restored China after years of Mongol neglect – Brought back civil service exams – Restored farm land – Rebuilt canals, reservoirs, and irrigation works – Planted a billion trees and reforested China – Helped the economy rebound by encouraging both domestic which led to population growth – Began extensive maritime expeditions
  5. 5. Ming Maritime Madness • Launched by Emperor Yongle in 1405 • Launched six expeditions in 28 years • Largest expeditions in history up to that time • First expedition led by Zheng He included: – 300 boats – 27,000 crew members – 180 physicians – 5 astrologers – Carpenters, tailors, accountants, merchants, cooks, soldiers, and sailors
  6. 6. Purpose of Chinese Expeditions • Establish Chinese power and prestige in the world • Did not seek to: – Conquer territory – Spread culture – Gain control of foreign markets
  7. 7. The Sudden End • 1433- Yongle dies, his successor immediately ends expeditions • Gov’t officials saw expeditions as a waste of resources • Believed China should focus on fortifying its northern border against nomadic invaders • Believed China was a self-sufficient “Middle Kingdom” that required little from the outside world
  8. 8. • Government sponsorship of foreign trade and exploration ended • Chinese merchants and craftsmen continued to settle and trade in Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan and Southeast Asia • What might the world have been like if China had not turned its focus inward?
  9. 9. European Comparisons: State Building and Cultural Renewal • Like China rebuilt from the Mongols, Europe rebuilt from the Bubonic Plague • Whereas China was a single state, Europe was fragmented into separate, independent, competitive states
  10. 10. • States learned to efficiently tax citizens to: – Strengthen government – Build infrastructure – Build strong professional armies • China remained at peace, but in Europe, war and competition between states led to huge innovations (100 Years War)
  11. 11. European Culture Blossoms • The Renaissance in Europe parallels the reemergence of Confucian learning in China • Mainly effected wealthy elites who believed they lived in a whole new era • Trade and commercial success created a wealthy merchant class who became patrons of the arts • Artists and authors drew inspiration from classical Greece and Rome
  12. 12. Greek V. Renaissance
  13. 13. • Broke away from religious confines of the Middle Ages • Art and literature became more secular • Emphasis placed on the role of the individual Humanism
  14. 14. European Comparisons: Maritime Voyaging • European monarchs and traders were eager to dominate the spice trade • Portugal began exploring the African coast in 1415 looking for a south east passage to India • 1492- Christopher Columbus sailed west to find an all water route to Asia, discovered Americas • 1497- Vasco da Gama round tip of Africa and sails to southern India
  15. 15. • European expeditions were MUCH smaller than Chinese ones – Columbus had 3 boats and 90 crew – da Gama had 4 boats and 170 crew
  16. 16. Motivations for European Voyages • European states competed to control the wealth of Africa and Asia • Europeans, still bitter from the Crusades, sought to break Muslim control of trade routes • Tried to monopolize commerce on the Indian Ocean by force • Violently carved out empires in the New World
  17. 17. Other Major Differences • China ended overseas expeditions but Europeans escalated theirs into massive empire building efforts • China was relatively centralized, but Europe was politically fragmented leading to more innovations to use to dominate each other • Confucian scholars opposed expeditions, but the Catholic Church supported them hoping to spread its influence
  18. 18. Questions 1. What are some of the major achievements of Ming China? 2. What political and cultural differences stand out in the histories of 15th century China and Europe? 3. What similarities are apparent? 4. In what ways did European maritime voyaging in the 15th century differ from that of China? 5. What accounts for these differences?

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  • MrRoher

    Dec. 1, 2014


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