Empire Building Strategies

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It was a time when seafaring European nations were actively seeking a route to the wealthy and powerful Asian civilizations. After Vasco da Gama’s expedition in 1498, Europe was linked to the East Asian nations. Lacking in resources and needing new markets, Europe eagerly began a quest to regulate and dominate the sea trading network. With ships and guns they forced their way into the trading network. Other Europeans were looking to gain Christian converts. Subsequently, also during this Early Modern Period of 1450-1750 the East Asian countries of China and Japan employed a variety of empire/state building strategies that proved to fend off the West.

First, China was a country covered with an intersecting network of rivers and canals that made it virtually possible to travel anywhere by water(Document 5). China was also seen as inferior in power to Europe because of the number of ships that pass out to sea were very few and not to be compared to the Europe in number and structure (Document 5). The political system of China in the opinion of Matteo Ricci (Document 5 ) did not have the ancient laws under which the republic was governed, instead whoever gained the throne made their own laws. However, that is not an accurate statement because Confucianism was reinstated at that time. His ideas were passed to his students and put into a book called The Analect. Document 3 reveals the educational concepts of Confucius during that time. In short, Europe thought China would provide them with the products they needed and they thought China was inferior in power.

What strategies did China use in their empire/state building? China was under the Ming dynasty from 1368-1644. During this time China underwent many changes. The empero...

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... you avoid their turning to piracy?” The Chinese merchants grew in wealth and power as they gained profits from the foreigners (Document ). Ming China used a tribute system as a basis for trade and to restrict access of foreign traders in the Chinese markets, particularly by limiting them to specified ports under the control of the central government (Document 9). However, despite the prosperity and growth of the Chinese empire under the rule of the Hongwu it declined with corruption and enuchs who pursued their own selfish ends (Document 10). Furthermore, the Chinese military could not defend their borders from the Japanese pirate attacks shown in Document 2. In summary, the Chinese attempted to extend their boundaries and gain profits from foreign trade but corruption in the government and Japanese sea pirates contributed to the empire’s decline.
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