Monday, September 29, 2014

China's Historical Impact on Europe & the World before the European "Age of Discovery"

- Since 85 AD, Chinese astronomers had made accurate observations of the period of planetary revelations around the sun.  

-By at least 263 AD, Chinese knew of Trigonometry. In fact, the Chinese knew and used advanced trigonometry.

-Gan De, Chinese astronomer had found Jupiter’s satellite (or moons) 200 years before Galileo.
Even the Lunar Month calculation of 29.530595 days were recorded.

-Detailed calendars were presented as a sign of respect to foreign heads of European states.

- Kublai Khan, 1st emperor of the Yuan Dynasty used astronomer Guo Shou Jing to create a calendar that he had measured to be 365.2425 days (which was the same as the Gregorian calendar made much later).

-Gunpowder, muskets, and cannons were all Chinese inventions.  By 960-1127 AD China had their 1st arms factory employing 40,000 workers.  Flamethrowers were even invented by 975 AD.  The First Europeans books on gunpowder weapons were published in 1440.

-Water wheeled battleships dating from the Song Dynasty (460-1279 AD) were used as were live smoke bombs thrown from catapults.  By 1264, rockets, gun powder muskets, and ship cannons were used by the Chinese.  Venice or Florence had neither item beforehand.  

-The Chinese cultivated Arab navigators and astronomers especially during the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368)

- China knew of Australia and North America and also had solid knowledge of the Indian Ocean.  It was the Chinese who transplanted and genetically engineered much of the grains and animals that the world is familiar with (and that Britain receives credit for presently).  It was the Chinese who transplanted Hardwood to Southeast Asia.

- “Yongle Didian” completed in 1421.  Was an encyclopedia that could trace back to 2,000 years of Chinese history.  Over 11,095 books were written.  Most advanced library at the time.  Moreover, "Pascal’s triangle" was already in “Yongle Didian” before Pascal was born.  In fact, the Chinese had compasses by 25-220 AD.  The Chinese even knew how to build bazookas, flamethrowers, gunpowder bombs, rocket propelled missiles.

- Urban life survived in Italy after the Ostrogoths and Huns invasions of Rome.  In fact, Italians were not driven back to the forests, feudalism did not take place in Italy, and very few Crusades came from Italy (most were from France and Britain).  By 1420, the Medicis were the principal bankers to the papacy.  By 1430, Venice was the wealthiest city followed by Paris and Nuremberg.Venice was the hub of European trade.  It was the Venetians who were the first Europeans to trade with the Chinese.  The Cashless “giro system” was used by Venetian bankers (pyramid scheme of borrowing from one and lending to another  in order to keep money flowing and circulating).  Moreover, it was two banking families in Venice, de’ Medicis and di Marco Datini that controlled and influenced Venetian affairs.  After Datini died, the de’ Medici’s ruled.  It was the Medici's power and money that financed the Renaissance.  Paolo Toscanelli, Leone Battista Alberti, Nicholas of Cusa, Regiomontanus, Giovanni di Fontana, Pisanello, and Taccola, Di Giorgio’s greatest works come after 1434. 

-January 1431, the new Chinese emperor dispatches Zheng He and his enormous fleet to sail the globe and announce his reign.  Zheng He’s fleet was multinational and multi-faith.  "Best of the best" were on his fleets thus countless languages were spoken on board.  Zeng He’s fleet reached Calicut, Cairo, and Alexandria.  In Zheng He’s era, the ocean was dominated by Arabs and the Chinese.  Huge reason why pockets of Chinese and Arabs were historically found in Asia, Africa, and the Middle Eastern coastal areas.  It was the Chinese that lived on coastal areas that provided Europeans with maps, navigational tools, and an astronomical calendar beyond anything Europeans had been able to produce on their own.  These Chinese traders and merchants  left behind a mass of knowledge, including maps, astronomy, mathematics, art, architecture, and printing.  In fact, for the Chinese, calendars were essential.  The Gregorian calendar did not come into use until a century later since there was no unified calendar for all Europeans (for they had not yet agreed how to measure time).  Moreover, many Chinese and Mongolian slaves were also present in Venice.

- From 1405 until 1433, Zheng He's fleets travelled to: Champa, Java, Palembang, Malacca, Aru, Samudera, Ceylon, Qiulon, Kollam, Cochin, Siam, Calicut, Lambri, Kayal, Coimbatore, Puttanpur, Kelantan, Pahang, Java, Hormuz, Maldives, Mogadishu, Barawa, Malindi, Aden, Muscat, Dhofar, Bengal, Sharwayn, Djofar, Aden, Muscat, Brava, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Ganbali, Laccadive and Maldive Islands, Lasa, and Mecca.

- Zheng He brought back to China many trophies and envoys from more than thirty kingdoms (including King Vira Alakeshwara of Ceylon, who came to China as a captive to apologize to the Emperor for offenses against his mission).

- After 1434, Europeans maps were shifted away from the circular maps centered on Jerusalem.

-After 1434, Europeans adopted the Chinese system, which remains in use today.  The Chinese 
astronomy and star maps replaced their old Babylonian astronomy and star maps that they used.

- By the early Ming Dynasty, blocks and movable type printing were invented in China. However, Gutenberg credited for it in Europe.  In fact, Venice became Europe’s center of printing by 1441.

-When Byzantium fell in 1453, Venetians and Arabs were the victors.  Venetians paid Crusaders to sack the Christian capital before it fell to the Ottoman Turks.

-By the 1460's, Europeans adopted Chinese astronomy and rejected Aristotle and Ptolemy.

-By 1490, Leonardo di Vinci studies a series of amazing Florentine drawings of machines and engineering that seem to have been copied from the “Nung Shu” –a Chinese treatise printed in 1313.

-"In 1433, the Ming Dynasty halted these voyages and either burn the great fleet in its moorings and allowed others to rot.  This was done due to the fact the Hongle Emperor (who replaced the Yongle Emperor after 1421), was much more conservative and Confucianist in his thought, so he ordered the voyages stopped. In addition to the political motivation, the new emperor had a financial motivation. The treasure fleet voyages cost Ming China enormous amounts of money; since they were not trade excursions, the government recovered little of the cost. The Hongle Emperor inherited a treasury that was much emptier than it might have been, if not for his father's Indian Ocean adventures. China was self-sufficient; it didn't need anything from the Indian Ocean world, so why send out these huge fleets.  Finally, during the reigns of the Hongle and Xuande Emperors, Ming China faced a growing threat to its land borders in the west. The Mongols and other Central Asian peoples made increasingly bold raids on western China, forcing the Ming rulers to concentrate their attention and their resources on securing the country's inland borders".  However, China’s isolation opened the way for Europeans to take control of trade routes that China used and controlled in the past.  It also enables Europeans to take credit for Chinese knowledge passed on to Europeans and “whitewash” history and historical narrative . By 1571, the Ottomans naval power were gone as well, leaving Europeans to control the whole seas.

-After Zheng He’s voyage, China withdrew into self-imposed isolation.  At first China wanted to bribe barbarians and educate them in order to begin tributes to the Emperor.  However, abdication of the seas would cost you tributes.  Isolation leads to stagnation (economically, culturally, and militarily).

- When Europeans arrived in the New World, an international trading system used by Chinese, Arabs, and Indians awaited them that were in use for centuries.  When China left the world stage due to their self-imposed isolation, the trading system was Europe’s for the taking.

- Arabs controlled most sea ports until Europeans moved in after 1492.

- In 1492, Christopher Columbus reaches America.  Eighteen years earlier, he was given a map of the Americas by Paolo Toscanelli, who admits to having gleaned “the most copious and good and true information from distinguished men of great learning” who came to Florence from China.

-From 1505 to 1515, the appearance of world maps based on Chinese knowledge of the world in 1434. These maps include the “Strait of Magellan”, which had never been seen by a European.

No comments:

Post a Comment