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Historic The ask questions about history thread.

Discussion in 'History & Military Discussion' started by Arrou, Jan 11, 2015.

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  1. Salbazier

    Salbazier ....

    Lack of navy?
     
  2. Hykal94

    Hykal94 The Kitteh Knight of Islam

    Why would they?

    It's the same question of "why didn't XYZ invade/colonise ABC land" repeated here. Because they neither wanted to nor needed to.

    It's like asking why America never invaded Australia despite being able to invade the Philippines. Deathclaws that's why.
     
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  3. Ironanvil1

    Ironanvil1 Riding a metaphorical pony Magistrate

    Location:
    Luton Airport
    Because that's already a hell of a long way from the typical centres of Imperial power?
     
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  4. galahad

    galahad Seeker of Truths

    But Chinese did have good ships, see the treasure fleet for example. And SE Asia was one of main cultural and trading contacts of China. They along with Indians were one of main foundations of SE Asian civilization.
     
  5. China did now and then have control of Vietnam, so I don't really buy arguments of "no interest" or "too far away".

    Then again, Vietnam is nicely along the coast. Thailand and Burma have always been separated from China by a whole lot of mountains and largely uncivilized territory; after all, even control of what's nowadays Yunnan wasn't always secure.

    The treasure fleet was an one time prestige boondoggle, nothing more.
     
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  6. Hykal94

    Hykal94 The Kitteh Knight of Islam

    #NotAllDynasties

    When did China control Vietnam? Drawing a blank here.
     
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  7. Salbazier

    Salbazier ....

    The treasure fleet isn't military fleet though? Having a few good ships isn't the same with having a navy sufficient to project power/oversea conquest.

    edit: checked, ah sorry I got it wrong. The treasure fleet was heavily miltarized it seems. Still even they quickly turned back from it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
  8. Hykal94

    Hykal94 The Kitteh Knight of Islam

    It was partly diplomatic, partly military.
     
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  9. galahad

    galahad Seeker of Truths

    Well the treasure fleet was designed for deep sea expeditions into Indian ocean going all way to middle east and Africa. Would you need something like that for SE Asia ? It's mostly connected to Asian mainland. And important big islands are just short hop away.
     
  10. Hykal94

    Hykal94 The Kitteh Knight of Islam

    Why didn't Alexander heat West instead of East? Because that's not "civilisation". Nothing is to be gained from going to SE Asia. But staying in power in China, in the civilisation? Much more important.
     
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  11. Ironanvil1

    Ironanvil1 Riding a metaphorical pony Magistrate

    Location:
    Luton Airport
    No matter how powerful the state, you eventually reach a point where their power projection is attenuated enough that a decently organised local polity becomes an uneconomic opponent to try and subdue.
     
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  12. It seems that between the Han and Tang dynasties, at least the Red River delta was usually Chinese, even at times when China was disunited (like the Three Kingdoms), and often also more land in North Vietnam. The articles on Vietnamese history on Wikipedia list four periods of Chinese domination in particular: 111 BC-40 AD (Han), 43-544 (Han), 602-905/938 (Sui and Tang) and 1407-1427 (Ming).

    Sure, it never exactly reached down to the Mekong, but then Vietnam didn't reach that far south back then, so...
     
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  13. Jemnite

    Jemnite Atlanta is ours, and fairly won.

    First result on Google
     
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  14. Chumbeque

    Chumbeque

    Location:
    Chile
    Probably because they never could assimilate those territories you mentioned to begin with. Vietnam was already a place where they ended up bogged down in resistance wars more often than not, so going farther south would be even more of a nightmare. Why even bother conquering them when they were tributaries anyways?
     
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  15. galahad

    galahad Seeker of Truths

    But SE Asia was the source of the spice trade, which along with the overland silk route was a very lucrative trade route. The Europeans certainly recognized the value of places like Malabar. Further north the Khemer, Viet and Thai kingdoms were fairly developed and as subjects would be a good source of revenue.
     
  16. I do suppose it comes down to China never having been much of a naval power. I mean, most of the time, even Taiwan was not Chinese controlled, and Ryukyu never was (though it was of course a tributary) - and those are directly at China's naval doorstep.
     
  17. galahad

    galahad Seeker of Truths

    Maybe the Chinese were not into expansion too much ? Central Asia and India was right next to them but they did not bother either,. While there was geographical barriers it was not insurmountable for a nation as capable as the Chinese, the various Iranian and Turkic empires were not deterred much by geography for example.
     
  18. But... the Chinese did often expand into Central Asia? Of course only at the heights of dynastic power, but still, most great dynasties expanded into Sinkiang and beyond.

    Here's the Tang dynasty, for example:

    [​IMG]

    Tibet was mostly left alone, because they kinda are atop the world's highest mountains, so India was never in question.
     
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  19. galahad

    galahad Seeker of Truths

    I mean that China did not really try go beyond East Turkestan. Chinese imperialism mostly limited itself to directly neighboring regions rather than far flung conquests. Contrast this to say the Ottomans projecting powering all way from north Caucasus to west Africa. Or Persia whose armies waged battles all way from Sudan to Delhi.
     
  20. Well, where should China have expanded into? Mongolia/Siberia to the north isn't worth it. It has no value and what's more you just can't hold the endless flat plains against the horse nomads dwelling inside it. You could never control the land and the people. The Himalaya to the south is a terrain nightmare, and even Yunnan/Thailand/Burma to the southeast of it is too rough to easily pass. That leaves a very small corridor along the Silk Street to go to East Turkestan, which makes further advances into Central Asia difficult.

    Though I suppose you're right that other cultures would have gone expanding regardless...
     
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  21. Ironanvil1

    Ironanvil1 Riding a metaphorical pony Magistrate

    Location:
    Luton Airport
    China is this weird instance where they're seen as not expansionist, because their expansion was so thorough and successful that it's viewed as just being "China".
     
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  22. galahad

    galahad Seeker of Truths

    Maybe thats the thing. China expands in slow and methodical fashion. Note that modern China has now finally brought Tibet and East Turkestan into China. And now is effectively assimilating them into Chinese identity. In 200 years Tibetans and Uyghur would have same fate as say natives of Yunnan or Sichuan or other areas that are now effectively Han Chinese. Maybe China can into SE Asia...and thats whats happening now beginning with island disputes.
     
  23. Not really? I mean, not unless you somehow view China as a Civilization (like the game). Tons of dynasties expanded fast, conquering huge areas and losing them within centuries. Some of these huge areas were in what we'd consider "China" today, but that's an anachronism. Tons of dynasties spent huge amounts of time retreading or retreating from the grounds of conquest of previous Empires.

    So viewing it as some sort of long game with ancient Chinese masters sitting in a dark room playing Civilization (which, even if that's not what you mean, is what is implied by how you're stating it) is deeply overstating it.

    It's an ahistorical attempt to corral a complex and fractured history into a narrative.

    The expansions of various Chinese Empires were not slow and methodical at all...and they often then lost most of the ground they gained over time.
     
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  24. Fernandel

    Fernandel Lovely Writing, Tendency to Waffle Councillor

    The reason why China didn't expand into South-East Asia is because China, for the majority of its history, was not actually internally stable, constantly working to suppress internal rebellions or being divided into several rivalling kingdoms that kicked the shit out of each other, and/or facing outside threats that threatened their existence to such a degree that they focussed their attention there. Like, there's a reason the Great Wall exist and why they kept working on it for centuries.

    Also, China did expand, but not along the seas. They expanded from the Chinese heartlands into Central Asia, seeking trade routes and tributes there.

    It's kinda hard to really convey the distances involved here.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
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  25. Fernandel

    Fernandel Lovely Writing, Tendency to Waffle Councillor

    Also, another important thing to note: the historical Chinese kingdoms and dynasties were anything but ethnically homogenous, adding another layer of tension that Chinese rulers focussed a lot of their attention on.

    You also have to remember that though Westerners like to think of thr Chinese as one country, there are massive regional differences in language, culture, religious traditions, social standards, etcetera between different parts of China.

    Even today, travelling the two hundred miles from Shanghai to Zhejiang suddenly means you cannot speak to the locals anymore, as the various Chinese dialects are unintelligible. The Chinese don't even use the word "dialect", they just "hua" (language) when referring to dialects. Beijinghua, Guangdonghua, etc.

    One of the greatest cultural conflicts in Chinese history is between the Northern and Southern Chinese, which were so culturally different from each other that they were locked in constant warfare. Those differences did not disappear merely because there was one ruling dynasty. Those dynasties often hailed from a very specific region and ethnic group and had to maintain their dominion over many other different groups.

    The attempt to solve this was introducing a system of exams that opened the door for everyone to becoming a civil servant, and assigning military forces from different regions that were loyal to the central government to other regions, but the tension nonetheless remained. Especially because supporters from deposed dynasties could hang around for a long time and stir up trouble, or rebels could use ancient dynastic claims to justify their own grab to power.
     
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