During the 15th century, the Chinese had one of the most advanced naval fleets known to man. As a result, China was able to establish many trade routes to places such as Africa, India, Singapore, etc
If the Chinese wanted to, they could have sailed all the way to Europe and even as far as North America. However, the Chinese ran into some political problems that prevented explorations in the future. If they had continued their voyages, it would have been possible for them to have discovered the New World before Columbus. Had China discovered America before Columbus, our world would be different from what it is today. During the mid 1400's, China was plagued with many political problems. Therefore, if China was to discover the New World, it would have been during the late 1300's under the rule of the Ming Dynasty. As stated in Latourette's book, "From the military standpoint the Ming was stronger than any native Chinese ruling house" (225). Basically in this quote Latourette is saying that during the Ming Dynasty China was at a high point in power. Because of the Ming Dynasty, China was strong and able again. If China were looking to expand, the best time would be during the Ming Dynasty because the Chinese empire was at a peak. However, the Chinese didn't take advantage of their strong naval fleets and therefore they weren't able to reach North America before Columbus.
Although it was Columbus who discovered the New World in 1492, China could have easily discovered it decades earlier. If China had discovered the New World, the culture of the west would be very similar to that of the east. Chinese culture would probably be the most dominant culture in the world, since China would have control of the east and west. "After freeing itself from it's conquest by the Mongols, China was seeking to restore and preserve its cultural independence" (Latourette 238). The best way to preserve the fading culture of Buddhism and Taoism would be to spread it throughout...
Cited: Boyle, John Hunter. China and Japan at War 1937-1945.
California: Stanford University Press, 1972.
Cotterell, Arthur and David Morgan. China 's Civilization.
New York: Praeger Publishers, 1975.
Grimm, Tilemann. Et. Al. Chinese Government in Ming Times.
New York: Columbia University Press, 1969
Houn, Franklin W. A Short History of Chinese Communism. New
Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1973.
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