From what I understand, during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, the Chinese were more advanced in trade and warfare than the Portuguese and Dutch who tried to (and eventually succeeded in) take over the Asian trade. Why did the Chinese or other powerful Asian stakeholders not overpower/tame/control the weaker and brash early European traders?

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    Welcome to History:SE. What has your research shown you so far? Where have you already searched? What did you find? Please help us to help you. You might find it helpful to review the site tour and Help Centre and, in particular, How to Ask. Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 21:24
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    Edit your question to include that information. Include links if you have them.. It helps people to research answers if they know what you've already looked at. Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 21:38
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    Navies for a start.
    – user31561
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 21:39
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    @mdrjjn Not really accurate. However, this the kind of belief that we'd like you to include in your question, so people know where your question comes from. Note that comments are not a substitute to editing your post since comments are not designed to be permanent.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 1:01
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    @mdrjjn. Please do not reply in comments. Edit the question. Everything to answer the question should be in the question. Reading all the comments is a disincentive to answering your question.
    – MCW
    Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 12:09

1 Answer 1


  Chinese were technologically inferior but did drive Dutch back using superior numbers and acquired European technology

It could be said that main Chinese ship type at the time was junk, which could used both for trade and military purposes. Dutch had ships with much better sailing characteristics, and although gunpowder was Chinese invention at that point of time European firearms technology (i.e ship's cannons) surpassed Chinese by a long shot . Dutch also had much more experience with naval warfare .

Nevertheless, Chinese did quite successfully oppose Dutch encroachment using primarily their superior numbers witch Dutch could not successfully match. Later, Chinese adopted lot of new European technology and used some of their own genuine designs to close the gap.

As for Portuguese, they actually never tried to use much force against China in that period, relying mostly on trade deals. British become factor in dealing with China only latter when they successfully defeated their European opponents back home, so they don't belong to scope of this question.

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