There are questions why China didn't explore and discover Europe.

The answer is that the Ming dynasty prohibits that. So the issue is that China is so centralized they can't do that. One king says no, then that's it.

However, Asia is not just China.

We got the Vietnamese, Japanese, Indonesians (with many maritime powers) and so on and so on.

Not one of them have good ship technology to travel to Europe?

Are the Chinese the only one with decent ship technology? The Chinese are not even a maritime nation.

Another explanation is the incentive. However, if Europeans want to trade with Asians, why Asians don't want to trade with Europeans?

  • 3
    A better question would be: "Why Western Europe expanded and started trade with all the rest of the world?"
    – Alex
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 20:39
  • 8
    What has your research shown you so far? Where have you already searched? Please help us to help you. Can you explain why the relevant Wikipedia pages and google searches didn't answer the question? SE sites work best if the questions are supported by preliminary research
    – MCW
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 20:40
  • 1
    Mongols tried to take the place over. Ended up in semi-overloadship of Rus for a while, and of course you have the Tartars
    – user31561
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 20:51
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    The Chinese didn't feel that Europe had anything worth getting. Remember, the Europeans were driven by the desire to get cheaper access to commodities that came from Asia. There was little or nothing Europeans made that Asians particularly wanted.
    – user15620
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 21:57
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    @StevenBurnap I know it is a usual proposition, but I do not think it believable; if the Asians did not want anything from Europe, then trade would not have happened at all. They did quite happily accept Europe's gold and silver.
    – SJuan76
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 10:12

2 Answers 2


Not one of them have good ship technology to travel to Europe?

At least as far as Japan is concerned, Japan sent 2 delegates.

1 Tenshō delegate

Though, they ( meaning their ships and route are determined by the then Western people ), went to Europe as the first Japanese.

2 Tsunenaga Hasekura and the 1613 project

The shōgun had a new galleon built in Japan to bring Vizcaino back to New Spain, together with a Japanese embassy accompanied by Luis Sotelo. The galleon, named Date Maru by the Japanese and later San Juan Bautista by the Spanish, took 45 days work in building, with the participation of technical experts from the Bakufu (the Minister of the Navy Mukai Shōgen, an acquaintance of William Adams with whom he built several ships, dispatched his Chief Carpenter), 800 shipwrights, 700 smiths, and 3,000 carpenters. The daimyō of Sendai, Date Masamune, was put in charge of the project. He named one of his retainers, Hasekura Tsunenaga (his fief was rated at around 600 koku), to lead the mission:

It may be noteworthy that the lord, Masamune Date, ( who actually commanded the building of this ship ) has a rumor that he had planned a coup to overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate with the help of foreign power, especially that of Spanish Armada, whose loss to England was unknown to him.

So technically speaking, Japan sent its own missionary to Europe at least once with its own ship which they built by themselves.

  • I think the word you want is "ambassador" (or embassy, if you're talking about the mission. In English, a "missionary" is someone who goes to a foreign country in order to try to spread their religion.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 17:18
  • @jamesqf Jesuits were that kind of at the time in Japan.
    – user12387
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 18:19
  • Yes, the Jesuits went to Japan (and China & other Asian countries) as missionaries rather than ambassadors. Their ultimate intent was to convert the "heathen" people of those countries to Christianity, rather than to establish trade or diplomatic relations.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jul 20, 2019 at 17:24
  • interesting, then why didn't this become the main center of trade rather than Hong Kong
    – Hao S
    Commented Jul 21, 2019 at 4:59
  • @HaoSun Can't you see the name of those who voted to close? The OP's question is too broad to answer. You don't know the silver-gold ration in Japan compared with that of European countries. Every country has each own unique factor. I can not simply cover them all.
    – user12387
    Commented Jul 21, 2019 at 5:17

Trade wasn't done by a person in Vietnam walking to France to sell his goods. A chain of middlemen distributed the items across the "Silk Road". Tradewise, Europe and China knew about each other and didn't need to "discover" each other.

If you are asking why Asia didn't colonize anywhere else like Europe did:

China stopped focusing on sea based imperialism in the 15th century. They still engaged in land based imperialism and held influence in Korea, Malaya, and Indochina. Many Chinese merchants moved to Indochina, Indonesia, and Burma etc.

Japan became isolationist in the 17th century.

As for India, the Mughal empire did have land based imperialism but there aren't any small places they could colonize by sea.

Summary: Around 1700, The largest, most powerful countries focused on no colonialism, land based imperialism, or business influence. The smaller countries were too busy resisting the larger countries. If India wanted to, there was not much nearby to colonize by sea. Even the European powers only had a few forts and had a business relationship with existing powers.

  • But India did spread the Hindu religion (and Islam, later on) & some of its culture(s) to the islands of southeast Asia.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jul 19, 2019 at 17:20
  • what was this "excellent gun" the Japanese had but banned. I have never heard of this before.
    – ed.hank
    Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 17:15
  • I removed it. It was apocryphal. Commented Jul 22, 2019 at 17:40

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