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Military Equipments and the Technology of China in Early Modern World Research Paper

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Updated: Aug 23rd, 2019


Various developments have been seen in the chronological evolution of man. The increasing brain capacity during the past developments of man led to more ability of man to make tools that could be used for various services. It is important to realize, from the prehistoric times, that while other animals concentrated in ways of surviving in the natural world endowed with different resources, man has been in a constant struggle to shape the natural resources to suit his interest.

The need to develop defensive mechanisms by man can be traced back to the prehistoric times. Homo erectus or the “upright man” made cleavers and hand axes that were used for hunting of prey and protection against predators (Bentley & Ziegler, 3).

This man also invented fire and realized that it could also be used to scare away other animals. With these developments, man could exercise more control over the world’s natural resources. He pioneered different parts leading to the distribution of this species to different parts in the world. The need to develop protective mechanisms continued with the man’s evolution into the modern man.

There emerged organized groups for purposes like communal hunting and gathering of fruits. With the development of languages of communication, a need to have groups of individuals organized into some collective system with some leader, and the various other societal factors that were seen to be influencing human behavior, there has been an increasing need by these units to have protection from external attack from other neighboring/ rival units.

The differences that were witnessed in the way of life of the early man and that of modern man are also evident in the types of weapons that they developed. The early man in the Stone Age period developed tools from stone carvings. Then followed the wooden age with tools developed from woodcarvings. This developed into use of metals, in the Iron Age in 1700-1500 B.C (East west dialogue, para.24) for making tools like knives, spears, bows, and arrows with latter developments that are witnessed currently.

With increased civilization, tools that are more modern were developed by man in various parts of the world. The civilization was, however, not even. Some parts of the world developed faster than the others did in terms of technology.

Thesis Statement

The increasing intelligence of man led to his invention of better ways of survival. This led to development of weapons for human protection that led to the increasing desire by different nations to conquer and rule the whole world, resulting into wars that have been witnessed among nations since the medieval times. As a result, early civilization in a nation often results in conflicts between the members of the nation that can lead to decrease in development rates.

China in the medieval period

The medieval period is viewed differently by different scholars regarding the beginning and end of the period. However, it is approximated to be between fifth century A.D and fifteenth century A.D (Lombardi, para.2). During this period, there were various political developments recorded in China.

The early periods saw the reunification of China to form a United China. The end of this period saw China being conquered by the Mongol Empire. The Tang dynasty is one kind of leadership that was seen in China between the seventh and the tenth centuries (Eras of elegance, para.3).

The united China had vast territories endowed with many resources making its capital city the richest city in the world at the time. During their reign, the Tang promoted trade between united China and other countries and promoted social growth in terms of educational programs. Improvements were also seen in the infrastructure like roads within the country. They could then access the neighboring countries and tried to conquer Korea in the seventh century but failed.

They continued to be influential in the neighborhood and Korea later adopted their model of leadership (Eras of elegance, para.3). Tang dynasty disintegrated and ended in the middle of the tenth century and was succeeded by the Song. The political movement that would later yield the Yuan dynasty can be linked to Genghis Khan who initiated moves to conquer Asia in 1190. Twenty years later, he led the Mongols and invaded China. The Mongols continued with their operations and captured Moscow thirty years later.

Kublai Khan then established his reign that would see the foundation of the Yuan dynasty in China. This dynasty lasted for over a century in China and it was later overthrown in 1368 (Eras of elegance, para.3). The Mongols tried to invade more countries and failed in certain instances. The Mongol Empire at this time consisted of several nations Asia like China, Korea, Russia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, and many others (Eras of elegance, para.3)..

China after medieval period

The Ming Dynasty followed the Yuan dynasty and took back the Chinese rule under the powers of the locals of the country. It was a period following the collapse of the Yuan dynasty in 1368 and ended around 1644. It is generally known as ‘period of stable, effective government during which some important new institutions developed’ (Twitchett, 9).

Various developments were seen during this period some of which had been initiated by the early dynasties. The period saw the maturation of the political development that were initiated during the Tang dynasty and promoted by the Yuan dynasty of the Mongol empire. The civil service became poor powerful in exercising control over the whole society and there was very little opposition from the ruled concerning the extent to which the autocratic rulers could exercise their control.

This would lead to the full authority of the rulers to have ability to exercise control on whatever they wished to towards the end of the dynasty. The rulers were assisted by scholars who followed the Confucian doctrines. They managed to expand their territory to incorporate other neighboring regions that were not ruled by the past dynasties (Twitchett, 10). The number of the provinces that formed the Ming Empire also increased from the previous three to around thirteen towards the end of the dynasty (Twitchett, 13).

The management of boundaries between these administrative units and the neighboring units required a well-established defense system that was the reinstated by the Ming rulers. The Ming dynasty lasted for 277 years and had sixteen rulers from the same lineage (Twitchett, 16).

The Qing dynasty took over from the Ming dynasty and ruled between 1644 and 1911. It was founded by the Manchus people of the northeast. Under their rule, Qing Empire acquired more territories and exercised their authority over a wider region than the other dynasties. The rulers followed the Confucian doctrines in their leadership and exercised their authority regarding the Chinese culture (Hearn, para.2).

The doctrines promoted good leadership skills and required that one act in a manner that he would like to be adopted by any other person ensured good governance in China during this period. It was observed that ‘the court became a leading patron in the arts as China enjoyed an extended period of political instability’ (Hearn, para.2). Two other groups of artists were also active in China namely the traditionalists and individualists.

However, this good leadership lasted for a while and was threatened latter by the ideological differences from within and outside the territory. The empire segregated and was seen as a failure towards meeting the development objectives. As a result, the development pace that had been set in China reduced drastically towards the end of the eighteenth century and was very low until about few decades ago when mechanisms were developed to rejuvenate the nation (Wang, 178).

Early civilization in China

It is important to note that China developed technologies thousands of years before the technologies were adopted by the other parts of the world like Europe. There are evidences of the ancient cities that were developed by early men in some parts of China (Bentley & Ziegler, 13).

Generally, civilization began in China thousands of years before the same was seen in the western countries. The developments were attributed to the teachings of Confucius (551-476 B.C) who asserted that unlike wild animals, man could be ruled by principles of reason (East west dialogue, para.7).

The technology that was used in agriculture ensured that the country had enough food that led to the growth of population making it the most populous country in the world. The extraction and use of iron metal in China began far much earlier than they did in the European countries (East west dialogue, para.29). This led to the earlier development of more superior tools in China than in other country in the world. Farming and other economic activities could be carried out effectively.

The trend continued in China until few centuries ago. In fact, during the 1700s, China could be regarded as the largest and one of the richest countries in the world. It could also boast of being the country with the best system of government at the time. However, some factors from within and outside the Qing Empire that prevailed in China lead to dissolution of such a powerful governance system in the early 1800s. The long serving Qing Empire decayed and failed in its desires to establish a more civilized state.

Conclusion and restatement of thesis

It is thus worth pointing out the consequences of the early civilization that was seen in China. The adoption of modern technology in agriculture was seen in China several years before similar technologies were developed and adopted in other countries. This led to the growth in population of the country and allowing for other techniques like development of weapons.

This was followed by a series of governments some from non-Chinese rulers. There were increased desires by the emperors to conquer and rule many neighboring China. The system of government that was adopted in China for a long period seemed perfect but the ideological differences due to the many people in a cosmopolitan country led to disintegration of the government due to conflicts of interest.

The country, which had been in the forefront in urbanization, once again experienced a reverse migration with the individuals moving back to the rural areas. Further research in technology was threatened and the individuals adopted farming techniques that required even more labor like the introduction of a plow pulled by man. Techniques were then being used that were inferior to those that were used thousands of years earlier.

This trend continued and other nations from the European and American continent borrowed the technology from the Chinese applied the techniques to improve their socio-economic and political developments. Countries like the United States, Japan, United Kingdom, and the dissolved USSR are now termed as the worlds industrial powers while China who was the founder of much technology is still regarded as a developing nation. Thus, early civilization in country may be a threat to the national development.

Works Cited

Bentley, Jerry H and Ziegler, Herbert F. Chapter 1: The basic history in Traditions and Encounters: A Global perspective on the past. London: McGraw-Hill Higher Education. 2011. Web.

East west dialogue. “.” Ancient China’s Technology. 2011. Web.

Eras of elegance. “The medieval era (476-1450).” Eras of elegance. N.d. Web.

Hearn, Maxwell K. . The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2011. Web.

Lombardi, Esther. 2011. Web.

Twitchett, Dennis C. The Cambridge History of China: The Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644. Volume 8, Part 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Wang, Gabe T. China and the Taiwan issue: impending war at Taiwan Strait. Lanham: University Press of America, 2006.

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