Sample History Article Review on A Very Long Early Modern

A Very Long Early Modern

The early modern era was the period that came after post-classic era, which was characterized by exploration, trade, and innovation. The emergence of steam engine influenced numerous changes that molded the interactions that were experienced in the Pacific, as well as Indian oceans.  The Chinese were among the beneficiaries of the steam engine, and exploited the invention by becoming importers of exotic goods, as well as allowing their skillful entrepreneurs to explore the world. The European countries enhanced their impact on the Asian countries through exploring the Pacific waters, but China was able to experience early modernity despite political turmoil in the country.

The period between 1750 and 1900 saw the growth in the flow of commodities and people in the Asian markets, particularly along the shores. The most conspicuous continuity has been the early modern China, where the Chinese economy managed to buy bulky quantities of goods outside the country and releasing huge number of skilled merchants to trade and engage in production of goods to be exported to China. According to Wills Jr., persistent growth of trade, in addition to the influence of steamships in Asian waters, shaped the long history that involved connection of Asia to Europe, America, and Africa (195). From the first journey by Christopher Columbus towards the Europeans’ voyages in the nineteenth century, it was apparent that not significant changes would have occurred without involving the non-European communities, which include the Chinese and Arabs.

Wills’ article has revealed that without the expansion of sea routes in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, global connection would not have occurred as fast as it did. The most indispensable aspect in the early modern era was globalization. Will’s illustration depicts the essence of globalization in transforming the world’s economy and politics. The European explorers sought Asia for exotic commodities, as well as gain workers who would work in their home industries, but not as slaves. Vasco da Gama’s voyage did not offer immediate stimulation to global trade, but it enabled Europe to connect to the East in both cultural and political civilization (Scott 186). Both the European countries and Asian countries had a chance to benefit from global interaction through expansion of trade and products.

The Chinese people contributed largely in the global connection because they had the urge to meet the consumption of their country; hence, they exploited their skills to trade with other countries to create the avenue for exporting goods to their country. Initially, the Chinese empire in the modern period relied on its agricultural production, rather than depending on the shoreline trade that could have attracted more wealth in the land. Political and financial pressures led to the Ming government’s declaration of ending grand naval displays to allow interaction with the world, amid threats from other empires in the fifteenth century (Scott 338). The sea offered the best avenue after the invention of steam engine, as the Chinese were able to expand their culture to other parts of Asia and Europe.

The emergence of steamships contributed to numerous changes that transformed the interactions between Asia and Europe through Pacific and Indian oceans. The opening of Pacific and Indian oceans in the eighteenth century offered an opportunity for the European countries to generate wealth for their home countries while the Chinese people benefited from exportation of skills. The European traders did not plan to settle in Asia, but the aspect of competition among themselves made them exercise coercion and violence to establish the Asian trading network and sustain their relevance in Europe (Scott 337). Global connection opened up China’s interior to the shores and eventually the entire world. 


Works Cited

Scott, Hamish. The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern European History, 1350-1750: Volume Ii: Cultures and Power. Oxford Univ Pr, 2015. Print.

Wills Jr., John E. “A Very Long Early Modern? Asia and Its Oceans, 1000-1850.” Pacific Historical Review 83.2 (2014): 189-203.