Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by smjb, Jan 2, 2013.
You simply cannot be that obtuse.
No, this argument comes back to thinking people will do things for no reason whatsoever vs. pointing out that people did the OTL exploration for very good, very solid reasons that don't exist for the East Asian nations sailing East.
Human potential doesn't have anything to do with this. Human economic and political interests do.
So once again a situation not remotely equivalent to the situation in East Asia is brought in to divert attention from the fact the poster doesn't understand the differences between the situation for East Asia and the situation for Western Europe.
They knew the aproximate size of the Earth back then, and Colombus' calculations were way, way off, having a lot to do with wishful thinking. Isabella and Ferdinand sent him off never expecting to see him again.
Of course, it depends on the time frame we're expecting this to happen in.
Having Europeans stumble into America much later than, say, the sixteen hundreds or so would probably be streatching things beyond the point of probability, barring a Peshawar Lancers-style calamity.
Hmm... except that's exactly what the Chinese did in OTL. In the 1200s the Chinese only knew about Java, the Philippines, and maybe Borneo. They had to find out about the others somehow.
As a side note, when the Dutch discovered Java, while most of the Chinese there were traders, some were farmers.
Not really. Columbus was an idiot for thinking the Earth was small and pear shaped and the two monarchs were idiots for believing him. Then Columbus was an idiot for thinking he found India, and Isabella and Ferdinand were idiots for believing him again, twice, giving him two more voyages in the hope that they'd find something, until they actually did find something.
Once again I point out that I have already pointed out that there is abundant political and economic reasons for the Japanese, and other East Asians, to look out. Further, more reasons can be created by PODs.
You are looking too deep into the differences of Europe and East Asia. What we are looking at is a Simple East Asian colonization of parts of the Western Hemisphere. Nothing too complicated with the right PODs. It is not like we are asking the Japanese to conquer Europe. Human nature, needs, and desires can see it through. Especially if one plays with gamblers.
That's not remotely equivalent to "let's sail around hoping we find something".
Yes really. But hey, let's pretend that they were morons who just threw money at him for the lulz. It saves us having to consider economic factors or political factors or anything else that would actually be useful in determining what would make someone fund voyages of "exploration".
It is more "We know something is there. Let us study what we already know, which is rumors and heresay. Let us hope we find it."
He was the Longest Longshot.
No, you've pointed out no such reasons, and have refused to accept that the conditions you try to create are not providing any such reasons.
What we're looking at is someone who refuses to accept that the conditions in East Asia do not justify flinging money down pits.
It is more "I have no clue what I'm talking about, so pretend I do rather than paying attention to the actual situation."
"Possibly shorter route to a place we know exists and know will be profitable to trade with" =/= anything that the Americas offer by sailing across the Pacific with the knowledge possessed in East Asia.
You're asking for their rulers to be quixotic to the point of delusional.
Maybe, maybe if there was something they knew about and knew was profitable that this was merely a search for a short(er) route to, you could get something equivalent. And Fusang isn't it.
Yes it is, it's the exact same thing. They assumed islands were out there and then went out to find them. I'm sure they acquired knowledge of Sumatra and the islands immediately surrounding Java from the natives, but those were old old tales (the age of Austronesian expansion other than that of the faraway Polynesians being long over) that the Chinese first had to believe, and then decide to sail there. And I'm sure there were dozens or hundreds of islands they just found by venturing out on their own.
For all they knew, they had found a useless continent that assuredly wasn't India. And all the gold and silver they saw until they reached Mesoamerica was just tiny trinkets.
You refuse to accept reasonable conditions and points I have made on the subject.
Yet, gamblers do it everyday in Casinos. Even until the ruination of their lives. Does East Asia have geographic location to make it possible to get to the Americas? Yes. Does it have the available resources to create an expedition? Yes. Are there people who are able to use these resources? Yes. Are the political organizations geared in such a way that very few people could order such an undertaking and no one could say 'No'? Yes. Can a man or a group of people organize such a undertaking? Yes. Is there knowledge of something to be gained? Yes. Are these gains needed? Yes, but it depends on who. Are there profitable materials on the West Coast of the United States, that once found could lead to people wanting to go there, or being forced to go there, to obtain them? Yes. Does the culture of East Asia not allow the people to get into boats? No. Are East Asians humans capable of virtues and vices; ideas and imaginations on the same level as any other people? Yes.
You are correct that an important step is missing here, but I was considering more the question of what the New World might offer in terms of medium to long-term interest--not what will draw them there in the first place, but what would keep them coming back.
As far as I can tell, there's really one main possible route for any Asian discovery of the New World, accidental or intentional, based on the assumption that ships are basically going to follow the major currents and wind patterns. This is the northern route--the Kuroshio current, which runs up by Japan and will eventually bring our explorers down by California, and which seems to have a generally favorable westerly wind pattern. The only other current I see running east is the Pacific north equatorial countercurrent, but the prevailing winds in that area seem to point in the wrong direction. So the big question is whether there is anything that could get people looking in that direction, and I'm really not sure.
(Maybe they want to find a faster route to the fabulous riches of Europe? )
The Polynesians made it to Easter Island or perhaps even farther, despite the currents going the wrong direction.
What you learned in grammar school isn't the real story.
Columbus believed in Marinus' much larger estimate of the Eurasian landmass' length rather than the Ptolemic estimate everyone else believed in. (Both of those estimates were too long by the way.) Columbus also believed Marco Polo's assertion that Japan, or Cipangu, was closer to the equator. Finally, Columbus knew there were islands to the west of Europe across the Atlantic thanks to the occasional vegetation and bodies - some still living - that storms delivered up on Europe's coasts. Columbus was betting that he could reach those islands and then use them as stepping stones to first reach Cipangu/Japan and then the East Indies.
Isabella and Ferdinand needed money, like all kings do, and setting up trade with the East Indies would allow them to make a shit ton of it just as the Italian city states had done before the land routes were shut down. Everyone knew that, if you could sail around Africa, you could get to the East Indies. The trouble with that route was that the Portuguese had been exploring it for decades, had fortified locations along the route, and would kill you out of hand if they found you south of the Bight of Benin.
Columbus then showed up with his proposition. He could get to the East Indies by sailing west because there are "stepping stone" islands out there, Japan is located at this latitude, and Eurasia is really this big. Let the Portuguese continues to struggle around Africa, Spain could beat Portugal to the Indies trade by taking another route. The royals agreed as it was a small bet that could pay off handsomely.
(Columbus had previously pitched his idea to the King of Portugal, but that royal knew how close his own project was to fruition and declined to buy in.)
Bankrupt from the Granada wars, Isabella and Ferdinand scraped up about half the money Columbus needed for the venture and granted him generous terms regarding shares and percentages of what he might discover. With that royal charter in hand and the protection it implied, Columbus was able to get to rest of his funding from private Italian merchants.
Columbus sailed, the world was changed, and 500 plus years later boobs are still repeating Washington Irving's kiddie stories as gospel.
Why is it so hard to understand that if there's no reason to go in the first place there's no chance of going back?
True, but their sailing techniques seem to have been based on extensive knowledge of local conditions, which our putative East Asian explorers probably will not have.
Washington Irving asserted that Columbus thought the world was round and Europe thought it was flat. That is incorrect obviously.
However Columbus did think the world was smaller than it was. He did also think Eurasia was too long and that Japan was farther to the southeast.
I do understand this, but it's a quiet evening here, it amuses me to bat this idea around a bit, and there's not much entertainment in speculating about East Asian non-discovery of the New World...
He wasn't alone.
So did everyone else. Ptolemy's estimate, the one most people believed, was ~180 degrees. Columbus bought into Marinus' estimate of ~215 degrees. The actual distance is ~135 degrees.
When your only source is Marco Polo's memoirs, that's understandable.
What Columbus and Isabella and Ferdinand were not were boobs. They were betting they could beat Portugal to the East Indies and they ended up winning the biggest jackpot in human history. They took a chance and it came up big.
You forgot that creativity isn't allowed, and it was impossible for anyone in China before 1950 to come up with a new idea, because, like, Mandate of Heaven or something.
But they funded the expedition when their treasury was already abysmal.
And when they found a land of semi-nomadic tribes who possessed a few gold trinkets, they decided to send two more even larger expeditions because Columbus claimed what he found was India.
Their discovery of sophisticated civilizations in Mesoamerica and the Andes was still quite literally dumb luck. And it occurred after all three of them died.
Separate names with a comma.