Start searching »

Gunpowder Age, The: China, Military Innovation, and the Rise of the West in World History

Andrade, Tonio

978 0 691 17814 1
List price(s):
24.95 USD
19.95 GBP
23.70 EUR

Publication date:
29 August 2017

Full description: 

The Chinese invented gunpowder and began exploring its military uses as early as the 900s, four centuries before the technology passed to the West. But by the early 1800s, China had fallen so far behind the West in gunpowder warfare that it was easily defeated by Britain in the Opium War of 1839-42. What happened? In The Gunpowder Age, Tonio Andrade offers a compelling new answer, opening a fresh perspective on a key question of world history: why did the countries of western Europe surge to global importance starting in the 1500s while China slipped behind? Historians have long argued that gunpowder weapons helped Europeans establish global hegemony. Yet the inhabitants of what is today China not only invented guns and bombs but also, as Andrade shows, continued to innovate in gunpowder technology through the early 1700s--much longer than previously thought. Why, then, did China become so vulnerable? Andrade argues that one significant reason is that it was out of practice fighting wars, having enjoyed nearly a century of relative peace, since 1760. Indeed, he demonstrates that China--like Europe--was a powerful military innovator, particularly during times of great warfare, such as the violent century starting after the Opium War, when the Chinese once again quickly modernized their forces. Today, China is simply returning to its old position as one of the world's great military powers. By showing that China's military dynamism was deeper, longer lasting, and more quickly recovered than previously understood, The Gunpowder Age challenges long-standing explanations of the so-called Great Divergence between the West and Asia.

Table of contents: 

Introduction - The Military Pattern of the Chinese Past 1 PART I: CHINESE BEGINNINGS Chapter 1 The Crucible: The Song Warring States Period 15 Chapter 2 Early Gunpowder Warfare 29 Chapter 3 The Mongol Wars and the Evolution of the Gun 44 Chapter 4 Great Martiality: The Gunpowder Emperor 55 PART II: EUROPE GETS THE GUN Chapter 5 The Medieval Gun 75 Chapter 6 Big Guns: Why Western Europe and Not China Developed Gunpowder Artillery 88 Chapter 7 The Development of the Classic Gun in Europe 103 Chapter 8 The Gunpowder Age in Europe 115 Chapter 9 Cannibals with Cannons: The Sino-Portuguese Clashes of 1521-1522 124 PART III: AN AGE OF PARITY Chapter 10 The Frankish Cannon 135 Chapter 11 Drill, Discipline, and the Rise of the West 144 Chapter 12 The Musket in East Asia 166 Chapter 13 The Seventeenth Century: An Age of Parity? 188 Chapter 14 A European Naval Advantage 196 Chapter 15 The Renaissance Fortress: An Agent of European Expansion? 211 PART IV: THE GREAT MILITARY DIVERGENCE Chapter 16 The Opium War and the Great Divergence 237 Chapter 17 A Modernizing Moment: Opium War Reforms 257 Chapter 18 China's Modernization and the End of the Gunpowder Age 273 Conclusions - A New Warring States Period? 297 Acknowledgments 307 Appendix 1: Timeline 311 Appendix 2: Datasets 312 Abbreviations 317 Notes 319 Bibliography 379 Index 421


Tonio Andrade is professor of history at Emory University and the author of Lost Colony: The Untold Story of China's First Great Victory over the West (Princeton) and How Taiwan Became Chinese.




Facebook icon    twitter icon    RSS icon is an initiative of the International Insitute for Asian Studies