East Asian History Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Asian History

A vacuum was left by the Ming's expansion and rapid dissolution of maritime power. Even when the Ming's maritime power faded, China continued to play a major role in world trade. China had amassed an incredible resource of imported silver acquired from Portuguese and Spanish traders who pillaged the ore from Central and South America. Stockpiling its silver allowed China to create an incredible amount of wealth, and China soon transferred its silver into the monetary system. Whereas the Europeans continued to rely on a gold standard for their currency exchange, China banked on silver. Silver was not something that China had access to domestically, though, making it a unique choice for use as a currency. Silver was almost like a foreign currency that China adapted. Paper currency was its baby. With a vast store of silver, China was in the position of becoming a regional trade broker. China leveraged its geographic position and its status as a good trader with good credit. Other East Asian countries had already been trading with China, and now China was poised to be able to expand trade significantly with markets in Europe.

Many groups sought to exploit the opportunities China's new economic system presented. The political and economic landscape had changed dramatically, and practically overnight by Chinese standards due to European conquest of the Americas. By 1600 CE and the height of Ming maritime power, Portuguese and East Asian countries were connected via trade routes. Portuguese and its East Asian mercantile colonies provided China was access to the global market. China occasionally served as a middleman or broker between the Portuguese traders and other countries in East Asia including Japan. Macau and other Portuguese mercantile settlements became strategically important for China during this time. Portugal would help build China's rural economy as well as feed its silver stockpile, as China also purchased new crops that it used to supplant the traditional diet.

The diversity of goods being traded was also expanding exponentially, leading to tremendous market growth and increased demands for raw materials. China exported a large number of specialty items sold mainly as luxury goods on the European market; China had little in the way of raw materials that Europe could covet with the exception of raw silk.

European powers stepped up their aggressive incursions into the Americas, committing genocide in order to rape the land of its wealth. Thus,…

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