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时间:2017/12/24 17:40:52  作者:  来源:  浏览:0  评论:0
内容摘要:Why did China shut itself out of the world in the 15th century?【国外历史论坛】为什么中国在15世纪将自己封闭在世界之外?-----------------------------------------After a...
Why did China shut itself out of the world in the 15th century?



After a period of maritime explorations (see Zheng He) in the early 15th century, the Ming Dynasty started shutting the Middle Kingdom out of the rest of the world. This of course continued with the Qing, and the empire remained largely isolated until the 19th century, because of foreign "initiative."

However, just when Spain and Portugal started flourishing with an economy based on trade, the Chinese chose to close their doors to the world. Why might have caused them to do this?

经过一段时间的海上探险(见郑和) , 明朝开始将 Middle Kingdom 与世界其他地区隔离开来。当然, 这种情况一直延续到清朝, 直到19世纪, 由于外国的"主动性",才打开国门, 帝国基本上一直处于孤立状态。



Well there were a few reasons

They pretty much had all they needed resource-wise in the country, trade was not a prerogative and even though Zheng He did go out exploring they were not interested in colonies or mercantilism.

Mercantilism was pretty much frowned upon within the Confucian system, merchants did not produce goods they moved them around and made money which made them a drain on the system. The few who were enterprising and maybe came up with some new product might often find themselves in competition from the government

在中国, 他们几乎拥有所需的所有资源, 贸易不是一种特权, 尽管郑和确实出去探险了, 他们对殖民地或重商主义不感兴趣。
在儒家体系中, 重商主义几乎遭到了反对, 商人们并没有生产商品, 他们把商品搬来搬去, 赚钱, 这使得他们成为了体制的负担。少数有进取心的人或许会想出一些新产品, 结果他们可能会发现自己正在与政府竞争。

    The Emperor system considered itself the center of the world, the focus of the heavens. When outsiders came they gave tribute and fealty to the Emperor, so the outside world came to them, they did not need to go out

Imperial China didn't need the outside trade, they were a large country that didn't have need for resources from the outside and their technology at that point was sophisticated enough for what they needed. I've often wondered what would happen if they did not stop their explorations with Zheng He as some of the archaeology I have seen on ships from that era were innovative and very interesting.

They seemed to be able to sail fairly far with their ships, which were extremely large (although I don't know converte++d numbers off the top of my head) although there were issues with rising piracy in the Malay Peninsula as well as storms.

帝国体系认为自己是世界的中心, 是天下的焦点。当外人来的时候, 他们向皇帝表示敬意和忠诚, 所以外面的世界来到他们面前, 他们不需要出去、



Recent conservation efforts have shown numerous ship wrecks off the Chinese coast on the way to the Malay Peninsula, wrecks that are only now being explored and providing insight into shipping that DID continue after the Qing closed off the country. Look at recent issues of Archaeology magazine for more on the wrecks, they had a couple of stories recently that were interesting on how the shipping continued as the merchants converted to Piracy (or basically being called pirates) by continuing trade against Imperial Edicts.

最近的一些保护措施显示,在前往马来半岛的途中,中国海岸上有无数船只残骸,,这些沉船现在才开始探索, 在清朝封锁中国后曾有船只继续远航。看看最近的《考古》杂志上关于沉船事件的文章,他们最近有了几个故事,有趣的是,随着商人们对抗帝国法令并进行了持续的贸易,商人们转变为了海盗(或者说被称为海盗)。


It should also be added that there was a palace fire in the Forbidden City in the 1420s that the Chinese (at the time) saw as a sign from heaven that they should no longer send expeditions out into the world. In addition, the emperor at the time, Yongle, had difficulties conceiving a child/successor, and his eventual successor was against sending out exploratory fleets. – Edwin


Chinese people were traveling, trading, and living extensively in South East Asia at this time. It was merely the Imperium that ceased looking externally. – axsvl77

当时,中国人民正在东南亚广泛地旅游、交易和生活。它仅仅是停止寻找外部的统治权。– axsvl77

@axsvl77 Chinese communities in other countries existed and continued on trading and exploring, but the question only concerned the Ming/Qing Dynasties and their actions. – MichaelF

@axsvl77 其他国家的华人群体存在并继续进行贸易和探索,但本问题只涉及到明/清王朝及其行为。– MichaelF


I would like to emphasize the role that the Chinese mindset played. As MichaelF mentioned, the attitude of the rulers dictated the direction of China's advancements. Belief that China was "perfect" and had everything necessary was reinforced by Confucian notions of harmony and society. Signs of political and military weakness that appeared near the end of the last dynasty were ignored by the emperors and those in the court. During the Qing dynasty, progress in every area slowed considerably. Scholars turned from social commentary to more passive work, analyzing ancient texts often in obscure esoteric ways. Exploration was not encouraged and consequently naval technology stopped improving.


You seem to know a lot about Chinese history, and are perhaps assuming too much by not including links to background material.  BTW, can you perhaps recommend a book on Neo-Confucianism in China today? I found China's New Confucianism by Daniel Bell pretty disappointing (not to say awful). Thx :)



Wrong assumption. Ming trading with SEA continued during the 14-16th century, trading Ming porcelain and other goods for spices, teak, ivory and turtle shell, with archaelogical finds in Malacca and Singapore. Indeed, the wukou pirates were also large Chinese merchant fleets which rebelled against the trade ban of 1540, which was started against the the threats of piracy and smuggling...a scorched earth policy enacted that reflected Ming China weakened military( a Mongol army would attack Beijing, their capital during this period.) The revival of her military ended the trade ban, to the extent that a few decades later, Spain would allow a precious bullion run to Manila and half of the silver mined in Peru found its way to Ming shores, creating the famous China trade that would lead to the EIC adventures further east to the Oriental.

错误的假设。十四至十六世纪, 明朝与东南亚的海洋贸易继续进行, 用明瓷和其他商品交换香料、柚木、象牙和龟壳, 在马六甲和新加坡有新的考古发现。事实上, WUkou海盗也是中国的大型商船队, 他们反对对1540的贸易禁令, 这项禁令是针对海盗和走私的威胁而发起的, 焦土政策的颁布,反映了明代中国被削弱军事力量(在此期间蒙古军队攻击北京,他们的首都)。她军队的复兴结束了贸易禁令, 几十年后, 西班牙将允许一条珍贵的金条运往马尼拉, 秘鲁开采的一半银矿被运往明朝海岸, 从而创造了著名的中国贸易, 这将导致欧洲联盟的东方冒险。

Similarly, after a Qing naval ban enacted against Ming loyalists in Taiwan,(where a Ming warlord pirate captured the Dutch colony), the Qing resumed trading overseas, with documentated visits to Bangkok. Indeed, just one year after the founding of Singapore, the first Qing junk called in port to engage in entrepot trade. Never mistake the Canton trade system of protectionism for lack of interest in mercentilism. Indeed, what are the Hong merchant barons, if not mercentilists??

同样, 清朝海军颁布禁令, 对抗在台湾的明朝支持者(一名明军阀占领了荷兰殖民地) , 清朝恢复了海外贸易,并对曼谷进行了访问。事实上, 在新加坡成立仅一年之后, 第一批清政府的帆船就被召集到港口进行转口贸易。不要错误地把贸易保护主义的贸易体制误以为是对重商主义缺乏兴趣。事实上, 如果没有重商主义者,那“红顶商人”又是什么?


As a supplement, there were other reasons.

Money was one of the important reasons. Such fleets cost huge amounts of money. The Emperor Zhu Li (Yongle Emperor) had been spending huge amount of money on the book of Yongledadian (《永乐大典》), moving the capital, and the war with the Mongols. Exploration was definitely not the number one thing to do on an empty national treasury.

作为补充, 还有其他原因。

金钱是重要的原因之一。这样的船队需要花费大量的金钱。皇帝朱棣(永乐皇帝)花了大笔的钱在永乐大典, 迁移首都和与蒙古人的战争上。在一个空空如也的国家财政中, 探险绝对不是最好的选择。

    People. There was no one like Zheng He or Wang Jinghong (郑和, 王景弘) after they died. The Emperors after Zhu Li were focusing on power struggling, civil affairs and hence there was no one to support the exploration in the political system after all.

人。在郑和或景洪死后, 再没有像他们这样的人了。朱棣之后的皇帝专注于权力斗争, 民政, 因此没有人支持有系统的探险活动。

They had occupyed the known world. There was no competition to drive inovation. Europe on the other hand, aways had competition in every aspect of life. So when Italy failed to finance Columbus, Spain did. China isn't alone in this. Other empires have fallen into this trap. Every large organization is subject to this trap. We should always be suspicious of monopolies.

他们已经占领了已知的世界,没有竞争来推动进步。另一方面, 欧洲在生活的各个方面都有竞争。所以当意大利没有资助哥伦布时, 西班牙就这么做了。这方面,中国并不是唯一一个这样做的国家,其他帝国也陷入了这个陷阱,每个大型组织都受制于这个陷阱,我们应该始终怀疑垄断。


The whole assumption is wrong. The construct China-was-once-a-big-maritime-power-when-nobody-could-verify-it then when Westerners show up they become a hermit kingdom, is just a modern revisionist interpretation, primarily by sensationalist Western scholars, many of whom exhibited highly amateurish scholarship, like Needham.
The Arabs invaded southeast Asia before even the Tang Dynasty and expanded their power and empire constantly. In their writings, China is virtually a non-entity from a naval power point of view. In many cases they refer to the Chinese almost as aborigines.

整个假设是错误的。中国曾经是一个强大的海上强国,当时没有人能证实它的存在,当西方人出现时,他们变成了一个隐士王国 ——这只是一个现代的修正主义的解释,主要是由那些哗众取宠的西方学者来解释的,他们中的许多人都表现出非常业余的学识,比如李约瑟。


The maps you see of ancient China with these huge empires are highly misleading. When the Portuguese arrived in 1520 the entire south was completely occupied by Cantonese. Ming emissaries were like 1 out of 100,000 people.



I think that they had all they needed and they were always able to help each other by trading along the two main rivers of China, that separate them from the rest of the world.






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