Re: Historical China (was RE: Fw: Ted Kacyznski)

From: James Rogers (
Date: Wed Jun 21 2000 - 06:57:41 MDT

On Wed, 21 Jun 2000, wrote:
> In a message dated 6/21/00 9:33:37 AM, writes:
> >The Chinese never really used gunpowder as more than a curiousity, and
> >they never invented anything that could properly be considered a gun in
> >any conventional sense.
> No guns, but they did have cannon, which were a critical part of the
> Ming military system against steppe nomads. It's certainly true they
> did far less with it than the Europeans did.

The original Chinese cannons were of limited capability due to the
limitations of their materials and fabrication methods. While they were
used effectively against soft targets, such as the steppe nomads, they
were too weak to be effectively used against harder targets. The bores
were quite weak and generally not very reliable. This was also the reason
the Chinese were not able to produce musket-type personal weapons.

The europeans on the other hand, used their superior metal technologies
and rapidly produced very strong and functional designs (such as the every
popular cast bronze bore) that were actually capable of the rock-shattering
capability usually associated with cannons. The Europeans quickly drove
the technology to the point where it was well-suited to a much broader
set of military roles, such as breaching hardened fortresses. The vastly
superior european cannons were introduced in China in the 16th and
17th century by the Jesuits.

-James Rogers

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