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The Maritime Scene in China at the Dawn of Great European Discoveries

Kuei-Sheng Chang
Journal of the American Oriental Society
Vol. 94, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1974), pp. 347-359
DOI: 10.2307/600069
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/600069
Page Count: 15
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The Maritime Scene in China at the Dawn of Great European Discoveries
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Abstract

In examining the scope and limitations of Chinese maritime activities up to the early Ming, this paper reveals that little disparity existed between China and its European counterpart on the basis of ship design, ship-building capacity, nautical skills, geographical horizons in the oceanic world and actual knowledge of Africa and beyond. Hindrances to achievements comparable to the great European discoveries of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are to be found in the traditional concepts and emphases in Chinese geography as well as institutional weaknesses inherent in the Ming State.

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