Firearms: A Global History to 1700

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Cambridge University Press, Jul 7, 2003 - History - 290 pages
5 Reviews
Kenneth Chase traces the history of firearms from their invention in China in the 1100s to the 1700s, when European firearms had become clearly superior. In Firearms, Chase asks why it was the Europeans who perfected firearms, not the Chinese, and answers this question by looking at how firearms were used throughout the world. Early firearms were restricted to infantry and siege warfare, limiting their use outside of Europe and Japan. Steppe and desert nomads imposed a different style of warfare on the Middle East, India, and China--a style incompatible with firearms. By the time that better firearms allowed these regions to turn the tables on the nomads, Japan's self-imposed isolation left Europe with no rival in firearms design, production, or use, with lasting consequences. After earning his doctorate from Harvard in the area of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and traveling extensively in Asia, Kenneth Chase pursued a career in the law. His interest in history endures unabated, however, and after nine years of research on firearms, he is now working on a history of international trade in the Indian Ocean region in the 1300s and 1400s.
  

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Firearms: a global history to 1700

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Although firearms were invented in China and avidly taken up by the Ottoman Empire and other states, by 1700, European guns were the best in the world. This salient aspect of Western military ... Read full review

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This book is a spectacular example of how history need not be confined to a region or a people. It follows firearms from their invention all the way through their journey Westward, and finally to their return to East Asia. The result is a rock-solid thesis of technological adoption and adaptation. 

Contents

Introduction
1
The Oikoumene
6
The Steppe
8
The Desert
12
Logistics
16
Cavalry
19
Firearms
23
China to 1500
28
Eastern Islamdom
112
Iran
113
The Safavid Military
115
Azarbayjan
119
Khurasan
122
Safavid Success or Failure?
125
India
127
The Afghans
129

The Invention of Firearms
30
The Rise of the Ming
33
The Ming Military
35
The Hongwu Campaigns
41
The Yongle Campaigns
43
Vietnam
47
The South Seas
49
Tumu
52
Europe
56
The Introduction of Firearms
58
Sieges and Battles
61
Geography
65
Guns and Horses
68
Guns and Ships
70
Guns and Bows
73
Eastern Europe
76
The Americas
80
Western Islamdom
83
Turkey
84
The Ottoman Military
86
The Balkans
89
The Mediterranean
93
Ottoman Success
95
Egypt
98
The Mamluk Military
100
Border Wars
101
Marj Dabiq
104
Mamluk Failure
106
The Maghrib
107
SubSaharan Africa
109
The Mughals
131
The Portuguese
134
Southeast Asia
136
China from 1500
141
Foreign Firearms
142
New Chinese Firearms
145
Institutional Change
150
Japanese Pirates
154
The Great Wall
158
Wagons
162
The Fall of the Ming
166
The Conquest of the Steppe
169
Korea and Japan
172
Japan
175
Tanegashima
178
Nobunaga
180
Unification
183
The First Invasion of Korea
186
The Korean Response
188
The Second Invasion of Korea
190
The Tokugawa
193
Conclusion
197
Firearms after 1700
199
The World after 1700
202
Wagons and Pikes
205
Firearms and Nomads
207
Notes
211
Bibliography
257
Index
285
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