1st HST paper - Whitehouse 1 Anna Whitehouse Professor...

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Whitehouse 1 Anna Whitehouse Professor Pollard 1 st Writing Assignment “How did China, the Ottomans, and the Europeans view foreign peoples and foreign places ca 1500?” The necessity of exploration circa 1500 was driven by critical international trade relations, alliances, and, of course, power; the European’s lust for it, China’s display of it, and the Ottoman’s preservation of it. However just as these three cultures had different governing styles, traditions, and resources they also had diverse viewpoints on foreign people and places. The Ottomans, Bernard Lewis states in his book Istanbul and the Civilization of the Ottoman Empire , built their own paradise comprised of peoples from all around the globe, thus creating the first truly international metropolis. As opposed to the “Middle Kingdom” which, for centuries, frowned upon anyone native leaving China or anyone foreign entering. However a change occurred during the Ming Dynasty as Louise Levathes’ book When China Ruled the Seas illustrates, Emperor Zhu Di strove to spread China’s influence throughout the world. Struggling as the underdogs of the world economy during this period the Europeans leapt into colonization of the new world, finally having found land to produce the surplus that would enable them to trade on the same level as the Chinese and Ottomans. Their only dilemma being labor as both Hugh Thomas and Alfred Crosby discuss in The Atlantic World in the Time of Empire . Each of these ancient regimes saw the world through contradictory perspectives; Europeans conquered lands then either exploited both the land and people, or forced them to Europeanize whereas the Ottomans welcomed and accepted diversity though they thought of themselves as superior, and, the Chinese, who scrutinized many countries as barbaric, but still respected countries they
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Whitehouse 2 viewed as beneficial trading partners. The Confucian government of China promoted the idea of ionization, thus there seemed no reason to ever leave. The unfortunate, yet essential, merchants were seen as the lowest members of society and were expected to return immediately to China. Foreign traders were forced to comply with the canton system, which required them to leave China once they had finished trading, as China did not want its people to be contaminated by foreign cultures. These conservative Confucian methods all changed after Zhu Di’s ascension to the throne, foreign travelers, particularly those wanting to kow-tow, or pay homage to the emperor, were welcomed and treated graciously. Wanting to establish his own reputation, Zhu Di opened China’s borders to foreigners
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1st HST paper - Whitehouse 1 Anna Whitehouse Professor...

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