Firearms: A Global History to 1700

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Cambridge University Press, 2003 M07 7 - 290 pages
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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Too bad the author doesn't know anything about Chinese [Ming] cannons and guns -- nothing mentioned about Le Trung and the Vietnamese gunsmiths. A Vietnamese promoted to Minister [Ministry of Works] for his modifications -- the wooden sabot and the flash pan. Incidentally he produced the guns used in the 1410 and 1414 campaigns against the Mongols.
Just sloppy research.
 

Contents

Introduction
3
The Oikoumene
8
The Steppe
10
The Desert
14
Logistics
18
Cavalry
21
Firearms
25
China to 1500
30
Iran
115
The Safavid Military
117
Azarbayjan
121
Khurasan
124
Safavid Success or Failure?
127
India
129
The Afghans
131
The Mughals
133

The Invention of Firearms
32
The Rise of the Ming
35
The Ming Military
37
The Hongwu Campaigns
43
The Yongle Campaigns
45
Vietnam
49
The South Seas
51
Tumu
54
Europe
58
The Introduction of Firearms
60
Sieges and Battles
63
Geography
67
Guns and Horses
70
Guns and Ships
72
Guns and Bows
75
Eastern Europe
78
The Americas
82
Western Islamdom
85
Turkey
86
The Balkans
91
The Mediterranean
95
Ottoman Success
97
Egypt
100
The Mamluk Military
102
Border Wars
103
Marj Dabiq
106
Mamluk Failure
108
The Maghrib
109
SubSaharan Africa
111
Eastern Islamdom
114
The Portuguese
136
Southeast Asia
138
China from 1500
143
Foreign Firearms
144
New Chinese Firearms
147
Institutional Change
152
Japanese Pirates
156
The Great Wall
160
Wagons
164
The Fall of the Ming
168
The Conquest of the Steppe
171
Korea and Japan
174
Japan
177
Tanegashima
180
Nobunaga
182
Unification
185
The First Invasion of Korea
188
The Korean Response
190
The Second Invasion of Korea
192
The Tokugawa
195
Conclusion
199
Firearms after 1700
201
The World after 1700
204
Wagons and Pikes
207
Firearms and Nomads
209
Notes
213
Bibliography
259
Index
287
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About the author (2003)

Kenneth W. Chase is an attorney at the law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton. He received his Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University and his J.D. from Stanford Law School.

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