Westerns initially regarded Asians as uncivilized and barbaric, in view of the different social systems present in Asian societies then, in comparison to the advanced politics, economy and culture of Europe. When the Portuguese Ferdinand Magellan and the Spanish-commissioned expeditionary vessels reached the Philippine Islands, among the central objectives of the establishment of Spanish sovereignty in the group of islands was for the expansion of the Catholic Church and the taking root of Spanish vassalage in the islands.
Precisely because of the impression of Asia’s seeming absence of advanced civilization comparable to Europe, the colonial powers sought to subjugate parts of Asia, especially those most important to navigation, trade and commerce, such as the establishment of Portuguese sovereignty over Malacca and Moluccas, the latter being renowned as the Spice Islands, the source of the most in-demand spices in Europe during the colonial period.
Spanish colonialism, meanwhile, had established the Philippines-Mexico trade route, called the Galleon trade, in which resources and goods from the Far East and Spanish-controlled South America were exchanged through barter and other means of trade. On the other hand, other colonial sovereignties also sought to compete in the colonial project of Spain and Portugal. The Dutch, through the Dutch East India Company, championed the cause of mercantilism by establishing outposts and colonies and exercising both corporate and sovereign powers in its colonies. 2.
What were the Jesuit and missionary impacts on the traditionally isolationist Asian nations? Was their presence helpful or appreciated? The Society of Jesus sought to evangelize traditionally isolationist Asian nations such as Japan and China. St. Francis Xavier arrived in Japan in 1549 and established Catholic proselytizing from there on, but left for China in 1551. In Japan, the Society of Jesus was granted administrative control of Nagasaki in 1580, because the city had a substantial number of Japanese Christians, notwithstanding the fact that the leading feudal lords in the port city were converted to Catholicism.
By 1587, this Jesuit administrative control over Nagasaki was abruptly ended when Toyotomi Hideyoshi ordered the expulsion of the Jesuits in the country, in view of its growing political influence in the area. However, the Jesuits were more successful in its mission of proselytizing the Chinese people through the Jesuits Ricci and Ruggieri as they attempted to assimilate Western Christianity into the Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian traditions, notwithstanding a clear attempt by these missionaries at ‘de-Westernization’ in order to maximize their proselytizing efforts.
On the other hand, the Jesuits also contributed to the rich scientific exchange between the China and the Europe, through the publication of Diagrams and explanations of the wonderful machines of the Far West, a translation of Euclid’s book elements, among many others. All of these efforts were widely accommodated by the Chinese empire. 3. Quickly explain the takeover of the Tokugawa shogunate. How did this new leadership help propel Japan into a modern state free of the West?
Under the Tokugawa shogunate led by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Japan has become increasingly concerned at the extent of Catholic proselytizing and European trade in its ports, such as Nagasaki. As such, it imposed the sakoku, its isolationist policy, in which no foreigner may enter and no Japanese may leave the country, under penalty of death. This policy was effective from the start of the Tokugawa shogunate until the arrival of the American Matthew Perry in 1853 which threatened Japan with a naval attack if it continued with its isolationist policy.
Under the policy, foreign trade was severely restricted to merely four gateways, with trade limited to the Dutch, the Chinese, the Ainu people, the Koreans, and the then independent Ryukyu people. Nonetheless, the Japanese people, despite their isolation, kept abreast with Western thought and technology through Rangaku, in which a body of knowledge was developed through Japan’s Dutch contacts in order to learn about Western science and medicine.
Soon enough, the Rangaku expanded into a relaxation of controls by subsequent shogunate leaders, in which foreign books were allowed regulated entry into Japan, notwithstanding allowing the opening of a medical school handled by a foreign doctor, but under the supervision of a Shogun, among many other developments and reforms. 4. What indigenous factors helped the Japanese respond so quickly to the Western threat and what indigenous factors prevented the Chinese from doing likewise?
Under the Tokugawa Shogunate, the policy of isolationism had allowed the Japanese to respond decisively to the Western threat, in which all foreigners were expelled from Japan and foreign trade was relegated merely four gateways to the outside world, which was controlled by privileged families in different parts of Japan. This policy, termed sakoku, was imposed in Japan out of the growing threat of increasing Christian proselytizing by the Spanish and the Portuguese, as evidenced by their clout in the port city of Nagasaki, notwithstanding the fear of the shogunate over colonial prospects by the European powers.
Moreover, sakoku was the means to control unregulated trade and commerce between Japan and the outside world. On the other hand, China had been very accommodative of Europeans in the course of the centuries, including the proselytizing of the Jesuits through Ricci and Ruggieri, which influenced the Chinese dynasties on the conduct of foreign relations with the West.
More importantly, Western intervention into China came at a time when Chinese society was in deep socio-political contradictions between the ruling Qing dynasty, which is comprised of minority Manchu people, and the vast majority of Han Chinese which resented their autocratic rule. This internal contradiction further sharpened the advantage of the West into intervening into Chinese sovereignty, notwithstanding the fact that China, despite continuing studies on Western science and culture, never undertook steps to modernize their military.
As a result, upon the declaration of the First Opium war, the Chinese empire readily lost to the British. 5. What circumstances served British efforts to establish a hold in and eventual dominion over India? The British was able to establish a hold and eventual dominion over India at a time when the Mughal empire was about to crumble, in view of the years of despotic rule of Auranzeb, and the years following his demise where a huge power vacuum was left with no one to fill.
During the reign of Aurangzeb, he was in engaged in almost perpetual wars, in pursuit of his radical approach in the imposition of Islam in his kingdom. These wars include the Sikh Rebellion, the Deccan wars, the Pashtun revolt, among many other wars and rebellions that have defined his militarist rule. After his death, his successor was relegated to obscurity in view of his lack of leadership and skill in military affairs that it failed to keep at bay the rise of the Madaratha Empire that seriously threatened the continued rule of the Mughal Empire in the Indian subcontinent.
These political conditions were exploited by the British Empire, who had already set-up a foothold in certain strategic economic areas of India, through the English East India Company even prior to the rule of Aurangzeb. Moreover, precisely because of the period of political decline of the Mughal Empire after the death of Aurangzeb, the British involved itself in subsidiary alliances between the Company and local rulers, a political development which would soon be called the Native States, or Princely States. 6.
When did the British truly have control over India? How was this rule different from their role as the English East India Company? The true determination of full and formal British control over the Indian subcontinent is upon the passage of the Government of India Act of 1858, in which the decree ordered the cessation of the control and operations of Indian territories by the British East India Company and was transferred in full in the name of the Queen, thus, effectively vesting direct British rule over India.
The rationale for such a measure was due to the concern by members of the Parliament on the extent of powers a single company, primarily interested in profit, possessed over the lives of millions of people. The decree also established the office of the Secretary of State of India, the institution of General-Governorships, and the full transfer of ownership of all properties of the Company to the Crown.
The essential legal difference on the control of the Company and direct British rule is that in the former situation, their sovereignty over the territory was merely in the form of a trusteeship in behalf of the Crown. In the latter situation, the trusteeship of the Company was dissolved and full dominion and sovereignty was now being exercised by the Crown over the Indian territories. Moreover, the introduction of direct British rule ushered in the establishment of formal Western bureaucratic systems, such as the institution of a professional civil service, courts of justice, among others.
7. Explain the Meiji Restoration in Japan. What issues made this change necessary? Where did the Tokugawa rule fail the Japanese people? The Tokugawa shogunate was replaced by the re-establishment of imperial power in Japan through Emperor Meiji and the absolute dismantling of the shogunate system that has operated in Japan for centuries. It was not done peacefully though, because the eventual defeat of shogunate loyalists came as a result of the victory of imperial forces in the Boshin war.
Nonetheless, the end of the shogunate system effectively brought Japan into the modern era, with the Meiji Empire instituting fundamental political and economic reforms which are essential in creating a truly independent and free Japan. Among the economic reforms was the establishment of learning missions to different Western states, in order to study every aspect of the modern nation-state, from government institutions, justice systems, prison systems, educational institutions, industries including shipyards, glass-making, mines, among others.
The most successful of these missions was the Iwakura Mission. On the other hand, in the field of political reform, the Meiji Empire ensured the rescission and revision of the so-called Unequal Treaties that have been forced upon the former Tokugawa Shogunate by the former Western powers. Moreover, there was a clear emphasis on military modernization, in order that Japanese empire may be better equipped in the event of a military aggression by the Western powers.