How come the Non-Western world failed to keep pace with firearms tech with the West after the 1600s?

How come the Non-Western world failed to keep pace with firearms tech with the West after the 1600s?

They all managed to get Matchlocks with some groups even outdoing Europeans in making quality matchlocks (i.e. Japan, Ottomans, China etc). But then they failed to keep pace with gun tech in the 1700s-early 1800s. These weapons weren't exactly sekrit technology jealously hoarded by Europeans even.

  1. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    You're comparing the outcome of "the west" to Japan for example, which is a bit unfair, but the simple reason is: Westerners developed the scientific method, and had better economy so everything just moves forwards from there.

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      >Westerners developed the scientific method,
      Irrelevant. Asians can just buy the damn thing, take it apart, and work from there. Which is how many of them got musket tech in the first place.

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        >Asians can just buy the damn thing, take it apart, and work from there
        It would be an improvement for them if they could even get their own domestic manufacture into a better shape, let alone attempt to copy European designs. They didn't even have the infrastructure to have someone evaluate a weapon, describe how to reproduce it and its function, then have the guy in the next city over do the same thing, let alone the knowhow for the first guy to actually reproduce it in the first place.
        https://assets.cambridge.org/97811070/69879/excerpt/9781107069879_excerpt.pdf

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        >Asians can just buy the damn thing, take it apart, and work from there
        Things that rely on springs to function are very hard to reverse engineer in pre-industrial times. Simply copying the dimensions of the parts isn't enough. You have to know the correct heat treating method to get the right amount of springiness.

  2. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    The rest of the world only really got behind by the 1800s.
    Turns out, for quality repeating firearms on a relevant scale you need both replaceable parts and fine tuning: it was the Industrial Revolution that got the West ahead of the rest, and you could better ask why the rest of the world failed to keep pace with that

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      >The rest of the world only really got behind by the 1800s
      Mostly true, but the signs that the West was starting to get ahead were already there well over a century prior. Lots of very simple improvements like flintlocks, bayonets, horse artillery etc. gave them a substantial advantage over Asiatic armies that often struggled to equip more than a third of their force with guns.

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        >gave them a substantial advantage over Asiatic armies that often struggled to equip more than a third of their force with guns.
        Not to say that the West was already making improvements (that was true), but you might be glossing over a few important bits
        Asian armies tended to be on a ridiculously large size, so it's comparably difficult to fully arm those armies with firearms
        The gunpowder empires pretty much defeated all external opposition, so there was less impetus to develop better weapons.
        In the same sense, the Qing and Japan also consolidated their borders by that time, and went rather isolationist

        Compare that to Europe with smaller, but still populous, nations. All of which face serious competition right next door, and a lot of them vying for power nearby and far away. In that case, it is way more worthwhile to develop better arms, to have lots of it, and to apply them to their best potential, because you will need that edge to survive or thrive
        But if the occasional border skirmish or rebellion is all you need to worry about, it's fine to have a large army, even if not everyone is armed with the best equipment, because your enemy will still be having worse or comparable equipment

        That said, SEA is rather strange in this regard, and I don't know why they stayed behind so much, because SEA (especially mainland SEA) was a brutal area, full of war and powers of comparable strength

        • 3 months ago
          Anonymous

          now ask yourself why europe didn't have consolidated borders after the fall of the roman empire. it was a feedback loop of incremental improvements on metallurgy that made small but well equipped armies relatively cheap

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      this is the only correct reply. anything above matchlocks requires actual steel (most pre-industrial societies didn't have steel by modern standards), and artisanal production just can't keep up with industry in terms of generating technological progress and incremental improvements. it all started when someone made the mistake of using coal to cook or smelt iron

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        >someone made the mistake
        This absurd idea of how inventions are made have lead to policies that have increasingly impeded progress for at least two hundred years.

        • 3 months ago
          Anonymous

          >people started mining coal for no reason in particular except to have a reason to invent the steam engine some thousands years later

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      >The rest of the world only really got behind by the 1800s.
      Britain circa 1690 (when it was decidedly mid-tier by Western European standards) had like four times the GDP per capita of China and a military equipped 100% with firearms, mostly flintlocks, while China would still only have 30% firearms, mostly matchlocks with some rockets and handgonnes, in the mid 19th century.

      Western superiority dates back to the early 17th century at the absolute earliest. The 1800s is just when the disparity became so enormous that the superpower of Asia could have its ass beat by a handful of corporate mercenaries from the other side of the world.

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        >earliest
        *latest

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        Indians did develop rocketry which Europeans copied in 1809, so it wasn't entirely one sided. Europeans didn't just have firearms though, they had far better ships, mobile artillery, military drill, bastion forts and so on. Development in one area tended to encourage development in the others, leading to a cycle of improvement, but I can't really say which similar cycles didn't happen to the same extent elsewhere. Japan and China had extended peaces that might explain it, but the same can't be said of India.

        Yeah, by 1800 Europeans had already conquered half of India and Indonesia and left the Ottomans behind in the dust. As early as the mid-1600s, during the conquest of Taiwan, the Chinese could only beat a tiny Dutch garrison by besieging them for six months with an entire army, and even then had to rely on a Dutch traitor teaching them European siegecraft to actually break through their defenses. Many such cases.

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      European Artillery mogged Chinese from the 1600 onward. Portuguese gunners were in huge demand and hired to man the guns in forts against the Manchus.

  3. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    The notion that Japan or the Ottomans ever built better firearms than Europeans is a hilarious pop history myth.

    The Japanese especially, since the Portuguese sold them arquebuses that were already obsolete by then, and the Japanese stuck with said obsolete arquebus design while Europeans were already on long stock muskets for decades by then.

    Europeans also had iron sights and everything they attribute the Japanese "inventing", they just thought them not worthwhile.

    The Ottomans the same, just Italian aqruebuses instead of Portuguese.

    Fucking obsolete history spanwed by one retard historian and his "gunpowder empires" retardation

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      You have no sources and are making bullshit up, accusing everyone else of parroting "myths".

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        He is right though.
        The Japanese, Persians and Ottomans adopted European designs and kept them, did not develop them further.

        Even ignition systems, literally all, all of them, were invented in Europe. Serpentine matchlock, wheellock, snapchance, flintlock etc. Etc.

        Europeans even had fucking barrel rifling by the late 15th century lol

        Literally no development outside the jannisaries inventing volley fire came from outside Europe

        • 3 months ago
          Anonymous

          I think its down to Euros having a large culture of mechanical clock making. Based on springs and ratcheting mechanisms.
          China did really impressive stuff with water clocks and the like, but I think Europe got far ahead in firearms design because mechanical clockwork was almost uniquely popular. Like pic related was incredibly complex as a means of timekeeping, but its not easy to take a water clock and repurpose its pieces into a gun lock.

          • 3 months ago
            Anonymous

            >gun lock
            A glock, if you would?

  4. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    I've often wondered this myself and asked about on various forums. Even by the mid 19th century, the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, and Southeast Asians were still using matchlocks 100%. I've never really gotten a satisfactory answer. I think that fundamentally there's just something complex about mass production of flintlocks which requires a certain level of economic and scientific advancement to do. But I'm not a gunsmith, so I have no idea what that is.

    Interestingly some of the Indian states had decent flintlock production by the late 18th century. The Ottomans obviously did too. What was different about them?

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      A post war assessment from the Muscovite expedition tells us that the Koreans could produce it but it would cost five times as much as a normal matchlock. This was a time where they couldn't even produce pikes because it was so expensive that it would be cheaper to produce guns. The Muscovite also lost the battle in a straight up shoot out against more archaic Korean gunners and this devalued the importance in someway.

      As i remember a pike costed 2 units of rice, a matchlock and gunner kit 6 units and a flintlock 17.5 units which was worth the cost of a cavalier's full harness.

      After that the country started declining further. The three wars in a row that had completely devastated the landscape crippled any sort of capacity for growth. A state ministers wage from the 1400s plummeted by 1/10th by the end of the 18th century. Normal nobles couldn't live on the their salary alone and professional troops weren't paid half the time. Peasants just straight up ate up their crops and lived on day to day wages because they were tired of shitty tax policies.There was simply no fund left for further development.

      • 3 months ago
        Anonymous

        > A state ministers wage from the 1400s plummeted by 1/10th by the end of the 18th century. Normal nobles couldn't live on the their salary alone and professional troops weren't paid half the time. Peasants just straight up ate up their crops and lived on day to day wages because they were tired of shitty tax policies.There was simply no fund left for further development.
        Exact same thing happened in China from the Ming to Qing. Tax codes and wages never accounted for real-world monetization of the economy and inflation. Just one of many reasons why corruption became so endemic in the late Qing.

  5. 3 months ago
    Anonymous

    The Qing underestimated the gun, not seeing much potential in it.
    At one battle a tactic using horse archers which was successful against Ming arquebusiers was used against the british which ended in failure.
    The Qing was also experiencing a relatively long peace until some notable rebellions (Taiping) crippled the empire, and the european powers began to force their hand on the Qing later on of course.

    The Qing did eventually modernise parts of their Army and Navy (alongside attempting to modernise their economy but notably not any attempts at social reforms) but the deep corruption made them ineffective.
    Qing's modernisation efforts were relatively successful in saving the Empire from destruction, allowing it to survive a little longer but thats not really what the post is asking for so whatever.

    For Japan, they were experiencing an era of long peace, so there wasn't much of an incentive for military development there either. That is until Matthew Perry.

    So pretty much, there wasn't much reason for Qing China and Japan to really develop the musket.
    Note the Ming-Qing transition ended in 1683 and the Edo period began in 1603. Both the Qing Dynasty and Edo Japan lasted well into the 19th century relatively peacefully.

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      >The Qing was also experiencing a relatively long peace until some notable rebellions (Taiping) crippled the empire, and the european powers began to force their hand on the Qing later on of course.
      The Qing were not experiencing a long period of peace before the Taiping, the centralized regime was starting to breakdown from an ineffective Green Army after decades of mediocre campaigns by the Qianlong Emperor bled the Manchu/Mongol banner armies dry and the treasury his father/grandfather had built up was exhausted.

      The Qing Golden age was much shorter lived than people think, by the time you get into the White Lotus Rebellion and generals are cooking the books on how many troops they need, how many supplies they need, how many rebels there are versus actually fighting the rebels you've got a broken system. Decentralized gentry-led armies were what defeated the White Lotus and later Taiping.

    • 3 months ago
      Anonymous

      >The Qing underestimated the gun, not seeing much potential in it.
      No they fucking didn't. They just didnt bother modernizing from matchlocks and muzzle loading artillery

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