Thursday, April 2, 2015

History: The Year is 1548

I've uploaded year 1548 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Matchlock Comes to Japan -- The matchlock musket is used for the first time in battle in Japan. They still need to work out their strategy but war in Japan has changed forever.

The Sky is the Limit and the Emperor is Far Away -- In an attempt to stop piracy, China produces even more pirates.

The Matchlock Comes to Japan

Fresh from a victory at Shika Castle, Takeda Shingen (tah-keh-dah SHIN-gehn) hits a brick wall in his advance to take the Shinano (shih-nah-noh) Province (about midway along the island of Japan). Leading 7,000 warriors in foldable armor and conical hats they are shocked when the Murakami (moo-rah-kah-mee) clan uses the new-fangled matchlock muskets that the Portuguese had introduced to Japan a few years ago. 50 soldiers fire once into the advance and charge. In this first battle using firearms in Japan, warfare strategy will have to adapt to this new, long-distance weapon. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
At that time the Japanese hadn't worked out how to use the matchlock effectively on the battlefield. The matchlocks were more a shock weapon at first. BOOM! In the confusion, the bowmen launched arrows into the enemy and the foot soldiers charged with swords. What is more interesting is that first contact between the West and Japan had already occurred by 1542. A Chinese junk had washed up on the Japanese island of Tanegashima after a storm. The Portuguese on board sold two matchlocks to the islanders which they reproduced in their metal shops. Over the years, with the Jesuit missionaries and Portuguese merchants swarming over Japan, the Shogunate believed that a subtle invasion was in progress so they squeezed the foreigners out of Japan until 1854 when Commodore Perry of the U.S. Navy fired on Japan in Edo Bay (which is Tokyo Bay) and ended the Edo period. [3] [4] [5]

The Sky is the Limit and the Emperor is Far Away

The Chinese are having problems with Portuguese pirates along their coast and perceive them as a military threat rather than a criminal nuisance, so they issue a ban on coastal trading to discourage them from landing. The Chinese have tried this before and the result was to create more pirates. The majority of the merchants are reasonably honest but a man has to eat so even the honest merchants are forced to become pirates. The trade ban weakens the legitimate coastal economy and leads to less tax revenue to spend on hunting for lawbreakers. The ban won't be lifted until 1567, but as the Chinese proverb goes, "The sky is high and the Emperor is far away." In other words, when no one is looking, the sky is the limit. [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Portuguese are not as big a problem as the Chinese think. However, in overreacting to the Portuguese merchants, they turned these merchants into pirates... the very thing the Chinese did not want. When trade is organized and easy, piracy drops to a minimum and tax revenues go up because it is easier to pay a small tax and deliver your goods than to hassle with smuggling. High penalties or bans on trading create more smuggling and outright piracy. In 1621, the Chinese refused to engage in official negotiations with the Dutch East India Company but would negotiate with illegal Chinese pirates in an attempt to lure them away from their criminal ways. That was how the Dutch became pirates because it was the only way that the Chinese would do business with them. [9] [10]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1548, Wikipedia.

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