大家好，我看到一本英文书LATE IMPERIAL CHINESE ARMIES 1520-1840，觉得很好，翻译给大家看。欢迎大家评论，拍砖轻点儿哦。
SERIES EDITOR: LEE JOHNSON
LATE IMPERIAL CHINESE
This is the fifth and final volume in a series which has attempted to outline the military history of China from the earliest historical records until the middle of the 19th century. Until recently this history has been relatively inaccessible to the general public in the West. There has, therefore, been a tendency to suppose that the art of war in China remained static over long periods of time, and that the parlous state of its armed forces at the time of the Opium Wars was their normal and unalterable condition, somehow rooted in the 'non-military' nature of the people of China and their culture. It is to be hoped that this series has gone some way to dispel that myth, and to promote some awareness of a history as varied, as interesting, and indeed as violent, as that of Europe.
This volume covers the period between the arrival of the first seaborne Europeans and the beginning of the series of 'unequal treaties' which forcibly opened China to European influence from the 1840s. During the Middle Ages, China had been in the forefront of military technology, pioneering the development of the cannon and the ocean-going ship, which foreigners were later to use against her. After the 15th century this progress was not maintained, and stagnation set in. The reasons for this remain the subject of much debate, but we can identify some of the main factors: the lack of interest in warfare shown by the scholar class; excessive government regulation, driven by the fear that improved weapons might get into the hands of rebels; bankruptcy and corruption during the declining years of the Ming dynasty; and perhaps above all the lack of local rivals of comparable strength, which bred a complacent assumption that Chinese organisation and numbers would always prevail.
The huge size of the empire, its cultural self-confidence and its political sophistication prevented this technological imbalance from being as immediately disastrous as it had been for many other societies. There was never any question of the Chinese being subjugated by a handful of foreigners, as the Aztecs and Incas had been. In fact, as late as the end of the 18th century - following an era which had seen the world increasingly divided into colonial powers and their victims - China was still on the side of the winners. The Ch'ing dynasty of the Manchus, who had overthrown the native Ming in the 1640s, then ruled over the largest and most populous empire in the world, with territories that had doubled in size in the previous few decades.
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