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By Emrys Chew (auth.)

ISBN-10: 1137006609

ISBN-13: 9781137006608

ISBN-10: 1349346632

ISBN-13: 9781349346639

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Additional resources for Arming the Periphery: The Arms Trade in the Indian Ocean during the Age of Global Empire

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45 In the early phases of Western expansion, European soldiers entered the services of Asian kingdoms and helped spread the knowledge of firearms. This was partly responsible for aggravating the intense political rivalry between states. But the transfer of weapons and military technology between the European seaborne empires and the states of Africa and Asia was relatively sparing. Small arms were supplied primarily for the 24 Arming the Periphery protection of European people and property. As a military-strategic commodity, they were only on a secondary basis to be sold outright, exchanged for other commodities, or presented as gifts to indigenous rulers.

Among the feuding states of mainland Southeast Asia, notably Burma and Siam, the persistence of mutual threat acted as a catalyst for both indigenous weapons production and the incorporation of the new weaponry into military organization and tactics. 80 The Thais, for their part, became so renowned for the production of artillery pieces, handguns, and gunpowder that the Japanese shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu procured muskets and gunpowder from them in the years 1606–8. A pair of seventeenth-century cannon, which the Thai king Narai presented to Louis XIV of France, remained sufficiently potent to be used for the storming of the Bastille in 1789.

78 In the wake of China’s ‘Gunpowder Revolution’ from the thirteenth century, other Asian metallurgists quickly mastered the technique of casting large cannon from bronze or iron once the use of artillery had been established in siege warfare. The Ottomans perfected the large siege cannon at the start of the early modern period, and the Mughals were not far behind. In small arms production, Ottoman Turkey was by the sixteenth century manufacturing muskets considered the equal of the Spanish musket, then the finest in Europe; its leadership of the arms industry in Asia would be acknowledged until the seventeenth century.

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Arming the Periphery: The Arms Trade in the Indian Ocean during the Age of Global Empire by Emrys Chew (auth.)

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