It has traditionally been asserted that Europeans of the era possessed more advanced science, technology, and political structures than their Eastern counterparts, but historians have recently contested this view, arguing that many parts of Asia developed on pace with Europe until 1800. While Lost Colony shows that the Dutch did indeed possess a technological edge thanks to the Renaissance fort and the broadside sailing ship, that edge was neutralized by the formidable Chinese military leadership. Thanks to a rich heritage of ancient war wisdom, Koxinga and his generals outfoxed the Dutch at every turn.
Exploring a period when the military balance between Europe and China was closer than at any other point in modern history, Lost Colony reassesses an important chapter in world history and offers valuable and surprising lessons for contemporary times.
One seventeenth-century visitor called The Hague "the mightiest village in Europe" - an epithet that could still be used today to describe this seat of Dutch government and home to its royal family. That same visitor also called it one of the most beautiful villages in Europe - no less correct - for the same circumstances that rendered The Hague mighty despite its size also rendered the Netherlands wealthy.
The Netherlands owed its vast riches to the sea, and it used that wealth not only to attain power but also to attract artistic talent. As the country came to be a leader on the world stage, the so-called Golden Age of the Netherlands encouraged the production of art and architecture of remarkable allure that is still on display today.
The history and people of this small country are explored through its rise to international prominence and then its development into one of the most tolerant and progressive countries in the world.
Historians have long argued that gunpowder weapons helped Europeans establish global hegemony. Yet the inhabitants of what is today China not only invented guns and bombs but also, as Andrade shows, continued to innovate in gunpowder technology through the early 1700s—much longer than previously thought. Why, then, did China become so vulnerable? Andrade argues that one significant reason is that it was out of practice fighting wars, having enjoyed nearly a century of relative peace, since 1760. Indeed, he demonstrates that China—like Europe—was a powerful military innovator, particularly during times of great warfare, such as the violent century starting after the Opium War, when the Chinese once again quickly modernized their forces. Today, China is simply returning to its old position as one of the world's great military powers.
By showing that China’s military dynamism was deeper, longer lasting, and more quickly recovered than previously understood, The Gunpowder Age challenges long-standing explanations of the so-called Great Divergence between the West and Asia.