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DURING THE LATE NINETENTH CENTURY EUROPEANS CONQURED AFRICA AND ASIA A Critically examine the kind of arguments Europeans used to justify these actions and whether we can trust these arguments and European nations and Japan at the end of the 19th century spread their influence and control throughout the continent of AsiaSoutheast Asia unlike many other parts of the world on the eve of European expansion long had been a cosmopolitan region acquainted with a diversity of peoples customs and trade goods The arrival of Europeans in force in the early 16th century others had made visits earlier beginning with Marco Polo in 1292 caused neither wonderment nor fear Long-distance travel by then was no novelty and already there was impressive precedence for the arrival of foreign delegations rather than of individual trading vessels A century before the Portuguese first arrived at Malice in 1509 that port and several of other in Southeast Asia had been visited by a succession of Chinese fleets Between 1403 and 1433 Ming-dynasty China had sent several enormous flotillas of as many as 63 large vessels and up to 30000 people on expeditions that carried them as far as Africa The purpose of these journeys led by the Muslim court eunuch Cheng Ho was to secure diplomatic and trade advantages for the Chinese and to extend the sovereign lustre of the ambitious Yung-lo Emperor Yet except for efforts to regain Dai Viet Vietnam as a province these expeditions had no permanent military or colonial ambitions and did not much disturb the Southeast Asian region Perhaps in part because of the sound defeat the Vietnamese handed a Ming occupying army in 1427 China lost interest in its new and far-flung initiatives and the voyages came to an abrupt end Europeans presented a rather different prospect for Southeast Asia however above all because they sought riches and absolute control over the sources of this wealth The Europeans were
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