The experts of Western European warfare agree that Western Europe during the early modern era (i.e. the period roughly from 1500 to 1750) experienced substantial military changes. One of the crucial components of the early modern Western European military transition was the spread and development of gunpowder weapons in both land and sea warfare. Scholars disagree on the impact of the Western European military transition on the extra-European world. A comparative study of the military systems of the big Asian empires’ military system would throw light on this thorny issue, and this is the objective of the present work. This essay attempts a comparative analysis of the armies and navies of the large agrarian bureaucratic empires of Asia (Ottoman, Safavid, Manchus/Qing and the Mughals), which were major powers in terms of political, military and economic strength before the onset of industrialization around 1800. This study will focus on the question of how far the Asian polities were able to integrate gunpowder weapons into their military systems.
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