Zhilong, the father of Koxinga who invaded Dutch owned Taiwan was an outlier.
From Lost Colony by Tonio Andrade, Zhilong fled China to Macau and would serve as a translator to the Dutch.
The Dutch had ultimately settled Taiwan as they did not wish to contest the Ming army on the mainland, however, Lost Colony points out that they made contact with the local minority Min pirates, who were then part of the Wukou pirates in an attempt to control trade with China.
Zhilong would become one of the most feared pirate, because from one ship financed by the Dutch as a dubious form of privateer, he would rise to own over 4 hundred junks pillaging China.
On one trip in his early career, limping into Zealandia with damaged masts and holed hull, the Dutch allowed the pirate Zhilong to dock and received as part of their booty one hundred and sixty pieces of eight.
Later on, Zhilong would hand over 9 captured junks in 1626,with a cargo worth over 20 thousand Chinese taels of silver to the Dutch governor , with a modern price of 5 million USD....
Contrary to Wang, the Ming couldn't defeat Zhilong via numbers as his fleet had been partially equipped with Dutch cannons. Indeed, the Ming desperate attempt to reverse engineer this gap apparently led to the Ming salvaging Dutch wrecks so as to examine the cannons.
Lost Colony also details how Zhilong eventual allegiance to the Ming dynasty led to him creating a 'modern' junk fleet and the battle of LIulao Bay.
This fleet was sunk by Putnam in a sneak attack.
Interestingly , Lost Colony also details how the Chinese viewed the Dutch warships, with the entire fleet fleeing before Putnam punitive attacks and coastal town raided before Zheng fireship attack. The only fleet that was viewed as able to handle the Dutch was Zhilong modern European style junks. Which was sunk.
Reinforcements from other fleets was not viewed as adequate to defeat the Dutch gunline, resulting in the decision for fireship attack, using the capital ships as fireships as a diversion. Lost Colony details Putnam viewing the superior numbers as inconsequential.
It would appear that this pattern repeats itself decades later,as Lost Colony focuses itself on Koxingxia invasion of Taiwan and has an interesting epilogue where the Dutch sends a small squadron to revenge itself for the loss.
It linked up with the Qing navy for manpower,and in a fleet battle, the Ming elements promptly fled before the Dutch after a small skirmish.... Only for the Qjng fleet pincer which was closing the trap to flee before the Ming.
It's.... Answer some questions brought up by Thanas and Simon in this thread and the other and well,shows how ignorant I am of this chapter in history still.
I was aware that the government didn't build modern ships capable of having a gunline capable of challenging a Sea Beggar or Galleon, but apparently, it was built by private hands instead.
The paper cited is behind paywall so I couldn't see How the Ming salvaged wrecks to reverse engineer cannons but the invasion of Taiwan shows that the Europeans cannon and military fortification tech was still leaps more advanced than the Chinese.
Still, this short excerpt shows the size of China private navies and shipyards, the size of the Chinese pirates basing themselves in Min, Japan and etc and the values of the cargoes hijacked during this period of naval trade ban .
It also shows how the Ming military was severely technologically behind the Europeans, their attempts to catch up and how they used numbers and deception tactics to make do for their tactical and technological deficiencies
Let him land on any Lyran world to taste firsthand the wrath of peace loving people thwarted by the myopic greed of a few miserly old farts- Katrina Steiner