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John Reyne

The Known World

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I just finished going over all the maps during my re-read and there is something that is bothering me. With all of the knew area that was added to Essos, Westeros seems so insignificant in the grand scheme of things. It probably accounts for 1/6th of the known world, which makes me ask why wouldn't lords with many ships invade portions of Essos to expand their kingdom similarly to Great Britain in the 15th and 16th century. Thoughts?

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It wouldn't really serve any purpose. Westeros has no real standing army, and it's up to local lords to raise their own men in times of war, and numbers can dwindle quickly. Also, setting up a communication system and stable trading system would be near impossible with their technology.

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I just finished going over all the maps during my re-read and there is something that is bothering me. With all of the knew area that was added to Essos, Westeros seems so insignificant in the grand scheme of things. It probably accounts for 1/6th of the known world, which makes me ask why wouldn't lords with many ships invade portions of Essos to expand their kingdom similarly to Great Britain in the 15th and 16th century. Thoughts?

Great Britain didn't really expand outside the British Islands until much later. They weren't a relevant maritime power until the second part of the XVI century, and even then they were just sending some corsairs to attack some spanish ships and loot some spanish colonies. They started to create their own colonies in America and to trade with East Asia and during the XVII century, and didn't create their huge colonial empire until still later.

The only ones able to create a great empire so early where the spanish and the portuguese, and only because they targeted cultures that suffered of a great technological gap behind them.

The Free Cities, the Ghiscarians, the Summer Islanders, the Ibbenese and the Qartheen all seem to be more of less at the same technological level as the Westerosi, so they wouldn't have a great advantage against them save the numerical one, and they couldn't transport their gigantic armies so far overseas.

EDIT: Wrote wrong the centuries.

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I second what Ser Lepus say, and I'll add that, apart from the Iron Islanders, no power in Westeros is a major naval power. To mount an invasion, you need heaps of ships and good sailors to get you to Essos. Maybe they don't have that many.

Also as has been said, there isn't a huge technological gap in favour of Westerosi, so invading Essos would be much harder that invading the Americas was for the Spanish and Portuguese. I daresay that if a European power had tried to invade Japan or China in the late 15th / early 16th century, they wouldn't have found the going very easy and might have been defeated.

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I second what Ser Lepus say, and I'll add that, apart from the Iron Islanders, no power in Westeros is a major naval power. To mount an invasion, you need heaps of ships and good sailors to get you to Essos. Maybe they don't have that many.

Also as has been said, there isn't a huge technological gap in favour of Westerosi, so invading Essos would be much harder that invading the Americas was for the Spanish and Portuguese. I daresay that if a European power had tried to invade Japan or China in the late 15th / early 16th century, they wouldn't have found the going very easy and might have been defeated.

During the late XVI and early XVII century the europeans were afraid that the japanese would invade them, and not the opposite. The japanese reverse-engineered european firearms and duplicated them amazingly quickly, and by the end of the XVI century they had more guns and a bigger army than any european power. Shogun Hideyoshi threatened to invade the Philippines, but fortunately a combination of a the disaster of his korean adventure and a clever facade put by the spanish ambassador (who managed to convince Hideyoshi that the spanish empire was much more powerful than it really was) made him postpone the invasion, with the project being finally discarded after his death.

Enter the english sailor William Adams, who became a servant of shogun Ieayasu Tokugawa and taught his men the real strength of the european powers and how to make english-style galleons...the prototype 120 tons ship reached Mexico, and the spanish crapped their pants (the portuguese and dutch weren't very happy, either).

Luckily, Ieyasu's sucessors closed Japan to the outside world, and the invasion never happened.

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The Redwyne Fleet is also a large navy. I guess the reasons are the military parity with the Free Cities and, fundamentally, Valyria and the Dokrathi. I guess at the time Valyria existed, the Seven (then independent) Kingdoms were more afraid of Valyrians invading than even considering invading them instead. Once Valyria fell and her dust settled the options are: attacking the Free Cities or conquering the Dokrathi Sea. The Free Cities can defend themselves. The Dokrathi Sea should be a tempting target: once tamed, it's a lot of arable land, far less affected by winter than Westeros (as it's further south) so colonizing it could be a game changer for the Westerosi. And the Free Cities have no claim there. But that means having to deal with the best cavalry in the known world.

We should also note that Robert does consider the idea of invading the Summer Islands, but never gets around it. The fractured nature of Westerosi politics by then might be one of the factors involved in that decision. Also, Victarion Greyjoy is, essentially, raiding the Slaver's Bay. It's just that the Ironborn don't aim to conquer them - they aim to kidnapp Daennerys and her dragons.

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... It probably accounts for 1/6th of the known world, which makes me ask why wouldn't lords with many ships invade portions of Essos to expand their kingdom similarly to Great Britain in the 15th and 16th century. Thoughts?

The lords we've seen with large fleets have them for a reason. It the Redwynes invaded the Essos, they'd leave themselves wide open for Ironborn raids.

We should also note that Robert does consider the idea of invading the Summer Islands, but never gets around it. The fractured nature of Westerosi politics by then might be one of the factors involved in that decision.

Just because he liked to fantasize about it and string Jalabhar Xho along doesn't mean that the idea was ever seriously considered.

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