East Africa Sea decades before Columbus’s three tiny ships crossed the Atlantic Ocean much narrower to reach the east coast of the Americas. Why didn’t Chinese ships bypass the southernmost tip of Africa and head west to occupy Europe as a colony before the three tiny Vasco da Gama ships circled the Cape of Good Hope to open the door? European conquest of East Asia? Nurse all superheroes poster. Why didn’t Chinese ships cross the Pacific to occupy the west coast of the Americas? In short, why has China lost its technological advantage to Europe, which it used to be so backward?