Learn Asian History Documentary


The modern age may feature many
regions which make up Asia. The history of Middle
East, South Asia and East Asia is what makes up the
entire Asian history. The coastline fringe has witnessed some
of the greatest civilizations of history. The region had both ethnic
and historical consistency. The civilizations shared their cultures and
ethnicities among themselves through trade. Asian history also saw the birth of
some religions which still dominate the world like Hinduism, Islam,
Buddhism and Confucian philosophy. Invaded by nomads and Europeans
the civilizations went through a series of changes in their
culture and way of living. European colonies increased their control
in the Asian lands, they exploited local disputes and utilized a technical brink
taken on by the industrial revolution, European influences stretched
dogmatic control first in the Indian subcontinent, then South
West and South East Asia. The world today witnesses many powerful
countries in the Asian belt; China, India, Japan and Korea being some of
the most influencing and dominant. Pre-History The beginning of ‘Neolithic
1’ culture has been marked by a 10,000 BCE
temple in the south-eastern area of Turkey known as
Gobekli Tepe and is the oldest place of worship
constructed by man. There are no permanent
houses in the locality which clearly states that the site
was developed by nomads. Farming communities began to
take its roots in Northern Africa, North Mesopotamia and
Anatolia by 8500 to 8000 BCE. According to Rakesh Tewari’s
reports on Lahuradewa, India there are C14 datings which are
from 9000 to 8000 BCE linked with rice which make Lahuradewa the earliest site
of Neolithic age in whole of South Asia. There are many relics which belong
to the prehistoric Xinglongwa and Cishan culture and neolithic
cultures of Taihang Mountains which have been found near the
Yixian in Hebei Province of China at the Beifudi site and
date back to 8000 to 7000 BCE. The area of excavation is more
than 1200 square meters and consists of neolithic excavations
of two different phases. Created on dryland agriculture the Halafian
culture was born in 5500 BCE in the areas of Palestine, Levant, Anatolia,
Syria, Lebanon and Northern Mesopotamia. The southern part of Mesopotamia witnessed
less rains and required irrigation system. Ubaid culture thrived on the plains
of Elam and Sumer from 5500 BCE. Bronze Age In 4500 BCE the Copper Age or
Chalcolithic started after which began Bronze Age 3500 BCE,
swapping the Neolithic ethos. Centered in the western region
of Indian Subcontinent the Indus Valley Civilization flourished
during the 3300 to 1300 BCE. The Indus civilization
is considered to be one of the world’s most early
forms of Hinduism. Harappa and Mohenjo-daro were the
main cities of this civilization and had the most intelligently
planned cities, art and culture. The cause of destruction of these
civilizations is still under debate. There are various points
being put through; natural disasters like floods and
Indo-European invasions. These invaders have been denoted to as
Aryan who dominated the Vedic period which was also created by them and
the age lasted from 1500 to 500 BCE. Language of Sanskrit was developed this
time and the famous Vedas were written. There were tales, hymns
and epics written about the Aryan gods and the
wars they undertook. The Aryan religion sophisticated the
religion on Hinduism and developed the caste-system – which comprised of the
varnas and had more major classes; brahmans, kshatriya, vyas and shudra. The brahmans were the most respected
whereas the shudra’s were the untouchables had lowly jobs and
were not allowed into the temples. The metal working areas were
mainly Vietnam and China. The first bronze drums which belong to
the neolothic age have been discovered around the Red River delta sections
of Southern China and Vietnam. There drums are known as
Dong Son drums and are linked to the culture
of Dong Son of Vietnam. Bronze artefacts dating back
to 2100 BCE have also been uncovered in the Southeast
Asia, Ban Chiang, Thailand. More bronze tools with
artefacts of stone and ceramic have been excavated
in Nyaunggan in Burma. The date of the tools and
artefacts are not exact but can be broadly said to be
between 3500 to 500 BCE. Iron Age Occurring immediately after Bronze
Age, Iron Age has been marked by the widespread of use of iron, armour and
weapons all over the main empires of Asia. The earliest production of iron took
place in 1200 BC in Anatolia, there are evidences which point to dates
which are earlier than this also. The use of iron also accorded to other
changes in the societies of the civilizations like artistic styles,
agricultural practice, religious beliefs etc. In the history of archaeology the
literature of the Iron Age consists of the most primitive texts
preserved in manuscript tradition. Chinese and Sanskrit were the most
renowned literatures and some of the important noted texts include Vedas,
Avestan Gathas and old Hebrew Bible. The main characteristic which
separates the Iron from the other ages before it is the introduction
of alphabetic characters and the consequential growth
of written linguistic which permitted literature
and historic record. Middle East Cyrus the Great founded the Archaemenid
Empire of the Persian Empire, he ruled the territory from Turkey
and Greece to the Indus River and Central Asia during the period
of 6th and 4th centuries BCE. The Persians had many important
substructure growths, a central government and were also
tolerant to other cultures. In the rule of Darius the Great the
terrains were united, an administration was developed, aristocrats were
allocated martial positions, taxation was prudently
planned, and spies were used to certify the allegiance
of provincial officials. The main religion of Persia during
this period was Zoroastrianism founded by the philosopher
Zoroaster or Zarathustra. The religion familiarized
with monotheism in Persia. The faith forbid the use of intoxicants in
religious ceremonies and animal sacrifice and introduced the thought of divine redemption
through individual ethical act both, an end of days, both general and particular
judgement with a hell and heaven. The concept greatly impacted
the masses and the emperors. Zoroastrianism set base for religions
like Islam, Christianity and Judaism. The Persian emperors succeeded in
instituting harmony and stability in Middle East and were a great inspiration
in politics, religion and art. They were subjugated by Alexander
the Great in the 4th century BCE but the conqueror was
unable to have a stable empire and once he died Persia scattered
into small dynasties one of which was Seleucid empire
trailed by Parthian Empire. Persia united once again by the
end of the Classical age into Sassanid Empire which is also
referred to as the Persian Empire. The Parthian, Sassanid and Seleucid
empires controlled Western Asia for hundreds of years while the Romans
took control of the Western Asia. India India saw the Golden Age under the
rules of Maurya and Gupta Empires; it was an age which saw progress
in the fields of religions, art, science, technology,
philosophy all of which candied the rudiments which
is known as Indian culture. Buddhism and Hinduism were
important religions which greatly impacted East,
South and Southeast Asia. India was divided into 16
regional states in 600 BCE which constantly
battled among themselves. With his vision of conquering the world,
Alexander the Great came to India in 327 BCE, he succeeded in crossing
the northwestern part of India and also created a province known
as Bactria but his army did not move further as they were
afraid of the Indian soldiers. The Mauryan Empire was founded
by Chandragupta Maurya who began his conquests by first taking
control of the Ganges River. His empire was the most powerful
and vast in the history of ancient India, his dynasty
lasted from 321 to 185 BCE. His empire ranged from modern Assam in
the east, Himalayas in the north and beyond Pakistan in west, also seizing
much of Afghanistan and Balochistan. It was the first time that India was
united under the rule of Chandragupta. According to Chandragupta the
government established was to be managed by one King whose trusted
army was to proclaim his power. It exercised bureaucratic rule
and had a postal service. Chandragupta’s grandson Ashok
expanded his empire by conquering whole of India
except the southern tip. Ashok later found peace in Buddhism
and lead a non-violent life where he encouraged religion and other
humanitarian ways all over India. After the death of Ashok the
empire was seized by the Kushans who established
the Kushan rule in India. The empire of the
Kushans brought about a radical chaos when it
disintegrated in 220 CE. In 320 Maharaja Sri Gupta
founded the Gupta Empire which covered most of the
Indian subcontinent. The Gupta kings strategically united the
regions by marriage and negotiation. Although the area covered by the
Gupta’s was less in comparison to the Maurya’s but the Gupta’s had
much stability in their empire. Gupta’s were thrown by the Huns in 535. Classical China Zhou Dynasty The Zhou dynasty ruled over China from 1029
BCE and continued their rule till 258 BCE. They distributed the powers to the native
nobility and depended on their allegiance to regulate their large terrain; this
was much of a feudal system of rule. Because of this system the Chinese
administration was dispersed and weedy and the emperor could hardly
solve any national problems. The forming of Mandate of Heaven helped
the emperor to hold his position. The Mandate of Heaven meant that the
emperor was chosen divinely to rule and it was not necessary for the
emperor to be of noble birth or blood. It helped in removing inept
rulers and gave the worthy the opportunity to rule
over the people justly. Human sacrifice was dejected among the Zhou
and they also united the Chinese language. Settlers were encouraged by the
Zhou government to settle in the Yangtze River valley which created
the Chinese Middle Kingdom. Frequent nomadic invasions and
internal skirmishes among the princes and families left a
shaky Zhou dynasty by 500 BCE. Confucianism and other
philosophical movements like Taoism helped in
lessening the turmoil. The philosophies taught
respect of elders, concept of yin and yang and balance
of universe and nature. However, Zhou dynasty crumbled as the
nobilities became more powerful and their battles decentralized into the Warring
States Period from 402 to 201 BCE. Qin Dynasty The leader who finally ousted the
Zhou emperor was Qin Shi Huang. Imperial China was first ruled by the
Qin dynasty from 221 to 207 BCE. Qin eliminated the feudal system
and established a bureaucracy which entirely depended on
the emperor for powers. Any regional conflicts were immediately
crushed and the borders of China under his rule were extended to
northern Vietnam and South China Sea. There was a systematic tax system implemented,
standard coinage, standard measurements, national census, regulated building of
roads, official spoken and written language. Other transformations
comprise of start of construction of Great Wall
of China to keep away the nomadic invaders,
boost for the silk manufacturing business
and irrigation projects. Qin was disreputable for levying heavy
taxes, forcing people to construct the Great Wall of China and give harsh punishments
to those who did not follow his orders. He discouraged Confucians and upheld
Legalism; the concept of which was that people were intrinsically evil
and could be controlled by force. Legalism was pervaded with
realistic, reasonable opinions and banned the pleasures of
educated conversation as perky. Qin Dynasty was weakened because
of the emperor’s unpopular thoughts and other groups started
to fight to take over the throne. Han Dynasty The second dynasty to
rule over Imperial China, Han soon followed after
the Qin dynasty. The Han dynasty spread its roots
over four centuries and the period of rule of Han dynasty was considered
to be the Golden Age for China. Emperor Wu of Han dynasty brought peace to
the kingdom of China and equalled the Pax Romana which was bought about in the Roman
Empire in the Mediterranean a century later. The Han dynasty was formed
when two peasants rose against Shi Huang Qin’s son who was
weaker in power and control. They kept the bureaucracy
and centralization policy of the Qin but
lessened the suppression. They stretched their boundaries into
Vietnam, Central Asia and Korea and managed to create an empire
larger than what the Qin’s had. The Han’s advanced trade with
the Romans where they traded different types of goods
silk was the prime product. There were other civilizations
that connected through the Silk Route like India,
Europe and Middle East. Confucianism was promoted by
emperor Wu and there were many shrines that were
dedicated to the religion. The examination system was
introduced in the system which helped in picking intellectuals
of extraordinary merit. These bureaucrats were usually
people from higher class but the lower class ensured that
they keep a check on this. The administration of Han was extremely
structured and directed the agricultural production, judicial law, economy,
military and the lives of normal people. Scientific investigation, scholarly
beliefs and comprehensive past records were also promoted
during the reign of the Hans. There were many factors which pummelled
the Han dynasty, China was in a state of chaos and by 100 CE there was
much corruption in the bureaucracy. The scholars and bureaucrats neglected
their duties and the landlords took advantage of the situation
and started taking control. Neglect in work led to heavy taxation
on the peasants and the Taoists declared to have supernatural
powers which could save China. Although a failed one but the Taoists in
184 managed to weaken the administration. The chaos lasted for about
three centuries and none of the rulers managed to
bring peace to the nation. China was soon divided into
south-eastern and north-western China. In 557 the region was finally
controlled by Chen Dynasty rule the south and Northern Zhou
Dynasty ruled the north of China. Medieval History In the medieval period the Eastern
empires sustained and expanded through migration, trade and
subjugations of bordering regions. Gunpowder was extensively used as early
as the 11th century and they were using portable type printing five centuries
before Gutenberg formed his press. Taoism, Buddhism and
Confucianism were the prevailing beliefs of the Far East
during the Middle Ages. Marco Polo was not the only
Westerner to voyage to the Orient and return with marvellous
stories of this diverse nation, but his explanations printed in
the late 13th and 14th centuries were the first to be extensively
read through Europe. Islamic Middle East The Islamic states and
Islamic Caliphate conquered Central Asia, Caucasus
and Middle East in the 7th century and
stretched their kingdom into Malay Archipelago
and Indian Subcontinent. In 500 when Medieval Age
began Middle East was divided in small states
out of which Byzantine Empire in Turkey and Sassanid Empire in
Persia were the only two prominent empires. The deserts of the Arabian Peninsula
were ruled by the Bedouins who were nomads but their small clans
were bound together by affinity. Except for some places near the coast
growth and farming was limited. Medina and Mecca were
important cities which were centres for trade between
Eurasia and Africa. Early Islamic Empire Muhammad preached the faith
of Islam from 613 to 630 in the Arabian Desert ending it
in the holy city of Mecca. The tribes were united by him
into an Islamic Empire who were ruled by a political and religious
leader known as caliph. They extended their boundaries
by taking over the Sassanids and the now modern cities of
Egypt, Libya, Persia and Syria. The Byzantine Empire was
seized by the Arabic navy. In order to succeed Muhammad there
were many wars fought which were known as Ridda wars which eventually split
Islam into two sects Shia and Sunni; the Sunni were dominant and
the Umayyad Caliphate was established by them with
Damascus as their capital. Jews and Christians were treated
respect in their empire because of the teachings of their Holy Book
they shared from the Holy Bible. The women were treated kindly,
marriage was encouraged and it was said that men and women
were equal in the eyes of God. Abbasid Empire The Shia and non-Arab Muslims joined
a new political group Abbasid’s and in 750 in the Battle of Zab
the Umayyad’s were overthrown. What remained of Umayyad’s
took refuge in Iberia and independently set an empire;
Caliphate of Cordoba. The Abbasids moved their
capital to Baghdad in 762. The wazir was the person who was
responsible for most of the administrative and political responsibilities and
complete monarchy was established. They increased their trade
by sending missionaries and traders to Southeast
Asia and India. Later the western part of
India was conquered by the Abbasid’s because of some
piracy problems with them. Qutb-ud-din-Aybak was a
Turkish general who first led the army and in 1206 established
the Mamluk Sultanate. Many groups in the court fought
for power and the caliph depended on rich families to take advice
and was a puppet in their hands. The Shia administration lasted only
for a little more than hundred years after which in 1051 the Turkish
established the Seljuq Dynasty. The Crusades launched by the western
Europeans lost much control on their lands while the Muslims were unified
under Saladin in 12th century. The Christians lost all
their lands in their territory and the final
Crusade fell on 1291. Genghis Khan led the Mongols and
raided the Abbasid Caliphate, besides the empire was also
attacked by the nomads of Asia. By 1258 Hulegu Khan who was the grandson
of Genghis Khan finished what his grandfather began by assassinating
the caliph and taking over Baghdad. Although the Mongols
retreated but the caliphate was devastated and
later was subjugated by attacks of Timur and a different group
of Turks who called themselves Ottomans. The Ottomans were based in Anatolia
and by 1566 they conquered Balkans, most of Africa, most
of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, most parts of Arabia, Byzantium and
united them under one Ottoman Empire. The end of Postclassical
Era in Middle East and the caliphate was marked by the
rule of Ottoman Sultans. India Period from 600 to
1200 is defined by cultural diversities and
provincial empires. Between 606 and 647 Harsha of
Kannauj ruling the Indo-Gangetic tried to expand south but was
stopped by the Deccan Chalukya and his successor was
defeated by the Pala King of Bengal when he tried
to expand towards east. The Chakulyas were defeated by
Pallavas whereas the Pallavas were defeated by the Cholas and
Pandyas from further south. There was no kingdom that was able
to establish stability in the lands. The Muslim invasion in the subcontinent
of India began in the 12th century when the Rajput kingdoms
in northern India were ascending even though Multan and Sindh were long
taken by the Muslims in the 8th century. Medieval China The dynasties of Song,
Tang, Sui and Yuan rose and fell in the Postclassical
period of China. The era also witnessed
the beginning of Neo-Confucianism and the
spread of Buddhism. The Chinese also developed in painting
and ceramics during the Middle Ages. Some of the magnificent structures
which survive the modern times are Tien-ning Temple in Peking and Great
South Gate in Todaiji, Japan. Sui Dynasty The foundation of Sui dynasty was
laid in 580’s when a rich man Yang Jian married his daughter
to the Northern Zhou Dynasty. He pacified the nomadic armies by
abandoning the Confucian academic nobility, after which he declared
himself the Emperor Wen of Sui. He led the armies and unified
China under the Sui Dynasty. He built granaries which
helped in times of flood, regulate the marketplace and
also lowered the taxes. Wen was murdered by his son, who
declared himself Emperor Yang of Sui. Yang revived Confucian
intellectuals and bureaucracy which angered nomadic
armies and aristocrats. Yang spend a luxurious life and used
China’s resources for his personal luxury. His military fails and neglect
to look after the kingdom led to his assassination by his ministers
in 618 ending the Sui rule. Tang Dynasty Yang had a minister Li Yuan who
was renowned and intelligent and was able to sit on the
throne after his assassination. In 623 he established the Tang Dynasty
and declared himself Emperor Gaozu. Yuan expanded his
territories to Vietnam in south, Manchuria in north
and Tibet in west. The education system was bettered and
a Ministry of Rites was founded which controlled the examination system to get
qualified and educated scholars for jobs. Emperor Wu showed that China
was tolerant to women rulers. With the Taoists and Confucianists around
Buddhism suffered and with it suffered the state as the Buddhist monasteries couldn’t
be taxed instead sent many gifts and grants. Emperor Xuanzong neglected
the government and state affairs and which led to the
decline of the Tang Dynasty. A revolt in 775 left a
weak and devastated China. The Tang Dynasty finally
saw its end in 907. Song Dynasty China lost much of lands to the
nomads of Liao Dynasty during the revolts which happened under
the rule of Tang Dynasty. By 960 Song Dynasty
reunited most of China but they had to pay tribute
to the wanderers to evade future attacks,
which was like inviting the other nomadic kingdoms
to suppress them. Confucianism took form of Neo-Confucianism;
this put the intellectuals in a position which was superior in comparison
to aristocrats and the Buddhists. Women were did not have
any say or power and the notorious practice of foot
binding became prevalent. The Jin dynasty overthrew
the Liao dynasty in the north and invaded the
northern territory of China. In 1126, Song Dynasty fled south and
established Southern Song Dynasty. Yuan Dynasty The Western Xia kingdom was conquered by
Mongols in 1227, they soon came upon the Jin Empire and the Chinese townships
were inundated by the merciless Mongols. Kublai Khan proclaimed himself the Emperor
of China and established the Yuan Dynasty. The Mongols completely
controlled China by 1290 who established their capital
at Khanbaliq now Beijing. Kublai Khan was not a tolerant
leader and discouraged the Mongols to have
contacts with the Chinese. He separated the places of worship, living
homes and kept the high positions only for Mongols which caused the
Chinese intellectuals to discontinue the
bureaucratic structure; however he was always captivated by
Chinese thoughts and kept himself encircled by Taoists, Chinese
Buddhists and Confucian counsellors. Unlike the Chinese women who were always
suppressed by men the Mongolian women were independent and would
often ride and go hunting or fight along with
the men in the wars. Kublai Khan’s wife Chabi was a good advisor
and constantly advised her husband to be tolerant towards the treatment
of Chinese for him to rule smoothly. This however did not impact the position of
the Chinese women in the society and the Non-Confucian heirs of
Kublai Khan supressed not only the Chinese but the
Mongolian women too. The 1331 plague of Black
Death swallowed the Chinese population and later emaciated
Western Europe too. Japan Japan went through sinofication
or went through the influence of Chinese radical
and ethnic philosophies. The reason for Japans sinicization was
mainly because the leaders of Japan including the emperor were greatly
captivated by the Chinese bureaucracy. Besides bureaucracy
other things which mesmerized them was
Buddhism and Confucianism. The medieval period of Japan also
witnessed the old Shinto faith resume is popularity and Zen
Buddhism continued to be popular. The Asuka period marks the beginning
of Medieval Japan from 592 to 645. The period saw many social,
political and artistic changes. The Yamato dynasty established their
capital in southern Nara area. The Japanese sent their first
political mission to China in 600 and catalysed the
process of Chinese culture. The Yamato encouraged Buddhism,
there were many Buddhists temples constructed in the
rural areas and the towns. Mongol Empire A large part of Asia was
conquered by the Mongols in the 13th century and their lands
extended from China to Europe. The Medieval Asia was marked
by the rule of the Khan’s. Genghis Khan was the only person to have
controlled so much lands, he built his power by uniting the Mongol tribes and then marched
south and west to expand his territories. Kublai Khan was his grandson
and dominated Burma, Russia, China, Iran, Eastern
Europe and Middle East. The Mongol armies destroyed nearly
one-third Chinese population. The armies of the
Khans went as far as Jerusalem and they finally
saw defeat in 1260. Early Modern Period From the 17th century the Russia
started taking control of Asia and by the 19th century Siberia and most
of Central Asia was under them. From the 16th century North
Africa, Middle East, Balkans and Anatolia was dominated
by the Ottoman Empire. Qing Dynasty was established in China when
the Manchu subjugated it in 17th century. India was controlled by the
Mughals in the 16th century and commenced the second
golden Age for India. China remained to be the
biggest economy on the globe trailed by India
till the 18th century. Ming China Zhu Yuanzhang declared himself
the Emperor of China in 1368 and established the Ming Dynasty and
called himself Hongwu Emperor. The new Emperor and his armies
chased the Mongols out of China. Yuanzhang was always doubtful of
the intellectuals who controlled the Chinese bureaucracy as he was
a peasant and was not educated. Confucian scholars were required in the
administration but the examination system was made much arduous and
cheating was tremendously cut down. The scholars who outshined
everyone else were valued highly. He also directed powers
to the Emperor and tried to end the corruption
among the bureaucrats. Society and Economy Since Yuanzhang was
himself a peasant earlier he was sympathetic
to the commoners. He erected many irrigation systems and
other communal plans to help the peasants. The labour demands were lessened
and the farmers were permitted to claim and cultivate vacant
lands without paying any taxes. This however did not stop the
property-owners to gain privileges from the management and they gradually
gained control over the farmers. Moneylenders practiced
foreclosure of debts of the farmers in exchange
for mortgages forcing them to become the occupants of landholders
or to go somewhere else in search of work. Neo-Confucianism
strengthened its roots and practiced superiority of
teachers over students, men over women, elders over youth resulting
in discrimination of the inferior classes. The rule of Ming’s saw growth
in the field of art as the techniques of painting were
bettered in brush painting. The paintings normally depicted
beautiful mountains, swamplands, lakes, travellers, court
scenes, country and city life. Some of the best classic novels
were written during this time like the Jin Ping Mei, Water
Margin and Journey to the West. Ming’s rule saw a boom in
the economics of China. American crops were introduced to the farms
and peanuts, sweet potatoes and maize could be cultivated even in unproductive
lands; this helped to prevent famine. The population of China increased
rapidly and from 80-90 million it went up to 150 million
in a matter of 3 centuries. This helped in equalling
the economy of the market. Ceramics, tea, silk and lacquer
was produced by the artificers, which was traded in with
the Asians and Europeans. Westerners carried out trade in the
port-towns of Canton and Macau. The wealth earned by the merchants through
these trades was used to buy lands. The riches were not used to
develop the economy of China. Foreign Interests The Chinese set sail junk ships on the
Indian Ocean and South China Sea. Yongle Emperor appointed
Zheng He a eunuch from China to lead such expeditions
from 1403 to 1433. These junks carried goods, soldiers,
animals for zoos and travelled to Southern Arabia, East Africa and Southeast
Asia to show off their supremacy. They were more powerful than the
Europeans and the economy of the globe would be a complete different one if
their expeditions had not stopped. The Chinese administration
finally thought of these expeditions to be a waste of
money and stopped in 1433. The navy dismantled and began
to participate in the military reforms and returned to defending
China from the nomads. Chinese left the water route open for the
Europeans who arrived on their east coast and the Jesuits missionaries were
the first to set foot on land and they started converting the upper
class of people to Christianity. To get the support of the
localites the Jesuits learnt their native language, customs
and wore Chinese dress. Famous Jesuit scholars like
Adam Schall and Matteo Ricci astonished the Chinese scholars
with technical advances like cannons, clocks, improved calendars
and exact prediction of eclipses. While some of the scholars
converted most of them disliked the Jesuits and
called them barbarians. A handful of Jesuit
scholars endured at the court to amaze the emperor
and his advisors. Decline The highly centralized
government started to fall by the 1500’s as inept
rulers succeeded the throne. With the rulers there
were many unethical officials who tried to
gain from the situation. The public projects
crumbled and neglect of the administration lead to
famine, floods and drought. The peasants were forced to sell children
while the rich took advantage of the situation and build large estates and
exploited the poor to work on the estates. China was on its way to decline again. The traditional Chinese and Japanese
pirates started their raids on southern coast by middle of 16th century and
the military failed to stop them. The Manchu were gaining power and were
united by Nurhaci under the Eight Banners. Although Manchu adopted much of Chinese
cultures, it was a Chinese vassal, Emperor Chongzhen, who was the 16th
and the last emperor failed to stop a rebellion in 1644 and the
enemies invaded the Forbidden City. He hanged himself in the
imperial gardens after which Shun dynasty was
in power for some time. A loyal Ming official
took the help of Manchu’s and destroyed the Shun
Dynasty within a year. Manchus took this opportunity and
captured the capital Beijing. The Manchus established their reign
and Qing Dynasty after two centuries. Late Modern Period Qing China China was under foreign
control once more; Manchu’s established the
Qing Dynasty by 1644. The emperors of the Qing Dynasty
were conventional and continued the Confucian philosophies and
bureaucracy with the scholars. The economy saw a few changes
and there were attempts made to solve other
problems of the society. The trade with the
westerners was increased and silk, porcelain and tea
were exchanged for silver. The merchants progressed
and the already prevailing roadways, canal, irrigation
works and dikes were repaired. These measures were amalgamated
with lowered taxes and helped in soothing the turbulence
among the peasant class. The Qing Dynasty failed
to regulate the landlords who exploited the farmers
and lower class. Problems rose internally
and externally by the 18th century; in economy,
politics and society. Cheating and bribery found their way
into the exam system which opened the doors for incompetent and
inexperienced scholars in the bureaucracy which caused disorder in the projects,
military and the peasantry. Poverty gave rise to theft and banditry
especially in the rural areas and migrations started happening throughout China;
when people started looking for work. The government failed to
resolve the problems. Opium War When the Europeans started
trading with China, the latter hardly valued the products
of the Europeans whereas the Europeans had great demands for the Chinese
goods like silk, tea and porcelain. The Europeans balanced this disparity
by selling opium to the Chinese. Not only did this opium eat into the
reserves of the Chinese but spread among all the bureaucrats and society making
most of China addicts of this drug. In 1729, Emperor Yongzheng put a ban on
opium but with little efforts and later in 19th century Emperor
Daoguang took grave steps to stop opium from eating
into the Chinese society. One of the important officials who were
given this responsibility was Lin Zexu. In 1839, more than 20,000 chests of opium was
destroyed by Lin, the Europeans responded by asking for compensation and when it
was not paid the declared war on China. This is the first Opium War and China
was no match against the Europeans. Yangzi River was constantly invaded
by British and the emperor had to make peace which also
resulted in the exile of Lin. The Treaty of Nanking
was formed in which the British gave up control
of Hong Kong and gates for trade with the other European countries
like Germany, USA and France were opened. Contemporary History The Europeans controlled most of Asia
by the 20th century like the Spanish East Indies, French Indochina, British
India, Goa and Portuguese Macau. Russia and Britain battled to control the
Central Asian area in the 19th century. By 1916 the Trans-Siberian
railway was completed using which
Asia could be crossed. Persia, China and Thailand were
free from the European control. Imperial Japan stretched into Southeast
Asia and China during the Second World War. Most of the Asian countries
became free from European clutches after
the Second World War. Central Asia saw many independent
nations when Russia collapsed in 1991. Kings, Emperors, landlords and aristocrats;
the Asia has seen many changes. Dynasties and kingdoms rose and fell
giving rise to thousands of beliefs and traditions, mix of cultures of which some
were good while the others were intolerable. The Asian nations have their own
independent governments now who work peacefully and have become
important powers on the globe.

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