East Asia for Knuckleheads

Using the information that I found, you will gain a better understanding of ancient east Asia!

Chinese Dynasties

During this time period there were many different dynasties in China. There were the Sui, Tang, and the Song dynasties. The dynasties came about after the Period of Disunion which was when nomads invaded northern China and formed their own kingdoms.

Sui Dynasty

The main ruler during the Sui dynasty was Wendi. During this time period the government was run like a bureaucracy. Most of the culture of the Sui dynasty came from northern Chinese immigrants that came to southern China. The immigrants culture blended with that of southern China to make the main culture and life style. Some accomplishment of the Sui include Completion of the Grand Canal, Restored order, created a new legal code, and reformed the bureaucracy.

Emperor Wendi, founder of the Sui Dynasty

The Tang Dynasty

The first main ruler of the Tang Dynasty was Taizong. He was followed by Wu Zhao who then was followed by Xuanzong. The Tang dynasty had a bureaucracy based government. The capitol was located in Chang’an, and a second capitol was located at Luoyang. In science, the Tang Dynasty contributed a lot to the development of astronomy, medicine and printing technique in Chinese history. A large quantity of excellent poets appeared throughout the whole dynasty. Some achievements of the Tang are, the expansion of the civil service examination system, created a flexible law code which became a model for law codes in Korea and Japan, they are known for its pottery figurines which many were made to go into tombs, and woodblock printing.

ceramic horse from the Tang Dynasty

Song Dynasty

The Song Dynasty had two main rulers, Taizu and Zhao Kuangyin. They established a capitol at Kaifeng and restored centralized government control. They also enlarged the government bureaucracy. Developed Neo-Confucianism which emphasized not only Confucian ethics but also spiritual matters. Some of the achievements during the Sing dynasty include reforming the civil service examination system, which helped ensure that talented people ran the government. Artisans also excelled at making porcelain which is a type of ceramic. They also created movable type another printing system.

Area of the Song Dynasty
Faster growing rice distributed during the Song Dynasty helped prevent famine.

Ladies and Gentlemen... The Mongols

The Mongols are what people today think of when they hear the word Barbarians. The Mongols were originally led buy Genghis Khan and later by his grandson Kublai Khan then by Hulegu. The Mongols were basically a giant clan until they were united by Genghis Khan. He is the most famous of the Mongolian leaders. The culture of the Mongols was based around ancestor worship which is when they pay tribute to their ancestors and do things the same way that they did. Their biggest achievement was the Pax-Mongolia which was the most peaceful time during the Mongolian rule when government and economy flourished.

Genghis Khan was famous for his use of terror.
The Mongols captured more land in 25 years than the Romans did in 200


During this time period, Japan was also flourishing with empires and great dynasties. The main dynasty or clan was the Yamato Clan. The leader was the grandson of Amaterasu, the sun god. The government was built around Imperialism. The capitol was the Yamato plain on the island of Honshu. The main influence was the Shinto. The big achievement for this clan was they were the first to be called emperors in Japan.

picture of a Yamato court


Like Japan, much of the Korean Peninsula is covered by rugged mountains, which limits the amount of land for agriculture. The mountain ranges run north to south along the peninsula's east coast. The first Koreans were nomadic peoples from northeastern Asia. By about 670 the Silla ruled all of Korea. The Silla kingdom eventually weakened, and around 935 rebels defeated it and founded the Koryo dynasty. The main ruler of the Koryo dynasty was King Taejo. Only nobles could take civil service examination and government positions were inherited. As result, Korean society was divided between a powerful nobility and the rest of the people.

The Koryo dynasty covered most of present day Korea
Koryo's General Kang Kam-chan battling Mongolians
One type of pottery from the Koryo dynasty

Southeast Asia

The region of southeast Asian is located between India and China. These two powerful neighbors shaped the development of civilization in this region. Southeast Asia can be divided into two parts, mainland southeast Asia and island southeast Asia. The waterways through Southeast Asia were the most important trade routs between India and China. The two most important trade routs were the Malacca Strait and the Sumatra Strait. As Indian and Chinese traders came to Southeast Asia, they began to influence the region. Indian Muslims brought Islam to Southeast Asia. Early kingdoms and empires of Southeast Asia include, The Pagan Kingdom, The Khmer Empire, several trading kingdoms, and Vietnam.

There are more than 100 ancient Khmer temples concentrated in the area around Siem Reap

Pagan Kingdom

Around the AD 840's, a people called the Burmans established the kingdom of Pagan in what is now Myanmar. Pagan's first great king was Anawrahta, who ruled from 1044 to 1077. King Anawrahta began to conquer the surrounding areas and by 1057 had united much of what is now Myanmar under his rule. Anawrahta and his successors supported Theravada Buddhist temples, and the Pagan became a center of Buddhist learning. In the late 1200s the Mongols under the rule of Kublai Khan crushed the Pagan army. The culture of Pagan was mostly Buddhist and most of the people in Pagan were rice farmers. Some achievements of the Pagan include, Angkor Wat and an irrigation system.

The Khmer Empire

To the southeast of Pagan, the powerful Khmer Empire arose in what is now Cambodia. Their greatest ruler was Jayavarman II. By the early 800s, the Khmer had begun to conquer the kingdoms around them to build a great empire. The empire reached its height about 850 to 1220, during which it controlled much of the Southeast Asia mainland. The Khmer Empire reflected a strong Indian influence. The empire's rulers adopted both Hindu and Buddhist beliefs and ruled as gods. The capitol city was Angkor which had a temple in the center. In Angkor, the Khmer rulers had spectacular temples complexes built. The most famous is Angkor Wat, the ruins of which still stand. The Khmer rulers could fund these projects because their empire had grown prosperous from rice farming.

Angkor Wat: The Largest Religious Monument In The World


While most of Southeast Asia was influenced by India, Vietnam was strongly influenced by China. In 111 BC the Han dynasty of China conquered the kingdom of Nam Viet in what is now northern Vietnam. Under Chinese rule, Vietnam absorbed many aspects of Chinese civilization. In spite of the many ways in which China influenced Vietnam, the Vietnamese still maintained many of their traditional customs. When the Chinese rulers grew weak, the Vietnamese sometimes would start a rebellion. The most famous one took place in AD 39. It was led by two sisters, Trung Trac and Trung Nhi. The rebellion drove the Chinese out for a period of time but they quickly regained controll of Vietnam. In 939 though, the Vietnamese established the independent kingdom of Dai Viet in what is now northern Vietnam. The government of Vietnam was a Bureaucracy and a Confucian-based civil service system. The culture was mostly formed during the Han dynasty and many aspects of Chinese civilization were absorbed, and the Chinese language was absorbed. The Vietnamese adapted Buddhist art and made it better.

Vietnam is the lighter region.
The imperial enclosure at Mieu Mon temple, Vietnam

Thank you for visiting East Asia, I hope you have enjoyed the trip!!

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