Early Asian Civilizaions and Empires
By John Rusyniak
In A.D. 589 China was reunified by the Sui Dynasty under Emperor Wendi's rule. But the Sui dynasty was short and very similar to the Qin dynasty in terms of the rule and ruthlessness of the rulers. By forcing the peasants to work on the Grand Canal Yang Di, Wendi's son, caused tension among the people of the Dynasty eventually starting a rebellion leading to his assasination. The Grand Canal however helped the fture commerce of China leading to a more prosporous tang dynasty.
Sui Emperors: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/572085/S...
Achievements and Fall: http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/do...
After the rebbelion a Sui general seized power and founded the Tand dynasty. They ruled almost 300 years and under the Tang rule, china experienced prosperity and achievement. They built on the Sui's achievement and the grand canal helped increase trade and commerce helping the economy even more. The Tang expanded the civil service examination system as well, this made it so that the people had to pass written exams to work for the government increasing the payoff for the country. The also creasted a law code which became a model for modern day laws in China and Japan. Most of the prosperity occuring dring the reign of Taizong who ruled for 23 years. He relied on the help of talented officials who helped him conquest and set up schools to prepare students for the examination to happen later in their lifes. After his death his son became emperor but he was weak and sickly so his wife took over who eventually became emperor but was overthrown by Xuanzong and under him the empire flourished yet again. The prosperity lasted untill nomadic invasions in the north led to the death of the emperor and weakness of government resulting in the fall of the Tang dynasty.
Culture and Religion: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/history/tang...
After the Tang dynasty China was thrown into dissaray and split. It wasn't reunified until 960 with the song dynasty. Similar to the Tang, the song dynasty lasted about 300 years and led to cultural achievments and prosperity. The Song established a permantent capitol at Kaifeng and restored the control of the preiviously choatic government. they improved on the prieviously existing examination system, those who passed became scholar officals, elite members of the government. The government started as the northern song but was eventually destroyed by the Jin which led to the establishment of the Southern song set up by Zhao Gou. Eventually the dynasty caved in from the pressure of the Jin and Yuan eventally ending in 1279.
Emperors and Achievements: http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/history/song...
The nomads had always been a constant threat for the people of china during the Sui, Tang and Song dynasty. These attacks became very frequent during the song dynasty and in th 1200's the Mongols emerged as powerfull nomadic people on the Central Asian steppes. The mongols were fierce tough fighters who were ruthless in battle. For a long time the Mongols were divided into seperate clans each led by a Khan. In the late 1100's a powerful khan named Temujin began to conquer his rivals and unite the clans. In 1206 he claimed the title Genghis Khan meaning "universal ruler". With the Mongols united he organized them into a powerful military and began a conquest. He used fear tactics, killing everyone in a town that resisted him entually causing widespread fear of the Mongols leading to people surrendering him without a fight. For the next 20 years the Mongols conquered most of Asia. After Genghis Khan's death the nation was split up into four sections each led by a seperate leader. All the sections were led by a singular leader. Under Genhis's Grandson Kublai Khan's the empire prospered, leading to a time known as the Pax Mongolia. This was a time of peace and prosperity throughout Asia. Inventions such as the compass and gunpowder were introduced to the western civilizations along the Silk Road.
More on Genghis Khan: http://www.livescience.com/43260-genghis-khan.html
Arts and Culture: http://www.mongolianculture.com/Mongolian-Traditio...
West of China lies the small island of Japan, the mongols were unable to take it over so they thrived on their own. The early fondings of a dynasty started win Japan with the Yamato Clan. They lieved in a rich farming region and controlled most of Japan, but the other clans throughout Japan eventually gained power leading them to control the Yamato emperors as their puppets. By the mid-500's Japan had increased contact with Korea and China. This led to similar customs to those found in China and Korea. Korean scribes taught Japan writing along with Buddhism. And the Japanese learned and developed many cultural ways similar to China, such as confucian ideas, fashion and foods. In 794 the emperor at the time moved the capital to Heian starting the Heian Period. During the Heian Period the Fujiwaras controlled Japan. During this period, fahioned flourished and people loved elegance. Literature also bloomed during this time in ways such as poetry and fictional prose.
Culture, Religion, and Achievements: http://www.jref.com/history/heian-period-2/
List of Emporers: https://www.courses.psu.edu/spcom/spcom483_sdp2/le...
North of Japan lies the small penninsula of Korea. While its location between China and Japan led for the passage of culture and ideas, it also left Korea open to invasion. Korea like most civilizations started as nomadic people, they formed clans and developed their own culture. Eventually after being conquered by China and other rival kingdoms the Koryo Dynasty was founded. This dynasty would last almost 400 years and would lead to times of prosperity for the Koreans. The culture flourished leading to acievements in pottery and printing. But by the 1200's the Mongols invaded and occpied Korea however they eventually weakened leading to a rebellion that resulted in the founding of a new dynasty which lasted until 1910.
Similar to the start of the Japanese and the Koreans, several small clans and kingdom arose across Southeast Asia and being influenced by nearby China and India they began to form their own kingdoms.
Around AD 840's the Burman people established the kingdom of Pagan. The first king of Pagan was Anawrahta and he began to conquer the surrounding areas and eventually united all of what is now Myanmar under his rule. Under his rule the Kingdom prospered, building thousands of magnificent Buddhist temples, the the kingdom became a center for Buddhist learning. However in the late 1200's the Mongols demanded tribte from Pagan, they refused and attacked the Mongols who crushed the Pagan Kingdom, this left the kingdom powerless.
To the southeast of Pagan arose another empire who called themselves the Khmer. They conquered the kingdoms around what is now Cambodia. Influenced heavily by India, the Khmer adopted Hindu beleifs and the rulers ruled as gods. In Angkor the rulers had magnificent temples built for Hinduism. They boomed from the prosperous rice farming and they developed an irrigation system that spanned for millions of acres. Unfortunately, the high cost of these building projects caught up to them and led to their eventual decline.
More info: http://www.ancient.eu/Khmer_Empire/
To the south, several Trading Kingdoms developed and flourished. The kingdom of Sailendra was one of the first of these, starting on the island of Java the kingdom thrived on agriculture. They are also known for their immpressive Buddhist art and architecture. On the nearby island of Sumatra the Srivijaya Empire arose. They prospered from trade becoming exceedingly wealthy. They adopted Hinduism and Buddhism, but in 1025 an Indian kingdom attacked them leaving them weak.
To the north Vietnam absorbed many of the nearby Chinese cultures and influences. The Han Dynasty eventually conquered northern Vietnam , from here the chinese ruled the region on and off for the next 1000 years. Under the chinese rule they developed many aspects of the Chinese civilization including the language, clothing and hair styles. They were also heavily influenced by Confusianism and adopted aspects of the Chinese government including a Confucian based civil service system and a bureaucracy. Eventually with the fall of the Tang Dynasty the vietnam people rebbelled, gaining their independence.