Asian History: Most Popular Articles
The 47 Ronin, or masterless samurai, avenged their lord's death and became some of the most famous Japanese samurai in history. Learn about them here!
Profile of the People's Republic of China, including facts about China's people, geography, culture, and history.
Biography of Akbar, the third emperor of India's Mughal Dynasty, born Jalal-ud-Din Muhammad Akbar. Famed for his religious tolerance, empire-building and patronage of the arts, he is known as Akbar the Great.
Ninjas dart through movies and comic books, but what is the historical reality behind the pop culture icon of The Ninja?
Qin Shi Huang was the first emperor of a unified China. He is famous for the terracotta army that is buried with him, as well as for beginning construction on the Great Wall of China.
Profile of the samurai, medieval Japan's warrior class. Includes information about the history of the samurai, samurai swords, other samurai weapons, samurai armor and samurai culture.
India's Mughal Empire ruled the subcontinent from 1526 to the beginning of the British Raj in 1858.
Why did the US enter the Vietnam War? Learn the answer to this Asian History FAQ.
What is seppuku? Why did samurai commit seppuku (also called harakiri)? How did they perform this ritual suicide in feudal Japan? Find answers to these questions here.
The caste system in India has ordered society both for Hindus and even non-Hindus over thousands of years. Learn more about the history India's complex system of castes.
What was the Partition of India, and why did it happen? Learn more about this critical fracture in the subcontinent, just as it achieved independence from the crumbling British Empire.
Under Mao Zedong, Communist China underwent a spasm of violence known as the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s. Learn more about it here.
Biography of Genghis Khan, leader of Mongolia and one of history's great rulers, who conquered most of Eurasia in the early thirteenth century.
Feudal Japan had a four-tiered class system based on Confucian logic, with samurai warriors on top and merchants on the bottom.
Comparison of feudalism in Japan and Europe. How did Japanese feudalism differ from European feudalism, and how were they similar?
Biography of Ashoka the Great, emperor of India's Mauryan Empire during the third century BCE.
A profile of Japan, including information about its history, culture, people, and land.
Biography of Tamerlane, more properly known as Timur, the Central Asian conqueror. His empire stretched from Turkey to the border of Tibet, and from southern Russia to Oman.
The Philippines is an island nation in the western Pacific. Learn about the history, geography, and people of this fascinating country.
Is Tibet part of China? History of the interactions between China and Tibet, including the unclear relationship between the two over time. Was Tibet really part of China before 1949, or was it an independent country?
Biography of Indira Gandhi, India's third Prime Minister, also known as the Iron Lady of India. She was the first woman elected to head a democratic country, following in the footsteps of her father, India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.
Biography of Emperor Aurangzeb of the Mughal Empire in India, who ruled during the first half of the seventeenth century. A ruthless man, he imprisoned the maker of the Taj Mahal - his own father, Shah Jahan.
The very idea of British India seems inexplicable. Consider the fact that Indian written history stretches
Biography of Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of India's ancient Mauryan Empire, and grandfather of the famous Ashoka the Great.
What was the Great Leap Forward? Find out about this tragic event in Chinese history.
In 1989, the Chinese government faced escalating student protests in Beijing and other cities. The regime cracked down hard, with tanks and soldiers from the People's Liberation Army. Estimates of the number of students, soldiers, and ordinary citizens killed range between 241 (government numbers) to 2,600 (Chinese Red Cross) to 7,000 (foreign NGOs). Video and photos gave the world a front-row seat at the Tiananmen Square Massacre, sparking wide-spread condemnation of the government's actions.
Tipu Sultan, also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the last ruler in India strong enough to dictate terms to the British East India Company.
Describes the invention of gunpowder by Tang Dynasty Chinese alchemists, around 850 A.D.
History of Persia's Assassins, or Hashashin - an Ismaili sect who used targeted killings of political and religious leaders.
Mohandas Gandhi, also known as the Mahatma, led the non-violent independence movement in India that called an end to the British colonial government. Learn more about this pivotal 20th century leader here.
In China, an emperor could lose the gods' support - which meant it was time for a new dynasty. Learn more about this process, known as the Mandate of Heaven, here.
The Meiji Restoration in Japan signaled the end of the shogunate system and the beginning of modern Japan.
How did the Korean Peninsula end up split into North and South Korea? Learn about the almost accidental creation of the divided Koreas here.
Glossary definition of the phrase Viet Cong from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
The monks of China's Shaolin Monastery are known for their fighting prowess, particularly in their own Shaolin style of kung fu. Learn more about this ancient monastery and its inhabitants.
The geisha of Japan were highly trained and talented entertainers, adept in the arts of music, dance, poetry and conversation. Geishas were distinct from prostitutes, and usually did not perform sexual favors for their customers.
List of the imperial dynasties of China, from the early mythical dynasties to the Qing dynasty.
Answer to the frequently asked question, What is the difference between communism and socialism?
Biography of Jose Rizal, hero of the Philippines. Rizal was a genius and polymath who advocated for human rights during Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines. He was executed at the age of 35.
Although the Black Death, probably bubonic plague, is usually associated with Europe, it began in Asia, and devastated cities there first. Learn more about the Black Death in Asia here.
Who are the brahmins? Find out in this glossary definition from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Brief history of the Mongol Empire, founded by Genghis Khan, which was one of the largest empires in human history.
Profile of Afghanistan, including facts about its geography, government, culture, people, and history.
Facts about and history of Vietnam, Southeast Asia, from your About.com Expert on Asian History.
Depiction of one of the earliest samurai women of Japan, the Empress Jingu, who lead an invasion of Korea in the second century CE.
Facts and history of Pakistan, including information about its culture, geography, economy and peoples.
List of 50 amazing Asian inventions, from 10,000 BCE to 2000 CE, along with descriptions of the Asian inventors who thought of them (where known).
Facts and history of South Korea since the end of World War II.
For more than 250 years, the Tokugawa shoguns ruled Japan as the heads of the bakufu, or military government, based at Edo (Tokyo). They relied on samurai warriors and their daimyo lords to keep Japan's complex feudal-style social system in order, up until the Meiji Restoration of 1868.
Profile of the Kingdom of Thailand, including information about the country's government, population, geography, and economy. Also covers briefly the country's history from the Paleolithic Era to the present day.
Glossary definition of the term Taj Mahal from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Biography of Ferdinand Marcos, the tenth president of the Philippines. His reign was known for corruption, the imposition of martial law, and his wife Imelda's shoe collection.
The area that is now Malaysia has a rich history stretching back millennia. The country itself, though, is quite young - it was created only in 1963, after throwing off British colonization. Learn more about this fascinating country's history, economy, people and landscapes.
Biography of Attila the Hun, who was called the Scourge of God by the Romans. His army helped to hasten the Fall of Rome. Find out about the life and times of this most famous of the Huns.
Why did China lease Hong Kong to Britain? Find the answer here, in the About.com Asian History FAQs.
Learn about the My Lai Massacre, one of the worst atrocities of the Vietnam War.
What was the Revolt of 1857, also known as the Sepoy Rebellion or the Sepoy Mutiny, all about? Learn why Indian soldiers rebelled against the British East India Company, leading to the downfall of the Mughal Dynasty and the East India Company.
Why did China's final imperial dynasty, the Qing Dynasty, fall early in the twentieth century?
Bangladesh is a relatively new country - it declared independence from Pakistan in 1971. The Bengali culture is one of the most ancient, however. Learn more about this new yet old country here.
Babur founded one of India's great empires - the Mughal Empire. Learn more about this pivotal figure in the history of India here.
Glossary definition of the word Pashtun from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Learn more about the Taiping Rebellion, an uprising and civil war in southern China during the later Qing Period (mid-1800s).
The Joseon dynasty ruled the Korea Peninsula from 1392 until the Japanese occupation of Korea in 1910. The Joseon era solidified the importance of Confucianism in Korean culture; saw the invention of hangul, the Korean alphabet; witnessed the first Korean tea ceremony; and left lasting monuments such as the Gyeungbokgung Palace.
Profile of North Korea, including information about its people, government, climate, history and economy.
A compact timeline of Mao Zedong's life, from a humble birth through the founding of the People's Republic of China, to the disaster of the Great Leap Forward and beyond.
Profile of the nation of Mongolia, including information about its people, landscape, economy, and history.
In 1274, the Mongol emperor of China, Kublai Khan, sent an armada to invade Japan. This invasion was repelled by the samurai, and a typhoon which sank the Mongol ships. The Mongols invaded again in 1281, but a second typhoon (called a kamikaze - divine wind) once more destroyed their armada after seven weeks of fighting.
Profile of Myanmar (Burma), Southeast Asia, including information about the country's government, population, geography, and economy. Also covers briefly the country's history from the Paleolithic Era to the troubles of the present day.
A quick guide to facts on the Vietnam War: when did it happen, who was involved, who won the war, and how many people died?
Biography of Zheng He, the famous Muslim eunuch admiral of Ming China's treasure fleet, who lead one of the greatest armadas in human history on seven voyages around the Indian Ocean world. Learn about Zheng He's life and accomplishments here.
Why did Ming China stop sending out the treasure fleets in 1433? How would world history have been different, if the Ming Dynasty had continued its Indian Ocean presence? These are some of the great questions of Asian history.
Queen Seondeok of Korea's Silla Kingdom was the first reigning queen of Korea, 606 - 647 CE.
Images of samurai warriors and their armor, as well as some modern-day samurai imitators. Includes traditional wood-cut prints, as well as photos of an Edo-era samurai and museum displays of samurai gear.
Profile of the Republic of India, including information about its government, history, economy and geography.
Profile of Yemen, with information about its people, geography, climate, economy, and history.
The current Emperor of Japan, Akihito, has little political power. So what does he actually do? Description of the official functions and daily life of the current Emperor of Japan.
Biography of Saudi King Abdullah, the sixth and current ruler of Saudi Arabia.
In the early fifteenth century, Admiral Zheng He led the Ming Chinese Treasure Fleet on seven voyages around the Indian Ocean, traveling as far as Arabia and East Africa. Learn more about the seven voyages of Zheng He and the Treasure fleet here.
Glossary definition of the term Rajput from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
The ancient land of Cambodia was a seat of Southeast Asian culture for centuries. During the 20th century, this nation was rocked by the horrors of World War II, the Vietnam War and the Khmer Rouge genocide. Learn more about the people, culture, and tragic history of Cambodia.
Biography of Mao Zedong, founder of the People's Republic of China.
Is Tibet part of China? History of the interactions between China and Tibet, including the unclear relationship between the two over time. Was Tibet really part of China before 1949, or was it an independent country? Page 3.
Glossary definition of the term Red Guards from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Biography of Suleiman the Magnificent, the most famous sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Learn more about The Lawgiver here.
Biography of the Dowager Empress Cixi of Qing China. Sometimes called the Old Buddha or Dragon Lady, she is one of the most vilified rulers in history.
Biography of the Joseon Korean Queen Min, also known as the Empress Myeongseong, who was assassinated by the Japanese in 1895.
Biography of Mahmud of Ghazni, the Muslim ruler who between 997 and 1030 CE conquered much of what is now Afghanistan, Pakistan, northern India, and eastern Iran from his base in Ghazni, Afghanistan.
In Heian-era Japan (794-1185), beauty standards were quite different from those of modern-day Japan. Learn here about makeup and fashion in ancient Japan.
Profile of Sri Lanka, formerly called Ceylon, including facts about the history, economy, people and major cities.
What effect did the Mongol Empire's expansion have on Europe? Learn more here about how Genghis Khan and his descendants impacted Europe, directly and indirectly.
Learn more about the invention of the crossbow, probably in China or nearby parts of Central Asia, here.
Glossary definition of the term shogun from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Is Tibet part of China? History of the interactions between China and Tibet, including the unclear relationship between the two over time. Was Tibet really part of China before 1949, or was it an independent country? Page 2.
Sun Yat-Sen is considered the Father of the Nation in both the People's Republic of China and in Taiwan.
The Han Dynasty ruled China during one of the country's golden ages, but it collapsed at roughly the same time as the similarly illustrous Gupta Empire in India, and the Roman Empire in the Mediterranean. Why did Han China fall?
Facts and information about Nepal, including its history, people, geography and economy.
Profile of Iran, formerly known as Persia, including facts about its people, geography, economy and history.
It's easy to confuse Iran and Iraq - after all, they are right next to one another, and their names are so similar. However, they are both proud and ancient lands, with a history of not getting along well. Avoid a gaffe - learn the difference between Iran and Iraq.
Why was Qin Shi Huangdi of China buried with an army of terracotta soldiers?
Who Are the Rohingya? Learn more about this persecuted minority in Myanmar (Burma) here.
An island in the South China Sea, Taiwan is a manufacturing powerhouse and a democratic nation. It stands in opposition to mainland China, which claims Taiwan as a lost province, but the two have been separate since 1895.
Throughout history, the field of war has been dominated by men. Nonetheless, in the face of extra-ordinary challenges, certain brave women have made their mark in battle. Here are five legendary women warriors of ancient times from across Asia.
In 1989, the Chinese government faced escalating student protests in Beijing and other cities. The regime cracked down hard, with tanks and soldiers from the People's Liberation Army. Estimates of the number of students, soldiers, and ordinary citizens killed range between 241 (government numbers) to 2,600 (Chinese Red Cross) to 7,000 (foreign NGOs). Video and photos gave the world a front-row seat at the Tiananmen Square Massacre, sparking wide-spread condemnation of the government's actions. Page 3.
Photo of a Vietnamese civilian woman with a gun to her head during the Vietnam War, 1969. Page 17.
Glossary definition of the term Dalit from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Carved wooden masks with exaggerated features and bright paint are one of the characteristic elements of Korean culture. Korean masks were originally used in shamanist rituals; today, they appear most often in cultural festivals. Learn about the origin and meaning of the masks, and see some of the dozens of mask designs here, as well as pictures of mask-dancers performing.
The US used napalm and Agent Orange in vast quantities during the Vietnam War. How were these chemical weapons used, and what are their lingering effects on Vietnam?
Timeline of India's glorious Mughal Empire, which ruled the subcontinent from the time of Babar's conquest in 1526 until 1857, when the British Raj took over.
Glossary definition of the term bushido from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Biography of Ho Chi Minh, leader of the North Vietnamese communist forces during the Vietnam War.
Glossary definition of the term daimyo from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Facts about and history of Turkey, once the seat of the powerful Seljuk and Ottoman Empires, and today the leading secular nation in the Islamic world. Also includes information on the people of Turkey, the economy, religion in Turkey, and other topics.
Timeline of the Vietnam War (Second Indochina War). After World War II, France assumed that it would retake control of its colonial holdings in Southeast Asia. The Southeast Asian people had different ideas, however. After France's defeat by the Vietnamese in the First Indochina War, the U.S. became embroiled in a second war, which Americans call the Vietnam War.
Asian History. Page 2.
Biography of Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan and daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party. Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in 2007.
The crushing Viet Minh victory over French colonial forces at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 marked the end of France's direct involvement in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (formerly French Indochina). The peace turned out to be only a lull before the Second Indochina War, also known as the Vietnam War, between Ho Chi Minh's forces and the United States.
Biography of Marco Polo, the young Venetian merchant who traveled to Kublai Khan's court in Yuan China during the 13th century.
Timeline of the Boxer Rebellion in China at the turn of the 20th century. Chinese Boxers took up arms against foreigners, Chinese Christian converts, and other symbols of foreign oppression in Qing China in 1899-1901, but the rebellion was quashed.
Fourteen facts and examples about class identity and the four-tiered social system in feudal Japan. See examples that show the inner workings of Tokugawa Japan's social structure.
In 1989, the Chinese government faced escalating student protests in Beijing and other cities. The regime cracked down hard, with tanks and soldiers from the People's Liberation Army. Estimates of the number of students, soldiers, and ordinary citizens killed range between 241 (government numbers) to 2,600 (Chinese Red Cross) to 7,000 (foreign NGOs). Video and photos gave the world a front-row seat at the Tiananmen Square Massacre, sparking wide-spread condemnation of the government's actions. Page 2.
Glossary definition of the term ronin from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Timeline of Indian history, from the earliest civilizations to the modern day.
Biography of Sukarno or Soekarno, Indonesia's first president after it gained independence from the Netherlands.
Map and brief history of the Indian Ocean Trade network, which linked China and Indonesia with India, the Arab world, and East Africa for thousands of years.
Biography of Benigno Ninoy Aquino, opposition leader in the Philippines during the dictatorial rule of Ferdinand Marcos. Ninoy was the husband of later president Corazon Aquino and father of current president Benigno Aquino III, called Noynoy.
Biography of Kublai Khan, founder of China's Yuan Dynasty and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, who hosted Marco Polo at Xanadu
Quick summary of the pivotal Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05.
Learn more about Japan's controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which is dedicated to those who died on behalf of the Empire of Japan between the Meiji Restoration and World War II.
Biography of King Sejong the Great of Korea. This famous king of Korea invented the Korean script, hangul.
Facts and history of Kazakhstan, Central Asia's largest republic and former member of the Soviet Union.
What were the Opium Wars, and why did they happen? Learn more about the First and Second Opium Wars between China and Great Britain.
Is Tibet part of China? History of the interactions between China and Tibet, including the unclear relationship between the two over time. Was Tibet really part of China before 1949, or was it an independent country? Page 4.
The Long March is one of the most famous episodes in modern Chinese history, but what was it exactly? Find out here.
Park Chung Hee, a former South Korean army general, overthrew Syngman Rhee in a military coup, and ruled South Korea for 16 years.
The Trung Sisters, who ruled a kingdom in northern Vietnam c. 40 CE and fought against the powerful Eastern Han Dynasty of China, are heroines and famous symbols of nationalism in Vietnam to this day, almost 2000 years later.
Timeline of Chinese History from Peking Man through the modern day.
A quick guide to facts on the Korean War: When did it happen, who was involved, who won the Korean War, and how many people died?
Biography of Supremo Andres Bonifacio, rebel leader of Katipunan, and national hero of the Philippines.
Learn more about the invention of paper, which took place in northwestern China around 2000 years ago.
What effect did the Crusades have on the Middle East? Learn about it here.
Learn more about the group who ruled Afghanistan in the late 1990s and continue to fight the US-led coalition today.
Biography of Chinese Premiere Hu Jintao, from his early childhood through his tenure as head of the People's Republic of China.
Pictoral history of the evolution of hairstyles in Japan. Noble women throughout the ages followed many fashions in the court of the Japanese Emperor. See some of the different hairdos here.
You think your income tax rate is bad? It's nothing compared with these taxes - the worst taxes in history!
Biography of Than Shwe, military dictator and head of the ruling junta in Burma (Myanmar), including his life story and a description of his rule.
Biography of Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge leader of Cambodia who oversaw the genocide of perhaps 25% of his own people.
Japanese victory - adds Korean Peninsula to its sphere of influence, gets Formosa (Taiwan), the Penghu Islands, and the Liaodong Peninsula outright.
A Shaolin monk demonstrates a kung fu kick.
Asia's five worst dictators, as of 2013. Over the past few years, many dictators around the world have died or been deposed, but some are hanging on to power. See a list of Asia's worst here.
Twelve little-known battles that changed the course of Asian history forever, from the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BCE, to the Battle of Kohima in 1944.