Asian History: Most Popular Articles
Comparison of feudalism in Japan and Europe. How did Japanese feudalism differ from European feudalism, and how were they similar?
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.
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 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.
Feudal Japan had a four-tiered class system based on Confucian logic, with samurai warriors on top and merchants on the bottom.
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.
Biography of Ashoka the Great, emperor of India's Mauryan Empire during the third century BCE.
Ninjas dart through movies and comic books, but what is the historical reality behind the pop culture icon of The Ninja?
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.
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.
The Philippines is an island nation in the western Pacific. Learn about the history, geography, and people of this fascinating country.
Describes the invention of gunpowder by Tang Dynasty Chinese alchemists, around 850 A.D.
Biography of Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of India's ancient Mauryan Empire, and grandfather of the famous Ashoka the Great.
The caste system in India has ordered society both for Hindus and even non-Hindus over thousands of years. Learn more about the history of India's complex system of castes.
Biography of Supremo Andres Bonifacio, rebel leader of Katipunan, and national hero of the Philippines.
India's Mughal Empire ruled the subcontinent from 1526 to the beginning of the British Raj in 1858.
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.
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.
Why did the US enter the Vietnam War? Learn the answer to this Asian History FAQ.
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?
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.
A profile of Japan, including information about its history, culture, people, and land.
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.
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.
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.
Answer to the frequently asked question, What is the difference between communism and socialism?
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.
Brief history of the Mongol Empire, founded by Genghis Khan, which was one of the largest empires in human history.
How did the Korean Peninsula end up split into North and South Korea? Learn about the almost accidental creation of the divided Koreas here.
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.
Learn about seven of the most famous ninja of all time.
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.
Biography of Genghis Khan, leader of Mongolia and one of history's great rulers, who conquered most of Eurasia in the early thirteenth century.
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.
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!
Who are the Brahmins? Find out in this glossary definition from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Britain ruled India from 1765 to 1857; India was called the crown jewel of the British Empire. The Raj comprised modern day Pakistan and Bangladesh, plus India proper.
Biography of Suleiman the Magnificent, the most famous sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Learn more about The Lawgiver here.
Facts and history of Pakistan, including information about its culture, geography, economy and peoples.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
Why did China's final imperial dynasty, the Qing Dynasty, fall early in the twentieth century?
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.
What was the Great Leap Forward? Find out about this tragic event in Chinese history.
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 term shogun from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
The Meiji Restoration in Japan signaled the end of the shogunate system and the beginning of modern Japan.
Profile of Afghanistan, including facts about its geography, government, culture, people, and history.
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.
What effect did the Crusades have on the Middle East? Learn about it here.
Why did China lease Hong Kong to Britain? Find the answer here, in the About.com Asian History FAQs.
History of Persia's Assassins, or Hashashin - an Ismaili sect who used targeted killings of political and religious leaders.
Glossary definition of the phrase Viet Cong, an important term from the Vietnam War.
Biography of Chinese Premiere Hu Jintao, from his early childhood through his tenure as head of the People's Republic of China.
Learn more about the invention of the crossbow, probably in China or nearby parts of Central Asia, here.
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.
Biography of Emilio Aguinaldo, independence leader of the Philippines, who fought against the Spanish and also lead his fellow Filipinos in the Philippine-American War at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Glossary definition of the term daimyo from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Glossary definition of the term Taj Mahal from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
A reader who worked as a civilian for the U.S. Army in South Korea just sent me a link to some of her pictures from that time, taken between 1956 and 1959.
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.
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?
The little-known but pivotal Battle of Talas River in 751 A.D. pitted the expanding Arab Moslem army against the forces of the Tang Dynasty Chinese Empire. China was defeated, which resulted in Central Asia becoming part of the Islamic world, and the diffusion of paper-making technology to the West.
Biography of Corazon Aquino, who went from shy housewife to leader of the People Power movement and first female president of the Philippines, after leading the movement to oust dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Learn more about her in this biography.
Who Are the Rohingya? Learn more about this persecuted minority in Myanmar (Burma) here.
Depiction of one of the earliest samurai women of Japan, the Empress Jingu, who lead an invasion of Korea in the second century CE.
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.
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.
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.
The Gupta Empire in India marked one of the high points of Indian history, the pinnacle of classical India. Why did the Gupta Dynasty collapse in 550 CE?
Biography of King Sejong the Great of Korea. This famous king of Korea invented the Korean script, hangul.
What were the Opium Wars, and why did they happen? Learn more about the First and Second Opium Wars between China and Great Britain.
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.
Why was Qin Shi Huangdi of China buried with an army of terracotta soldiers?
Profile of the nation of Mongolia, including information about its people, landscape, economy, and history.
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.
Biography of Sukarno or Soekarno, Indonesia's first president after it gained independence from the Netherlands.
In 1989, the Chinese government cracked down on protests in Tiananmen Square killing between 250 and 7,000 people in the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
Glossary definition of the term mujahideen, as applied in Afghanistan, from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Profile of the Republic of India, including information about its government, history, economy and geography.
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.
In the sixteenth century, Japan invaded Korea twice. Although Japan did not conquer Korea in the Imjin War, also called the Ceramic Wars, it did kidnap tens of thousands of Korean artisans, including potters.
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 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.
Links to information from 10,000 BCE to 2000 CE, from silk cloth to the PC sound card.
Facts and history of South Korea since the end of World War II.
What role has the Yellow River played in Chinese history?
Queen Seondeok of Korea's Silla Kingdom was the first reigning queen of Korea, 606 - 647 CE.
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.
Glossary definition of the word Pashtun from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
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.
At the dawn of the modern era, three empires in Asia established and maintained themselves thanks to their advantage in firearms and artillery. The so-called
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.
List of the Shang Dynasty Emperors of China, according to information from the oracle bones and historian Sima Qian.
Facts about and history of Vietnam, Southeast Asia, from your About.com Expert on Asian History.
Timeline of Chinese History from Peking Man through the modern day.
Glossary definition of the phrase Golden Horde from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Profile of North Korea, including information about its people, government, climate, history and economy.
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.
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.
See facts and the more than 2000-year history of the Great Wall of China, one of the engineering marvels of the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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.
Zheng He's treasure fleet included ships of unprecedented size. How big were they, and how did the Ming Dynasty's builders create the Treasure Fleet?
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.
History of the development and modern attributes of Chinese Opera, including Beijing (Peking) Opera, Shanghai Opera (Huju), Canton Opera, and Shanxi Opera.
Biography of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Asia's longest-serving monarch.
Apolinario Mabini served as the first Prime Minister of the Philippines. He is called both the brains and the conscience of the revolution.
Biography of Kublai Khan, founder of China's Yuan Dynasty and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, who hosted Marco Polo at Xanadu
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.
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 Shah Jahan, emperor of Mughal India and designer of the world-famous Taj Mahal, a monument to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.
Photo of damage in South Vietnam from Agent Orange, a defoliating agent and chemical weapon used by the US in the Vietnam War.
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.
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?
Biography of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of Japan's Three Unifiers. Although he was born a commoner, Hideyoshi rose to be the most powerful man in Japan at the end of the Warring States Period.
In the Heian Era of Japanese History, women wore their hair in the taregami style, extremely long and straight. The most beautiful hair reached the floor. Page 2.
Glossary definition of the term bushido from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
During the fight against colonialism in the Philippines, key revolutionary leaders Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio,and Emilio Aguinaldo helped lead the Filipino people to rise up at the turn of the 20th century against the Spanish and then the American occupiers.
Glossary definition of the term Red Guards from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
The archipelago nation of Indonesia is renowned for its beauty, its arts, its geological instability, and its complicated political and religious life. Learn more about this fascinating country's people, lands, economy and history here!
What was the British East India Company? Find out here.
Invention of the stirrup, a key piece of horse tack for warriors and other riders. The subject of where stirrups were invented is surprisingly controversial; Mongolia, China, Korea and Japan all have supporters in the debate.
Biography of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indian independence leader, India's first prime minister, and leader of the international non-aligned movement during the Cold War.
Biography of Marco Polo, the young Venetian merchant who traveled to Kublai Khan's court in Yuan China during the 13th century.
Since 1973, twelve Asian people have won Nobel Peace Prizes. See the prize winners, and learn more about the reasons they were honored with Nobel Prizes.
Biography of Saudi King Abdullah, the sixth and current ruler of Saudi Arabia.
Where is Mesopotamia? Find out more about this amazing region in Iraq, one of the cradles of human civilization.
Glossary definition of the term ronin from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
India's pivotal First Battle of Panipat pitted the cavalry of Babur, founder of the Mughal Empire, against the war elephants of Ibrahim Lodi of the Delhi Sultanate.
Timeline of Indian history, from the earliest civilizations to the modern day.
Biography of Mao Zedong, founder of the People's Republic of China.
Nutmeg, a delicious spice associated with the holidays in the west, has a long and often tragic history. Learn about the unsavory history of a tasty spice here.
What was the Chinese civil service exam system? How did this meritocratic system of Confucian study shape imperial China?
Glossary definition of the term Dalit from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
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.
Brief history of the Iranian Revolution of 1979, in which Islamic clerics overthrew Shah Pahlavi and established the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Facts and information about Nepal, including its history, people, geography and economy.
Glossary definition of the term Sepoyfrom your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Answer to the FAQ: What Was the Black Hole of Calcutta? by your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Learn about the My Lai Massacre, one of the worst atrocities of the Vietnam War.
In 1951, the People's Republic of China overwhelmed Tibet, and brought it under Chinese control. Five years later, a Tibetan Uprising began. When China moved to crush the Uprising in 1959, the young Dalai Lama barely escaped with his life. He fled into exile in India.
Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, and Timur or Tamerlane. They each came from the steppes of Central Asia, striking fear into the hearts of the settled peoples of western Asia and Europe. Learn more about them here.
Learn about the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894-95, in which Japan wrested control of Korea away from China.
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.
Map of the Ottoman Empire at its greatest extent, c. 1700 CE.