Asian History: Most Popular Articles
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.
India's Mughal Empire ruled the subcontinent from 1526 to the beginning of the British Raj in 1858.
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.
Biography of Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of India's ancient Mauryan Empire, and grandfather of the famous Ashoka the Great.
Ninjas dart through movies and comic books, but what is the historical reality behind the pop culture icon of The Ninja?
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 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.
The Philippines is an island nation in the western Pacific. Learn about the history, geography, and people of this fascinating country.
Biography of Ashoka the Great, emperor of India's Mauryan Empire during the third century BCE.
Profile of the People's Republic of China, including facts about China's people, geography, culture, and history.
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!
Biography of Supremo Andres Bonifacio, rebel leader of Katipunan, and national hero of the Philippines.
Feudal Japan had a four-tiered class system based on Confucian logic, with samurai warriors on top and merchants on the bottom.
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 of India's complex system of castes.
Why did the US enter the Vietnam War? Learn the answer to this Asian History FAQ.
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 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.
Answer to the frequently asked question, What is the difference between communism and socialism?
Biography of Genghis Khan, leader of Mongolia and one of history's great rulers, who conquered most of Eurasia in the early thirteenth 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.
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.
A profile of Japan, including information about its history, culture, people, and land.
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.
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 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.
Who are the Brahmins? Find out in this glossary definition from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
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.
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.
How did the Korean Peninsula end up split into North and South Korea? Learn about the almost accidental creation of the divided Koreas here.
Biography of Suleiman the Magnificent, the most famous sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Learn more about The Lawgiver here.
Babur founded one of India's great empires - the Mughal Empire. Learn more about this pivotal figure in the history of India here.
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?
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.
Learn about seven of the most famous ninja of all time.
Comparison of feudalism in Japan and Europe. How did Japanese feudalism differ from European feudalism, and how were they similar?
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.
Apolinario Mabini served as the first Prime Minister of the Philippines. He is called both the brains and the conscience of the revolution.
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.
The Delhi Sultanates were a series of Indo-Muslim dynasties that ruled South Asia from 1206 to 1526, when the area was conquered by the Mughals.
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.
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.
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.
Facts and history of Pakistan, including information about its culture, geography, economy and peoples.
Profile of Afghanistan, including facts about its geography, government, culture, people, and history.
Why did China lease Hong Kong to Britain? Find the answer here, in the About.com Asian History FAQs.
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.
Brief history of the Mongol Empire, founded by Genghis Khan, which was one of the largest empires in human 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.
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 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.
Describes the invention of gunpowder by Tang Dynasty Chinese alchemists, around 850 A.D.
Glossary definition of the term Taj Mahal from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
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.
What was the Great Leap Forward? Find out about this tragic event in Chinese history.
History of Persia's Assassins, or Hashashin - an Ismaili sect who used targeted killings of political and religious leaders.
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?
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.
Facts and information about Nepal, including its history, people, geography and economy.
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 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.
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 Rajput from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
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.
Glossary definition of the phrase Viet Cong from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
In 1989, the Chinese government cracked down on protests in Tiananmen Square killing between 250 and 7,000 people in the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
Biography of Shah Jahan, emperor of Mughal India and designer of the world-famous Taj Mahal, a monument to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.
History of the incredible Door to Hell or Gates of Hell natural gas fire in Derweze, Turkmenistan. Learn more about this beautiful but ecologically disastrous place here.
Jeff Widener's iconic photo Tank Man, the shot of a solitary young man facing down a column of People's Liberation Army tanks during the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989. Page 7.
Facts and history of South Korea since the end of World War II.
The Meiji Restoration in Japan signaled the end of the shogunate system and the beginning of modern Japan.
Profile of the nation of Mongolia, including information about its people, landscape, economy, and history.
Why was Qin Shi Huangdi of China buried with an army of terracotta soldiers?
Profile of the Republic of India, including information about its government, history, economy and geography.
Glossary definition of the term shogun from your About.com Guide to Asian 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.
Glossary definition of the word Pashtun 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!
Profile of Iran, formerly known as Persia, including facts about its people, geography, economy and history.
Profile of North Korea, including information about its people, government, climate, history and economy.
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.
Facts about and history of Vietnam, Southeast Asia, from your About.com Expert on Asian History.
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.
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.
Who Are the Rohingya? Learn more about this persecuted minority in Myanmar (Burma) here.
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.
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.
Asia's worst natural disasters in terms of estimated number of lives lost.
Glossary definition of the term mujahideen, as applied in Afghanistan, from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Timeline of Indian history, from the earliest civilizations to the modern day.
History of the Pekingese dog, bred by Chinese emperors to resemble guardian lions. The Peke almost died out with the fall of Qing Dynasty in 1911.
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.
Links to information from 10,000 BCE to 2000 CE, from silk cloth to the PC sound card.
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.
Learn more about the origins of the conflict in Jammu and Kashimir, the region claimed by both India and Pakistan high in the Himalayas.
Biography of Saudi King Abdullah, the sixth and current ruler of Saudi Arabia.
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.
Queen Seondeok of Korea's Silla Kingdom was the first reigning queen of Korea, 606 - 647 CE.
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 Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge leader of Cambodia who oversaw the genocide of perhaps 25% of his own people.
Glossary definition of the term Dalit from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
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.
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.
List of the imperial dynasties of China, from the early mythical dynasties to the Qing dynasty.
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.
Profile of Sri Lanka, formerly called Ceylon, including facts about the history, economy, people and major cities.
What role has the Yellow River played in Chinese history?
Biography of Tenzing Norgay, the Nepalese Sherpa who conquered the summit of Mt. Everest, the world's tallest mountain, with Edmund Hillary in 1953.
What were the Opium Wars, and why did they happen? Learn more about the First and Second Opium Wars between China and Great Britain.
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 Jawaharlal Nehru, Indian independence leader, India's first prime minister, and leader of the international non-aligned movement during the Cold War.
Why did China's final imperial dynasty, the Qing Dynasty, fall early in the twentieth century?
Sun Yat-Sen is considered the Father of the Nation in both the People's Republic of China and in Taiwan.
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.
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.
Learn more about the devastating Bengal Famine of 1943, which struck British India during the Second World War.
Learn the answers to frequently asked questions about Singapore, including Where is Singapore? What is Singapore? and Why is Chewing Gum Banned in Singapore?
Biography of the Joseon Korean Queen Min, also known as the Empress Myeongseong, who was assassinated by the Japanese in 1895.
Brief history of the Iranian Revolution of 1979, in which Islamic clerics overthrew Shah Pahlavi and established the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Biography of King Sejong the Great of Korea. This famous king of Korea invented the Korean script, hangul.
Biography of Chinese Premiere Hu Jintao, from his early childhood through his tenure as head of the People's Republic of China.
Profile of Yemen, with information about its people, geography, climate, economy, and history.
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.
Biography of Ayatollah Khomeini, the Shia cleric leader who overthrew the Shah in the Iranian Revolution of 1979
Answer to the FAQ: What Was the Black Hole of Calcutta? by your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Biography of Ho Chi Minh, leader of the North Vietnamese communist forces during the Vietnam War.
The Battle of Badr in March of 624 CE was small in scale, but it signaled the beginning of Islam's incredible expansion over the next two centuries. The Prophet Muhammad and his followers consolidated their position with a key victory over the people of Mecca.
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?
Learn about the My Lai Massacre, one of the worst atrocities of the Vietnam War.
Biography of Marco Polo, the young Venetian merchant who traveled to Kublai Khan's court in Yuan China during the 13th century.
Learn more about the invention of the crossbow, probably in China or nearby parts of Central Asia, here.
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.
Biography of Saigo Takamori, famed in Japan as the Last Samurai. He played a key role in forming the Meiji government, and in the Satsuma Rebellion.
Glossary definition of the term daimyo from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Glossary definition of the term Red Guards from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
US Marines on patrol in the Southeast Asian jungle, Vietnam War photos, 1968. Page 13.
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?
Glossary definition of the term ronin from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Biography of Sukarno or Soekarno, Indonesia's first president after it gained independence from the Netherlands.
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.
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.
Glossary definition of the term oasis from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
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 was the Bataan Death March? Learn more about the details of this World War II atrocity in the Pacific Theater here.
Where is Mesopotamia? Find out more about this amazing region in Iraq, one of the cradles of human civilization.
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.
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.
Glossary definition of the term sati from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
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.