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Asian History: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
Who Was Akbar the Great?
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.
What To Know About the Tiger of Mysore, Tipu...
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.
Learn About Jose Rizal, A National Hero of the...
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.
Learn About Mughal Rule in India over 300 Years
India's Mughal Empire ruled the subcontinent from 1526 to the beginning of the British Raj in 1858.
How Qin Shi Huang Became China's First Emperor
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.
How India and Pakistan Were Created
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.
Learn About Ashoka the Great (and Terrible)
Biography of Ashoka the Great, emperor of India's Mauryan Empire during the third century BCE.
What You Should Know about the Philippines
The Philippines is an island nation in the western Pacific. Learn about the history, geography, and people of this fascinating country.
What You Should Know about China
Profile of the People's Republic of China, including facts about China's people, geography, culture, and history.
True History of the Ninja
Ninjas dart through movies and comic books, but what is the historical reality behind the pop culture icon of The Ninja?
Who Was Andres Bonifacio of the Philippines?
Biography of Supremo Andres Bonifacio, rebel leader of Katipunan, and national hero of the Philippines.
Learn About The Four-Tiered Class System of...
Feudal Japan had a four-tiered class system based on Confucian logic, with samurai warriors on top and merchants on the bottom.
What to Know About India's Caste System
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?
Why did the US enter the Vietnam War? Learn the answer to this Asian History FAQ.
Learn About Ruthless Emperor Aurangzeb
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.
How Chandragupta Maurya Conquered India
Biography of Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of India's ancient Mauryan Empire, and grandfather of the famous Ashoka the Great.
True History of the Samurai
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.
Differences Between Communism and Socialism
Answer to the frequently asked question, What is the difference between communism and socialism?
How Indira Gandhi Became India's Iron Lady
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.
Learn About British Rule in India
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.
Learn About Samurai Suicide or Seppuku
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.
What Was the Mandate of Heaven?
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.
How Ferdinand Marcos Became Dictator
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.
Genghis Khan Rose From Slavery to Rule the World
Biography of Genghis Khan, leader of Mongolia and one of history's great rulers, who conquered most of Eurasia in the early thirteenth century.
What Was the Indian Revolt of 1857?
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 True Story of the 47 Ronin
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!
What to Know about Tamerlane, Conqueror of Asia
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 Assassination of Ninoy Aquino
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.
How the Tokugawa Shoguns Controlled Japan
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.
Facts to Know About Japan
A profile of Japan, including information about its history, culture, people, and land.
Who Are the Brahmin Caste?
Who are the Brahmins? Find out in this glossary definition from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Pakistan Facts and History
Facts and history of Pakistan, including information about its culture, geography, economy and peoples.
Babur, Founder of the Mughal Empire
Babur founded one of India's great empires - the Mughal Empire. Learn more about this pivotal figure in the history of India here.
What Happened During China's Cultural Revolution?
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.
Meet the Samurai Women of 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.
A Comparison of Japanese and European Feudalism
Comparison of feudalism in Japan and Europe. How did Japanese feudalism differ from European feudalism, and how were they similar?
A Magnificent Monarch: Suleiman the Magnificent...
Biography of Suleiman the Magnificent, the most famous sultan of the Ottoman Empire. Learn more about The Lawgiver here.
How Korea Ended Up Split in Two
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 to Know about Gandhi
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.
Biography of Emilio Aguinaldo
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.
Learn About the Real Shaolin Monks
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.
Was Tibet Always Part 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?
How China Invented Gunpowder
Describes the invention of gunpowder by Tang Dynasty Chinese alchemists, around 850 A.D.
7 Famous Ninjas of Asian History
Learn about seven of the most famous ninja of all time.
History of the Delhi Sultanates
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.
Biography of Corazon Aquino
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.
History of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea
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 You Should Know about India
Profile of the Republic of India, including information about its government, history, economy and geography.
Afghanistan Facts and History
Profile of Afghanistan, including facts about its geography, government, culture, people, and history.
The Very First Sultan in History, Mahmud of...
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.
What Is the Taj Mahal?
Glossary definition of the term Taj Mahal from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
How the Black Death Started in Asia
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.
How Genghis Khan Created History's Largest Empire
Brief history of the Mongol Empire, founded by Genghis Khan, which was one of the largest empires in human history.
Learn About the Hashashin, Original Assassins
History of Persia's Assassins, or Hashashin - an Ismaili sect who used targeted killings of political and religious leaders.
Why Did Hong Kong Belong to Britain?
Why did China lease Hong Kong to Britain? Find the answer here, in the About.com Asian History FAQs.
What Role Has the Yellow River Played in...
What role has the Yellow River played in Chinese history?
What You Should Know About the Pashtun People
Glossary definition of the word Pashtun from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Thailand Facts and History
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.
What Really Happened at the Tiananmen Square...
In 1989, the Chinese government cracked down on protests in Tiananmen Square killing between 250 and 7,000 people in the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
Learn about Japan's Geisha
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.
History and Facts about Malaysia
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.
Learn About the Tragic Great Leap Forward in...
What was the Great Leap Forward? Find out about this tragic event in Chinese history.
Vietnam War Facts
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?
Myanmar Facts 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.
How the Meiji Restoration Ended Shogun Rule
The Meiji Restoration in Japan signaled the end of the shogunate system and the beginning of modern Japan.
Who Were the Viet Cong?
Glossary definition of the phrase Viet Cong, an important term from the Vietnam War.
Learn about Japanese Shoguns
Glossary definition of the term shogun from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Shah Jahan
Biography of Shah Jahan, emperor of Mughal India and designer of the world-famous Taj Mahal, a monument to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.
Learn about India's Rajput People
Glossary definition of the term Rajput from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
What Is the Difference between Iran and Iraq?
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.
Bangladesh Facts and History
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.
Learn About Great Chinese Explorer Zheng He
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.
Who Was Sukarno, First President of Indonesia?
Biography of Sukarno or Soekarno, Indonesia's first president after it gained independence from the Netherlands.
Jawaharlal Nehru, India's First Prime Minister
Biography of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indian independence leader, India's first prime minister, and leader of the international non-aligned movement during the Cold War.
Who Was Attila the Hun?
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.
South Korea Facts and History
Facts and history of South Korea since the end of World War II.
History and facts about Indonesia
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!
"Tank Man" or "The Unknown Rebel" by Jeff Widener
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.
How Kublai Khan Invaded Japan
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.
3 Revolutionary Heroes of the Philippines
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.
Mongolia Facts and History
Profile of the nation of Mongolia, including information about its people, landscape, economy, and history.
The First and Second Opium Wars
What were the Opium Wars, and why did they happen? Learn more about the First and Second Opium Wars between China and Great Britain.
The Embattled Rohingya Minority of Myanmar
Who Are the Rohingya? Learn more about this persecuted minority in Myanmar (Burma) here.
Map of the Ancient Indian Ocean Trade Routes
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.
Vietnam | Facts and History
Facts about and history of Vietnam, Southeast Asia, from your About.com Expert on Asian History.
Britain Starves Bengal in the Famine of 1943
Learn more about the devastating Bengal Famine of 1943, which struck British India during the Second World War.
Learn About Korea's Tragic Queen Min
Biography of the Joseon Korean Queen Min, also known as the Empress Myeongseong, who was assassinated by the Japanese in 1895.
The Life of Apolinario Mabini, Conscience of...
Apolinario Mabini served as the first Prime Minister of the Philippines. He is called both the brains and the conscience of the revolution.
Iran Facts and History
Profile of Iran, formerly known as Persia, including facts about its people, geography, economy and history.
North Korea Facts and History
Profile of North Korea, including information about its people, government, climate, history and economy.
Where Is Mesopotamia?
Where is Mesopotamia? Find out more about this amazing region in Iraq, one of the cradles of human civilization.
50 Amazing Asian Inventions
Links to information from 10,000 BCE to 2000 CE, from silk cloth to the PC sound card.
Timeline of India's Mughal Empire
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.
Who Were the Comfort Women?
Who were the comfort women? Learn more about the history of sex slavery during World War II in Asia.
Nepal | Facts and History
Facts and information about Nepal, including its history, people, geography and economy.
What Are the Origins of the Kashmir Conflict?
Learn more about the origins of the conflict in Jammu and Kashimir, the region claimed by both India and Pakistan high in the Himalayas.
Learn about Queen Seondeok of Ancient Korea
Queen Seondeok of Korea's Silla Kingdom was the first reigning queen of Korea, 606 - 647 CE.
How to Be Beautiful in Heian Era Japan
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.
Asian Nobel Peace Prize Laureates
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.
Why Was Qin Shi Huangdi Buried with Terracotta...
Why was Qin Shi Huangdi of China buried with an army of terracotta soldiers?
Who Were the Daimyo?
Glossary definition of the term daimyo from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
What Does the Modern Japanese Emperor Do?
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.
Zheng He's Treasure Ships
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?
What You Should Know About Cambodia
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.
The First Battle of Panipat
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.
How Did the Mongols Impact Europe?
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 Long March?
The Long March is one of the most famous episodes in modern Chinese history, but what was it exactly? Find out here.
Images of the Samurai, Japan's Warriors
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.
5 Legendary Warrior Women of Asia
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.
The Iranian Revolution of 1979
Brief history of the Iranian Revolution of 1979, in which Islamic clerics overthrew Shah Pahlavi and established the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Pol Pot, Butcher of Cambodia
Biography of Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge leader of Cambodia who oversaw the genocide of perhaps 25% of his own people.
Learn About the History and Location of Singapore
Learn the answers to frequently asked questions about Singapore, including Where is Singapore? What is Singapore? and Why is Chewing Gum Banned in Singapore?
Learn about India's Dalit or Untouchables
Glossary definition of the term Dalit from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Learn About the Manchu People
Glossary definition of the term Manchu from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Why Did China's Qing Dynasty Fall in 1911?
Why did China's final imperial dynasty, the Qing Dynasty, fall early in the twentieth century?
Japanese Women's Hairstyles Through the Ages
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.
Iraq | Facts and History
Facts and history of Iraq, formerly known as Mesopotamia, a cradle of human civilization that has seen several wars over the last few decades.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
Biography of Saudi King Abdullah, the sixth and current ruler of Saudi Arabia.
Major Periods in Indian History
Timeline of Indian history, from the earliest civilizations to the modern day.
Who Was the Real Last Samurai? Learn More about...
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.
Asia's Great Conquerors
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.
Who Are the Romany or Gypsies?
Glossary definition of the word Romany from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Tenzing Norgay
Biography of Tenzing Norgay, the Nepalese Sherpa who conquered the summit of Mt. Everest, the world's tallest mountain, with Edmund Hillary in 1953.
Your Introduction to Yemen, One of the Oldest...
Profile of Yemen, with information about its people, geography, climate, economy, and history.
King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand
Biography of Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Asia's longest-serving monarch.
Who Were the Mujahideen of Afghanistan?
Glossary definition of the term mujahideen, as applied in Afghanistan, from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
How Toyotomi Hideyoshi Reunified Japan
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.
What Is Bushido?
Glossary definition of the term bushido from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
How China Invented the Crossbow
Learn more about the invention of the crossbow, probably in China or nearby parts of Central Asia, here.
A Guide to China’s Dynasties
List of the imperial dynasties of China, from the early mythical dynasties to the Qing dynasty.
Traditional Korean Masks
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.
History and Facts about Sri Lanka
Profile of Sri Lanka, formerly called Ceylon, including facts about the history, economy, people and major cities.
History of the Pekingese Dog
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.
King Sejong the Great of Korea
Biography of King Sejong the Great of Korea. This famous king of Korea invented the Korean script, hangul.
Biography of Empress Cixi, the Dragon Lady of...
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.
Benazir Bhutto
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.
Quotes from the Mahatma Gandhi
A collection of great quotes from the Mahatma Gandhi on topics such as peace, non-violence, compassion, and life.
14 Fun Facts about Class Identity in Feudal Japan
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.
Learn about the Seven Voyages of the Ming...
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.
Where Is Dubai?
Answer to the frequently-asked question Where Is Dubai? from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Timeline of the Boxer Rebellion
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.
Who Are the Taliban, Really?
Learn more about the group who ruled Afghanistan in the late 1990s and continue to fight the US-led coalition today.
Taiwan | Facts 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.
What Is an Oasis?
Glossary definition of the term oasis from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Who Are the Kurds?
Glossary definition of the term Kurds from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
Iran Seizes US Diplomats as Hostages, 1979
Biography of Ayatollah Khomeini, the Shia cleric leader who overthrew the Shah in the Iranian Revolution of 1979
What Is a Peshmerga?
Glossary definition of the term peshmerga, from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
What Was the Black Hole of Calcutta?
Answer to the FAQ: What Was the Black Hole of Calcutta? by your About.com Guide to Asian History.
What Was the My Lai Massacre?
Learn about the My Lai Massacre, one of the worst atrocities of the Vietnam War.
Learn about China's Fierce Red Guards
Glossary definition of the term Red Guards from your About.com Guide to Asian History.
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