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34

China (or at least its core) had a central, unifying culture built around philosophers such as Confucius and Lao-tse that was attractive to people over a wide land area. Also, the Chinese written language was developed from pictograms that represented "words," which although pronounced differently in different locations, could have the same meaning over wide ...


22

The nature of the silk road meant that it had to pass through commercial centres. "The Silk Road was largely fragmented and very few merchants travelled the whole route. Goods were passed from one merchant to another until it reached the final buyers" source So deviation over the steppes wasn't really possible as it was not the intermediaries goal to ...


19

Well there were a few reasons They pretty much had all they needed resource-wise in the country, trade was not a prerogative and even though Zheng He did go out exploring they were not interested in colonies or mercantilism. Mercantilism was pretty much frowned upon within the Confucian system, merchants did not produce goods they moved them around and ...


16

Well, the short answer is no, unless you define "always" to start at around 1683. Historically, Taiwan is in fact the ancestral home of the Austronesian language family. Prior to modern times, this was the world's most geographically diverse language family, with speakers ranged from Madagascar to Easter Island to Hawaii. There are several subgroups in ...


15

In Rome and China: Comparative Perspectives on Ancient World Empires, the first chapter by Walter Scheidel, From the "Great Convergence" to the "First Great Divergence", makes the case that the Chinese style of government focussed on centralising power while the Roman style allowed for a great deal of autonomy for appointed officials. The Warring States era ...


15

I take it you mean why was there no "Scramble for China" in the 19th century. Excluding Hong Kong, ceded to Britain after the First Opium War. The Second Sino-Japanese War makes an excellent case study of the problems of invading China. In 1937 China had a completely out of date military and an ineffective industrial base, and was fighting a civil war. ...


14

And if you'd lived your life in the Republic of China you'd have learned that Taiwan is an independent nation, the one true China, and that the rebel government in Beijing is illegally in power there (that may have been toned down now, but that used to be the line in the ROC). Both are of course propaganda. Truth is Taiwan wasn't "always" part of China ...


13

What I can find from Chinese sources all seem to have been derived from the one source, which seems reasonably reliable. It says that: She married Mao when he was 14 and she 18. She died of dysentry some time in the spring of 1910, when she was 20. She had a good relationship with the Mao family. Mao Zedong, after some initial awkardness owing to his ...


13

Wikipedia provides an excellent answer on the Descendants of Genghis Khan. Some of the main points: Another important consideration is that Genghis's descendants intermarried frequently. For instance, the Jochids took wives from the Ilkhan dynasty of Persia, whose progenitor was Hulagu Khan. As a consequence, it is likely that many Jochids had ...


13

Because China was actually pretty far from India. For most of the past millennia, China and India were not "neighbouring countries" in any meaningful sense of the word. Most Chinese empires did not actually stretch all the way to the Indian subcontinent. It seems you're considering China and India based on their modern borders, but that is misleading: ...


12

This is a good question that must come to many people's minds when they see the two very similarly sized (Taiwan only slightly larger) islands. The similarities are a even more numerous than the visual. They were both long at the margins of power in Chinese empires, had significant minorities who vigorously defended their autonomy (in Hainan it was the ...


11

All the sources I've perused can, just as Wikipedia does, only surmise on the how and why gunpowder made its way to Europe. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology offers a nutshell overview of the possible routes that might have been taken: Just how the secret of gunpowder traveled west-ward to Europe will probably never be ...


11

It is a wrong assumption that Europe was never unified politically. First, in the ancient times the cultural development of different European peoples was very diverse. The most advanced peoples of Europe adopted the Greek culture, alphabet and gods. You can see this on the example of Etruscans who used the Greek alphabet and worshiped the Greek gods. The ...


11

Just take a look at any political map, let it be Classical period, or early Medieval times. When travelling to China you need water, supplies of food, fodder, etc. Also it's safer to spend a night in a city or some kind of inn instead of open steppe spaces. Then what Joe mentioned, between the cities you've got roads, which again - are safer. South of Black ...


11

In Europe, armies were often of generally the same size and makeup (at least in the instances you mention) and tactics codified, so in open engagements equipment and (that being equal) minor differences in proficiency could well mean the difference between winning and losing a battle. In the Chinese example you mention, sheer force of numbers caused Qin to ...


10

The downfall of Zhou began with the end of Western Zhou, over 500 years before Zhou's final demise. King You's actions in seeking to please his concubine Baosi (including replacing the heir apparent with her son) led to a revolt by the forces of Marquis Shen and assisted by the Western Rong and Quan (Dog) Rong tribes. King You was killed and the capital ...


10

Hong Kong became British colony as a result of First Opium War, which was lost by Qing Dynasty of China to United Kingdom. It was part of agreements of Treaty of Nanking that was signed in 1842, as well as huge war reparations. What's important, original agreement established that Hong Kong becomes British for eternity, not for the exact amount of years. ...


10

If by "colonize", you mean ethnicly and culturally take over the territory, like was done in North America and Austrialia: This is one of the questions touched on by Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel. The basic thesis is that Eurasians had an advantage due to their large shared pool of (termperate-climate) domesticated crops/animal technology, and ...


9

I've heard that the Jin are the first people that used cannon to defend Kaifeng when attacked by the Mongols. So did the cannon successfully repel the Mongols? From Cambridge History of China Vol 6: Alien Regimes and Border States 907- 1368 Page 263 "The siege of Kaifeng is also of some interest for the history of military technology, because ...


9

Expanding on @MonsterTruck's comment above, China (especially the east part) is really good for food production. According to Wikipedia's list of countries by agricultural output China has 17 per cent of global agricultural production today, compared to around 7 for the European Union, 7 for India and 4 for the United States. I would expect the construction ...


9

It was illegal to set up business by person or group during that time. The first license to individual business after cultural revolution was issued in 1980. Even in late 70s and early 80s (after the cultural revolution), trading goods by individual was still a crime called 投机倒把罪,meaning "crime of Speculation and profiteering". People relied on a nation-wide ...


9

Yip man was real (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). He was a famous student of Wing Chun. My guess is that you're referring to the 2008 movie, Ip Man. However, it was not historically accurate. Quoting its Wikipedia page: Film4's review detailed the departures from history: "The real Ip Man was never, despite the film's assertions to the contrary, forced from ...


8

After Mongols lost control of China (end of Yuan dynasty), there were many struggles between Mongols and Chinese as well as different Mongol tribes. These struggles weakened the integration among Mongols. After a successful but short-lived unification attempt by Dayan Khan, a more organized disintegration took place giving birth to Khalkha Mongols (formerly ...


8

The vast majority of Genghis Khan's Mongols either were driven back to Mongolia or were absorbed into the general population of China. Some modern-day Chinese do retain their Mongol heritage as evidenced in the following linguistic map of Mongol Languages: Some of the Mongol populations include: Bonan, Mongour, Dongxiang, Yugur, Sogwo Arig, Sichuan ...


8

When Mao was a young man in 1927, the Nationalist government cracked down on the Communists, who, up to that time, had been regarded as "fellow travelers." The crackdown was particularly successful in the cities, where people were concentrated, and could be easily rounded up and arrested. It caught Mao in the countryside, but he managed to escape from his ...


8

A possible description of the one depicted in your picture (source): The most popular continued to be the strange dagger-axe. Dagger-axes came in various lengths from 9–18 ft and were now used as thrusting spears with a slashing blade available if needed. The Qin particularly seemed to like the Dagger-axe, creating an eighteen foot long pike version. ...


8

I think that stems from both geographic and cultural factors. At first it is almost like Jim Thio said. Only that it may not exactly be mountains. If you look at the early agricultural societies in the West, those would be 1) along the Nile river (Egypt) 2) Tigris and Euphrates rivers (Mesopotamia). Those are two places divided not only by mountains, but by ...


8

There is an overview in an article on China Whisper.com: China`s historical GDP share in the world Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) GDP per capita: $450, 26% Tang Dynasty 618 – 907 AD GDP per capita:$480, 58% of world GDP Song Dynasty 960-1279 AD GDP per capita:US$2,280, 80% of the world’s GDP Yuan Dynasty 1271-1368 A estimated to account for about 30% ...


8

It has long been known that the eastern end of the Great Wall is not Shanhaiguan. Sections of wall exist all over China's North East as well as what is now Mongolia and Korea, well beyond Shanhaiguan. Your 2009 date seems spurious as the wall at Hushan near Dandong city was already a well known tourist attraction by that date. We must be careful with the ...


8

They didn't try because it wasn't politically relevant to them (i.e. The Emperor wasn't interested). Chinese dynasties preferred a tributary network instead of European or Pan-Arabic style colonisation. This reasoning worked well enough considering the key motivation for Europeans traders to sail beyond Europe was to bypass Arabic tariffs on the Silk Road ...



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