History of Asia

History of Asia

The history of Asia can be seen as the collective history of several distinct peripheral coastal regions, East Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East linked by the interior mass of the Eurasian steppe.

The coastal periphery was the home to some of the world's earliest known civilizations, with each of the three regions developing early civilizations around fertile river valleys. The civilizations in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and China shared many similarities and likely exchanged technologies and ideas such as mathematics and the wheel. Other notions such as that of writing likely developed individually in each area. Cities, states and then empires developed in these lowlands.

The steppe region had long been inhabited by mounted nomads, and from the central steppes they could reach all areas of the Asian continent. The earliest known such central expansion out of the steppe is that of the Indo-Europeans which spread their languages into the Middle East, India, and in the Tocharians to the borders of China. The northern part of the continent, covering much of Siberia was also inaccessible to the steppe nomads due to the dense forests and the tundra. These areas were very sparsely populated.

The centre and periphery were kept separate by mountains and deserts. The Caucasus, Himalaya, Karakum Desert, and Gobi Desert formed barriers that the steppe horsemen could only cross with difficulty. While technologically and culturally the city dwellers were more advanced, they could do little militarily to defend against the mounted hordes of the steppe. However, the lowlands did not have enough open grasslands to support a large horsebound force. Thus the nomads who conquered states in China, India, and the Middle East were soon forced to adapt to the local societies.



Bronze Age

Iron Age

Alexander the Great conquered an area from Turkey to India in the 4th century BC. The Roman Empire would later control parts of western Asia. The Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian and Sassanian empires were based in Ancient Persia. Many ancient civilizations were influenced by the Silk Road, which connected China, India, the Middle East and Europe. The religions of Hinduism and Buddhism, which began in India, were an important influence on South and East Asia.

Middle Ages

The Islamic caliphate and other Islamic states took over the Middle East starting in the 7th century, and later expanded into India and Indonesia. The Crusades would be fought from the 12th century, in Christian Europe's attempt to retake the Holy Land from the Muslims. The Mongol Empire conquered a large part of Asia in the 13th century, an area extending from China to Europe.

Modern period

The Russian Empire began to expand into Asia from the 17th century, eventually taking control of all of Siberia and most of Central Asia by the end of the 19th century. The Ottoman Empire controlled Turkey and the Middle East from the 16th century onwards. In the 17th century, the Manchu conquered China and established the Qing Dynasty, although this was in decline by the nineteenth century and had been overthrown in 1912.

Several European powers had control of other parts of Asia by the 1900s, such as British India, French Indochina and Portuguese Macau and Goa. The Great Game between Russia and Britain was the struggle for power in the Central Asian region in the nineteenth century. The Trans-Siberian Railway, crossing Asia by train, was complete by 1916. Parts of Asia remained free from European control, although not influence, such as Persia, Thailand and most of China. In the twentieth century, Imperial Japan expanded into China, Korea and Southeast Asia during the Second World War. After the war, many Asian countries became independent from European powers. During the Cold War, the northern parts of Asia were communist controlled with the Soviet Union and People's Republic of China, while western allies formed pacts such as CENTO and SEATO. Conflicts such as the Korean War, Vietnam War and Soviet invasion of Afghanistan were fought between communists and anti-communists. In the decades after the Second World War, a massive restructuring plan drove Japan to become the world's second-largest economy, a phenomenon known as the Japanese post-war economic miracle. The Arab-Israeli conflict has dominated much of the recent history of the Middle East. After the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991, there were many new independent nations in Central Asia.

History by country

History of the Middle East

* History of Armenia
* History of Iraq
**History of Mesopotamia
* History of Iran
**History of Persia
* History of the Levant
**History of Israel
**History of Jordan
**History of Lebanon
**History of Palestine
**History of Syria
* History of Saudi Arabia
* History of Turkey
**History of Anatolia
**History of the Republic of Turkey

History of South Asia

* History of India
**History of the Republic of India
**History of South India
**History of Assam
**History of Bengal
**History of the Punjab
* History of Pakistan
**Historical regions of Pakistan
**History of Sindh
**History of Punjab
**History of Mehrgarh
**History of the Indus Valley
* History of Afghanistan
* History of Bangladesh
**History of East Bengal
**History of East Pakistan
* History of Nepal
* History of Bhutan
* History of Tibet
* History of Sri Lanka
* History of the Maldives

History of East Asia

listed by area in alphabetical order
*History of China
*History of Hong Kong
*History of Japan
*History of Korea
*History of Macau
*History of Mongolia
*History of Russian Far East
*History of Ryukyu Islands
*History of Siberia
*History of Tibet
*History of Taiwan
*History of Vietnam
*History of Vladivostok

History of Central Asia

* History of Afghanistan
* History of Kazakhstan
* History of Kyrgyzstan
* History of Mongolia
* History of Uzbekistan
* History of Turkmenistan

History of Southeast Asia

* History of Burma
* History of Cambodia
* History of Indonesia
* History of Laos
* History of Malaysia
* History of the Philippines
* History of Singapore
* History of Thailand
* History of Vietnam

ee also

*Exploration of Asia
*List of conflicts in Asia
*Imperialism in Asia
*History of Eurasia
*History by continent


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