Rise of East Asia Term Paper

Pages: 9 (2594 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Drama - World

¶ … rise of East Asia was one of the most significant events of the 14th century. With a culture that spans some three thousand years, the East Asian civilizations were at one time much more sophisticated than its western counterparts. The empire of China loomed large within the East Asian continent, dominating the largest empire on Earth during that time, while Japan's code of honor and warrior class created a society entrenched in a strong civic and moral code of conduct.

During the 14th century to the 17th century, East Asia was dominated by the presence of its two largest empires. China during this period was under the grips of the Ming Dynasty, the longest tenured dynasty in Chinese history. This was the epoch of their cultural and military domination, with the "Middle Kingdom" dominating almost all of East Asia itself. At the same time, in the neighboring island of Japan, a military culture and the flourishing the Samurai warrior class grew to be the chief competition of the Chinese empire. The growth of these two cultures defined the East Asian region until the invasion of the Manchu's from over the Great Wall. There were three significant moments that represented watershed events during this time period in East Asia. They were the governance of the Ming Empire, the growth of Samurai culture, and the rise of the Manchu Dynasty.

While the Han dynasty was the first to unify all of what we currently know as China under a single empire, the Ming Dynasty was a period of both flourishing culture and declining chaos. The Ming rulers were characterized by their neglect of the people and the extravagance of their legacy. During their era, China saw the building of the Forbidden City as well as the construction of the Great Wall of China. The Ming Emperors oversaw the expansion of the Chinese empire beyond the limits of the Middle Kingdom. It was most famous for the dispatch of Zheng He's seven naval expeditions which traversed the entire Indian Ocean and the Southeast Asian archipelagos. During this era fear of the invading Manchu's of the North prompted the Ming Emperors to construct the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City as fortresses and blockades against possible invasion. The Ming Dynasty could be characterized as a period filled with corruption, cruelty and chaos. It was the end of the Han Emperors and represented a slow turnaround the cultural gains of the earlier dynasties.

By the 14th century Japanese had deviated dramatically from its neighbors on the mainland. While China and the rest of the East Asian countries grew in relative stability and peace, Japan became mired in conflict and anarchy. This period was dominated by the rise of the Japanese Samurai class. Before the 14th century, Samurais existed much more like barbarians or mercenaries rather than the mythical warrior class that dominated the Japanese landscape. Between the periods of 14th century to the 17th century however, the Japanese landscape changed dramatically and so did the concept of the Samurai. They became and aspired to nobility rather than just military superiority. There were several reasons that the rise of the Samurais was especially important during this era. The civil conflict that arose within Japan demanded the creation of strong warrior codes of governance. The Japanese Samurai were asked to give their lives to the battlefield. The rise of the Samurai class was especially important to this particular era because it was their rise that allowed Japan to flourish as an independent nation-state in the midst of conquest attempts by the Manchu's and other rising East Asian powers.

Finally, the rise of the Manchu Empire was the most significant event within this particular era. Although the Manchuria was originally part of the greater Chinese Empire, it lay beyond the Great Wall of China and as a result was very difficult to control. The rise of an able leader in the chieftain Nurhachi was the turning point of that particular civilization. Unified under a general, they were able to turn their military and nomadic society into an unstoppable army that would conquer not only the Chinese empire, but also lay siege to the rest of the East Asian region as well. By the 16th century they had already taken over much of China and controlled the Imperial capital of Beijing. The rise of the Manchu's represented the eventual isolationism and cultural decline of the Chinese empire, as the rulers of the Manchu dynasty looked to squash rebellion and enforce their own social code upon the land of the Hans.

Part II

The British Empire was at its peak the most extensive intercontinental empire in world history. Their territorial claims stretched on almost every continent and they controlled vast amounts of territory throughout the richest and most sought after regions in the world. The British Empire grew out of the European age of discovery, a period were massive naval exploration led to the discovery of new lands that allowed the British to gain massive footholds throughout the world. This age of discovery sparked an era of competition between all of the European governments to colonize and control the world. England at the time of its rise was only one of the many countries of Western Europe struggling for dominance; three important events represented the turning points for the rise and fall of the British Empire.

The first significant event of the British Empire occurred during the Anglo-Spanish War of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At the time, Europe was dominated by the presence of Spain which used its wealth from the exploration and domination of the Americas to build the largest navy in world history. The Spanish Armada was the physical and symbolic representation of Spanish power during this era. During the Anglo-Spanish War, the Spanish Armada with its 130 warships sailed into the British ports in an all out attempt to destroy the British fleet and thus lay waste to England. This fleet was the most imposing fleet of world history and it represented the largest naval battle of all time. The English fleet comprised of only 130 warships were able to not only stave off the Spanish fleet, but ultimately defeated them in battle. The Armada, which was forced into the British Channel, was attacked by a combination of English naval squadrons and the Dutch Navy, the superior tactics and bad weather aided the English in defeating the Spanish Amada. Although the actual battle did not decrease the strength of the Spanish navy, in fact in its aftermath represented the growth of the Spanish naval presence, it was a great symbolic victory for the British Empire. It provided them the confidence and the ability to get out from the shadow of Spanish colonialism to gain dominance of the African continent that represented the expansion of their entire colonial empire. Therefore, the victory over the Spanish Armada was a defining moment for the British government; it provided the nation with an identity and an agenda. Thrusting it clearly into the forefront of European power during the era of discovery and colonialism.

The second turning point during the British Empire occurred when they were able to successfully colonize the Caribbean's. During the era of colonialism, the massive land grab inspired by exploration led to each European country seeking wealth from colonies away from the European Continent. The success of the Spanish Empire was heavily dependent upon their conquest of the South America and their colonies throughout the Americas. While the British held several important colonies at the time of their colonization of the Caribbean's, such as their colonial conquests of Africa, they did not a furtive economic engine that would allow them to gain massive profits through their colonies. The Caribbean's represented an untapped source of wealth for the British Empire. The colonization of the small islands of Saint Kitts, Barbados and Jamaica became a strong and steady source of income for the British Empire that allowed it to further strengthen its navy and launch their other colonization activities. The production of sugar in these colonies was crucial to the success of the early British Empire. Sugar at the time was in high demand throughout Europe, but with few outlets because of the climate requirements for the harvesting of sugarcanes. The harvesting of sugarcanes was also especially difficult and demanding in terms of physical labor, the British Empire developed the strategy of using slaves imported from Africa as a result of their need for manpower. The use of chattel slavery that developed from this model would form the later models for American slavery as well. Thus, the Caribbean was one of the most successful colonies under British rule and the economic advantages gained from this territory allowed them to expand their empire to Asia, North America as well as Australia.

The last turning point of the British Empire occurred in the infamous American Revolution; it heralded the beginning of the end for the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Rise of East Asia.  (2007, April 27).  Retrieved December 14, 2018, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/rise-east-asia-one/360410

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