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Thread: How did Asia's development parallel Europe?

  1. Top | #1
    Deus Meumque Jus
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    How did Asia's development parallel Europe?

    I've been searching locally for a book on the history of the Asian continent with no luck, most of what I can find in local stores is more centred on Chinese or Japanese history. I imagine if I read a Chinese history it would give me a pretty good case study for the continent as a whole, but I'm still interested in finding some nice over-views of the entire geographic area.

    Anyway, since I have to wait until I can actually find a book to find the information I'm interested in I wanted to pose the question here:

    - What did Asia's development look like in the years that Europe was developing into the modern continent? Are the histories very similar? How did they differ?

    I would assume that the entire world was comprised of either subsistence agriculture, or hunter gatherer societies.

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    Veteran Member dystopian's Avatar
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    From what I know there were quite a few similarities. Some parts of China were urbanizing and developing proto-industry during the 13th century in a very similar way as the northern Italian states and the low countries were doing not long after that. This was also a high point for Chinese exploration; reaching all the way to eastern Africa. They were by no means underdeveloped compared to Europe. Later on they completed work on the Great Wall and manned it with cannons; and they managed to defeat both Portugese and Dutch forces on quite a few occasions. The Ming Dynasty was very isolationist though; and made some rather unusual decisions. For instance, they implemented laws limiting the size of ships, which in turn allowed piracy to run rampant. In response they simply closed down their ports altogether. It was also a massive centralized feudal state; with a lot of power to squash dissent. As a result, there was very little competition of ideas. Europe by contrast was politically fragmented; competition was everywhere. Competition for resources, for ideas, and so on. China looked inward, Europe looked outward.

    So overly simplified: China wasn't that different. Much of the movements and developments that happened in Europe also happened in China. China was basically what Europe might've looked like if the Roman Empire had conquered all of the continent and stayed cohesive into the modern age.

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    Veteran Member Deepak's Avatar
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    If you're just looking for the rough timelines and coverage the TimeMaps website has some good info.

    Other than books I don't know of many sources of detailed info, though there's always Wikipedia.

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