Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Eastern Asia, South Asia, and Africa, 1200-1500

I. Centralization and Militarism in East Asia, 1200-1500

A. Korea from the Mongols to the Yi, 1231-1500

1. Mongol conquest--Korea was the answer to the Mongol search for coastal areas from which to launch naval expeditions and choke off the sea trade of their adversaries. After twenty years of defensive war, Korea was left with a ravaged countryside and a depleted treasury, as well as other losses. The Korean military commander (analagous to the Japanese shogun) was killed by his underlings in 1258, and soon afterward the Koryo king surrendered to the Mongols.

2. Breakdown of Isolation--Mongol control broke down centuries of comparative isolation. Cotton was introduced in southern Korea, gunpowder came into use, and the art of calendar-making stimulated astronomical obersvation and mathematics. Avenuues of advancement opened for Korean scholars willing to learn Mongolian, landowners willing to open their lands to falconry and grazing, and merchants servicing the new royal exchanges with Beijing.

3. Yi Dynasty--when the Yuan Dynasty in China fell in 1368, the Koryo ruling family remained loyal to the Mongols, and had to be forced to recognize the new Ming Empire. In 1392 the Yi established a new kingdom in Seoul and sought to re-establish a distinctive Korean identity. Like Russia and Ming China, the Yi regime publicly rejected the period of Mongol domination, yet still employed Mongol-style land surveys, taxation in kind, and military garrison techniques.

4. Korean Printing--Like the Ming emperors, the Yi kings revived the study of the Confucian classics, and this may have spurred a technological breakthrough in printing. Working directly with the king, Yi printers developed a reliable device to anchor the pieces of type securely to the printing plate. This enhanced the legibililty and accuracy of the printing, and made the production of a high volume of printed material possible. This allowed Korean printers to not only produce Confucian texts, but also manuals for producing and using fertilizer, transplanting rice seedlings, and engineering resevoirs.

5. Cotton and gunpowder--farmers in Korea expanded the cultivation of cash crops, just the opposite of what was occuring in Ming China. Cotton was the primary cash crop, and was so valuable that the government accepted it for tax payments. The Korean army was outfitted in cotton, and it was the preferred wear among Korean elites, as well. Although the Chinese attempted to prevent anyone else from learning the formula for gunpowder, the Yi government gained that knowledge, and by the late 1300s had mounted cannon on ships that patrolled against pirates. This firepower, along with the armoring of ships, made the small Korean navy a formidable force.

B. Political Transformation in Japan, 1274-1500

1. Mongol attacks--After securing Korea, the Mongols looked toward Japan--an easy reach from the Korean peninsula. In 1274 the Mongols launched their first 30,000 man attack that included cavalry forces, archers, and sailors, and decimated the Japanese defenders. A great storm on the Hakata Bay on the north side of Kyushu Island prevented the establishment of a beachhead, however, and led to the withdrawal of the Mongols to Korea.

2. Kamakura Shogunate--the Japanese shogun was the real power in the country, the "protector" of the emperor. The Kamakura Shogun had been established in 1185, and the Kamakura family remained in power by keeping the other elite families as nearly equal as possible, so that none could challenge their supremacy. The shogun distributed land and privileges to his followers, and they in turn supplied him with soldiers. These families were largely isolated from each other, until the threat from the Mongol invaders. After the initial invasion, power was much more centralized.

3. The Divine Wind--the Mongols did not attack again until 1281. In the intervening years, the Japanese had prepared for this second invasion, studying and training how to fight against the advanced weaponry of the Mongols. With these new techniques and fortifications, the Japanese were able to fight the Mongols to a standoff, until a typhoon struck the Mongol fleet and sunk perhaps half of the ships, and forced another Mongol retreat. The Japanese stood ready for a third attempt, which never came; they expense of maintaining the defenses eventually led to financial difficulties for the Kamakura.

4. The Ashikaga Shogunate--with the weakening of the Kamakura, the emperor Go-Daigo broke with centuries of tradition, and attempted to reclaim power from the shoguns. This led to a civil war that destroyed the Kamakura system. In 1338, with the Mongol threat waning, the Ashikaga Shogunate took control at the imperial center of Kyoto.

5. Zen Buddhism--Growing wealth and relative peace stimulated artistic creativity, mostly reflecting the Zen Buddhist beliefs of the warrior elite, which found expression in the simple elegance of architecture and gardens, the contemplative landscape painting of artists, and the eerie, stylized performances of Noh theater.



6. Onin War--Despite the technological advancement, artistic productivity, and rapid urbanization of this era, however, civil war nearly destroyed this warlord system. Regional rivalries among familes led to the great Onin War in 1477 that left Kyoto devastated and the Ashikuna Shogunate a central government in name only.

C. The Emergence of Vietnam, 1200-1500

1. Annam and Champa--Before the first Mongol attack in 1257, Annam and Champa had clashed frequently. While Annam looked to China for political ideas, social philosophies, trade, dress, religion, and language, Champa was more heavily influenced by the trading networks of the Indian Ocean.

2. Annam's victory--The Mongols exacted tribute from both Annam and Champa until the fall of the Yuan Empire in 1368. Mongol poltical and military ambitions were focused largely elsewhere, however, and Annam attempted to take advantage of this lack of attention and moved a majority of its troops to its southern border with Champa. Ming troops instead overran Annam, occupied its capital, Hanoi, and installed a puppet government. Almost thirty years elapsed befor Annam regained independence and resumed a tributary status. By then, the Ming had turned north to meet yet another Mongol threat, and Annam, in a series of ruthless campaigns, terminated Champa's independence and began the establishment of the modern state of Vietnam.

II. Tropical Lands and Peoples

A. The Tropical Environment--Because of the angle of the Earth's axis, the sun's rays warm the tropics year-round. The equator marks the center of the tropical zone, with the Tropic of Cance and the Tropic of Capricorn marking the northern and southern outer limits of the tropics.

1. Monsoon system--in the lands around the Indian Ocean, the rainy and dry season reflect the influence of alternating winds known as monsoons. A gigantic high-pressure zone over the Himalaya's that peaks from December to March produces southern Asia's dry season through a strong southward air movement (the northeast monsoon) in the western Indian Ocean. Between April and August, a low-pressure zone over India creates a northward movement of air from across the Indian Ocean (the southwest monsoon) that brings southern Asia the heavy rains of the wet season.

B. Human Ecosystems--Thinkers in temperate climates once imagined that surviving in the tropics was merely a matter of picking wild fruit off trees. A careful observer touring the tropics in 1200 would have noticed, however, many differences in societies deriving from their particular ecosystem--that is, from how human groups used the plants, animals, and other resources of their physical environments.

1. Hunter and fishers--domesticated plants and animals had become commonplace long before 1200, but people in some environments continued to rely primarily on hunting, fishing, and gathering.

2. Herders--herding provided sustenance in areas too arid for agriculture. Pastoralists consumed milk from their herds and traded hides and meat to farmers in return for grains and vegetables. The world's largest concentration of pastoralists inhabited the arid and semi-arid lands of northeastern Africa and Arabia.

3. Farmers--The density of agricultural populations reflected the adequacy of rainfall and soils. South and Southeast Asia were generally wetter than tropical Africa, making intensive agriculture possible. High yields supported denser populations; by 1200, over 100 million people lived in South and Southeast Asia.

C. Water Systems and Irrigation

1. Irrigation systems--Though the inland delta of the Niger River received naturally fertilizing annual floods, many tropical farmers had to move the water to their crops. Conserving some of the monsoon rainfall for use during the dry season helped in Vietnam, Java, Malay, and Burma, which had terraced hillsides with special water control systems for growing rice. Northern and southern India also had water-storage dams and irrigation canals. Government collapse, such as happened in 12th century Ceylon and 18th century Cambodia, could have devastating effects on the maintenance of such structures, which led to their failure.

D. Mineral Resources--the most productive metal trade in the tropics was ironworking, which provided the hoes, axes, and knives farmers used to clear their fields. Between 1200 and 1500, the rain forests of coastal West Africa and Southeast Asia opened up for farming.

1. Copper--and its alloys had special importance in southwestern Africa. Copper was used in coins, while bronze (copper plus zinc) was used extensively in artwork.

2. Gold--African gold moved across the Sahara in great quantities, and then into the Red Sea trade and the Indian Ocean trading system, as well. Some of this gold came from the streambeds of the Niger River in modern Ghana, where it was panned by prospectors; much else, however, was mined for, especially in the hill south of the Zambezi River in current-day Zimbabwe.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mongol Eurasia and Its Aftermath, 1200-1500

I. The Rise of the Mongols, 1200-1260

A. Nomadism in Central and Inner Asia

1. Mongol Society--pastoral nomads of the Eurasian steppes played on on-again, off-again role in Europe, the Middle East, and Chinese history for hundreds of years before the rise of the Mogols. Moving regularly and efficiently with flocks and herds required firm decision-making in public, with many voices being heard

a. Decsions were largely made by a council with representatives of leading families ratifying decisions made by the leader, the khan. Yet people who disagreed with a decision could strike off on their own--even during military campaigns.

b. Menial work in Mongol communities fell to slaves--people either captured during war, or who sought refuge in slavery to escape starvation.

2. Mongol women--leading families combined resources and solidified intergroup alliances through arranged marriages and other acts, a process that helped to generate political federations. Marriages were arranged in childhood and children became pawns of diplomacy. Women from prestigious families could wield power in negotiations and management, although they risked assassination and execution, just like the men.

3. The Khan--families often included believers in two or more religions, most commonly Buddhism, Christianity, or Islam--but virtually all Mongols observed practices of traditional shamanism. Mongols believed in world rulership by a khan who, with the aid of his shamans, could speak to and for an ultimate god, represented as the Sky or Heaven.

B. The Mongol Conquest, 1215-1283--shortly after his acclamation in 1206, Genghis initiated two decades of Mongol aggression. By 1209 he had defeated the Tanggut, and in 1215 he captured the Jin capitol of Beijing. In 1219 he turned westward, invading Khwarezem, east of the Caspian Sea, that included much of Iran. After 1221, when most of Iran had fallen, Genghis left the command of most campaigns to subordinate generals.

1. Genghis Khan's successors--Ögödei, Genghis's son, became the Great Khan in 1227 after his father's death. He completed the destruction of the Tanggut and the Jin and put their territories under Mongol governors. By 1234 he controlled most of northern China and was threatening the Southern Song.

a. 1236 Batu, Genghis's grandson, attacked Russian territories, took control of the towns along the Volga River, and conquered Kievan Russia, Moscow, Poland, and Hungary in a five-year campaign. Only the death of Ögödei in 1241--and the suspension of the campaign--saved Europe from more serious damage.

b. Güjük (another of Genghis's grandsons) was installed as the new Great Khan, and the conquests resumed. In the Middle East a Mongol army sacked Baghdad in 1258 and executed the last Abbasid caliph.

c. Genghis Khan's original objective had probably been collecting tribute from these various conquered peoples, but the success of the Mongol conquests created a new situation. Ögödei unquestionably sought to rule a united empire based at his capitol--Karakorum--and until his death he controlled the subordinate Mongol domains: the Golden Horde in Russia and the Jagadai domains in Central Asia. After Ögödei's death, however, family unity began to unravel; when Khubilai declared himself Great Khan in 1265, the descendents of Genghis's son Jagadai and other branches of the family refused to accept him. As Karakorum was destroyed in the ensuing fighting, Khubilai transferred his court to the old Jin capitol of Beijing. In 1271 he declared himself founder of the Yuan Empire.

d. Jagadai's descendents continued to dominate Central Asia and enjoyed close relations with the region's Turkic-speaking nomads. This, plus a continuing hatred of Khubilai, contributed to Central Asia becoming an independent Mongol center of power and to the spread of Islam there.

e. After the Yuan destroyed the Southern Song in 1279, Mongol troops attacked Annam--now northern Vietnam. They occupied Hanoi three times and then withdrew after arranging for tribute. In 1285 Khubilai's forces invaded Champa--now southern Vietnam--and made it a tribute nation as well. A plan to invade Java by sea failed, as did two invasions of Japan, in 1274 and 1281.

2. Military techniques--the Mongols were extraordinary riders and utilized superior compound bows. These bows could shoot over one-third farther than bows used by their opponents. Mongol archers had only 5 arrows, and rarely used all of these; utilizing their marksmanship from afar, their shots decimated enemy bowmen, and then they charged the opposing infantry on horseback with sword, lance, javelin, and mace.

3. Seige and Terror--cities that resisted faced seige and annihilation--surrender was the only option. The slaughter the Mongols inflicted on Balkh in present-day nothern Afghanistan and other cities that resisted spread terror and caused other cities to surrender.

C. Overland Trade and Disease

1. Travelers' accounts: Marco Polo--the Mongols facilitated trade, and travelers' accounts like Marco Polo, who freely mixed the fantasic with the factual, whetted appetites of other adventurers and traders.

2. Rats and fleas--in northwestern China bubonic plague had festered since the early Tang period. In the mid-13th century, supply trains servicing Mongol garrisons in Yunnan province facilitated the spread of rats carrying infected fleas. Marmots and other rodents along the caravan routes became infected and passed the disease to dogs and humans. Plague incapacitated the Mongol army during its assault on the city of Kaffa in Crimea in 1346. They withdrew, but the plague remained. From Kaffa flea-infested rats reached Europe and Egypt by ship--and began the Black Death.

II. The Mongols and Islam, 1260-1500

A. Mongol Rivalry

1. Il-khan--the state established by Genghis's grandson Hülegü, and controlled Iran, Azerbijan, Mesopotamia, and parts of Armenia

2. Golden Horde--controlled the area north of the Caspian Sea, and had conquered southern Russia and established their capitol at Sarai on the Volga River--and founded by another grandson, Batu.

3. Conversion to Islam--the Golden Horde quickly adopted the Turkic language and Islam, and Batu's successor swore to avenge the killing o fthe Abbasid caliph. Mongol dietary practices (the believe that animals should be consumed with as little bloodshed as possible) were appalling to Muslims (who used the kosher practice of killing animals by draining them of blood by cutting the cartoid artery). While this might seem an insurmountable obstacle, the flexibility of Islam proved able to overcome this difficulty.

4. European allies--this division among the Mongols gave some Europeans hope that the Il-khan state could be recruited to help them regain control of a number of sites in the Holy Land, but the conversion of the Il-khan ruler Ghazan to Islam in 1295 quashed that hope.

B. Islam and the State

1. Taxes and Administration--the Il-khan government sold tax-collecting contracts to small partnerships, mostly consisting of merchants who might also finance caravans, small industries, or military expeditions. Whoever offered to collect the most revenue for the government won the contract. These collectors could use whatever method they chose and could keep everything over and above the contracted amount. While this lowered administrative costs in the short run, in the long term the extortions of the tax farmers drove many landowners into debt and servitude. Agricultural productivity declined, making it hard to supply the army--so the government resorted to taking land to grow its own grain.

2. Paper money--Ghazan faced many economic problems, and citing Islam's humane values, he promised to reduce taxes. But the need for revenue kept the decrease from being permanent, and the government began printing paper money to make up for the shortfall, causing inflation.

3. Khanate of Jagadai--led by Timur (known in the west as Tamerlane), who challenged the control of Il-khan and the Golden Horde from a base in Central Asia.

C. Culture and Science in Islamic Eurasia

1. Administrators and Historians--the Il-khan and Timurids (descendents of Timur) presided over a brilliant cultural flowering in Iran, Afghanistan, and Central Asia based on blending Iranian and Chinese artistic trends and cultural practices. The dominant cultural tendencies were Muslim, however. Timur died before he could unite Iran and China, but by transplanting Middle Eastern scholars, artists, and craftsmen to his capitol Samarkand, he fostered the cultural achievements of this descendents.

III. Mongol Domination of China, 1271-1368

A. The Yuan Empire, 1271-1368--the Yuan sought a fruitful synthesis of the Mongol and Chinese traditions. Khubilai Khan gave his oldest son a Chinese name and had Confucianists participate in the boy's education.

1. Beijing as Yuan Capitol--Beijing served as the eastern terminus of the Silk Road. A horseback courier system improved communications with other parts of the kingdom.

2. Yuan Society--with the Mongol takeover, society in the Yuan Empire was re-ordered, with Mongols at the top, Central Asians and Middle Easterners next, then northern Chinese, and lastly southern Chinese.

3. Yuan Administration--like the Il-khans, the Yuan rulers stressed census-taking and tax collecting--especially tax collecting. The Mongols organized all of China into provinces, and the central appointiments of provincial governors, tax collectors, and garrison commanders marked a radical change. These appointments went almost exlusively to Mongols, Central Asians, and Middle Easteners, shutting out the Chinese.

4. Growth of Commerce--with the Chines shut out of government posts, for which the Confucian system had channeled Chinese elites into, elite families instead began moving into commerce, both as merchants and as bankers, especially lending money to Mongol elites. They also moved into tax farming. While Central Asians and Middle Easterners initiall controlled the corporations in China, Chinese with money quickly became partners, and many eventually gained controlling interests in these corporations.

5. Population loss--although Chinese elites found ways to prosper under Mongol rule, the same could not be said for rural Chinese. Chinese farmers were treated brutally, and many lost their landholdings due to the extreme rate of taxation. Peasant uprisings usually led to even greater brutal treatment.

B. The Fall of the Yuan Empire--in the 1340s, strife broke out among the Mongol princes. Within 20 years, farmer rebellions coupled with this internal political strife created a period of chaos. In this situation, a charismatic Chinese leader, Zhu Yuan-zheng, mounted a campaign that destroyed the Yuan Empire and brought China under the control of his empire, the Ming. Although some Mongols, Central Asians, and Middle Easterners fled the country, a number stayed, assumed Chinese names, and became part of the diverse cultural world of China

IV. The Early Ming Empire, 1368-1500

A. Ming China on a Mongol Foundation--the Ming dynasty re-established many former Chinese practices. The early Ming years was one of conflict over reaching out to the world outside the borders of China, however.

1. Emperor Hongwu--moved the Ming capital to Nanjing on the Yangzi River, turning away from the Mongol capital. Hongwu choked off relations with Central Asia and the Middle East, and severely restricted imports and foreign visitors. Silver replaced paper money for commerce and tax collection, but this proved as economically unhealthy as Yuan policies.

2. Emperor Yongle--seized power in a coup d'etat. Yongle returned the capital to Beijing, and improved the Forbidden City to its current splendor. Yongle also re-established commercial links to the Middle East. Because Mongols still largely controlled the Silk Road, he turned to a possible maritime solution

3. Zheng He--a Muslim enuch, Zheng He was put in charge of this maritime expedition to establish contacts with the Indian Ocean.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Peoples and Civilizations of the Americas, 200-1500

I. Olmec Civilization--the first great civilization of the Americas (that archeologists know about, anyway).

1. Located in the narrow “waist” of Mexico, recognizable civilization by about 1800 BCE.

2.Lived in towns and cities centered on temple mounds that they built. Created large stone heads with helmets, many over six feet tall, that are vaguely African in appearence and have sparked speculations that African peoples may have made contact with them.

3.Olmec practiced human sacrifice (as did the God of Abraham)

4.Intellectual feats--invented a dozen different systems of writing, tracked the orbits of planets, created a 365-day calendar (much more accurate than any used in Europe to the adoption of the Gregorian calendar), and wrote down their histories in accordian-folded books made of fig tree bark. Olmec scholars also invented the concept of zero, which didn’t appear in Europe until the 12th century (1100s)


II. Classic-Era Culture and Society in Mesoamerica, 200-900

A. Teotihuacan--was located about 30 miles northeast of modern Mexico City. It existed between the years 100 to 750, and at its height of power was home to more than 150,000 people--as large as some of the largest cities in Europe and Asia

1. The Role of Religion--The people of Teotihuacan recognized and worshiped many gods and lesser spirits, but the three main gods were the Sun and Moon and Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent, god of agriculture and the arts. Murals left indicate that these people also worshiped a storm god called Tlaloc and a female fertility god..

a. Human sacrifice--like the Olmec before them, the Teotihuacan people practiced human sacrifice. These people probably saw human sacrifice as a duty to appease their gods, and believed that it was essential to ensuring the well-being of their society.

2. Agriculture--the elites in Teotihuacan controlled the farmers in the rural areas surrounding the city. Scholars believe this came about from the after-effects of a volcanic eruption, when farmers fled the countryside for the safety of the nearby city. Approximately two-thirds of the city remained agricultural workers, walking from the city out the to fields, and then returning to the city in the evening.

a. Religion and the city--elites were able to control the rural population because of the religious power and symbolism of their city. Teotihuacan was the center of religious practice, and the worship and appeasement of the gods kept order in society.

b. Chinampas--the Teotihuacans developed an early method of hydroponic farming, where they wove together reeds, dredged muck from lake bottoms, anchored it to shore, and were able to grow food year round, because it was resistant to frost. In this way the Teotihuacans were able to support a growing population.

3. Decline and collapse--It is unclear what exactly cause the Teotihuacan society to collapse, but we do know that by the year 500 the population of the city had declined to about 40,000, and those who were left had built defensive walls around the city, an indication that there were threats from the countryside. Pictorial evidence suggests that elites mismanaged resources, and in the societal strife that followed, various factions broke off and fought amongst themselves. The most important temples were burned, and religious images defaced. By the year 750, the collapse was complete


B. The Maya--occupied the territory that now makes up Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, and southern Mexico. Although the Maya shared a single culture, they were never one unified state; instead, rival kingdoms ruled by hereditary elites fought each other for regional dominance--much like Mycenaean-era Greeks. The Yucatan Peninsula, where most of the Mayan cities were located, was ill-suited to support a large population, since only a thin layer of soil covers a strata of porous limestone. The abundance of rainfall quickly passes through the soil, and into limestone caverns, where it quickly becomes undrinkable.

1. City of Kaan--the discovery of the City of the Snake, which covered as much as 25 miles and contained thousands of buildings, alterred the perception of Mayan civilization.

a.) By the year 2000, archeologists uncovered evidence that Kaan was involved in a devastating war that lasted more than a century, and which contributed to its downfall.


2. Mayan civilization was one of the world’s most intellectually sophisticated cultures; developed written language, science, math (invention of zero).

3. Mayans inhabited land that was poorly suited to intensive agriculture, but at the height of their civilization supported a population of upwards of a million people.

a.) Prolonged drought and war decimated the population; archeologists discovered that at the end, priest were inscribing gibberish on stone tablets--they appeared to have lost knowledge of literacy, but still attempted to follow their cultural function.

C. Toltec civilization--occupied the mile-high basin that Mexico City now sits on; their military expertise allowed them to defeat and subjugate most of their enemies. Aztecs believed that Toltecs created everything that contributed to the development of their civilization, although we know that the Toltecs borrowed heavily from the civilizations that preceded them/

1. Internal strife--including allegations of drunkeness and incest--led to the king leaving with a few followers, promising to return. He appears to have set up shop instead in the weakened Mayan sphere, and established a semi-Toltec fiefdom. But his promise to return was portentous for the Aztec civilization that followed.

D. Aztec civilization--what we usually call Aztec is actually an alliance of three native peoples living in city-states around a large lake that was near present-day Mexico City, known as the Triple Alliance. Although this implies an equal share of the rule, in fact it was a very unequal partnership. The rulers in Tlacopan received one-fifth of the tribute, those in Nezahialcoyot received two-fifths, and the Mexica of Tenochtitlan received two-fifths.

1. Mexica people--arrived in the Valley of Mexico in the 12th century (1100s), and served as vassals of the people already living there. Feeling ill-treated, they made alliances with the aforementioned two other groups, and were able to overcome the Toltecs.

2. Usual practice of conquerers in the Valley of Mexico was to destroy the history of the conquered people; the Mexica went a step further and destroyed their own history so that they could re-invent themselves as a people of destiny.

3. Tlacaclel--when the Aztecs came to power, Tlacaclel believed the Mexica were destined for greatness, and was the principle developer of the ideology that the Mexica were responsible for maintaining order in the cosmos (meaning the daily rising of the sun)--but that this order could only be maintained by ritual human sacrifice.

4. Warfare--was the means of maintaining a steady flow of sacrificial victims. Mexica military technique was the mano a mano face-off, and the victims were usually beaten into submission--then taken into the victor’s home, and treated like family until sacrifice time. Warfare for native peoples was a means of displaying manhood, rather than killing one’s enemies.

5. Tenochtlitan, the capital of the Mexica, was far cleaner than its European counterparts--and far larger, as well; it probably was home to over 100,000 people by 1520. It had a large workforce to remove garbage, etc., and a sewer system to remove human waste (in Europe, they simply threw it into the streets, where it mixed with animal waste and garbage). But this system was teetering on the brink of collapse even before the Spanish showed up.

6.Vassal states--the ruling hand of Aztecs was rather heavy, with tribute and the constant threat of warfare to gain sacrificial victims, so when someone showed up promising to upset the balance of power, their were plenty of eager allies.

III. Northern Peoples

A Southwestern Desert Cultures--Around 300 B.C.E. in what is today Arizona, contacts with people living in Mexico led to the introduction of agriculture based on irrigation and maize. Irrigation allowed the planting of two crops every year, the population grew and villages appeared. The Hohokam, who settled in the Salt and Gila River Valleys (around present-day Phoenix), showed the strongest Mexican influence, incorporating many cultural artifacts from Mexico into their own daily life.

1. Anasazi--used to identify a number of dispersed, but similar, desert cultures in the Four Corners region of the present-day states of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. With irrigation, they grew maize, beans, and squash, as well as cotton, into which they made cloth. After 900, these people lived in multi-story residential and ritual centers (which was why they were called "Pueblos" by the Spanish), incorporating connected residences and kivas.

B. Mound Builders: Hopewell and Mississippian Cultures--natives that lived in the fertile bottom land along the Ohio River and, eventually theMississippi River, near present-day St. Louis, but impacting an area reaching from southern Minnesota to central Alabama.

1. Hopewell--Hopewell towns in the Ohio River Valley had several thousand inhabitants and served as ceremonial and political centers. Large mounds were built to house burials and serve as platforms for religious rituals. Often, these mounds were shaped to resemble creatures the people held sacred, and reflect sunrise and moonrise patters. People living in these towns relied manly on hunting and gathering, with little agriculture--which restricted their size, of course. We are not sure what caused their decline, but the abandoment of major sites around 400 signalled that the decline took place.

2. Mississippian Culture--Cahokia at its apex supported upwards of 15,000 to 60,000 people. By c.1400, workers at the settlement had denuded the immediate area of trees for various building projects, which removed the means of preventing erosion during sometimes severe midwestern thunderstorms. Flooding and erosion during critical growing times meant the loss of the maize crop, and led to the destruction of the civilization

2. While at its apex, Cahokia was a major trade center, a place of exchange between the plains and the woodlands with the gulf coast--and even beyond, into present-day Mexico.

3. Was Cahokia a civilization?--Cahokia was not filled with tradesmen, as we usually picture a city being; however, being the first city-like entity north of the Rio Grande River, they had no idea of what a city was.

III. Andean Civilization, 200-1500

A. Chavin Civilization--by the time of the Chavin, enormous environmental challenges had been overcome to allow human civilization to exist. People had learned to effectively fish the rich source off-shore, and to deal with the lack of rain with irrigation--and to grow food in the mountains, even though there was a danger of frost between 250-300 days each year. This required an accurate calendar and the domestication of frost-resistant varieties of potatoes and grains.

1. Ayllu--the clan, which was the foundation of Andean achievement. The ayllu members thought of each other as brother and sister, and were obligated to assist one another to accomplish tasks that a single family could not accomplish on their own.

2. Mit'a--with the formation of territorial states ruled by hereditary aristocracies and kings after 1000, the obligations of the ayllu were extended to the mit'a, a rotational labor draft that performed work in the fields, herded llama and alpaca for religious establishiments, the aristocracy, and the royal court, and well as construction of roads, public buildings, irrigation and drainage projects. They also made textiles and beer made from maize and coca (Loko One?)

B. Moche--Around 200, some four centuries after the collapse of the Chavin, the Moche developed the cultural and political tools needed to dominate the north coastal region of Peru. The did not establish a formal empire or create unified political structures, but they did exercise authority over a broad region.

1. Moche social order--evidence indicated that the Moche cultivated maize, quinoa, beans, manioc, and sweet potoatoes with the aid of massive irrigation works that the Moche rulers forced commoners and subject peoples to build and maintain. Moche society was highly stratified, with the elite constructing their dwellings on platforms so that they literally looked down on commoners, enhancing their position in society.

2. Environment crisis and decline--the archaeological record makes clear that the rapid decline of Moche civilization was spurred by a succession of natural disasters in the sixth century, including a 30 year drought which expanded the area of costal dunes and clogged the irrigation system. Coupled with the development of a new military power to their immediate south, the Moche were never able to recover.

C. Tiwanaku and Wari--Tiwanaku developed near Lake Titicaca; modern excavations indicate that a vast drainage project undertaken was able to reclaim nearly 200,000 acres of lake bottom land for agriculture, and this allowed them to support a population of upwards of 30,000 12,500 feet above sea level (about 4 miles).

1. Tiwanaku social structure--it is clear that Tiwanaku was a highly stratified society ruled by a hereditary elite that controlled a large, disciplined labor force in the surrounding region

2. Wari--located about 450 miles northwest of Tiwanaku, the Wari shared many elements of their culture, but the relationship between the two remains obscure. Some scholars maintain that Wari was a dependency of Tiwanaku, while others suggest they were joint capitals of a single empire. What is clear from the evidence in the lack of cut stone masonry in public an private buildings is that the Wari elite were either weaker than their Tiwanaku counterparts, or they lacked the necesarry skill.

3. Eclispe of Tiwanaku and Wari--a time of increased warfare throughout the Andes around 1000 led to the downfall of both the Tiwanaku and Wari, and their replacement by the Inca.

B. Inca civilization
1. The Inca Empire--was the largest empire in the world during its time, stretching nearly the entire west coast of South America; much of the empire was contained within the Andes Mountains, at heights were sustaining civilization is very difficult.

2. Inca reign--lasted just over one hundred years before its demise at the hands of Francisco Pizzaro; but as we shall see, like his cousin Cortez, he lucked into attacking an empire that was suffering from internal difficulties that contributed to its downfall.
3. Rise of the Inca--Inca was the name for the people, as well as incorporated into the name of the ruler.

a.) Originated near Lake Titicaca, in the Andes along the border of present-day Peru and Bolivia. Move then to area near Cusco (or Qosqo)

b.) Inca made enemies of the Chanka people, were suppose to be led into battle by Wiraqocha Inca and his designated heir (the Inca named their successors), Inca Urqon. The fled the Chanka, however, and the Incas were led into battle by the youngest son, Inca Cusi Yupaki, who led them to victory. After being tipped off to his father’s plans to have him murdered, Yupaki foiled the plot, and his humiliated father fled. Yupaki then renamed himself Pachakuti (“Worldshaker”) in Runa Sumi, the Inkan language.
c.) The Hegemonic Empire--Pachakuti formed his empire largely by persuading other peoples to adopt Inca ways of life and Inka protections; then co-opting local rulers to do his bidding.
d.) Succession problems--naming the successor worked as long as it was a decisive decision--and the person named outlived the Inka. By the early 1500s, to successive ascensions to the throne were contested, setting off small civil wars in Inkan society; the second was only resolved just before the appearance of Pizzaro.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Inner and East Asia, 581-755

I. The Sui and Tang Empires, 581-755

A. Sui Empire

1. Reunification of China--After the fall of the Han Dynasty, China was fragmeneted for several centuries. It was reunified under the Sui dynasty, a father and son ruling duo who held power from 581 until Turks from Inner Asia defeated the son in 615.

2. Sui rulers--called their new capital Chang'an in honor of the old capital in the Wei River Valley. Though northern China constituted the Sui heartland,  population centered along the Yangzi River in the south and pointed the way for future Chinese expansion. To facilitate communication and trade with the south the Sui built the 1,100 mile long Grand Canal

3. Sui military ambitions--extended to Korea and Vietnam, as well as Inner Asia, and required high levels of organization and the mustering or resources--manpower, livestock, wood, iron, and food supplies. The same was true of their massive public works projects. These burdens proved to be more than the Sui could sustain. Over-extension compounded the political dilemma stemming from the military defeat and subsequent assassination of the second Sui emperor. These circumstances opened the way for another strong leader to establish a new state.

4. In 618 the powerful Li family took advantage of the Sui disorder to carve out an empire of similar scale and ambition. They adopted the dynastic name Tang. The brilliant emperor Li Shimin extended his power primarily westward into Inner Asia. Though he and succeeding rulers of the Tang Empire retained many Sui governing practices, they avoided over-centralization by allowing local nobles, gentry, officials, and religious establishments to exercise significant amounts of power.

B. Buddhism and the Tang Empire--the Tang rulers followed Inner Asian precedents in their political use of Buddhism. State cults based on Buddhism had flourished in Inner Asia and North China since the fall of the Han dynasty. Some interpretations of Buddhist doctrines accorded kings and emperors the spiritual function of welding humankind into a harmonious Buddhist society. Protecting spirits were to help the rulers govern and protect the people from harm.

1. Mahayana Sect--Mahayana Buddhism predominated in the region, and fostered a faith in enlightened beings--bodhisattvas--who postponed nirvana to help others achieve enlightenment. This permitted the absorption of local gods and goddesses into Mahayana sainthood and made conversion of local peoples more attractive to them. Mahayana also encouraged translating Buddhist scripture into local languages, and it accepted religious practices not based on written texts.

2. Inter-regional contacts--as the Tang Empire expanded westward, contacts with western Asia and India increased, as did the complexity of the Buddhist influence throughout China. Chang'an became the center of a continent-wide system of communication and trade.

C. To Chang'an by Land and Sea

1. Tributary system--a type of political relationship dating from Han time by which independent countries acknowledged the Chinese emperor's supremacy by sending representatives bearing gifts. While the "inferior" countries may have seen this as a way to facilitate trade with China, the Chinese saw it as a political relationship/

C. Upheavals and Repression, 750-879

1. Opposition to Buddhism--the later years of the Tang dynasty witnessed increased conflict with Tibetans and Uighurs; one result of this was a backlash among the Chinese against "foreigners," which, to Confucians, meant all Buddhists

2. Wu Zhao--Buddhism was also attacked for encouraging women to become involved in politics. One, Wu Zhao, declared herself empress by claiming to be a bodhisattva. She was not deposed until 705, when she was more than eighty years old.

3. Closing the monasteries--because Buddhist monks and nuns renounced earthly treasures, and live in poverty, they were exempt from taxation--although the monasteries where they lived tended to collect great riches. This, coupled with the fact that these monks and nuns also practiced celibacy, made them seem threatening to Confucians. By 840, the government moved to crush these monasteris, and within 5 years 4,600 temples had been destroyed, and an enormous amount of land and 150,000 workers returned to the tax rolls.

D. The End of the Tang Empire, 879-907

1. An Lushan Rebellion--The defeat of the Chinese army at the Battle of Talas River in 751, which halted Chinese expansion in Western Asia, also led to army demoralization and underfunding. A disgruntled general by the name of An Lushan led his soldiers in a rebellion against the emperor, resulting in his fleeing from the capital. The rebellion lasted eight years, and was only put down by provincial military governors--which further eroded the power of the emperor.

2. Further unrest--a disgruntled member of the gentry led another rebellion, which peasants and other poor farmers joined because it offered some protection  from local bosses and landlords. Hatred of foreigners proved an outlet for this stress, and thousands of the foreigners were murdered on Canton and Beijing.

II. The Emergence of East Asia, to 1200

A. Emergence of Three New States--formed in the vaccuum created by the disintegration of the Tang Empire.

1. Liao Empire--established by the Khitan people, pastoral nomads related to the Mongols living on the northwest frontier. Centered their government in cities, but the emperor preferred life in nomad encampments.

2. Tanggut Empire (1038-1227)--of the Minyak people, who were related to the Tibetans on the Inner Asian frontier in northwestern China

3. Song Empire--Chinese-speaking, located in central China beginning around 960.

B. The Liao and Jin Challenge

1. Khitan People--extended from Siberia to Inner Asia. Liao rulers prided themselves on their pastoral traditions as horse and cattle herders, and made no attempt to impose a single elite culture.

2. Conquest of the Song--the Liao used their skill on horseback and as archers along with the technology of seize engines that they had learned from people in western Asia to defeat the Song, and forced them to send tribute in the form of gold and other valuable metals, and silk.

3. Jin Empire--after a century of paying tribute, the Song allied with the Jurchen people. The Jurchens toppled the Liao, burning their capital in Mongolia, and proclaimed their own empire--and then turned on the Song, defeating them in 1127 by laying siege to the capital, Kaifeng, and then capturing the Song emperor. As a result, the Song withdrew south of the Yellow River, leaving central China in Jurchen control.

C. Song Industries--the Southern Song (as this period is referred to by historinas) came closer to an industrial revolution than any other premodern society.

1. Technology--the Song incorported the technology that had earlier come to Tang China to meet their military, agricultural, and administrative needs.

2. Transportation--refined the compass, which allowed them to use it on sea-going vessels, like the main ocean-going vessel that was also developed around this time, the junk.

3. Iron and Steel--the Song were able to fight their neighbors to the north, and gained control of a significan number of iron and coal mines there--which allowed them to refine the manufacture of iron and develop the manufacture of steel.

4. Gunpowder--to counter cavalry assaults, the Song experimented with the use of gunpowder, which they used to propel clusters of flaming arrows. They later developed the mortar.

D. Economy and Society in Song China--despite living in a war-like era, Song elite culture idealized civil pursuits, and the civil official outranked the military officer.

1. Neo-Confucianism--new interpretations of Confucian teachings became important during the Song era, and later versions incorporated these new interpretations. A man named Zhu Xi (1130-1200), the most important early thinking propelling neo-Confucianism, wrote in reaction to the many centuries when Buddhism and Daoism had overshadowed the concepts of Confucius. He and others worked out a systematic approach to cosmology that focused on the central conception that human nature is moral, rational, and essentially good. Their human ideal was the sage, who could preserve mental stability and serenity while dealing conscientiously with troubling social problems--in contrast to the bodhisattva, who largely withdrew from the world.

2. Mediative Buddhsim--Chan Buddhism (known as Zen in Japan--and the United States) emphasized meditation as a way of achieving salvation; it was probably this shift in emphasis that reconciled it with neo-Confucianism, which also emphasized meditation, after the hostile period Buddhist practice experienced during the Tang dynasty.

3. Examination system--hereditary class distinctions meant less during the Song dynasty than they had in the Tang, and efforts were made to recruit the most talented men, no matter what their origin--but men from rich families retained a distinct advantage, because they could prepare for the examinations much more thoroughly than their poorer counterparts.

4. Printing--a technical change to the woodblock led to the development of an early form of moveable type, and permitted the Song to authorize the mass production of preparation books in the years before 1000. Although one had to be literate to read the books, and a basic education was out of the reach of most Chinese, this did allow a few sons of poorer families to move into the Song bureaucracy.

5. Population growth--during the 1100s, as the Song added more territory and prosperity was the norm, China's population grew to more than 100 million people. Although no individual city was more than 1,000,000, the size of many Chinese cities dwarfed anything else in the world, and despite their size were much cleaner (and healthier) than cities in Europe.

6. Trade and Credit--begun during the Tang era, interregional or intercity money--promissary notes, in reality--largely depended upon family relationships in far-flung places. When the Song attempted to issue paper money to meet its obligations, it created inflation so severe that at the beginning of the 1100s that the paper money was trading at only 1 percent of its face value.

7. Status of women--although merchants depended upon their wives to run their businesses while they were off trading, rights of women further diminished under the Song. Women were only educated enough that they could function in an increasingly comples society, but not to the point where they could compete with men

a. Footbinding--although it appeared in the Tang era among slave dancers, footbinding became more widespread in the Song period. Females of elite families--or those who aspired to elite status--had their feet bound from a young age to make them more desirable for male suitors.

III. New Kingdoms in East Asia

A. Chinese influences--Korea, Japan, and Vietnam had first centralized power under ruling houses in the early Tang period, and their state ideologies continued to resemble that of the early Tang period, when Buddhism and Confucianism seemed more compatible.

B. Korea--our first knowledge of Kora, Japan, and Vietnam comes via Chinese visitors. During the Han era, it was noted that Koreans engaged in horse breeding, were ruled by strong hereditary elites, and practiced shamanism (the belief that certain individuals could contact the spirit world)--which was quickly replaced by Buddhism and Confucianism.

1. Aristocratic families--in the early 500 the dominant landholding families made inherited status--the "bone ranks"--permanent in southern Korea. In 668, the northern kingdom, known as Koguryo, came into conflict with the Sui and Tang. Supported by the Tang, the southern kingdom, known as Silla, took control of the north. In the early 900s, Silla collapsed, along with their patrons the Tang's, and this allowed the Koryo to rule a united peninsula for the next three centuries.

C. Japan--Consists of four main islans and many smaller ones stretching in an arc from as far north as Maine to as far south as Georgia. Mountainous and heavily forested in this early period, only 11 percent of its land was considered arable.

1. Yamato Regime--we are not sure at this point what spurred Japanese unification, although it seems likely that horse riders from Korea played a part. By the 600s, these rulers implemented the Taika and other refoms, which gave the Yamato regime key features of the Tang government. A legal code, an official variety of Confuciansim, and an official reverence for Buddhism blended with the local recognition on indigenous and immigrant chieftains as territorial administrators. Within a century, a centralized government with a complex system of law had emerged--attesting to the influence of Confucianism.

2. Chinese influences--Japanese incorporated Chinese building techniques, and by the 700s Japan had largely passed China in Buddhist studies--but Japan did not incorporate the idea of the Mandate of Heaven, instead believing that the ruling family to have ruled Japan since the beginning of time. While the dynasty never changed, the prime minister and leaders of the native religion, who held actual power, did change with some frequency.

3. Fujiwara Clan--in 794 the central government moved to Kyoto (then known as Heian), and remained centralized (more or less) until 1185, although central power had began to disintegrate near the end. Members of the Fukiwara clan controlled power and protected the emperor during much of this time, and favored men of Confucian learning over illiterate warriors.

4. The Shogunate--military values became increasingly important during the period from 1156-1185, when warfare between rival clans culminated in the establishment of the Kamakura Shogunate, who replace the Fujiwara family.

D. Vietnam--not until the Tang era did the relationship between Vietnam and China become close enough for economic and cultural interchange to play an important role

1. Rice Culture--Vietnam's economic and poltical life centered on two fertile river valleys; the Red River in the north, and the Mekong River in the south. The rice-based agriculture of Vietnam made it well-suited to economic integration with southern China

2. Relations with China--although the Vietnamese may have adopted the use of draft animals before China, the elites of northern Vietnam adopted Confucian training, Mahayan Buddhism, and other aspects of Chinese culture. The Annamese continued to rule in the Tang style after that regimes fall; the Annam assumed the name Dai Viet in 936 and retained good relations with the Song as an independent country.

3. Champa--located in southern Vietnam, were more influenced by its maritime networks of trade with Malay and India. The Champa and Dai Viet were often fighting among themselves, but cooperate together to resist what threats would emanate from the Song