Asia History

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The early Greeks with Asia referred to all of them so-called “barbaric” countries that do not belong to Europe, including Libya (Africa). Asia was initially the name for the colonies of the west coast of Asia Minor founded by the Ionians.

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Asian mankind can be traced back to the Paleolithic. From China to Manchuria, the Gobi Desert, the Baikal area, India, Iran, Two-Streamland, Syria, Palestine, numerous early Ice Age sites have been found. As far as the continent was not affected by the glaciation, it experienced the climate changes as long rainy or dry seasons. Early cultures flourished as early as 5000 BC. in Iraq, with village settlements and farming of animal breeders; around 4500 BC a first sanctuary rose in Palestine (Jericho). Here, in Syria, Mesopotamia, Iraq and Turkmenistan, arable farming can subsequently be demonstrated. Around 3000 BC High cultures with city facilities became visible in China, India, in the two streams and in Mesopotamia with the first monumental temple building; first states and empires. Asia was the playground of conquering steppe peoples (Huns, Tatars, Mongols, Turks, etc.).

The main sources for the early history are Hekataios of Miletus around 500 BC. and Herodotus around 45 BC Around 400 BC Krepias, a Knidos doctor who lived at the Persian court, reported about India. With the trains of Alexander the Great, the name is transferred to all countries to the east. Nearchus is concerned with the geographical development of Asia through his journey from the Indus estuary to the Euphrates in 325 BC. earned; a little later Seleukos Nikator and his son Antiochos sailed the Indian Ocean and the Caspian Sea. In the post-Alexander period, trade relations between Egypt and India. The Roman province of Asia comprised the 133 BC. inherited Attalid Empire from Pergamon; Lydia, Phrygia and Rhodes were added later. Rome’s trade reached as far as India and China, yet Inner Asia itself was closed to the Roman advance through the great Persian power; Central Asia was still unknown to Ptolemy. In the Middle Ages, the Arabs opened up numerous markets in South and East Asia. In the 13th century western legations negotiated in the Mongolian residence in the interior of Mongolia. From 1271 to 1295, the Venetian Marco Polo traveled through Mongolia, China and Bengal on behalf of the Pope and out of commercial interest. In 1498 the Portuguese sailed around Africa and discovered the sea route to the East Indies; this marked the beginning of a new era in the geographical development of Asia, particularly through the Portuguese. In 1521 Magellan traveled around the world to the Philippines; Gracia Henriques took Celebes in 1525, Vasco Laurez in 1526 Borneo. Around 1542 Europeans invade Japan. In 1571 the Spaniards settled in the Philippines. The Russian advance of the Cossacks Yermaks to Siberia began in 1580, the Lena in 1628, the Amur and the Sea of ​​Okhotsk in 1640. In 1600, Queen Elizabeth of England sent an expedition to India. Until 1660 the Dutch settled in the archipelago of Java, Celebes, Borneo etc. In 1601, the French also started trips to the East Indies. By order of Peter the Great, several Russian expeditions to the north went from 1711 to 1716; 1725-1728 Bering visited the coast of northern Siberia and the sea of ​​Kamchatka; With the circumnavigation of James Cooks (1772 to 1775), the northeastern coasts of Asia were also explored. Since then, the geographic picture of the continent has brightened rapidly.

Almost all major human religions originated in Asia, which has most countries in the world according to Asia had no political opposition to European imperialism for a long time. It was only in the 20th century that a wave of nationalism swept through all the Asian nations. Japanese imperialism adopted the slogan “Asia to the Asians”; Since the Second World War, the nations of Asia have fought for independence from European or American rule.

Country Literacy (percent) Literacy women (percent)
Afghanistan 31.7 (2011) 17.6 (2011)
Bahrain 86.5 (2001) 83.6 (2001)
Bangladesh 72.8 (2016) 69.9 (2016)
Bhutan 57.0 (2012) 48.0 (2012)
Brunei 96.1 (2011) 94.7 (2011)
Burma 75.6 (2016) 71.8 (2016)
Philippines 96.4 (2013) 96.8 (2013)
United Arab Emirates 90.0 (2005) 91.5 (2005)
India 69.3 (2011) 59.3 (2011)
Indonesia 95.4 (2016) 93.6 (2016)
Iraq 43.7 (2013) 38.0 (2013)
Iran 85.5 (2016) 80.8 (2016)
Israel 91.8 (1983) 88.7 (1983)
Yemen 54.1 (2004) 35.0 (2004)
Jordan 97.9 (2012) 97.4 (2012)
Cambodia 80.5 (2015) 75.0 (2015)
Kazakhstan 99.8 (2010) 99.7 (2010)
China 95.1 (2010) 92.7 (2010)
Kyrgyzstan 99.2 (2009) 99.0 (2009)
Kuwait 95.7 (2015) 94.5 (2015)
Laos 84.7 (2015) 79.4 (2015)
Lebanon 91.2 (2009) 88.1 (2009)
Malaysia 89.5 (2001) 86.2 (2001)
Maldives 98.6 (2014) 98.7 (2014)
Mongolia 98.3 (2010) 98.3 (2010)
Nepal 59.6 (2011) 48.8 (2011)
North Korea
Oman 94.9 (2016) 90.9 (2016)
Pakistan 57.0 (2014) 44.3 (2014)
Qatar 89.0 (2004) 88.6 (2004)
Saudi Arabia 94.4 (2013) 91.4 (2013)
Singapore 97.0 (2016) 95.4 (2016)
Sri Lanka 92.4 (2016) 91.5 (2016)
South Korea
Syria 80.8 (2004) 73.6 (2004)
Tajikistan 99.8 (2014) 99.7 (2014)
Thailand 92.9 (2015) 91.2 (2015)
Turkmenistan 99.7 (2014) 99.6 (2014)
Uzbekistan 100.0 (2016) 100.0 (2016)
Vietnam 93.5 (2009) 91.4 (2009)
East Timor 58.3 (2010) 53.0 (2010)

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Fight for freedom

Japan, China and Siam had remained independent. The core areas of the colonial powers were in South and Southeast Asia. In the intellectual middle class of Western education that emerged here, nationalist, anti-colonial independence movements were organized, inspired by Western ideologies such as liberalism and socialism. Japan’s rise in power and victories in the Russian-Japanese War and during the Second World War, the fall of the Empire in China, the Russian Revolution and the United States pledge to grant independence to the Philippines spurred independence movements in Asia.

Parts of West Asia became independent states in the early 1920s, after the Ottoman Empire collapsed and Turkey, after the defeat of the First World War, renounced its claim to be Islam’s global protector and initiated reforms in the Western direction. The United Kingdom and France competed to consolidate their power in the area. During World War II, Arab nationalism increased. At the same time, the powers of the great powers for the area, which have strategic significance as a source of raw materials (oil) and communication path, increased. By 1945, the Soviet Union and the United States had replaced Britain and France as leading powers with competing interests in West Asia. In order to strengthen its position, the Arab states in 1945 formed the Arab League, whose members, although mutually dissenting, united in opposition to the establishment of the State of Israel.

In 1961, the world’s oil-producing countries formed a cooperative organization, OPEC, to keep oil prices up, which in the 1970s led to economic expansion in the Middle East. However, economic growth has slowed down through wars and border conflicts with Israel and the struggle between fundamentalists and reform friends.

After World War II, colonies after colonies gained political independence, first the Philippines in 1946 and then the British colonies: India and Pakistan in 1947, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and Burma in 1948. France and the Netherlands tried to maintain their colonial power through war. Indonesia became independent after the intervention of the UN, while Vietnam suffered decades of war between the Declaration of Independence and its true independence as a united state.

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Economic independence

However, with political independence, economic independence did not follow. Most states remained as politically independent in the dependence created by the former colonial power by shaping the colonial business as a complement to that of the mother country. Ideological, religious and ethnic contradictions caused political instability which made it impossible to predict the economic and social pace of liberation movements. With population growth and with irregular monsoons, failed harvests, erosion-depleted soil and floods caused, the living conditions for the majority deteriorated.

Decolonization and sudden independence also occurred in Central Asia. In 1986, the first of several national uprisings against the Soviet regime broke out. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation and eleven newly formed independent republics, including five Central Asian countries, tried to coordinate economy and defense by forming the Commonwealth of Independent States in 1991. But the ethnic contradictions escalated when Russian influence gained competition from traditional Turkish, Muslim, influence and through pressure from other neighboring countries.