Unit 1: The Global Tapestry
(c. 1200 to c. 1450)
TOPIC 1.1 Developments in East Asia from c. 1200 to c. 1450
° Under the Song Dynasty (960-1279), great wealth, political stability, and artistic and intellectual innovations.
° China developed the greatest manufacturing capability in the world.
° China became the world’s most commercialized society, shifting from local production to
° Buddhism and Confucianism began to spread
° China’s bureaucracy expanded through meritocracy, allowing for greater social mobility.
Economic Developments in Postclassical China
° The Grand Canal: An efficient waterway transportation system that enabled China to become the most populous trading area in the world.
° Gunpowder: Technology of gunpowder and guns spread from China to all parts of Eurasia via traders on the Silk Roads
° Agriculture: They built elaborate irrigation systems and used heavy plows pulled by water buffalo or oxen to increase productivity. Production of food increased and China’s population grew quickly.
° Tributes: An arrangement to gain income in which other states had to pay money or provide goods to honor the Chinese emperor.
Significance of the Song Dynasty:
° The Song government provided aid to the poor and established public hospitals where people could receive care.
° It was expected that women would defer to men, seen in the constraint of foot binding.
Religious Diversity in China
° Buddhism had come to China from its birthplace in India via the Silk Roads.
° Three forms of Buddhism from India came to shape Asia, each developing a different emphasis: Theravada Buddhism, Mahayana Buddhism, and Tibetan Buddhism
°Followed the Four Noble Truth and the Eightfold Path
° Neo-Confucianism evolved in China between 770 and 840. It was a syncretic system, combining rational thought with the more abstract ideas of Daoism and Buddhism.
° For hundreds of years, Japan had been a feudal society without a centralized government.
° Land owning aristocrats, the daimyo, battled for control of the land, while the majority of
people worked as rice farmers.
° In 1192, the Minamoto installed a shogun, or military ruler, to reign. For the following four centuries, Japan suffered from regional rivalries among aristocrats.
° Not until the 17th century would shoguns create a strong central government that unified the country.
Connection to China
° Korea’s location gave it a very direct relationship with China and had a tributary relationship.
° It centralized its government in the style of the Chinese.
° Culturally, Koreans adopted both Confucian and Buddhist beliefs.
° Unlike with China, Koreans maintained a more powerful landed aristocracy that would not allow for the same amount of social mobility
° Vietnamese women enjoyed greater independence in their married lives than Chinese women in the Confucian tradition.
° Vietnamese preferred nuclear families, in which the father, mother and their children live in one household.
° Vietnamese villages operated independently of a national government; political centralization was nonexistent.
° They adopted a merit-based bureaucracy of educated men, but instead of pledging loyalty to the emperor, officials in Vietnam owed more allegiance to the village peasants.
TOPIC 1.2 Developments in Dar al-Islam from c. 1200 to c. 1450
° Advances in mathematics: Nasir al-Din al-Tusi laid the groundwork for making trigonometry a separate subject.
°Advances in literature: ‘A’ishah al-Ba’uniyyah may be the most prolific female Muslim writer before the 20th century. Many of her works describe her journey toward mystical illumination.
°Advances in medicine: Medical advances and hospital care improved in cities such as Cairo, while doctors and pharmacists studied for examinations for licenses that would allow them to practice.
°Islamic society viewed merchants as more prestigious than did other societies in Europe and Asia at the time.
With the revival of trade on Silk Roads, merchants could grow rich from their dealings across the Indian Ocean and Central Asia.
°Muslim women enjoyed a higher status than Christian or Jewish women.
° Allowed to inherit property and retain ownership after marriage. They could remarry if widowed.
° Could receive a cash settlement if divorced.
° Women could practice birth control.
° Preservation and commentaries on Greek moral and natural philosophy
° House of Wisdom in Abbasid Baghdad
° Scholarly and cultural transfers in Muslim and Christian Spain
Islamic Rule in Spain
° In 711, Muslim forces successfully invaded Spain from the south.
° Most of the continent remained Christian, but Muslims ruled Spain for the next seven
° Umayyad rulers in Córdoba created a climate of toleration, with Muslims, Christians, and
Jews coexisting peacefully.
° They also promoted trade, allowing Chinese and Southeast Asian products to enter
TOPIC 1.3 Developments in South and Southeast Asia from c. 1200 to c. 1450
° Southern India was more stable than northern India. The first kingdom, the Chola Dynasty, reigned over southern India for more than 400 years (850—1267).
° Northern India experienced significantly more upheaval than did southern India. After the fall of the Gupta Empire, the Rajput kingdoms gradually formed in northern India and present-day Pakistan**.**
° Bringing Islam into India, the Delhi Sultanate reigned for 300 years, from the l3th through the l6th centuries.
Political Structures in South Asia
Religion in South Asia
° Before the arrival of Islam, most South Asians practiced Hinduism.
° Differences between Hinduism and Islam:
°Hindus pray to many gods, while Mulims are strictly monotheistic
° Hindu artwork and temples are filled with pictures of deities, while Muslims disapprove of any visual representation of Allah.
°Hinduism was associated with a hierarchical caste system, while Islam has always called for the equality of all believers.
°Hindus recognize several sacred texts, while Muslims look to only the Quran for spiritual guidance.
Social Structures in South Asia
° The arrival of Islam did little to alter the basic structure of society in South Asia.
° Most of those who tried to escape the grip of the caste system failed.
° India’s caste system is its strongest historical continuity.
° The Bhakti Movement: Beginning in the 12th century, some Hindus began to draw upon
traditional teachings about the importance of emotion in their spiritual life. Rather than emphasize performing rituals or studying texts, they concentrated on developing a strong attachment to a particular deity.
° South Asia strongly influenced its neighbors, particularly the lands of Southeast Asia— today’s Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam.
° The Srivijaya Empire (67H-1025) was a Hindu kingdom based on Sumatra. It built up its navy and prospered by charging fees for ships that traveled between India and China.
° The Majapahit Kingdom (1293—1520) based on Java had 98 tributaries at its height. Like Srivijaya, Majapahit held onto its power by controlling sea routes. Unlike Srivijaya, Majapahit was Buddhist.
° The Sinhala dynasties in Sri Lanka had their roots in the arrival of early immigrants, most likely merchants, from northern India.
° Buddhists arrived in the 3rd century BCE and the island became a hub of Buddhist study.
° The Khmer Empire (802—1431) was situated near the Mekong River and was not dependent on maritime prowess for its power. The kingdom’s complex irrigation and drainage systems led to economic prosperity, making it one of the most prosperous kingdoms in Southeast Asia.
TOPIC 1.4 State Building in the Americas
The Mississippian Culture
° First large-scale civilization in North America
The Maya City-States
° Mayan civilization reached its height between 250 and 900 CE
° Mayans stretched over the southern part of Mexico and much of what is now Belize,
Honduras, and Guatemala
° The main source of Mayan government was the city-state, each ruled by a king and
consisting of a city and its surrounding territory.
° Each Mayan king claimed to be a descendant of a god (divine right)
° Mayan science and religion were linked through astronomy
° The Aztecs were originally hunter-gatherers who migrated to central Mexico from the north in the 1200s.
° In 1325, they founded their capital Tenochtitlan on the site of what is now Mexico City.
° They built a network of aqueducts and a pyramid that rose 150 fcet into the air.
° Aztecs developed a tributary system
° Aztec government was a theocracy, in which religious leaders had the power
° They worshipped hundreds of deities
° Worship among the Aztecs involved a great many rituals and feast days as well as human
° Women played an im[portant role in the Aztec tribute system since they made the highly
valued cloth that local rulers demanded as part of the regular tribute.
° The Incan Empire was split into four provinces, each with its own bureaucracy.° Instead of a tributary system, they were subject to the mit’a system, mandatory public
service.° The name Inca means “people of the sun” and Inti, the sun god, was the most important
of the Incan gods.° Priests diagnosed illnesses, solved crimes, predicted the outcome of battles, and
determined what sacrifices should be made and to which god.° The Inca developed sophisticated terrace systems for the cultivation of crops such as
potatoes and maize.
° In 1533, the Spanish conquered the core of the empire
TOPIC 1.5 State Building in Africa
Political Structures in Inland Africa
° The development of Sub-Saharan Africa was heavily formed by the migrations of Bantu- speaking people outward from west-central Africa.
° Communities formed kin-based networks, where families governed themselves
° Groups of villages became districts, and a group of chiefs decided among themselves
how to solve the problems of the districts
Political Structures of West and East Africa
° The exchange of goods brought them wealth, political power, and cultural diversity.
° The spread of Islam added to the religious diversity of the continent, where animism and
Christianity were already practiced.
° Mali: By the 12th century, wars with neighboring societies had permanently weakened
the Ghanaian state. In its place arose many new trading societies, the most powerful of
which was Mali.
° Zimbabwe: Built its prosperity on a mixture of agriculture, grazing, trade, and, above all,
gold. It had rich gold fields.
° Ethiopia: Christianity had spread from its origins along the east coast of the
Mediterranean Sea south into Egypt and beyond. Ethiopia flourished by trading goods obtained from India, Arabia, the Roman Empire, and the interior of Africa.
Social Structures of Sub-Saharan Africa
° Sub-Saharan Africa’s small communities were organized around several structures: kinship, age, and gender.
° Men dominated most activities that require a specialized skill.
° Women generally engaged in agriculture and food gathering.
° Prisoners of war, debtors, and criminals were often enslaved. Owning a greater number of
enslaved people increased one’s social status.
° A strong demand in the Middle East for enslaved workers resulted in an Indian Ocean
slave trade between East Africa and the Middle East.
Cultural Life in Sub-Saharan Africa
° Because traditional African religions included ancestor veneration, song lyrics provided a means of communicating with the spirit world.
° African music usually had a distinguished rhythmic pattern, and vocals were interspersed with percussive elements, such as handclaps, pots, bells, or gourds.
° Visual arts also commonly served a religious purpose.
° Griots, or storytellers, were the conduits of history for a community.
TOPIC 1.6 Developments in Europe from c. 1200 to c. 1450
Feudalism: Political and Social Systems
° Feudalism provided some security for peasants, equipment for warriors, and land to those who worked for a lord.
° Since the entire system was agriculture-based, wealth was measured in land rather than in cash.
° The manorial system provided economic self-sufficiency and defense. The manor produced everything that people living on it required, limiting the need for trade and
contact with outsiders.
Political Trends in the Later Middle Ages
° In the later Middle Ages, monarchies grew more powerful at the expense of feudal lords by employing their own bureaucracy and military
° King Philip II of France was the first to develop a real bureaucracy.
° The Estates-General was a body that advised the king which included representatives from each of the three legal classes, or estates, in France: the clergy, nobility, and commoners.
° Between 1337 and 1453, the rival monarchies of England and France fought a series of battles known as the Hundred Years’ War. On each side, serving under a monarch stimulated a sense of unity among soldiers who often spoke distinct languages or dialects
Roman Catholic Church during the Middle Ages
° In 1054, the Christian Church was broken into two branches, a split called the Great
Schism: Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox.
° The Church established the first universities in Europe.
° Most philosophers, writers, and other thinkers of the Middle Ages were religious leaders.
° The Church held great power in the feudal system.
° The Roman Catholic Church had an extensive hierarchy of regional leaders. The regional
religious leaders, called bishops, owed allegiance to the pope, the supreme bishop.
° Wealth and political power led to corruption in the church in the 13th and 14th centuries.
° Europeans sought to reclaim control of the Holy Land, the region of Palestine in the Middle East containing sites of spiritual significance to Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
° Economic and social trends of the 11th century added to the pressure among Europeans to invade the Middle East.
° The combination of these religious, social, and economic pressures resulted in the Crusades: a series of European military campaigns in the Middle East (1095 - l200s.)
Economic and Social Change
° The middle class began to grow. Known as the bourgeoisie, it included shopkeepers,
craftspeople, merchants, and small landholders.
° With renewed commerce came larger cities. Populations grew and promoted the growth
of towns and of markets that could operate more frequently.
° Jews: Anti-Semitism was widespread among Christians. They viewed Jews as outsiders
and untrustworthy. Jews were expelled from England in 1290, France in 1394, Spain in 1492, and Portugal in 1497.
° Muslims: They faced discrimination in Europe. In 1492, the Spanish king expelled the remaining Muslims in the kingdom who would not convert to Christianity. Many Muslims then moved to southeastern Europe.
° As urbanization continued, women lost many rights due to the growing wave of patriarchal thinking and writing.
° The Renaissance was a period characterized by a revival of interest in classical Greek and Roman literature, culture, art, and civic virtue.
° Johannes Gutenberg’s movable-type printing press permitted manuscripts to be mass- produced at relatively affordable costs. It led to a growth in literacy and the rapid spread of ideas.
° One characteristic of the Renaissance was the interest in humanism, the focus on individuals rather than God. Humanists sought education and reform.
TOPIC 1.7 Comparisons in the Period from c. 1200 to c. 1450
° The Song Dynasty in China continued progressing
° The Abbasid Caliphate in the Middle East was fragmented by invaders
° In Africa, the rulers of Mali created a more centralized government
° In the Americas, the Aztecs used a tributary system and the Incas used the mit’a system.
° In Europe, feudal ties reduced in the Western European kingdoms of England and France,
but not in Eastern Europe
° Japan, unlike most states, became more decentralized and feudal.
Types of Statebuilding
Emergence of New States
States arise on land once controlled by another empire
• Mamluk Empire (formerly Abbasid territory) • Seljuk Empire (formerly Abbasid territory)
• Delhi Sultanate (formerly Gupta territory)
Revival of Former Empires
New leadership continues or rebuilds a previous empire with some innovations
• Song Dynasty (based on the Han Dynasty)• Malt Empire (based on the Ghana Kingdom)• Holy Roman Empire (based on the Roman Empire)
Synthesis of Different Traditions
A state adapts foreign ideas to local conditions
• Japan (Chinese and Japanese)
• Delhi Sultanate (Islamic and Hindu) • Neo-Confucianism
Expansion in Scope
An existing state expands its influence through conquest, trade, or other means
• Incas in South America
• Aztecs in Mesoamerica
• City-states in East Africa
• City-states in Southeast Asia
State-Building through Trade
° Powered by increased trade, cross-cultural exchanges of technology and innovation increased.
° Paper manufacturing: invented in China in the 2nd century B.C.E., it spread across Eurasia, reaching Europe around the l3th century. The resulting printed material led to increased literacy rates across Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.
° Europe benefited from exchanges with the Middle East, and through it with all of Asia
Patriarchy and Religion
° Social organization in most cultures remained patriarchal. However, cultures varied.
° Convent life for Christians in Europe and in Jainism and Buddhist religious communities
in South Asia provided women with opportunities for learning and leadership.
° In China, women lost independence as the custom of foot binding became more common.