Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent. It is comprised of 48 countries where roughly 4.5 billion people live. It is home to about a quarter of all of the world's countries and the majority of the world's 7.5 billion people. It stretches from Turkey to Japan and encompasses the entirety of Russia. Some of its islands are even near Australia. The Middle East is part of this continent as well. Asia is diverse in both its people and its geography. From the world's biggest cities to some of the world's most remote villages and towns, it all can be found in Asia. It has got dark forests, harsh deserts, and even tropical islands.
This vast and complex place has unique histories to match. Its history goes back thousands of years and is full of intrepid and terrifying conquerers, amazing advancements, large tragedies, and the rise and fall of countless empires. From bloody warfare to fascinating ingenuity, humanity has made countless important strides in Asia over the centuries.
If you are a global history buff who knows the history of the west and east like the back of your hand, put your knowledge to the test with this Asian history quiz!
The Mandate of Heaven, or Tian Ming, was an important political doctrine in ancient China. It established rulers as divinely chosen.
Ancient civilizations often formed in the fertile land surrounding rivers, because it provided a place to grow food. This occurred throughout Asia.
The Silk Road was a massive trade route that allowed people of Europe, Africa, and Asia to trade with one another. It caused cultural ideas to spread and mix.
India became independent of Great Britain in 1947. The British ruled it for nearly 200 years.
Catherine the Great ruled during the 18th century and presided over a Russian golden age. Russia's influence and modernization continued under her rule.
Constantinople was the capital of the Byzantine Empire and then the Ottoman Empire. It was named after the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.
Japan participated in World War I from 1914-1918. They were allied with the Entente Powers.
Britain felt disadvantaged in trade because goods from China were in high demand, but their goods were not in demand in China. To try and balance the scales they introduced Indian opium to China, causing widespread addiction. When the Chinese tried to resist this by destroying the opium, the British declared war on them, which they won.
Mao Zedong was a Chinese communist revolutionary and the founding father of the People's Republic of China. He led China from 1949 to 1976.
Thailand was known as Siam by Westerners for generations. It is now outdated and politically incorrect to refer to Thailand as Siam or Thai people as Siamese.
Gunpowder was invented in medieval China. It is said it was invented accidentally by alchemists who were trying to create an immortality elixir.
The Cold War was largely fought between the capitalist west and communist Russia. As a result of it, Korea was split into North Korea and South Korea.
Participating in World War I had disastrous effects for the entire Russian Empire. It had weakened it so much that it fell during the February Revolution of 1917.
The first Westerners to arrive in China were missionaries who hope to convert the Chinese to Christianity. Many of the Chinese considered Westerners to be barbarians and did not take kindly to their ideas.
As Europe fell into an era of disease and violence and repression, The Islamic world rose. They made advancements in medicine, art, math, and thought that would later find their way to Western Europe during the Renaissance.
The Mongol Empire controlled a massive contiguous Eurasian land empire during the Middle Ages. It stretched from Eastern Europe and through the Middle East to the shores of Russia and China.
Confucianism is considered more of a philosophy than a religion. It mostly focuses on maintaining the integrity of social structures and society itself.
Samurai emerged during the Heian period of Japanese history, from the 8th to 12th centuries. They were a nobility and officer caste with their own traditions and weapons.
The Beduin people are nomadic groups that have inhabited the deserts of North Africa and the Middle East for thousands of years. They traditionally lived in tribes, herd camels and goats, and practiced Islam. Many of them have left these customs behind for modern urban life.
The peaceful and prosperous Han Dynasty was the second dynasty of Imperial China, and lasted four centuries. Today, many of China's people still refer to themselves as Han Chinese.
The Vietnam War was fought in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. This was another war in Asia fought by one side backed by capitalist states and another backed by communist states.
The Indus Valley Civilization was a sophisticated Bronze Age civilization that largely flourished in Western India. Their religious practice is at the roots of Hinduism.
Alexander the Great created an empire which stretched from Europe to Western India. Part of this was conquering the Persian Empire.
Zoroastrianism was the religion of the Persian Empire during the 6th-4th centuries BC. It introduced concepts such as monotheism, salvation through moral choices and actions, and banning animal sacrifice. These were influential for the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.
Ashoka was the ruler of the Maurya dynasty. This dynasty controlled much of what would eventually become modern day India.
Mongol women had far more freedoms than women in other Asian patriarchal societies. They often rode horses, went to war, and had a large part in decision-making.
The Black Death, which later ravaged Europe, actually got its start in Asia. It is estimated to have taken a tremendous toll on China's population as well.
During the Nara period of Japanese history, in the 8th century, Buddhism gained the status of being the state religion. The government ordered the construction of numerous Buddhist temples and statues which strained the people, causing poverty.
These three kingdoms fought for supremacy in Korea. In the 10th century they were united by King Taejo as the Goryeo Kingdom. This name became the basis of the modern name of Korea.
The Russian Empire was one of the largest empires in human history. It lasted from 1721 to 1917.
The Russian empire had an absolute monarchy. This meant that the will and word of its rulers was accepted as law without any checks or balances.
Spanning several centuries, the Qing Dynasty was the last dynasty of Imperial China. Crime, corruption, and poverty became rampant by its end, but the government refused to do anything to address it.
Macau is known as the Vegas of Asia. Today it is an autonomous territory of China, but it was a colony of Portugal from 1557 to 1999.
The Achaemenid Empire is also known as The First Persian Empire. Started by Cyrus The Great, it was the largest empire so far at the time and brought numerous advancements to Eurasia. It lasted from roughly 550 to 330 BC.
The Ottoman Empire ruled throughout Central Asia for centuries. Its rulers were known for having large harems and killing their family members so they could not compete with them for the throne.