Angkor Wat, one of the most famous temples built during the Khmer Empire.


(109 BC-1432) by Lance Wilson and Michael Holland

This Map shows the lands subdued by Hideyoshi by 1582.

"Heaven has appointed me to rule all the nations, for hitherto there has been no order upon the steppes." -Genghis Khan

After the fall of the Han Dynasty, China was ruled by six different dynasties over a period of more than 350 years. In 589 AD, China was reunified during the Sui Dynasty. During this time the Emperor Yang
Chian extended the Grand Canal to be over 1000 miles long. The Sui Dynasty was short-lived, however, and it ended in 615. This allowed the Tang Dynasty to rise to power in 618. During the Tang Dynasty China reached the height of its wealth and power, extending its influence into Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia, where the Khmer Empire, which became the dominant power in southeast Asia, was developing. The Tang Dynasty also saw many inventions, including woodblock printing and the first printed book, the Diamond Sutra. The Tang also created the fire-lance, an early form of flamethrower than would evolve into the cannon and gave the Chinese a significant advantage in battle. The Tang Dynasty lasted for almost 300 years, ending in 907. 53 years later, in 960, General Zhao Kuangyin claimed the Mandate of Heaven and began the Song Dynasty. During the Song Dynasty China was ruled by the scholar-gentry, a group of wealth elite who had passed the civil service exam, and the country became unified to fight off the Mongols. The Song fell to the Yuan Dynasty in 1271, which was founded by the Mongol Kublai Khan. During this time Peking (modern Beijing) was renamed Khanbaliq, City of the Khan, and Kublai Khan created the palace Xanadu. The Mongols were eventually deposed by Hung Wu, a Buddhist monk who would found the Ming Dynasty in 1368, and the White Lotus Society, secret organization that revolted against the Mongols. The Ming Dynasty moved the capital city to Nanking, and the Emperor Yung La built the Forbidden City, the home of the emperors. The Chinese also conducted voyages of exploration during the early Ming Dynasty. The most famous explorer of this time was Admiral Zhenghe. At the end of his voyages in 1433, C
hina isolated itself from the rest of the world. The Ming Dynasty was well known for its pottery. This superior skill, added to the fact that many Ming vases were destoryed by later Chinese rulers, gives Ming Dynasty pottery a very high value, with some vases selling for as much as $10 million. The Ming Dynasty ended in 1644.

A firelance, one of the first gunpowder weapons in history.

Another country found in the Asian world at this time was Japan. The Japanese believed that they were created by the sun goddess Amaterasu, who gave the first 3 gifts, a mirror, a jewel, and a sword, which were given to all emperors. The first emperor, whose existence is uncertain, was named Jimmu and was believed to be descended from Amaterasu. Other early Japanese people included the Yayoi people. Eventually the Yamato emerged as the strongest caln in 300 AD. They became the first and only dynasty in Japanese history. The Japanese clans were united by Prince Shotoku, who created a centralized government with a supreme ruler. The emperor was the supreme ruler, but other leaders included the shogun, who was the most powerful samurai, and the daimyo, who were the great landowners of Japan.
Japan was protected by the samurai, warriors who were held to a high standard of honor by their code of conduct, bushido. But they must also be wary of the ninja, warriors of the night who were spies and assassins who had no care for having any honor. The first capital of Japan was created at Nara in 710. At the end of the Nara period in 794, the Fujiwara clan took power from the Yamato emperor. From this point forward the emperor was a mere figurehead, while the shogun held the real power. This marked the beginning of the Heian period, when the capital was moved to Heian, known today as Kyoto. The first novel was written this time by Lady Murasaki. It was called The Tale of Genji, and was published around the year 1000. The Kamakura Shogunate began in 1192 when Minamota Yoritomo defeated the warring clans. The Kamakura Shogunate lasted for 150 years, but began declining in the late 1200's, when the Mongols attempted to invade Japan. In 1281, Kublai Khan sailed to Japan, but his fleet was destroyed by a typhoon, which the Japanese called kamikaze, or divine wind. The Kamakura Shogunate ended in 1338, when a series of feudal wars began. The Daimyo and the samurai fought amongst themselves for over 200 years, not ceasing until Hideyoshi, "The Bald Rat", ended the feudal warfare and defeataed the warring samurai in 1580. Tokugawa leaysu, who came to power in 1603, instituted the "Great Peace" and united Japan, providing peace and stabilty that would last until the creation of the Japanese Empire in 1868. The Shogun during this time was concerned that external influences would corrupt Japanese culture, and in 1639 Japan isolated itself from the rest of the world, leaving only Nagasaki as a port to the rest of the world.

This shows the expansion of the Mongol Empire under Genghis Khan, as well as the Khanates it was divided into after his death.

While there were been many nations in Asian history, none was more powerful than the Mongols. The Mongol conquered vast areas of Asia and Europe during the thirteenth century, creating the largest contiguous land empire in world history. The Mongols were first united by Temujin, who in 1206 became Genghis Khan, the universal monarch and the first Mongol emperor. The Mongol cavalry, which was capable of riding as many as 90 miles in a day, was called the Golden Horde. Though the Great Wall of China had been built to keep the Mongols out, Genghis still managed to invade China, destroying Peking in 1215. The Empire continued to expand even after his death in 1227, and at its height it extended from China and Korea to the Principality of Kiev and from Siberia to India and Persia. The Empire was eventually divided by Genghis Khan's grandsons into the Khanate of Persia, the Khanate of the Golden Horde, the Khanate of Chagatai, and the Khanate of the Great Khan. The leader of the Khanate of the Great Khan was Kublai Khan, "The Great Khan". Kublai Khan conquered all of China, and founded the Yuan Dynasty, the first foreign dynasty in China, in 1271. He also rebuilt Peking, renaming it Khanbaliq, which means "city of the khan". It was during the reign of Kublai Khan that the explorer Marco Polo traveled to China. He brought Chinese noodles to Italy and made a book of his travels called the "Description of the World". The Mongol Empire began to disintegrate after Kublai Khan's death in 1294. It experienced a brief revival when Tamerlane, who was born in 1336, attempted to restore the Mongol Empire, seizing central Asia. He destroyed Baghdad in 1401, and created a pyramid of human skulls from the more than 20,000 slaughtered. He also conquered parts of Russia and Persia. Despite his conquests, he was unable to restore the Mongol Empire, and the fall of the Yuan Dynasty in 1368 would mark the true end of the Mongol Empire.

Important People

Genghis Khan, the ruler who united the Mongol tribes and created the largest contiguous empire in history.

1. Genghis Khan- Ghengis was known as the "Univeral Monarch." He was the first Mongol Emperor in 1206, and dominated the area bringing the largest contiguous land empire ever seen on Earth. Asia and Europe were dominated and ruled by Genghis's sons who divided up the Mongol Empire and controlled their own areas called Khanates.
2. Kublai Khan- Kublai was the grandson of Genghis Khan that started the Yuan dynasty. He was known as "The Great Khan" and he conquered all of China.
3. Minimato- Minimato was the first Shogun that created a military government in Japan. He defeated the Taira family during the Gempei wars.
4. General Zhao Kuangyin- The general during the Song dynasty that unified China as a state when he claimed the Mandate of Heaven to rule.
5. Emperor Yang Chian- He extended the Grand Canal, a 1000 mile canal that links the Yellow (Huang He) River and Yangtze River during the Sui dynasty.

Key Words

Shogun- Shoguns were powerful military leaders in Japan under the system called a "shogunate". They were created to strengthen the state by Minimato. Overall this system did strengthen Japan as the Mongols attacked, but might not have been strong enough if it hadn't been for a typhoon that destroyed much of the Mongol's forces. This system was overthrown later by a family known as the Ashikaga.
Daimyo- Daimyo literally translated means "Great Names." They controlled land estates that weren't taxed by the government. They relied on Samurai to protect their land and themselves.
Khanates- Khanates were territories controlled largely by Genghis Khan under his Mongol empire. Each of the territories had a separate leader all being a son of Genghis. There was the Khanate of the Golden Horde, of the Great Khan, of Chagatai, and of Persia.
Samurai- The Samurai were an elite force under a strict warrior code known as the Bushido. Samurais protected Daimyo and were humble and respectable warriors, unlike Ninjas. Samurai literally translated means "Those who serve."
Scholar-Gentry- The Scholar-Gentry were a Chinese class that replaced the old aristocracy and controlled much of the land and brought most of the elected officials to the civil service.

Key Dates

300 AD: The Yamato emerge as the strongest clan in Japan, and become the first and only ruling dynasty there.
589: After several centuries of unrest and six different dynasties in China, the Sui Dynasty takes power, uniting China and extending the Grand Canal.
618: The Tang Dynasty, which would go on to invent woodblock printing, the first printed book, and the predecessor to the cannon, takes power.
710: The capital of Japan is stationed at Nara. The Fujiwara clan takes power from the Yamato Emperor, turning him into a figurehead.
960: The Song Dynasty takes power, unifying China in order to fend of the invading Mongols in the thirteenth century.
1206: Temujin becomes Genghis Khan, the universal monarch and emperor of the Mongols, and proceeds to conquer much of Asia, creating the world's largest contiguous land empire.
1271: Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis, founds the Yuan Dynasty in China, making it the first foreign dynasty in China.
1281: The Mongols attempt to invade Japan, but a typhoon, called kamikaze or divine wind, halts the invasion, sparing the Japanese.
1368: The Ming Dynasty, which is famous for its skill in with pottery, takes power. The Ming would also isolate themselves from trade with the rest of the world.
1639: The Shogun in Japan expels all Europeans from the country and isolates it from the rest of the world, leaving only Nagasaki as a port open for trade. This effectively cuts off European trade with the Far East.


This video shows the significance on the Samurai and the weapons they used.

This video depicts the Mongol Empire under Kublai Khan.


For more information...

Fire Lance The best part about history was the technology. The advances we have on technology all had to start somewhere. One of the most fierce weapons of all time, the flamethrower, originated in China and was known as the fire lance.
Genghis Khan One of strongest warriors and leaders of all time was Ghengis Khan. With the largest land empire he was a pretty big deal. This site is another detailed wiki all about just him.
Kublai Strong warriors doesn't just stop at Genghis. Kublai Khan, one of his sons was a savage. He controlled the Yann dynasty and this site talks about him in a brief summary.
Samurai This site has everything about the samurai, the history behind them, details on their armor and weapons, and how Samurai's controlled Japan. It also tells of the dramatic decline of the Samurai.
Ninja What's more well known than a Ninja? Not much. The weaponry and culture of a Ninja make them very well known. They didn't fight for respect like the Samurai, they fought to win. This site has all of the vicious details.