By Colin Mason
The peoples of Asia now make up greater than half the world's inhabitants. they're more and more well-educated, and profitable in each quarter of contemporary alternate and expertise. Their impact within the remainder of the area is additionally changing into higher. Colin Mason presents a readable and transparent advent to their heritage and traditions, from prehistory correct as much as the current day. This completely revised, up-to-date and increased new version comprises the massive adjustments and additions made helpful via the fast-changing scene in Asia, rather China's expanding prominence in international affairs. There are new chapters on Afghanistan and Taiwan, and on global conflict and its importance in Asia, in addition to huge transforming of the chapters at the countries of South Asia. Maps and illustrations now additionally enhance the textual content all through, making this the fundamental advisor to the heritage of a desirable continent and its peoples.
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Extra info for A Short History of Asia, Second Edition
The lack of any central authority over the island gave the Portuguese the opportunity for intrigue, and eventually conquest. They had taken over the country by the end of the century, except for the fabled kingdom of Kandy deep in the jungle-clad hills of central Sri Lanka, jungles Indian Culture: Hinduism and Buddhism 31 that were later to give place to tea plantations. Spirited resistance came from the Tamils of the north, who were not subdued until 1591. As elsewhere in Asia, the Portuguese intermarried freely with the local people.
This estuary culture is found particularly in places where the soil is poor, like much of the Malaysian peninsula and Kalimantan (Borneo). Loosely organized principalities at the river mouths were regarded as the personal bailiwicks, and the tax revenues the personal property, of the ruler and the clique supporting him. Pre-colonial Malay history is mostly a tedious and repetitive chronicle of the feuds, wars and disputes of these petty princelings. Often these principalities resulted from pirate alliances which preyed on passing merchant shipping – something that has persisted into modern times.
But the frieze at Angkor Wat, eight feet high, extends continuously for more than half a mile. Few things here are life-size. Even the carved hands of figures are so massive they are often more than a man could lift. It is probable that this mania for building finally weakened the kingdom so much it could no longer control its enemies. Here again, it is also possible that the Anopheles mosquito, breeding on the great irrigation lakes, brought catastrophic plagues of malaria. Since only the stone temples survive, where the people of this city actually lived was unclear until imaging radar from NASA (the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration) in 1994 and 2000 revealed the remnants of a considerable network of canals and streets to the north of the temple complex, which must once have been lined with timber houses.