Ancient Civilizations of India, China, and Africa
Ancient Civilizations of India, China, and West Africa India’s Geography • India is locate on a subcontinent • Location near Indus River supported early civilization • Heavy rains, monsoons, helped to create fertile soil in the Northern Plains The most dominant religion practiced by most Indians… Hinduism,& cannot be traced back to a single founder. Unlike Hinduism, Buddhism can be traced back to the teachings of… Siddhartha Gautama The History of Buddhism • It was all started by Buddha, who was a prince in Lumbini, 2500 years ago. • He was very unhappy in his royal life, so he set off on a 6 year journey, exploring other religions. • After his long journey and much meditation he was finally “enlightened”. • He found the middle path, the key to human happiness. For the rest of his life he wandered Asia, preaching his new religion. http://video.pbs.org/video/1461557530/# Four Noble Truths of Buddhism • Suffering is a part of life • Desire causes suffering • Overcoming desire ends suffering • Desires can be overcome by following the Eightfold Path Eightfold Path • Right view = acceptance of the Four Noble Truths • Right speech; avoidance of lies • Right actions; treating all with respect • Right livelihood; avoid jobs that harm others • Right effort; constantly striving for improvement • Right mindfulness: awareness of the world around you • Right attitude; everything in moderation • Right concentration; ignoring temptation by meditating The Eightfold Path can be expressed as the Middle Way. It advises people to live in moderation, avoiding the extremes of either comfort or discomfort in the search for nirvana. China’s Civilization Develops • Two rivers supplied needed water: The Chang Jiang = Yangzi & the Huang He = Yellow River • Loess, carried by desert winds into China, made valley of the Huang He very fertile • Irrigation also aided the development of China’s civilization • China was largely isolated due to mountains, hills, and desert: these protected it from invasion The next four slides From at least 1766BC to the twentieth century of the Common Era, China was ruled by dynasties. A dynasty is a ruling family that passes control from one generation to the next. One Chinese dynasty lasted more than 800 years, while another lasted only fifteen years. The ancient Chinese people often supported their rulers because of what they called the Mandate of Heaven. The ancient Chinese believed their ancestors in heaven had chosen their leaders. The people would rebel against a weak leader if they believed he had lost the Mandate of Heaven. The Shang Dynasty ruled China from approximately 1766BC to about 1040BC. The Shang were the first dynasty to leave written records. The Shang rulers expanded the borders of their kingdom to include all of the land between Mongolia and the Pacific Ocean. The Chou were nomads who lived west of the Shang. The Chou overthrew the Shang and ruled China from 1040BC to the third century before the Common Era. The Chou gained power in part from their ability to extract iron. They used the metal to create powerful weapons. The Chou developed a feudal system in China. In a feudal system, the rulers appoint nobles to control smaller parts of an empire. The nobles divided the land into farms for extended families. An extended family might include many generations and would often include cousins and second cousins. The families were loyal to their nobles and the nobles were in turn loyal to the Chou rulers. The Chou rulers taxed their subjects, but they used the wealth they collected to build huge walls around their cities to defend the citizens from nomadic warriors. The Chou also built roads, irrigation systems, and dams. Recall: The Chou & the Zhou are the same dynasty. The Chou dynasty ended slowly as nobles became more powerful. Eventually, the nobles became more powerful than the emperor in a period that became known as the Age of Warring States. It was during this period that a great teacher named Confucius tried to develop good government. China grew into a powerful empire during the Han Dynasty, between 202BC and AD220. Scholars trained in the teachings of Confucius ran the Han governments with great skill. During the Han Dynasty, the Chinese invented paper, Chinese writers recorded the history of their land, and the Chinese first learned of Buddhism. Zhou conquered the Shang and to gain acceptance for their rule they… Introduced the Mandate of Heaven. Justification: The gods would not allow the unjust to rule. New Philosophies Confucianism & Daoism • Confucianism is based on the teachings of Kongfuzi (Confucius) • Respect for tradition would create a stable, ordered society • The family is central to good government • Daoism is based on the teachings of Laozi • Encouraged a retreat from society’s laws and yield to the laws of nature where there is a balance = ying and yang Chandragupta Maurya (born c. 340 BCE, ruled c. 320 BCE – 298 BCE) was the founder of the Maurya Empire. Ashoka, also known as Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from ca. 269 BC to 232 BC Ashoka Spreads Buddhism • Ashoka sent missionaries throughout Asia • Through trade, merchants introduced the religion • Spread to: China, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia West African Empires Overview: In the period between 400 A.D. and 1591 A.D., West Africa witnessed the rise and fall of the indigenous medieval empires of ancient Ghana, medieval Mali, and Songhai. Although many other smaller states and kingdoms arose in the region during this time, only the above three achieved the status of fully-fledged, functioning and long-living conquest states and expansionist empires. These civilizations regulated the Trans-Saharan trade by offering protection for trade caravans as well as taxing slaves, gold, firearms, textiles and salt that they carried. By the 5th century Ghana had arisen and reached its height by 1200 AD. It was ruled by the Serahule people and eventually broke apart in the 13th century. The Mali Empire included Ghana’s territory and extended it in the 13th century. It was a Mandinka territory and at its height covered an area of over 24,000 sq. km. In this period, the city of Timbuktu became a world-famous centre of commerce and education. Mali declined in the 14th century and was succeeded by Songhai, which grew to be the largest land empire in tropical Africa. It originated as a small territory located on the Niger river known as Al-kawkaw. Continued… Growth in Trade: As the centuries passed, North African Berbers and other peoples crossed the Sahara, linking up with traders from the south, whose own desert caravan routes crossed the coastal and riverine trade networks of other peoples. These interconnecting networks promoted long-distance trade in certain commodities such as salt, gold, iron, kola nut, spices, including Black African slaves. The major trade goods were desert salt from the north which were required to preserve food and supplement diets. These were exchanged through the barter system for food, gold and slaves from the southern tropics. West Africa south of the desert was the area of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest and most sophisticated states in the period before the 19th century. People could travel and communicate over long distances either on horseback or foot across the dry savanna or along the water routes of the mighty Niger River. And their location between the trans-Saharan trade routes and the northern parts of commercial networks from gold-producing areas meant that the great empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai could profit from the commerce passing through their territories. They also were influenced to varying degrees by Islam, which gradually spread through trade to the lands south of the desert, which the Arabs called the bilad al-sudan, or "the land of the blacks."