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The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History, Second Edition
Richard W. Bulliet, Pamela Kyle Crossley, Daniel R. Headrick, Steven W. Hirsch, Lyman L. Johnson, David Northrup
History WIRED

Eastern Eurasia, 1500-1800


The Ming Dynasty

Ming Dynasty, 1368-1644

Qing Dynasty, 1644-1911

Eurasia and Africa, 1500-1800
This map shows Russian expansion into Siberia, the Manchu Empire, and Tokugawa Japan in relation to the other great empires of the time.

Japan, 1600
This is a unique map that demonstrates the feudal characteristic of Japan during this era.

VOC Empire in Asia
This map demonstrates the Dutch maritime empire in Asia during the 1660s.


Virtual Tour of St. Petersburg
This site contains numerous images of Peter the Great's "Window to the West."  Pay attention to the Western influence on the city.

Welcome to St. Petersburg
This is another comprehensive site that features the architecture of this famous city.

Peter the Great's Times Architecture
This is a nice companion site to the previously listed ones.

Portrait of Peter the Great

Chinese Cultural Studies: Images
This comprehensive site contains many images relating to the Ming and Qing Empires, including portraits of Emperors Qianlong and Kangxi and the Jesuit Matteo Ricci.  "Historical Illustrations" include a depiction of the tribute system and a Chinese caricature of an eighteenth-century English sailor.

Emperor Kangxi

Emperor Qianlong

Britannica.com: East Asian Arts, Ming Dynasty

Ming Dynasty Paintings
View several images of classic works of art from the Ming period of Chinese history.

The Jesuits in China
This excellent site offers many images of Jesuit scholars' attempts to introduce the Western concepts of cartography and astronomy to the Chinese.

Chinese: Canton Porcelain
Study images of the famous blue porcelain works that so intrigued Europeans during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

Qing Dynasty Porcelain

Blue and White Chinese Porcelain
Many of this site's images demonstrate how Chinese manufacturers designed their wares for European markets.

Frederick De Wit: Seventeenth Century maps of East Asia
This site offers two Early European maps of China and Japan.  The site is in Dutch, but the dates are evident.

G. Mercator / J. Hondius: China (1633)
This site presents another Early European depiction of East Asia.  Note the reference to the persecution of Christians in Japan.

Kabuki Sounds
Listen to the sounds of this traditional Japanese theatre style.

Japan - "Plan of the Dutch Factory in the Island of Desima at Nagasaki."
This site presents a historical depiction of the Dutch trading post in Nagasaki Harbor during the Tokugawa era.

Japan - "The Chinese Factory in the Street of Teng-chan at Nagasaki, founded in 1688."
This site features a historical depiction of a Chinese trading post during the Tokugawa era.

VOC Pictures
This site contains several historical images from the VOC's experience in East Asia.

VOC: Trade
This site offers three images relating to trade between the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and Tokugawa Japan.

Travels of the Dutch East India Company in the Japanese Archipelago
This site presents historical illustrations of Dutch-Japanese relations during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

This site features several historical illustrations of the Dutch trading factory in Nagasaki Harbor.  

Activity One:

The first sustained contact between Western Europe and Eastern Eurasia began during the period from 1500 to 1800.  Of course, there had been some limited contact during the Mongol period (see web activity 3 for Chapter 13, Western Eurasia, 1200-1500), but it was not on the level of this new encounter period.  Many of the assumptions and attitudes that the societies of both of these regions still have about each other were formed during this period.  As Bulliet, et al., The Earth and Its Peoples (Second Edition) emphasizes in New Global Influences: The Society of Jesus and the East India Companies on pages 548 and 549, it was often the work of missionaries and merchants that offered the first cultural contacts and transmitted knowledge.  In many ways, missionaries and merchants provided means through which each group could view the other.  Go to The Catholic Encyclopedia: History of the Jesuits before the 1773 Suppression and The Economist: The East India Companies and then explain how these new global institutions could serve as a window through which East Asian and Western European societies could observe each other and thereby form impressions.  Analyze how large and how clear this window actually was by determining whether the transmitters of this knowledge had any cultural biases of their own.  Were there any other limitations such as language, religious, or cultural biases that could have affected how accurately the two societies could have gauged each other?  To analyze further the role of the Jesuits and East India Companies in shaping attitudes and assumptions, visit the following sites: Missionaries and Mandarins: The Jesuits in China; Modern History Sourcebook: St. Francis Xavier: Letter from Japan, to the Society of Jesus in Europe, 1552;  Mapping All Under Heaven: Jesuit Cartography in China; Modern History Sourcebook: Hsu Kuang-chi: Memorial to Fra Matteo Ricci, 1617; Modern History Sourcebook: Père du Halde: Teaching Science to the Manchu Emperor, c. 1680; and Travels of the Dutch East India Company in the Japanese Archipelago.  Using specific references to these sites, explain how the Jesuits and Dutch East India Company portrayed the Chinese and Japanese to their European audience.  Also, describe how the efforts of these two organizations helped to shape a Chinese and Japanese view of Europeans and explain what that view was.  How accurate do you think the views that each group held of the other were?

Activity Two:

The initial impressions that the Europeans and Chinese had of each other changed over time.  The eighteenth century was a crucial phase in the relations between Western European powers and the Qing Empire.  The century began with many philosophes of the European Enlightenment using China as a standard for evaluating Western civilization.  Go to China and the Age of Enlightenment and Voltaire: On China and the Jesuit Missions.  What aspects of Chinese civilization, particularly the components of its political organization, did many European philosophes admire?  How did they use Chinese civilization as a means of critiquing their own societies?

However, Europeans' views of China began to change by the end of the century.  Increasingly, European merchants were regarding China as a potential market for their manufactured goods, not merely as a source of luxury items such as tea, porcelain, and silk.  One attempt to revise the trade system was the Macartney mission to China in 1793.  For more information about it, go to Macartney and the Emperor.  To learn about Emperor Qianlong's response to King George III of Great Britain, see Two Edicts from the Emperor.  What does Qianlong's response to Macartney reveal about his and his court's attitude toward the West?  Why do you think that Qianlong was not interested in altering commercial relations with the West?  Do you think that this emperor was less receptive to Western ideas and technology than his predecessors had been, or does his attitude reflect traditional Chinese assumptions?  You might want to review the links in activity one for some insights.

The rejection of Britain's overtures for expanding commercial relations provoked hostility toward China among some Europeans.  Macartney himself wrote accounts of the visit after he returned.  To read some excerpts, see Lord Macartney's Observations on China.  How does his view of China and the Chinese differ from Voltaire's?  To what factors do you attribute these differences?  In other words, why were Europeans such as Macartney viewing China in a less positive light by the end of the eighteenth century?  How do you think these new attitudes would affect European and Chinese relations in the nineteenth century?  Keep these ideas in mind as you study Chapter 27, The Ottoman Empire and East Asia, 1800-1870.  

Activity Three:

The Qing Emperor Qianlong (1736-1795) wasn't the only leader in Central and Eastern Asia who had to contend with the growing strength of the maritime powers of Western Europe.  Peter the Great of Russia (1689-1725) also faced many of the same dilemmas that the Chinese did.  Both China and Russia were large, land-based empires much like the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires discussed in Chapter 21, Southwest Asia and the Indian Ocean, 1500-1750.  Each was concerned with defending a large swath of territory, controlling strategic areas or not letting them fall into the hands of rivals, and maintaining large armies to expand and defend the realm.  To sustain these ambitious goals, each ruler promoted a strong agricultural regime as the source of tax revenue and as a means of making the barren regions he controlled in Central Asia self-supporting.

Considering these common overall goals, analyze the reigns of Peter the Great and Qianlong by examining the following sites.  For Peter the Great, see Peter's Russia, Peter the Great's Incognito Trip to Europe, and Will of Peter the Great.  For Qianlong, see YUNG CHENG AND CH`IEN LUNG (note the different spelling of the emperor's name) and review Two Edicts from the Emperor from activity two.  Do territorial control and expansion seem to be important goals for each ruler?  Defend your answer.  How does each ruler view the West?  Why was Peter more open to Western ideas and relations with Western powers?  Did he want to restructure his country along Western lines, or did he wish to adopt the Western ideas and technology that enhanced his own goals?  Why do you think that Qianlong was not as receptive as Peter to Western ideas and technology?  

Activity Four:

Two great Eurasian cities emerged between 1500 and 1800.  St. Petersburg was founded on the Baltic Sea by Peter the Great to serve as his new capital city.  Edo, modern-day Tokyo, was built by the early shoguns of the Tokugawa Shogunate.  Each city in many ways reflected the ideas and goals of the regime that governed from it.  Keep this notion in mind as you tour each city virtually.  You might want to review The Triumph of the Russian Empire on pages 551-554 and Decentralization and Innovation in Tokugawa Japan to 1800 on pages 563-567 in Bulliet, et al., The Earth and Its Peoples (Second Edition) to familiarize yourself with the views and goals of Peter the Great and his successors and those of the Tokugawa shoguns.

First, go to St. Petersburg: The City and click on "The Short Illustrated History of St. Petersburg.  Read through this site until you reach the link "St. Petersburg on the road to capitalism (1840's-1895)."  Next, return to St. Petersburg: The City and take the virtual tour, paying close attention to the structures that were built during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.  How did St. Petersburg reflect Peter the Great's attitude toward the West and his strengthening of the monarchy at the expense of the aristocracy?  How did the city represent his and his successor's desire to maintain an autocracy in Russia?

Now go to Welcome to Edo!  Follow the instructions and complete the tour of eighteenth-century Edo.  The site is extensive but well worth the time it will take to view all that it offers.  How did Edo reflect the political goals of the Tokugawa Shogunate?  In what ways did eighteenth-century Edo represent the altered status of the daimyo and samurai that the Tokugawa shoguns instituted?  Which of the Shogunate's policies in particular encouraged the innovations in manufacturing and commercial institutions that you witnessed at this site?   What other observations can you make about the policies and goals of the Tokugawa Shogunate after touring Edo?