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Chapter 13

Civilizations of Asia

Chapter Preview

This chapter will introduce you to the civilizations that thrived in China, Japan, and India during the medieval period.

Section 1

Golden Ages of China

Section 2

Medieval Japan

Section 3

The Great Mughal Empire in India

Target Reading Skill

Cause and Effect In this chapter you will focus on determining cause and effect in order to help you understand relationships among situations and events.

A large stone statue of the Buddha in the Qian Qi Temple Cave, China, carved during the Tang dynasty


MAPMASTER Skills Activity

Civilizations of Asia

Regions Between the A.D. 600s and 1400s, several great empires arose in Asia. Locate Find the Tang Empire and describe its shape. Find the trade routes called the Silk Road. Infer How do you think the Silk Road affected the Tang Empire?


Section 1

Golden Ages of China

Prepare to Read


In this section you will

1. Learn about the Golden Age of the Tang dynasty.

2. Discover the achievements of the Song dynasty, which ruled China after the Tang.

3. Find out about Mongol rule of China.

Taking Notes

As you read this section, look for similarities and differences between the Tang and Song dynasties. Copy the diagram below and record your findings in it.

Target Reading Skill

Identify Causes and Effects A cause makes something happen. An effect is what happens. Determining causes and effects helps you understand relationships among situations and events. As you read this section, think of the cultures of the Tang and Song dynasties as effects. Write their characteristics in your Taking Notes diagram. Then look for the causes of these effects.

Key Terms

Silk Road (silk rohd) n. a chain of trade routes stretching from China to the Mediterranean Sea

dynasty (DY nus tee) n. a series of rulers from the same family

Tang (tahng) n. a dynasty that ruled China for almost 300 years

Song (sawng) n. a dynasty that ruled China after the Tang

merit system (MEHR it SIS tum) n. a system of hiring people based on their abilities

Kublai Khan (KOO bly kahn) n. a Mongol emperor of China

Silk from the Tang dynasty

A Chinese traveler wrote, "You see nothing in any direction but the sky and the sands, without the slightest trace of a road; and travelers find nothing to guide them but the bones of men and beasts." He was describing crossing the Gobi Desert along the Silk Road. In spite of its name, The Silk Road was not a single road. It was a long chain of connecting trade routes across Central Asia. These routes stretched about 4,000 miles (6,400 kilometers), all the way from China to the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

For centuries, camels, horses, and donkeys carried traders and their precious goods along the Silk Road. Travelers braved blowing desert sands, cold and rocky mountain passes, and even robbers. Most of the goods they carried were small and very valuable. One—a beautiful, lightweight fabric called silk—was so important that it gave the route its name.


The Tang Dynasty

China covers much of East Asia. It is an immense land with a varied landscape. In the east are lowland and coastal regions. Fertile valleys lie along the Chang and the Huang (hwahng) rivers. To the north and west of these farmlands are great deserts and mountainous regions, including the Gobi Desert in the north and the Plateau of Tibet in the west.

Look at the map titled Tang and Song Empires on page 366. Notice that under the Tang, the land under Chinese control stretched westward into Central Asia. Peoples from these distant areas and traders traveling along the Silk Road introduced new ideas—as well as new goods—to China. In return, the Chinese traded their tea, jade, ivory, ceramics, and silk. Chinese ideas and inventions also spread to other nations. Such exchanges helped China become an important center of trade and culture.

Dynasties Rule China Throughout its long history, China has been ruled by many different dynasties. A dynasty is a series of rulers from the same family. For example, the Han dynasty ruled China from 206 B.0 to A.D. 220. After the collapse of the Han dynasty, China broke up into several kingdoms, but Chinese culture survived. Buddhism spread throughout China, and the arts and learning continued to develop. In 581, the Sui (swee) dynasty came to power. The Sui ruled only until 618, but they united the north and south of China for the first time in centuries.

A Golden Age Begins In 618, the Sui dynasty was overthrown. The Tang came to power and ruled China for almost 300 years. The Tang dynasty was a golden age of political and cultural achievement. Under Tang rule, China grew in both area and population. Its capital, Chang'an (chahng ahn), was the world's largest city at that time. Historians estimate that it was home to about one million people. Chang'an was shaped like a rectangle and surrounded by tall walls for protection. A variety of foods, entertainment, and fine goods were available to those who lived there.

Guarding the Silk Road

This beacon tower along the Silk Road is in western China. Infer Why do you think towers like this were built along the Silk Road?


Tang Taizong

The Grand Canal Tang leaders continued projects that had been started under the Sui. One of the largest of these projects was the creation of a huge canal.

The Grand Canal was a waterway that linked the Huang River and the Chang River. Millions of workers took part in the construction of the canal. At more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) long, it is still the longest canal ever built. The Grand Canal helped join northern and southern China and made it possible to supply the capital with large amounts of grain grown in the south.

A Great Ruler The greatest ruler of the Tang dynasty was Tang Taizong (tahng ty ZAWNG). He began his military career at the age of 16, and helped his father establish the Tang dynasty. During his rule, from 626 to 649, he was not only a successful general, but also a scholar and historian. In addition, Tang Taizong was a master of calligraphy, the art of beautiful handwriting.

MAPMASTER Skills Activity

Tang and Song Empires

Regions Notice the difference in the areas controlled by the Tang and the Song dynasties. Identify Under which dynasty did China lose control of much of the Silk Road? Infer How might that have affected China's trade with lands to the west?


Late in his reign, Tang Taizong grew tired of war. He had been studying the teachings of Confucius (kun FYOO shus), an ancient Chinese teacher who had taught that all people had duties and responsibilities. Confucius had wanted to bring peace and stability to China. To create this kind of society, Confucius said, all people must treat one another with respect.

Tang Taizong began to reform the government according to Confucius's ideas. The Tang government hired officials trained in Confucian philosophy. It also began land reform, giving more land to the peasants who farmed it.

Reading Check What are some achievements of Tang Taizong?

The Song Dynasty

After 850, China's control of its westernmost lands weakened. Then fighting among different groups within China ended the Tang dynasty. Order was restored about 50 years later by the Song (sawng), the dynasty that ruled China from 960 to 1279.

Changes in Government At the beginning of the Song dynasty, the Chinese capital was located at Kaifeng (KY fung), along the Grand Canal. After the Song lost control of regions to the north, they moved the capital to Hangzhou (hahn tom), near the coast.

The Song rulers made many advances in government. They expanded the merit system of hiring government officials. Under this system, officials had to pass tests to prove their ability to do the work. Before the Song, officials came from rich and powerful families. They were allowed to keep their positions for life even if they did not do a good job. Hiring people based on their abilities, rather than on their wealth or social position, greatly improved the Chinese government.

Improvements in Agriculture During the Song dynasty, new strains of rice and better irrigation methods helped peasants grow more rice. These two improvements allowed farmers to produce two crops a year instead of one. Food surpluses meant that more people could follow other trades or pursue the arts.

Links to Language Arts

Poems and Legends Poetry was popular and respected during the Tang dynasty. Li Bo and Tu Fu were two of the greatest poets of the era. Li Bo was also famous for his adventurous life—once he was even accused of treason. His poems, however, dealt with quieter subjects, such as nature and friendship. After Li Bo died, this legend spread about his death: Li Bo was in a boat at night. The moon's reflection was so beautiful that he reached out to seize it, fell overboard, and drowned. This painting shows Li Bo at a waterfall.


Links to Economics

From China to Boston Tea drinking has been a part of Chinese culture since at least A.D. 350. The custom of drinking tea spread from China to Japan and other Asian countries, and tea became a major Chinese export crop. European countries began importing tea around 1600. The English sent tea from England to their colonies in North America. Late in the 1700s, the colonists' desire for tea—and the British government's desire to tax tea—contributed to the colonies' movement toward independence.

The Arts and Trade Chinese rulers supported many different forms of art, including music and poetry. During the Song dynasty, artists created the earliest known Chinese landscape paintings. They were painted on silk and featured peaceful scenes of water, rocks, and plants. The Chinese believed that such scenes helped both the painter and the viewer think about important forces in the natural world.

Song rulers also prized graceful art objects, such as those made from porcelain (PAWR suh lin), a white and very hard type of ceramic. Because it was first made in China, porcelain is often called china. For hundreds of years, Chinese craftspeople produced the finest ceramics. Because the Chinese produced the best porcelain in the world, it became an important item for trade.

Another item of great beauty and value was silk. It was so beautiful that it was called the queen of fibers. Silk comes from the cocoons of caterpillars called silkworms. For a long time, only the Chinese knew how to make silk. Even after others learned the method, Chinese silk was still the highest quality in the world. People in southwest Asia and Europe were willing to pay high prices for Chinese silk.

Chinese Ceramics

Europeans paid dearly for Song dynasty wares, such as these beautiful ceramics. Analyze Images If you were a European trader, which of these objects would you buy? Explain your answer


Inventions of the Tang and Song Dynasties


The Chinese invented gunpowder in the 800s. At first, they used it to make fireworks. By about 1000, however, it was being used in weapons.

Smallpox Vaccine

As early as the 900s, the Chinese fought smallpox with a vaccine. They gave tiny doses of smallpox to healthy people so that they would develop an immunity to the deadly disease.


In the 1000s, Chinese sailors were using the magnetic compass for navigation on long voyages. At the left is a replica of a compass from the Song dynasty.

Movable Type

By 1045, Chinese printers used individual characters carved on small blocks to create a page of text. The blocks could be reused in a different order to produce various pieces of writing.

Printing, Books, and Learning One of the historic Song inventions was a new way to print books. For centuries, the Chinese had carved the characters of each page onto a wood block. They brushed ink over the carving and laid a piece of paper on it to print the page. Printers could make many copies of a book using these blocks, but carving the block for each page took a long time. Around 1045, Bi Sheng (bee sheng) developed a printing method that used movable type. He made many separate characters out of clay and rearranged them to make each page.

During the Song dynasty, books became less expensive. In earlier times, only the rich could buy them. With more people able to afford books, the number and kinds of books increased. More people, including women, also learned to read and write. By the 1200s, books about farming, medicine, religion, and poetry were in print. They helped to spread knowledge throughout China. This Song saying reflects the new importance of books:

To enrich your family, no need to buy good land: Books hold a thousand measures of grain. For an easy life, no need to build a mansion: In books are found houses of gold."

A Song emperor

Reading Check What does the Song emperor's saying mean?

Identify Causes and Effects

What made it easier for people to buy books? List that as a cause. What resulted from the increase in books? List those effects.


The Mongols Attack China

This illustration from the 1400s shows Kublai Khan's armies crossing a bridge to attack a Chinese fortress. Conclude Use details in the illustration to draw conclusions about the dress, equipment, and methods of Kublai Khan's armies.

The Mongols Conquer China

The Mongols were nomads from the plains of Central Asia, north of China. They were fierce warriors, said to "live in the saddle" because they spent so much time on horseback. By the 1200s, they were a tough military force. Under the leadership of Genghis Khan, they began forging an empire that eventually included China and Korea in the east, stretched into Russia and Eastern Europe in the west, and extended to the southwest as far as the Persian Gulf.

Kublai Khan, Mongol Ruler of China Genghis Khan had conquered all of northern China by 1215. But the southern Song empire continued to resist. It was left to Genghis Khan's grandson Kublai Khan to complete the conquest of China and rule it.

Kublai Khan came to power in 1259. Within 20 years, he had toppled the last Song emperor. From his capital at the present-day city of Beijing, Kublai Khan declared himself emperor of China. He named his new dynasty Yuan, which means "beginning," because he intended that Mongol rule of China would last for centuries.

China Under Mongol Rule The Mongols centralized government in China. They did not allow the old Chinese ruling class to govern. High government positions were reserved for Mongols and were even given to foreigners rather than to Chinese. The Mongols also kept their own language and customs rather than adopting Chinese culture. They did, however, allow the practice of many religions.


Marco Polo at Kublai Khan's Court

The Italian Marco Polo, shown kneeling before Kublai Khan, worked for the khan for 17 years. Analyze Images What detail in the painting indicates that Polo is reporting to Kublai Khan?

Visitors from all lands were welcome at Kublai Khan's court. One of these was Ibn Battutah, an African Muslim. Another was a Christian from Europe, Marco Polo. He came from Venice in present-day Italy in 1271. After returning to Europe, Polo wrote about his travels. He described the riches of Kublai Khan's palace, China's efficient mail system, and its well-maintained roads.

Marco Polo's writings sparked increased trade between Europe and China. China prospered under Kublai Khan, but not under the khans, or emperors, who followed him. In 1368, a Chinese peasant led an uprising that overthrew the foreign rulers and ended Mongol rule of China.

Reading Check Describe Mongol rule of China.

Section 1 Assessment

Key Terms

Review the key terms at the beginning of this section. Use each term in a sentence that explains its meaning.

Target Reading Skill

What were two effects of the Mongol rule of China?

Comprehension and Critical Thinking


(a) Recall What is the Grand Canal?

(b) Synthesize Why was it important?


(a) Identify Describe one important change in government made by the Song.

(b) Identify Effects How did this change affect China?


(a) Summarize How did the Mongols conquer China?

(b) Identify Frame of Reference Why do you think the Mongols did not adopt Chinese customs?

Writing Activity

During the Song dynasty, printed materials became available to many more people. What would life be like today without books and other printed materials? Write a journal entry to express your thoughts.


Skills for Life

Making an Outline

An outline is a way to organize information. It identifies the main ideas and supporting details. You can use an outline to take notes on what you read or to plan a report that you will write.

Learn the Skill

1. Identify the most important points or main ideas, and list them with Roman numerals. If you are outlining a text, look for headings stating these ideas.

2. Decide on important subtopics for each main idea, and list them with capital letters. Indent these entries under the main ideas, as shown in the sample outline below.

3. Use Arabic numerals to list supporting ideas or details under each subtopic. Indent these entries. Because an outline is a type of summary, you don't have to be as detailed or complete as your source. See the sample outline below.

4. Check your outline for balance. Make sure that the entries with Roman numerals are the most important ideas. Check that the ideas and information listed under the main ideas support those ideas. Make sure that main topics have at least two supporting subtopics or details.

A silkworm


Women preparing newly woven silk

Practice the Skill

Suppose you are outlining an article on silk making. You want to cover two main ideas: The Chinese were the first to make silk, and silk became an important trade product for China. Use the passage at the right as the source for the beginning of your outline. Then follow the steps below to outline it.

1. What is the main idea of the passage? Make it Roman numeral I of your outline.

2. Identify at least two important subtopics, and list them with capital letters.

3. Which details support the important topics or ideas? List those with Arabic numerals under the appropriate subtopics.

4. Reread your outline to be sure you have included all the important ideas and details. Make sure your outline correctly indicates which ideas are the most important and how other ideas and details support the main ideas.

Chinese Silk Making The fabric known as silk is made from the cocoons of caterpillars called silkworms. The cocoons are unwound very carefully, to avoid breaking the fibers. This process is long and difficult if done by hand—as it was in ancient China. The silk strands are then twisted together to form yarn, which is woven into fabric on a loom.

Silk making in China dates back more than 3,000 years. It is said that the empress Hsi Ling Shi, called the Goddess of Silk, invented the loom to weave this valuable fabric. She was a patron of the silk industry, which involved tending silkworms and cultivating the mulberry trees on which the caterpillars fed. This laborious work was done by women.

Silk was so beautiful and expensive that only royalty and nobles could afford to wear it. Because the fabric was so valuable and desirable, the Chinese kept the silk-making process a secret.

Apply the Skill

Reread the portion of text titled Achievements of the Song Dynasty on pages 367-369. Make an outline of that text.


Section 2

Medieval Japan

Prepare to Read


In this section you will

1. Learn about the geography of Japan.

2. Discover the changes that occurred during the Heian period of Japanese history.

3. Find out about feudalism and the rule of the shoguns in Japan.

Taking Notes

As you read this section, look for details about the major periods of Japan's history. Copy the table below and record your findings in it.

Target Reading Skill

Understand Effects An effect is what happens as the result of a specific cause or factor. For example, you can see in the paragraphs on the next page that the geography of Japan has had several effects on that nation. This section also discusses how contact with the outside world affected Japan. As you read, note the effects on Japan of the contact with the Mongols and with Europeans.

Key Terms

archipelago (ahr kuh PEL uh goh) n. a group or chain of many islands

Kyoto (kee OH toh) n. the capital city of medieval Japan

feudalism (FYOOD ul iz um) n. a system in which poor people are legally bound to work for wealthy landowners

samurai (SAM uh ry) n. Japanese warriors

shogun (SHOH gun) n. the supreme military commander of Japan

In A.D. 882, a group of more than 100 officials sailed across the sea to Japan. They were from a kingdom in Manchuria, north of China. They carried greetings for the Japanese emperor, as well as gifts of tiger skins and honey. When the emperor heard the news, he was pleased. This visit would give the Japanese a chance to display their achievements. The emperor's name was Yozei (yoh zay ee). At the time, he was only 14 years old.

Yozei sent expensive gifts of food and clothing to the visitors. He also sent people to escort them to his capital. The officials from Manchuria had landed in the north, and the capital was far to the south. The journey over land would take five months. The Japanese quickly fixed roads and bridges along the way. When the visitors arrived, there was a celebration. Japan's nobles, government leaders, and best poets were invited. Horse races, archery, and a poetry contest took place. A great feast was held, too, with much music and dancing.

Japanese woodcut of Mount Fuji


MAPMASTER Skills Activity

Location The photo below shows Japan's highest mountain, Mount Fuji, on Honshu island. Locate Notice where Japan's mountains are located. Apply Information If you wanted to travel from Shikoku to Hokkaido in medieval Japan, would you go by land or by sea? Would it be easier to go from Shikoku to Korea? Explain your answers.

A Country of Islands

The visitors from Manchuria had a long trip over both land and sea to Japan. Japan is an archipelago (ahr kuh PEL uh go), or chain of many islands, in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Asian mainland. It is about 500 miles (800 kilometers) from the coast of China but it is only 100 miles (160 kilometers) from Korea. The islands of Japan were formed by volcanoes, and earthquakes are common in the region.

Look at the map above. Notice that the islands of Japan are mountainous. The mountains make traveling by land difficult. As a result, the sea became an important highway for the Japanese—even for those traveling from place to place on the same island. On the other hand, for centuries, the sea helped to protect Japan from invaders. Over time, this isolation also led the Japanese to develop a distinctive way of life.

Reading Check Describe Japan's geography.


Modern Kyoto

The traditional Japanese pagoda, or shrine, in the foreground is still an important part of the modern, bustling city. Infer What does this blend of architecture suggest about modern Japanese culture?

Understand Effects

What was one effect of the nobles' feeling of superiority?

The Heian Empire

The emperor Yozei ruled Japan during the Heian (HAY ahn) period, which lasted from 794 to 1185. Before this time, Japan's culture—including its literature, laws, and religion—was similar to China's. But during the 800s, Japan began to develop its own traditions. In fact, official relations between the Japanese and Chinese governments ended in 894. The split would last for more than 500 years.

An Impressive Capital: Kyoto Heian emperors ruled from a new capital, Kyoto (kee OH toh), Modeled after Chang'an, the great city of Tang China, it was a rectangle of tree-lined streets. Unlike Chang'an, however, Kyoto was not surrounded by high walls. The city boasted mansions for the nobles, two marketplaces, and a palace for the emperor. Most Japanese buildings were wooden at the time, and fires were common. Kyoto's main street was very wide—to keep fires on one side from spreading to the other. Canals running through the capital also provided water to help put out any fires.

The Japanese Nobility The Heian period was a mostly peaceful time, during which Japanese culture thrived. Fine architecture, literature, and beautiful gardens all became a part of life for the nobility. Life for most of the population, however, was very different. Farmers, fishers, traders, and builders were usually poor and spent their time doing hard work.

The nobles believed that the importance of their families and their positions within the government set them apart from others. But even among the nobles, people belonged to different ranks, or classes. In fact, noblemen wore specially colored robes related to their position in society. Noblewomen were not affected by such rules because they could not hold official positions in the government.

Reading Check How did nobles live during the Heian period?


Feudalism in Japan

During the 1000s, the Japanese emperor began to lose power. He continued to rule the capital, but he had less control over the rest of Japan. At the same time, the nobles gained greater power and wealth. They owned estates, or large tracts of land, outside the capital. The work on these estates was done by peasants. This kind of economic system, in which poor people are legally bound to work for wealthy landowners, is called feudalism.

Samurai Warriors Rich estate owners became so independent that they often disobeyed the emperor. They even hired private armies. The nobles paid these armies to defend them, their estates, and the peasants who worked for them. The armies were made up of warriors called samurai (SAM uh ry).

Samurai warriors followed a strict set of rules for behavior, called bushido (BOO shee doh). They swore an oath to follow these rules without question. According to bushido, honor meant more than wealth or even life itself. This code said that a samurai must never show weakness or surrender to an enemy. The true samurai had no fear of death, and would rather die than shame himself. He was expected to commit ritual suicide rather than betray the code of bushido.

Prepared for War

Samurai armor was made of small scales tied with silk and leather. The painting below shows the charge of a samurai on horseback. Analyze Images What do these two images suggest about samurai warriors?


Citizen Heroes

A Peasant Warrior

Toyotomi Hideyoshi (toh yoh TOH mee hee duh YOH shee) started life as a peasant. Through hard work, he became a respected warrior. Because of his great military skills, he became a chief lieutenant in the army of a powerful daimyo. When the daimyo was assassinated in 1582, Hideyoshi took his place. A skillful leader, he went on to unite Japan. He then tried, but failed, to conquer Korea and China. Nevertheless, Hideyoshi, shown below, became one of the most admired heroes in Japan.

A New Class Gains Power Over time, the samurai warriors grew in number and formed their own clans. Each clan promised loyalty to a powerful warlord, or daimyo (DY myoh). The daimyo expected his samurai warriors to be willing to give their lives for him. As the different warlords grew in power, small wars broke out among them. Eventually the Minamoto clan became the most powerful.

In 1192, the emperor gave the title of shogun (SHOH gun), or supreme military commander, to the leader of the Minamoto clan. Minamoto Yoritomo (mee nah MOH toh yoh ree TOH moh) became the supreme ruler of all Japan. He set up the Kamakura (kah mah KUR ah) shogunate, a series of military dynasties.

Reading Check How did the samurai become powerful?

Japan and the Outside World

Within a century after shogun rule began, Japan was threatened by outsiders. One group came from Mongolia, north of China. Under their fierce and brilliant leader Kublai Khan, the Mongols had already conquered China and Korea. Kublai Khan tried to invade Japan twice, and failed both times. For nearly 300 years after the Mongols were defeated in the 1200s, few foreigners came to Japan.

The Arrival of Europeans In 1543, several Portuguese ships were blown off course and landed on Japan's coast. The Japanese showed great interest in these foreigners—especially in their guns. In the years that followed, a lively trade developed between East and West. Many European traders and missionaries made the long voyage to these islands in the Pacific. And thousands of Japanese converted to Christianity. The European influence in Japan did not last long, however.

The Tokugawas Unify Japan In 1603, Tokugawa Ieyasu (toh koo GAH wah ee yay AH sou) became shogun. Ieyasu was determined to bring order to the country. To end the fighting among warring samurai bands, Ieyasu divided Japan into about 250 regions. The daimyo of each region promised to serve the shogun and swore loyalty to him. To control these local leaders, the Tokugawas required each daimyo to live in the shogun's capital Edo (now called Tokyo) for several months every other year.


The Tokugawa shogunate ruled Japan until 1867. It was a period of peace. The economy thrived. Food was plentiful, the population increased, trade flourished inside Japan, and a merchant class developed. Cities grew, and the arts flourished. A type of Buddhism called Zen became popular in Japan. It emphasized meditation, the practice of good deeds, and reverence for nature.

Theater and poetry also thrived under the Tokugawas. Haiku—three-line poems that express a feeling or picture in only 17 syllables—were greatly admired. Plays featuring life- size puppets were popular. So was the Kabuki theater. Kabuki combines drama, dance, and music.

Japan Becomes Isolated Again At the same time, the Tokugawa shogunate was isolating Japan from foreign influences. Even Tokugawa Ieyasu had worried that Europeans might try to conquer Japan. He and the shoguns who ruled after him decided that Japan should remain isolated from Westerners. They outlawed Christianity and forced Europeans to leave. By 1638, they had closed Japan's ports, banning most foreign travel and trade. The shoguns also stopped the building of large ships that could travel long distances. For more than 200 years, the Japanese would remain cut off from the outside world.

Reading Check How did the Tokugawas change Japan?

Kabuki Theater

Even today, men play women's roles in Kabuki theater, and many of the plays recount tales of feudal Japan. Analyze Images What do the elaborate makeup, costumes, and gestures suggest about Kabuki performances?

Section 2 Assessment

Key Terms

Review the key terms at the beginning of this section. Use each term in a sentence that explains its meaning.

Target Reading Skill

What were two effects of the growing power of the daimyo?

Comprehension and Critical Thinking


(a) Describe What are the geographical features of Japan?

(b) Identify When did Japan start to develop its own traditions?

(c) Identify Causes What led to Japan's isolation?


(a) Recall What happened to the emperor and the nobles during the 1000s?

(b) Identify Causes What led to the establishment of shoguns?


(a) Recall How did trade develop between Japan and Europe in the 1500s?

(b) Synthesize How and why did the Tokugawas isolate Japan?

Writing Activity

Suppose you could interview a samurai. Write five questions that you would ask him. Then write a paragraph to introduce your interview.


Focus On A Japanese Home

In 1649, authorities of the Tokugawa government sent a decree to Japanese villages: "[Peasants] must not buy tea . . . to drink, nor must their wives. . . . The husband must work in the fields, [and] the wife must work at the loom. Both must do night work. However good-looking a wife may be, if she neglects her household duties, she must be divorced. Peasants must wear only cotton or hemp—no silk." This decree shows how the Tokugawa government tried to maintain a firm grip on Japanese society. Both outside and inside the home, the lives of the Japanese were guided by tradition and by law.

Tokugawa Fashions

This silk kimono, or robe, would have been worn by a wealthy person. Townspeople kept mud off their feet by wearing raised wooden clogs called geta (below). Peasants usually wore straw sandals.

Inside a Japanese Farmhouse The illustration at the right shows a typical farmhouse during the Tokugawa shogunate. In Tokugawa Japan, most houses had a main room with a sunken fire pit. The family gathered around the fire pit, and sat according to rank. At night, they slept on the floor on thin mattresses, which had been stored away in cupboards during the day.

Not shown are the two back rooms. One of these was the zashiki, a formal room used for receiving guests. Inside it was a butsudan, a Buddhist altar, and a tokonoma, a recessed space decorated with a flower vase, candlestick, and incense burner. The other back room was the nando, used for sleeping and for storage. In some farmhouses, women raised silkworms on a second floor.

The illustration shows raised wood floors covered with straw mats called tatami. It was customary to remove one's shoes before stepping onto the tatami. This custom is still practiced in Japan today.



This was the family's living and dining room.


This earthen-floored area was used for cooking and working, and sometimes, for sheltering farm animals.


Describe Identify the features of a Japanese farmhouse during the Tokugawa shogunate.

Compare and Contrast Compare the Japanese farmhouse with the Bedouin tent on pages 298-299. How are they similar? How are they different?


Section 3

The Great Mughal Empire in India

Prepare to Read


In this section you will

1. Find out about the geography of the Indian subcontinent.

2. Learn about the Delhi Sultanate, a period of Muslim rule.

3. Learn about the founding and achievements of the Mughal Empire.

Taking Notes

As you read this section, look for important events in India's history, and note when they occurred. Copy the timeline below and record your findings on it.

Target Reading Skill

Recognize Cause-and-Effect Signal Words Sometimes certain words, such as because, affect, or as a result, signal a cause or an effect. In this section, you will learn about invasions of India and the rise and fall of two Indian empires. Look for signal words to help you understand the causes and effects of these events.

Key Terms

sultan (SUL tun) n. a Muslim ruler

caste system (kast SIS tum) n. a Hindu social class system that controlled every aspect of daily life

Mughal Empire (MOO gul EM pyr) n. a period of Muslim rule of India from the 1500s to the 1700s

Akbar (AK bahr) n. the greatest Mughal leader of India

Taj Mahal (tahzh muh HAHL) it a tomb built by Shah Jahan for his wife

Timur, from an Indian manuscript

Even before Timur (tee MOOR) invaded India, people there had heard of this Mongol conqueror. He had destroyed entire cities and their populations in other parts of Asia. In 1398, he and his troops marched into northern India, in search of fabled riches. They ruined fields of crops and quickly captured Delhi (DEL ee), the capital city. Timur and his troops killed many people and took hundreds of slaves. They also carried away great treasures—pearls, golden dishes, rubies, and diamonds.

For a brief time, Delhi became part of the huge empire that Timur controlled from his capital, Samarkand (sam ur RAND). But Timur was more interested in conquering new lands than in governing those he had defeated. Not long after the Mongols invaded Delhi, they departed. Once again, a sultan, or Muslim ruler, took control of the city. But Delhi did not regain its command over the region, as you will see.


India's Geography

The triangular Indian subcontinent forms the southernmost part of Central Asia. A mountain range called the Himalayas stretches across the north of India. Although these mountains have helped to isolate India from lands to the north, the passes through the Himalayas have allowed some conquerors from the north to enter the subcontinent. To the west of India is the Arabian Sea, and to the east is the Bay of Bengal.

A large plain lies to the south of the Himalayas. It is dominated by major river systems, including the Indus and Ganges rivers. These rivers are fed by melting mountain snows, and much of the land here is well suited to farming. Farther to the south are highlands and plains.

Reading Check Describe India's geography.

The Delhi Sultanate

The Mongols led by Timur were not the first people to invade India. Long before they came, India's riches had tempted others. Muslim invaders began raiding the Indian subcontinent around A.D. 1000. From 1206 to 1526, a series of sultans controlled northern India as well as parts of present-day Bangladesh and Pakistan. This period of India's history is called the Delhi Sultanate—after the capital city, Delhi.

A Hindu Revival At the time of the Muslim invasion, the region was experiencing a revival of the ancient Hindu religion. This revival had begun about A.D. 600. Hindus accept many gods, but they believe that all of these gods are just different aspects of one supreme being. Hindus also believe that social classes are part of the natural order of the universe.

In India at this time, the Hindu caste system—a strict system of social classes—controlled everyday life. Caste determined a person's job and status. At the top of the caste system were priests, teachers, and judges. Warriors were second. Then came farmers and merchants. The fourth class included craftspeople and laborers. Finally, there was a group of poor and powerless people who were called untouchables.

A Himalayan Mountain Pass

Even today, it is difficult to cross the Himalayas. Infer Why do you think modern travelers are still using pack animals rather than trucks or automobiles to cross these mountains?


Recognize Cause-and-Effect Signal Words

What signal word in the paragraph at the right helped you understand the conflicts between Hindus and Muslims?

Akbar Holds Court

Akbar supported many kinds of artists, including those who made beautiful miniature paintings like this one. Conclude What can you conclude about Akbar's court from this painting?

The Muslims who controlled the Delhi Sultanate did not become part of Hindu society. As you read in Chapter 1, Muslim culture is based on beliefs that are very different from those of Hindu culture. These differences caused conflicts between the two groups. In fact, religious disagreements still divide the Hindus and Muslims who live in India today.

The Fall of the Delhi Sultanate In 1526, a Mongol prince named Babur (BAH bur) took advantage of the weakened Delhi Sultanate. Babur was a Muslim descendant of the Mongol conqueror Timur. Even though Babur and his troops were outnumbered almost ten to one, they attacked the sultan's army.

The sultan's forces had 100 elephants to help them fight. Babur's troops had none. But the Mongols had cannons—and they were better fighters. The prince defeated the sultan and went on to control the capital city, Delhi. A new period of India's history would now begin.

Reading Check How was the Delhi Sultanate defeated?

The Mughal Empire

Babur founded the celebrated Mughal Empire whose Muslim rulers controlled India until the 1700s. (Mughal is another word for "Mongol.") About 25 years after Babur's death, the empire came under the control of Babur's grandson. His name was Akbar (AK bar), and he would become the greatest Mughal leader of India.

Akbar the Great When Akbar came to power, he was only 13 years old. He grew up to become a talented soldier. Through conquest, treaties, and marriage, he greatly expanded the Mughal Empire.

Akbar also encouraged the arts. He set up studios for painters at his court. He supported poets, although he himself never learned to read or write. Akbar also brought together scholars from different religions for discussions. He consulted with Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Christians.

Although he was a Muslim, Akbar gained the support of his Hindu subjects through his policy of toleration. He allowed Hindus to practice their religion freely, and he ended unfair taxes that had been required of non-Muslims.


MAPMASTER Skills Activity

The Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire

Regions Notice the physical features as well as the borders of the empires on the map. Locate Which empire was the oldest? Which one gained control of the mouths of India's two most important rivers? Infer Why do you think neither the sultans nor the Mughals extended their empires farther north?

Akbar created a strong central government, and he gave government jobs to qualified people, whatever their religion or caste. Hindus served as generals, governors, administrators, and clerks. These policies helped Hindus and Muslims live together more peacefully. They also strengthened Mughal power in India.

In 1605, when Akbar died, most of northern India was under his control. Akbar had ruled the Mughal Empire for 49 years, earning himself the nickname "the Great." During this long reign, his system of government had become firmly established in India. This system allowed the empire to continue developing and expanding for the next 100 years—even under rulers who were less capable than Akbar the Great.

Royal emblem from the Gujari Palace, India


The Taj Mahal

The Reign of Shah Jahan More than 100 years after Akbar's death, the Mughal Empire began to fall apart. Akbar's grandson, Shah Jahan (shah juh HAHN), became emperor in 1628. Jahan spent a fortune on extravagant buildings. The most famous of these is the Taj Mahal (Tahzh muh HAHL), a tomb for the Emperor's wife, Mumtaz Mahal (mum TAHZ muh HAHL).

When his wife died, Jahan was overcome with grief. The two had been constant companions, and Jahan had asked his wife's opinion on many issues. After she died, Jahan set out to build a tomb "as beautiful as she was beautiful."

Jahan's son, Aurangzeb (AWR ung zeb), spent still more money on expensive wars. He also reversed Akbar's policies toward Hindus. Aurangzeb tried to force Hindus to convert to the Muslim faith, and he began to tax them again. As a result, many Hindus rebelled, and fighting the rebels cost still more money. After Aurangzeb died in 1707, the empire split into small kingdoms. But to this day, people from around the globe journey to see his mother's tomb—a lasting reminder of the once great Mughal Empire.

Reading Check How did Aurangzeb contribute to the decline of the Mughal Empire?

Section 3 Assessment

Key Terms

Review the key terms at the beginning of this section. Use each term in a sentence that explains its meaning.

Target Reading Skill

What words in the last paragraph on this page signal cause and effect?

Comprehension and Critical Thinking


(a) Identify What are the major geographic features of the Indian subcontinent?

(b) Predict How might India's history have been different if there had been no mountain passes in the north?


(a) Define What was the Delhi Sultanate?

(b) Synthesize How did Hindus and Muslims live together in India during this time?


(a) Explain Why was Akbar called "the Great"?

(b) Identify Causes What caused the decline of the Mughal Empire?

Writing Activity

Suppose that Akbar is a leader under a system of government like the United States government. He is running for reelection, and you are his campaign manager. Write a short speech stating why voters should reelect him.

Writing Tip Remember to support your position with specific examples.


Chapter 13 Review and Assessment

Chapter Summary

Section 1: Golden Ages of China

• The Tang dynasty ruled China for almost 300 years. That period was the beginning of a golden age, during which China's territory increased, and Chinese culture and trade flourished.

The Song dynasty, which ruled China after the Tang, expanded the merit system and promoted the spread of knowledge.

• The Mongols conquered China, and their leader, Kublai Khan, centralized China's government.

Kublai Khan's court

Section 2: Medieval Japan

• Japan is a mountainous island country of East Asia. The sea has provided both transportation and protection for the people of Japan.

• During the Heian period, the Japanese built a new capital and began to develop a distinctive culture.

• Warriors, called samurai, and powerful military leaders, called shoguns, took control away from the emperor. The shoguns eventually closed Japan to outsiders.

Section 3: The Great Mughal Empire in India

• The Indian subcontinent is shaped like a triangle, with mountains to the north and seas to the east and west.

• During the Delhi Sultanate, Muslim rulers called sultans ruled India.

• Mongols conquered India and established the Mughal Empire. Akbar the Great was the greatest Mughal leader.

Kabuki performer

Key Terms

Define each of the following terms.

1. Silk Road

2. Tang

3. shogun

4. sultan

5. caste system

6. Kublai Khan

7. archipelago

8. samurai

9. Taj Mahal

10. dynasty


Comprehension and Critical Thinking


(a) Identify Name two Chinese products that were important for trade.

(b) Explain Why were these products valued by other countries?

(c) Identify Effects How did trade in these products affect China?


(a) Recall How did the Song, and then the Mongols, change Chinese government?

(b) Evaluate Which changes benefited China? Which were harmful? Explain.


(a) Identify What are the major geographic features of Japan? Of India?

(b) Compare and Contrast How did the geography of these two places affect their history and culture?


(a) Define What is a shogunate?

(b) Summarize How did shoguns gain power in Japan?

(c) Identify Causes Why did shoguns ban most foreign travel and trade?


(a) Identify Who was the last ruler of India's Mughal Empire?

(b) Contrast How was his rule different from that of his great-grandfather, Akbar?

(c) Analyze What factors contributed to the downfall of the Mughal Empire?

Skills Practice

Making an Outline In the Skills for Life activity in this chapter, you learned how to make an outline. Review the steps you followed to learn the skill. Then reread the text under the heading The Mughal Empire on pages 384-386. Make an outline of that text.

Writing Activity: Science

Use encyclopedias, other reliable books, or reliable Internet sources to research one Chinese invention of the Tang or Song dynasty. Describe the invention, how it works, when and how it was invented, and why it was important. Write your findings as an essay or as an illustrated report that you can display in your classroom.

MAPMASTER Skills Activity

Civilizations of Asia

For each feature or place listed, write the letter from the map that shows its location.

1. Himalayas

2. Delhi

3. Silk Road

4. Japan

5. Mughal Empire

6. Ganges River

7. China during the Tang dynasty


Standardized Test Prep

Test-Taking Tips

Some questions on standardized tests may ask you to identify the main topic or the topic sentence of a passage. Read the paragraph below. Then use the tip to help you answer the sample question.

TIP Many paragraphs have one sentence that states the main topic. The other sentences in the paragraph all support this topic sentence. The first and last sentences are the most likely to be the topic sentence.

Beginning in the 1600s, the powerful shoguns of Japan outlawed Christianity. The shoguns forced Europeans to leave the country. They also closed Japanese ports to foreigners and banned foreign trade. Through their efforts to isolate Japan, the shoguns hoped to protect it from foreign invasion.

Think It Through Read all four choices. Answers A and D tell about specific actions, not broad ideas or main topics. Even though C is the first sentence of the passage, it also describes one particular action. Therefore, it is not more important than A or D. Because B summarizes the information of the other sentences, it is the correct answer.

Pick the letter that best answers the question.

Which of these sentences states the main topic of the passage?

A They also closed Japanese ports to foreigners and banned foreign trade.

B Through their efforts to isolate Japan, the shoguns hoped to protect it from foreign invasion.

C Beginning in the 1600s, the powerful shoguns of Japan outlawed Christianity.

D The shoguns forced Europeans to leave the country.

Practice Questions

Pick the letter that best answers the question.

1. Read the passage below. Which of the sentences that follow states the main topic of the passage?

Hideyoshi was born a poor peasant in Japan in the 1500s. Through hard work, he became a samurai warrior. Because of his military skills, Hideyoshi was promoted to an important position working for a powerful warlord. In 1582, the warlord was killed, and Hideyoshi took his place. A skillful leader from poor beginnings, Hideyoshi became ruler of Japan.
A Through hard work, he became a samurai warrior.

B Hideyoshi was born a poor peasant in Japan in the 1500s.

C A skillful leader from poor beginnings, Hideyoshi became ruler of Japan.

D In 1582, the warlord was killed, and Hideyoshi took his place.

Read each of the following statements. If the statement is true, write true. If it is false, write false.

2. The samurai warriors of Japan followed a set of strict rules for behavior.

3. Song rulers used the merit system in Chinese government.

4. The Indian subcontinent could not be invaded from the north.

5. Akbar was a great Mughal ruler of India.

6. Japan's islands are mostly flat, and traveling by land is easy.


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