Asia Modern History

Asia Modern History


Since the beginning of the 16th century, the Islamic area was ruled by the Safavids in Persia (Iran, history), the Mughals in India and the Ottoman Empire (Turkey, history); The latter also seized large parts of southern Europe and was not finally prevented from advancing further into Central Europe until the Battle of Kahlenberg near Vienna in 1683. The power constellation in Asia changed in the 18th century with the fall of the Safavids and the decline in power of the Mughals and the Ottoman Empire.

The colonization of Asia: Russia began to become a power factor in North and East Asia with the conquest of Siberia (since 1582). Since Peter I, the great, the conflict with the Ottoman Empire has been added. After the development of Asia by the Portuguese, Dutch and Spaniards as a colonial area already in the age of great discoveries, the British and, from the 19th century, the French appeared there as colonial powers. By 1850 Russia seized the Kazakh territory, by 1859 it subjugated the North Caucasian mountain peoples and until 1864 the Circassians, between 1864 and 1881/84 it conquered Central Asia (1867 establishment of the General Government of Turkestan, last victory over the Turkmen).

The growing strength of Russia led to border conflicts with China in the 17th century (especially around the Amur Basin; 1689 Treaty of Nerchinsk). In the 19th century, China lost parts of the territory in the north (north of the Amur and east of the Ussuri through the treaties of Aigun in 1858 and Beijing in 1860) to the Russian Empire. The Opium War 1840–42, the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 and internal disputes demonstrated China’s weakness, which persisted despite attempts at internal restructuring (reform movement 1898, revolution 1911).

Rise of Japan and collapse of the Ottoman Empire: Japan rose rapidly to a great power since its opening to Americans and Europeans (1854) and the social modernization (Meiji Restoration) that began in 1868, and maintained its position in the wars against China (1894/95) and Russia (1904/05) and expanded its sphere of influence in East Asia with the annexation of Korea (1910), Manchuria (1931) and large parts of China (from 1937). In the Ottoman Empire, which entered the First World War on the side of the Central Powers in 1914, the genocide of the Armenians occurred under the Young Turkish leadership in 1915/16. With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire (1918) Palestine and Mesopotamia (Iraq) came under British influence, Syria under French rule.Ibn Saud created the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by subjugating a large part of the Arabian Peninsula. Turkey under M. Kemal Ataturk and Iran under Resa Shah experienced an internal renewal oriented towards Europe.

Decolonization and political reorganization: In the colonial areas of South and Southeast Asia (British India, Dutch East India, French Indochina), the national movements that arose after 1900 strengthened, especially during the two world wars.

During the Second World War, Japan, part of the Tripartite Pact, used the weakness of the European colonial powers to conquer Southeast Asia; the events in this region connected with the brutal policy of war and occupation; a. in China and Korea, put a strain on Japan’s relations with the affected countries for decades and have remained a controversial issue to the present day. Japan, against which the Soviet Union also entered the war in 1945, was defeated in the Pacific War (1941–45) by the militarily superior USA (which used atomic bombs in 1945).

With the decolonization that began in the post-war period and the often forced withdrawal of the European powers from their domains (e.g. France in the Indochina War 1946–54) new states emerged there, including India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia. After gaining independence, numerous Asian countries were confronted with enormous economic problems, a sustained population explosion (especially China, later also India), a large number of ethnic-religious conflicts (including India, Sri Lanka), territorial disputes (e.g. between India and Pakistan around Kashmir) and with civil wars (e.g. China 1945–49, Vietnam 1957–75, East Pakistan [today Bangladesh] 1971/72, Cambodia 1970–75 and 1979–91, Lebanon 1975–90 / 91, Yemen 1986 and 1994). The reorganization in numerous regions of Asia has led to large refugee movements, especially since 1945. B. in India and Southeast Asia (boat people).

The European influence in Asia was suppressed by the growing politico-military weight of the USA (creation of a network of bilaterally agreed military bases, conclusion of the multilateral military pacts SEATO, CENTO). Since the Bandung Conference (1955), the non-aligned states of Asia, together with those of Africa, have tried to gain their own global political weight within the framework of the movement of non-aligned states.

Despite its defeat in World War II (temporarily occupied by the USA), Japan was able to regain an important position in East Asia in the course of the 1950s and 1960s and develop into an economic superpower that competed economically with the USA and the EC (in contrast to political cooperation). In addition to China (People’s Republic since 1949), which rose to become a world-politically important power and had conflicting interests with the Soviet Union since the late 1950s, North Korea (1948) and North Vietnam (since 1955, constitution 1960), later also in Laos and Cambodia communist regimes.

According to, the development in South Asia was v. a. shaped by the changeful relations between India and Pakistan (nuclear weapon powers, unsolved Kashmir conflict) and by the domestic political instability of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal (Maoist guerrilla war against the monarchy).

Asia Modern History