While the largest Asian countries knew this evolution, the Portuguese and Spanish geographical explorations began at the end of the century. XV paved the way for European expansionism in Asia which, however, until the century. XIX, had an essentially commercial character. The succession of hegemony of the Portuguese, then of the Dutch and finally of the British did not in fact cause a penetration inside the Asian territories, but was based for a long time on the possession of ports, fortifications and warehouses of goods located in the strategic coastal points touched by the routes continuously beaten by the convoys of merchant companies. According to Countryaah.com, the reactions of the various segments of the immense continent to European dominance were different: in Middle East Asia the Islamic world controlled by the Turks closed rigidly to Christian Europe, experiencing a long economic and political decline which, after the end of the First World War, it led to the partition of the Ottoman Empire between France and Great Britain.The same was done in the Far East by China, Japan and Korea, locked in an intransigent isolation that allowed a lasting defense against foreign interference, while in the Indian world the slow disintegration (in the 18th century) of the Mughal Empire gave rise to independent sultanates who, hostile to each other, did not resist the English conquest. Having undermined the previous Portuguese commercial dominance, England in this area fought fiercely for the control of eastern traffic against France and it was precisely the latter’s defeat in the Seven Years War (1756-63) that determined the first real and own colonial conquests, with the British takeover of Bengal and, in the Ganges valley, of Bihar, while Holland also annexed Indonesia. For their part, the Portuguese maintained dominion over Macao, Goa, Diu, Ceylon and Timor and the Spaniards that over the Philippines, preserved until the Spanish-American war., when they passed to the United States (1898). However, it was only in the century. XIX that colonialism seemed the ineluctable destiny of the whole continent. While France took possession of Vietnam, Cochinchina, Cambodia, Tonkin and Laos between 1862 and 1893, all grouped together in the Indochinese Union, the Indian peninsula began to transform itself into the most important colonial domain of the British who enlarged it. the territory fighting the Burmese (1824-26), conquering some coastal areas and subjecting toAssam protectorate. To buffer the power of Tsarist Russia, which spread eastward in the nineteenth century as far as Turkestan (1880-84) and the Sea of Hotsk, England then tried to take over Afghanistan, occupied Sind (1843), Punjab (1845-49) and, with a second anti-Syrian offensive, Rangoon, the mouths of the Irrawaddy (1852) and finally the whole of Burma (1886), also expanding into the Malay archipelago (1888). While fulfilling a civilizing function of the country, in particular by creating a local ruling and intellectual class, Great Britain had to undergo quite a few revolts in India that prompted it to transform its domain from a possession administered by the Company of the Indies into a territory directly dependent on the crown (1858) and then in Impero (1877).
Isthmus of Suez (1869) and from the control of Singapore, in their possession since 1819 and keystone of the traffic in that area. With the exception of the Portuguese colony of Macao, the only commercial point of contact with the West along with the port of Canton, China remained in its proud isolation, particularly opposing the British opium trade. The resulting British reaction (triggering the so-called opium war 839-42), followed later by other Anglo-Franco-Dutch and American expeditions, forced the Chinese to open up to European trade and to cede Hong Kong to England. To the won Chinese resistance to the West and to that of Thailand, which remained with the ancient Thai kingdom almost free from foreign interference, Japan was a significant counterpoint, which by virtue of European economic pressure dismantled its traditional oligarchic structure in a few decades. -feudal. The protagonists were the new merchant classes, whose revolt resulted in the restoration of the weakened imperial power which, supported by the revival of Shintoism, led to agrarian reform (1872), industrialization and the introduction at the end of the century of a parliamentary system limited, however, by the absence of political rights for the vast majority of the population. Precisely this modernization provoked a Japanese expansionism which was harmful above all to the Chinese, from which Japan snatched the island of Formosa (1894-95), but also dangerous for the colonial powers, uselessly committed to buffer it. With the subsequent war against Russia (1904-05), the Japanese took away from the Tsar the Kwantung peninsula and the southern part of the island of Sahalin, also incorporating Korea in their orbit, formally annexed in 1910. While Japan saw in these victories the a sign of a power that could have replaced Europe in the domination of East Asia, China was in fact divided into Russian, French, English and German areas of influence (to which the Americans soon joined). The country reacted with a nationalism with xenophobic and traditionalist traits (such was the revolt of the Boxers in 1900, immediately repressed by Western military intervention) not effectively opposed by the imperial authority, already in decline and then mortally struck by the birth of an anti-dynastic opposition led by the revolutionary party of the Kuomintang of Sun Yat-sen, which, thanks to a victorious rebellion, he succeeded in proclaiming the Republic in 1912, which was alive until 1916, when China was sinking into civil war.