Friday, October 30, 2015

The Historian Channel, National Geographic documentary, The Empire of Japan, History Documentary. History of Japan

The Empire of Japan, History Documentary. History of Japan.

Samurai warriors face Mongols, during the Mongol invasions of Japan. The Kamikaze, two storms, are said to have saved Japan from Mongol fleets.

A Paleolithic culture around 30,000 BC constitutes the first known habitation of the Japanese archipelago. This was followed from around 14,000 BC (the start of the Jōmon period) by a Mesolithic to Neolithic semi-sedentary hunter-gatherer culture, who include ancestors of both the contemporary Ainu people and Yamato people, characterized by pit dwelling and rudimentary agriculture. Decorated clay vessels from this period are some of the oldest surviving examples of pottery in the world. Around 300 BC, the Yayoi people began to enter the Japanese islands, intermingling with the Jōmon. The Yayoi period, starting around 500 BC, saw the introduction of practices like wet-rice farming, a new style of pottery, and metallurgy, introduced from China and Korea.

Japan first appears in written history in the Chinese Book of Han. According to the Records of the Three Kingdoms, the most powerful kingdom on the archipelago during the 3rd century was called Yamataikoku. Buddhism was first introduced to Japan from Baekje of Korea, but the subsequent development of Japanese Buddhism was primarily influenced by China. Despite early resistance, Buddhism was promoted by the ruling class and gained widespread acceptance beginning in the Asuka period (592–710).

The Nara period (710–784) of the 8th century marked the emergence of a strong Japanese state, centered on an imperial court in Heijō-kyō (modern Nara). The Nara period is characterized by the appearance of a nascent literature as well as the development of Buddhist-inspired art and architecture. The smallpox epidemic of 735–737 is believed to have killed as much as one-third of Japan's population. In 784, Emperor Kammu moved the capital from Nara to Nagaoka-kyō before relocating it to Heian-kyō (modern Kyoto) in 794.
Samurai warriors face Mongols, during the Mongol invasions of Japan. The Kamikaze, two storms, are said to have saved Japan from Mongol fleets.

This marked the beginning of the Heian period (794–1185), during which a distinctly indigenous Japanese culture emerged, noted for its art, poetry and prose. Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji and the lyrics of Japan's national anthem Kimigayo were written during this time.

Buddhism began to spread during the Heian era chiefly through two major sects, Tendai by Saichō, and Shingon by Kūkai. Pure Land Buddhism (Jōdo-shū, Jōdo Shinshū) greatly becomes popular in the latter half of the 11th century.
Feudal era

Japan's feudal era was characterized by the emergence and dominance of a ruling class of warriors, the samurai. In 1185, following the defeat of the Taira clan in the Genpei War, sung in the epic Tale of Heike, samurai Minamoto no Yoritomo was appointed shogun and established a base of power in Kamakura. After his death, the Hōjō clan came to power as regents for the shoguns. The Zen school of Buddhism was introduced from China in the Kamakura period (1185–1333) and became popular among the samurai class. The Kamakura shogunate repelled Mongol invasions in 1274 and 1281, but was eventually overthrown by Emperor Go-Daigo. Go-Daigo was himself defeated by Ashikaga Takauji in 1336.
Samurai could kill a commoner for the slightest insult and were widely feared by the Japanese population. Edo period, 1798

Ashikaga Takauji established the shogunate in Muromachi, Kyoto. This was the start of the Muromachi Period (1336–1573). The Ashikaga shogunate achieved glory in the age of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and the culture based on Zen Buddhism (art of Miyabi) prospered. This evolved to Higashiyama Culture, and prospered until the 16th century. On the other hand, the succeeding Ashikaga shogunate failed to control the feudal warlords (daimyo), and a civil war (the Ōnin War) began in 1467, opening the century-long Sengoku period ("Warring States").

During the 16th century, traders and Jesuit missionaries from Portugal reached Japan for the first time, initiating direct commercial and cultural exchange between Japan and the West. This allowed Oda Nobunaga to obtain European technology and firearms, which he used to conquer many other daimyo. His consolidation of power began what was known as the Azuchi–Momoyama period (1573–1603). After he was assassinated in 1582, his successor Toyotomi Hideyoshi unified the nation in 1590 and launched two unsuccessful invasions of Korea in 1592 and 1597.
Re-engraved map of Japan

Tokugawa Ieyasu served as regent for Hideyoshi's son and used his position to gain political and military support. When open war broke out, he defeated rival clans in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. Ieyasu was appointed shogun in 1603 and established the Tokugawa shogunate at Edo (modern Tokyo). The Tokugawa shogunate enacted measures including buke shohatto, as a code of conduct to control the autonomous daimyo; and in 1639, the isolationist sakoku ("closed country") policy that spanned the two and a half centuries of tenuous political unity known as the Edo period (1603–1868). The study of Western sciences, known as rangaku, continued through contact with the Dutch enclave at Dejima in Nagasaki. The Edo period also gave rise to kokugaku ("national studies"), the study of Japan by the Japanese.
Modern era

On March 31, 1854, Commodore Matthew Perry and the "Black Ships" of the United States Navy forced the opening of Japan to the outside world with the Convention of Kanagawa. Subsequent similar treaties with Western countries in the Bakumatsu period brought economic and political crises. The resignation of the shogun led to the Boshin War and the establishment of a centralized state nominally unified under the Emperor (the Meiji Restoration).
Emperor Meiji (1868–1912), in whose name imperial rule was restored at the end of the Tokugawa shogunate

Adopting Western political, judicial and military institutions, the Cabinet organized the Privy Council, introduced the Meiji Constitution, and assembled the Imperial Diet. The Meiji Restoration transformed the Empire of Japan into an industrialized world power that pursued military conflict to expand its sphere of influence. After victories in the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905), Japan gained control of Taiwan, Korea, and the southern half of Sakhalin. Japan's population grew from 35 million in 1873 to 70 million in 1935.
Chinese generals surrendering to the Japanese in the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895

The early 20th century saw a brief period of "Taishō democracy" overshadowed by increasing expansionism and militarization. World War I enabled Japan, on the side of the victorious Allies, to widen its influence and territorial holdings. It continued its expansionist policy by occupying Manchuria in 1931; as a result of international condemnation of this occupation, Japan resigned from the League of Nations two years later. In 1936, Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Pact with Nazi Germany, and the 1940 Tripartite Pact made it one of the Axis Powers. In 1941, Japan negotiated the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact.
Japanese officials surrendering to the Allies on September 2, 1945 in Tokyo Bay, ending World War II

The Empire of Japan invaded other parts of China in 1937, precipitating the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945). The Imperial Japanese Army swiftly captured the capital Nanjing and conducted the Nanking Massacre. In 1940, the Empire then invaded French Indochina, after which the United States placed an oil embargo on Japan. On December 7–8, 1941, Japanese forces carried out surprise attacks on Pearl Harbor, attacks on British forces in Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong and declared war, bringing the US and the UK into World War II in the Pacific. After the Soviet invasion of Manchuria and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, Japan agreed to an unconditional surrender on August 15. The war cost Japan and the rest of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere millions of lives and left much of the nation's industry and infrastructure destroyed. The Allies (led by the US) repatriated millions of ethnic Japanese from colonies and military camps throughout Asia, largely eliminating the Japanese empire and restoring the independence of its conquered territories. The Allies also convened the International Military Tribunal for the Far East on May 3, 1946 to prosecute some Japanese leaders for war crimes. However, the bacteriological research units and members of the imperial family involved in the war were exonerated from criminal prosecutions by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers despite calls for trials for both groups.

In 1947, Japan adopted a new constitution emphasizing liberal democratic practices. The Allied occupation ended with the Treaty of San Francisco in 1952 and Japan was granted membership in the United Nations in 1956. Japan later achieved rapid growth to become the second-largest economy in the world, until surpassed by China in 2010. This ended in the mid-1990s when Japan suffered a major recession. In the beginning of the 21st century, positive growth has signaled a gradual economic recovery. On March 11, 2011, Japan suffered the strongest earthquake in its recorded history; this triggered the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, one of the worst disasters in the history of nuclear power.
Credits: Wikipedia

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Engineering An Empire: Russia History Documentary, The Russian Emire, History Documentary

The Russian Empire (Pre-reform Russian orthography: Россійская Имперія, Modern Russian: Российская империя, translit: Rossiyskaya Imperiya) was a state that existed from 1721 until overthrown by the short-lived liberal February Revolution in 1917. One of the largest empires in world history, stretching over three continents, the Russian Empire was surpassed in landmass only by the British and Mongol empires. It played a major role in 1812–14 in defeating Napoleon's ambitions to control Europe, and expanded to the west and south. It was often in conflict with the Ottoman Empire (which in turn was usually protected by the British).

Peter the Great officially renamed the Tsardom of Russia the Russian Empire in 1721, and himself its first emperor. He instituted the sweeping reforms and oversaw the transformation of Russia into a major European power.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire extended from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Black Sea on the south, from the Baltic Sea on the west to the Pacific Ocean, and (until 1867) into Alaska in North America on the east.[3] With 125.6 million subjects registered by the 1897 census, it had the third largest population in the world at the time, after Qing China and the British Empire. Like all empires, it included a large disparity in terms of economics, ethnicity, and religion. There were numerous dissident elements, who launched numerous rebellions and assassination attempts; they were closely watched by the secret police, with thousands exiled to Siberia.

Economically, the empire was heavily rural, with low productivity on large estates worked by serfs, until they were freed in 1861. The economy slowly industrialized with the help of foreign investments in railways and factories. The land was ruled by a nobility called Boyars from the 10th through the 17th centuries, and then was ruled by an emperor called the "Tsar". Tsar Ivan III (1462–1505) laid the groundwork for the empire that later emerged. He tripled the territory of his state, ended the dominance of the Golden Horde, renovated the Moscow Kremlin, and laid the foundations of the Russian state. Tsar Peter the Great (1682–1725) fought numerous wars and built a huge empire that became a major European power. He moved the capital from Moscow to the new model city of St. Petersburg, and led a cultural revolution that replaced some of the traditionalist and medieval social and political system with a modern, scientific, Europe-oriented, and rationalist system.

Catherine the Great (1761–1796) presided over a golden age. She expanded the nation rapidly by conquest, colonization and diplomacy. She continued Peter the Great's policy of modernisation along West European lines. Tsar Alexander II (1855–1881) promoted numerous reforms, most dramatically the emancipation of all 23 million serfs in 1861. His policy in Eastern Europe was to protect the Orthodox Christians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. That involvement by 1914 led to Russia's entry into the First World War on the side of France, Britain, and Serbia, against the German, Austrian and Ottoman empires. Russia was an absolute monarchy until the Revolution of 1905 and then became a constitutional monarchy. The empire collapsed during the February Revolution of 1917, largely the result of massive failures in its participation in the First World War.
Credits: Wikipedia

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Normans, History Documentary - Men from the North (2010) Full Documentary, The Normans

The Normans (French: Normands; Latin: Nortmanni) were the people who in the 10th and 11th centuries gave their name to Normandy, a region in France. They were originally Viking raiders and pirates from Denmark, Norway and Iceland, who under their leader Rollo agreed to swear fealty to King Charles III of West Francia. Through generations of assimilation and mixing with the native Frankish and Roman-Gaulish populations, the Northmen's descendants ("Norman" comes from "Norseman") would gradually merge with the Carolingian-based cultures of West Francia. The distinct cultural and ethnic identity of the Normans emerged initially in the first half of the 10th century, and it continued to evolve over the succeeding centuries.

Victorian interpretation of the Normans' national dress, 1000–1100

The Norman dynasty had a major political, cultural and military impact on medieval Europe and even the Near East. The Normans were famed for their martial spirit and eventually for their Christian piety, becoming exponents of the Catholic orthodoxy into which they assimilated.
They adopted the Gallo-Romance language of the Frankish land they settled, their dialect becoming known as Norman, Normaund or Norman French, an important literary language. The Duchy of Normandy, which they formed by treaty with the French crown, was a great fief of medieval France, and under Richard I of Normandy was forged into a cohesive and formidable principality in feudal tenure. The Normans are noted both for their culture, such as their unique Romanesque architecture and musical traditions, and for their significant military accomplishments and innovations. Norman adventurers founded the Kingdom of Sicily under Roger II after conquering southern Italy on the Saracens and Byzantines, and an expedition on behalf of their duke, William the Conqueror, led to the Norman conquest of England at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Norman cultural and military influence spread from these new European centres to the Crusader states of the Near East, where their prince Bohemond I founded the Principality of Antioch in the Levant, to Ireland, Scotland and Wales in Great Britain, to the coasts of north Africa and the Canary Islands.

The legacy of the Normans persists today through the regional dialects of France, England and Sicily, as well as the various cultural, judicial and political arrangements they introduced in their conquered territories, the long endurance of which contrasts with the developments in many continental areas of Europe.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Iran - People of the Flames Zoroastrians - Zarathustra. History Documentary: Zoroastrianism or Mazdaism, Ahura Mazda and prophet Zoroaster, full documentary

In search of the Zoroastrians an ancient people who have tended a holy flame for the last 2500 years.

Zoroastrianism or Mazdaism is the religion ascribed to the teachings of the prophet Zoroaster, whose Supreme Being was Ahura Mazda. It is one of the world's oldest religions, "combining a cosmogonic dualism and eschatological monotheism in a manner unique... among the major religions of the world." For a thousand years, forms of Zoroastrianism (including a Mithraic Median prototype and Zurvanist Sassanid successor) were the world's most powerful religion, serving as the state religion of the pre-Islamic Iranian empires from around 600 BCE to 650 CE. Zoroastrianism was suppressed or otherwise integrated into Islam from the 7th century onwards following the Muslim conquest of Persia. Recent estimates place the current number of Zoroastrians at around 2.6 million, with most living in India and Iran. The change over the last decade is attributed to a greater level of reporting and open self-identification more so than to an actual increase in population; however, precise numbers remain difficult to obtain in part due to high levels of historic persecution in Islamic regions.

Leading characteristics, such as messianism, the Golden Rule, heaven and hell, and free will influenced other religious systems, including Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity, and Islam.[4] Liberality is emphasized in the scripture, and—like the Roman religion—the religion generally showed tolerance to conquered peoples, with Cyrus the Great, who is though to have been a Zoroastrian, annexing Babylonia in the name of its God Marduk. In Zoroastrianism, the purpose in life is to "be among those who renew the make the world progress towards perfection". Its basic maxims include:

    Humata, Hukhta, Huvarshta, which mean: Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds.
    There is only one path and that is the path of Truth.
    Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, and then all beneficial rewards will come to you also.

The most important texts of the religion are those of the Avesta, which includes the writings of Zoroaster known as the Gathas, enigmatic poems that define the religion's precepts, and the Yasna, the scripture. The full name by which Zoroaster addressed the deity is: Ahura, The Lord Creator, and Mazda, Supremely Wise. He proclaimed that there is only one God, the singularly creative and sustaining force of the Universe. He also stated that human beings are given a right of choice, and because of cause and effect are also responsible for the consequences of their choices. Zoroaster's teachings focused on responsibility, and did not introduce a devil, per se. The contesting force to Ahura Mazda was called Angra Mainyu, or angry spirit. Post-Zoroastrian scripture introduced the concept of Ahriman, the Devil, which was effectively a personification of Angra Mainyu.

By the 3rd century, Zoroastrianism and Zoroaster's ideas had spread throughout the Middle East. Zoroaster pointing to the sky.
 Zoroaster (/ˌzɒrˈæstər/ or /ˈzɒrˌæstər/, from Greek Ζωροάστρης Zōroastrēs), also known as Zarathustra (/ˌzɑrəˈθstrə/ Zaraθuštra); Persian: زرتشت‎‎ Zartosht, زردشت Zardosht),

Friday, October 2, 2015

King Hammurabi and the Babylonian Empire, History Documentary. The Kings: From Babylon to Baghdad. The ancient cities of Uruk and Ur, The Sumer, History Documentary.

Babylon (Akkadian: Bābili or Babilim; Arabic: بابل‎, Bābil) was a significant city in ancient Mesopotamia, in the fertile plain between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The city was built upon the Euphrates and divided in equal parts along its left and right banks, with steep embankments to contain the river's seasonal floods.

Babylon was originally a small Semitic Akkadian city dating from the period of the Akkadian Empire c. 2300 BC. The town attained independence as part of a small city state with the rise of the First Amorite Babylonian Dynasty in 1894 BC. Claiming to be the successor of the more ancient Sumero-Akkadian city of Eridu, Babylon eclipsed Nippur as the "holy city" of Mesopotamia around the time Amorite king Hammurabi created the first short lived Babylonian Empire in the 18th century BC. Babylon grew and South Mesopotamia came to be known as Babylonia.

The empire quickly dissolved after Hammurabi's death and Babylon spent long periods under Assyrian, Kassite and Elamite domination. After being destroyed and then rebuilt by the Assyrians, Babylon became the capital of the Neo-Babylonian Empire from 609 to 539 BC. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. After the fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, the city came under the rules of the Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian, Roman and Sassanid empires.

It has been estimated that Babylon was the largest city in the world from c. 1770 to 1670 BC, and again between c. 612 and 320 BC. It was perhaps the first city to reach a population above 200,000. Estimates for the maximum extent of its area range from 890 to 900 hectares (2,200 acres).

The remains of the city are in present-day Hillah, Babil Governorate, Iraq, about 85 kilometers (53 mi) south of Baghdad, comprising a large tell of broken mud-brick buildings and debris.
Credits: Wikipedia 

The first farmers from Samarra migrated to Sumer, and built shrines and settlements at Eridu.