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300 years of trade with European powers meant economical rise for East Asia countries

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East Asia underwent major changes during the years between 1450 and 1750. Countries like Japan and China during the time, changed and developed socially and economically. However, some things stayed the same as continuities. The changes that came economically were mostly due to trade with Europe and other countries. China, especially, relied heavily on exporting goods that made them a good deal of money and helped them develop economically. As for Japan, change also came in the form of trade, although they had strict and controlled restrictions on who to trade with and this was the same for China. Other economic changes included the use of crops that grew much quicker such as potatoes that were grown for the ever- growing population of China. Trade with European nations also brought another change to East Asia, specifically, to Japan which started to heavily utilize guns and became a “gunpowder empire” of sorts which led only to harm. Europe brought additional changes through Christian missionaries who tried to spread Christianity. Continuities included the beliefs of Confucianism.

The role of women in society also stayed the same during this time period. During this time, the isolationist policy remained in both countries as a continuity to protect themselves from invasions.

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At the start of this period, China and Japan were not as developed as they later became during the end of this period. The events in between mainly shaped them into the nations they became at the end. At this time, the Ming Dynasty was ruling China and had overthrown the Mongols. The Ming Dynasty, then, implemented Confucianist beliefs. Japan, on the other hand, was following a feudal system of their own similar to that of the Europeans’. Japan was controlled by the Shoguns who made the Emperor (just a figurehead) do their bidding. Both Japan and China were following a strict trading policy that allowed trading with only certain countries like Portugal and the Netherlands. China implemented this policy because of the Mongol conquest which made them believe that the Mongols changed China so drastically, that they needed to reclaim their own traditional identity and not allow any outside influences. China was, economically, doing well because of its exports that earned them great wealth. As time progressed, many changes took place while some things stayed the same.

The changes that took place in East Asia compromised of many things that helped develop Japan and China economically and socially. New crops helped move things progressively for the growing population of China. These crops include potatoes which grow quickly and helped support the population of China and improved the efficiency of the working class. In Japan, many other changes took place. This included the introduction of guns brought by Europeans during the time when trade was allowed with Europe. Shoguns quickly changed their minds when the heavy use of guns in Japan threatened the power of their own warrior class, the Samurai. Another change that took place was the introduction of Christianity by missionaries arriving from Europe. This threatened their social order and lost many of it’s people to Christianity. In China, the Ming Dynasty started to decline greatly and fell apart due to rebellions and protests and the Manchus took this opportunity to invade and took over as the Qing Dynasty followed. These were some of the changes that took place but some things didn’t change, which wasn’t necessarily a good thing.

While East Asia went through a great number of change, it also held a few continuities. A major continuity included Confucianism which held over both dynasties in China, the Ming and the Qing Dynasties. Confucian beliefs remained throughout both dynasties and was a leading continuity. Another continuity that was prevalent throughout this time period in both Japan and China, was the role of women. Women were always treated as inferior to men and this continued throughout East Asia in this time period. Confucianism played a huge role in this belief as women in Confucianism philosophy had to obey the men in the family. They were always subservient to men. The isolationist policy also remained throughout this period. Both Japan and China liked to keep to themselves. For China, it was mostly part to the Mongol Invasion that changed China and in order to keep outside influences away, China restricted trade with certain countries as did Japan, At this end, East Asia and its countries had greatly developed through a series of changes and continuities.

In 1750, East Asia had gone through many changes and came out highly developed socially and economically. In 1750, the Qing Dynasty had been ruling China and would continue to do so till 1911. At this time, China was very well settled economically due to the amount of goods it exported. China became very prosperous and powerful. Japan was also in a similar state. Dutch learning had become very prominent and this type of learning was encouraged. As for some things. they remained the same and didn’t develop and/or further East Asian nations economically or socially.

In conclusion, many economical and social changes made East Asia highly developed at the end of this time period, 1750. Changes included new crops that led to greater efficiency in the working class and more support for the growing population, Japan becoming a “gunpowder empire” which actually causes harm to Japanese beliefs, itself, and the introduction of Christianity into East Asia through missionaries. In addition to these changes, continuities were also prevalent and include the role of women in both Japan and China, Confucianism in China, and isolationist policies in both Japan and China. At 1450, the nations of Japan and China started out as much less developed than it became at 1750 due to the plethora of changes and continuities that eventually shaped East Asia into what it became at the end of this time period.


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