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ANTH 360 CradlesofCivilization.docx.pdf
ANTH 360 CradlesofCivilization.docx.pdf

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McGill University
ANTH 360

Cradles of Civilization China IntroductionChina has an ancient tradition of historical study but over the last few decades entered a Golden AgeRecurring themes in historyUs vs themCenter vs peripheryAttempts at unity vs diversityPhysical and political isolation vs cultural interplayEfforts at modernization vs traditional conservatismTracking the processes of changes in what now amounted to Chinese civilization The landA vast territory and huge geographic diversityTwo large zonesInner China AKA China Properfertile and densely populated region withinOuter Chinalarge NW arc with mountains and desertsCivilization arose in association with agricultureCenters in agriculturally productive areasRiver valleys and floodplains fertile alluvial soil irrigation climate long growing seasons adequate rainfall and warm transportation Outer ChinaChina on a floor of highly metamorphosed rockTibetan mountain rangesMt Everest 10000mPlateau 3500mAlpine desert too cold and too dryFertile lowland pockets eg LhasaPastoral nomadism with yakTarim DesertInhospitable to agricultureDzungaria regionBetter watered with Illi RiverIn Xinjiang Turfan Depression 200m below sea levelThree great river valleys and plainsHuang northYangzi centralXi southShorter with delta near GuangzhouCivilization rose around Huang and YangziQin 221207 BC and Han 206BCAD220 conquered much of Outer ChinaQing 16441911 reconquered these area againFor less than a century some Mongols controlled parts of Outer ChinaInner MongoliaLonggrass steppe ideal for grazingServed as the basis for pastoral nomadism with sheep and goatNow mostly farmedBecame Chinese territory since the collapse of Mongol empire in 14Cwith economic growth and infrastructure Chinese farmers moved in and now outnumber Mongolsgrazing economy now commercial not nomadic sell animal productsNortheast AKA ManchuriaBordered by mountain barriersLinked to north China by Mountain Sea Gate a narrow coastal plainHistorically served as the route of invasion and migrationMost areas too cold and too dry for farming Liao River valley milder and has fertile alluvial soilCommercialized agricultural products wheat and soybeansAmur River marks the border with RussiaYalu River and Changbai shan mark the border with KoreaRich with coal iron and petroleumChina ProperIncludes most of the agricultural land majority of population and roots of civilizationHuang Semiarid climate river deposit alluvial soilsilt extend the coastline eg Shandong used to be an island in the Yellow Seathe Sorrow of China seasonal fluctuations in volume and recurrent changes in its course lead to disastrous floodsDrowned people and land and silting damaged and ruined irrigation worksOn the other hand silt deposits made the area the most fertile agricultural zone in chinaWidespread deposition river course and delta never stableYangzi RiverThe most important river system in China ProperHalf of Chinese people live in the basinEspecially the delta is densely settled eg Nanjing ShanghaiNavigable tributaries
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